I took a ferry (but it was more like a cruise ship!) over to Tasmania from Melbourne. I noticed that on my ticket it said I was in business class. How exciting! Not really. When I finally got seated it was only a reclining chair amongst many other reclining chairs in a little room at the back of the boat. This was going to be an 11 hour ride and it didn't look like fun.
We weren't on the boat for more than 10 minutes when the creepiest dude on the planet found us. He offerred to buy us beer after from the lounge if we were bored. I think he just assumed that we would be bored because he came back to our seats not long after and informed us that he smuggled beer onto the ferry so he could get drunk for cheap! Oh hurray. I declined the offer but he still stuck around to babble on about nothing. He was sure a strange character. Finally after pretending to doze off in my chair he finally took the hint and went back to his seat.
It was a very long and uncomfortable sleep in my reclining chair. When we arrived in Devonport at 7 in the morning we caught the Tassie Link bus over to Launceston. As luck would have it, the YHA staff member that we got to book our stay in the hostel here screwed up somehow and so we had no booking anywhere in town. The first hostel that we stopped at is what I chose because I was walking any distance with my pack looking for a hostel. It turned out to be a bad choice though. It was situated right beside a bar and of course we got the room right next to it. The room also had a window that would not close either. Tasmania, as I have discovered, has the same climate as Canada and therefore is kind of cold, especially after you have been acclimatized to temperatures above 30 degrees celcius. I froze my butt off all night.
Out of Launceston we tried to get a day tour out to Cradle Mountain. But it seemed impossible. There weren't enough people interested in a day tour out there so one company wasn't running it. The only other company running said they were all booked up. So what was I to do? Pack my things and move to Hobart. But before that we hiked up the Cataract Gorge in central Launceston and observed the beautiful river gorge. It was very beautiful with all of the fall colours from the trees.
The next day I caught the Tassie Link bus again to travel the 2.5 hours to Hobart. Hobart is a great place. I chose a hostel that was a little out of the way so that it would be quiet. It was only a 25 minute walk into the central city, but my travel buddy thought it was going to be way out of the way. The hostel, Allports, has been the best place that I have stayed since I left home. It was full of friendly people and it was very clean and homey. I felt quite comfortable there. Good thing, because we were staying quite a few days there.
Hobart is famous for its Salamanca Market. It runs every Saturday and has at over 300 stalls selling arts and crafts, fresh produce and souvenirs of all sorts. It was very cool. There was a busker on the street playing a guitar, the drums and a didgeridoo all at the same time. I thought he was very talented so I bought his CD.
One of the days that we were there we went to Mount Field National Park on a day trip. It was raining and cold so the trip had to be adjusted accordingly. Our first stop was the Something Wild Wildlife Park. This place contained Tasmanian Devils, wombats, platypuses, polka dotted quolls, grey kangaroos, wallabies and of course cockatoos. The Tasmanian Devils were not as I expected. They looked very cute and cuddly but the guide informed us that this is very false. He told us of a story of a man who was walking home from the bar drunk and passed out along the way. When we woke up he discovered a Tasmanian Devil chewing on his fingers and then he noticed that he was missing two fingers already! Gross. The wombat was very interesting too. His name was Benny and he had been hand raised by the guide there. Wombats are very aggressive when they mature and when the guide got into the pen with Benny, he had to be very careful not to get caught by this little monster. The whole time the guide was telling us about wombats Benny was trying to attack him and bite him. He made a really wierd noise too as his aggressive noise that sounded like a farting noise. Not very scary at all, but I definitely didn't want to get in the pen with him.
We drove up Mt Field but it started raining even harder. We walked around Lake Dobson at the top anyway. It was a very dismal looking place because of the mist within all of the trees surrounding you. We drove further down the mountain and walked through a rainforest to Russell Falls.
We also went up to Freycinet National Park for a day tour as well. Here we stopped at many white sand beaches. But they are really cold so there was no swimming involved. The Tasmanians think that the water is quite cold, but they obviously haven't been swimming in glacial water back in Canada. The main beach that we went to see was the famous Wineglass Bay. It was a steep hike up to the lookout but it was definitely worth it. It was beautiful.
Back in Hobart we went on a Cadbury Chocolate Factory tour. We learned how the chocolate is made and how it is packaged. The rooms in the factory were so sweet smelling it almost made you sick to your stomach. It was very hot in there too. I can't imagine working in that room for 12 hours. At the end of the tour we got a little goody bag full of chocolate and then an opportunity to buy cheap chocolate at their gift shop. Of course I loaded up with chocolate but I mailed most of it home for the family.