We only left Freycinet after lunch time, and yet made it to Hobart by 5pm, which should give you an idea of how easy it is to actually drive around Tasmania. The roads were lovely, gently meandering between hills and farms, forests and picturesque little towns. I really liked Swansea, where we stopped for petrol and the garage owner let us cuddle his big old Alsatian dog. Everyone was so friendly; everywhere we stopped we were called “Darl” and showered with smiles and free advice on the best spots to stop, eat, etc.Following said advice, we stopped 3km outside of Swansea, at Kate’s berry farm.
They make delightful homemade jams, juices and conserves at this farm. Theres a nice free tasting station where you can try everything out before you buy any (I bought a jar of mingledberry jam). They also have a little cafe, which makes one of the yummiest chicken pot pies I have ever tasted.
As we were driving along after Kate’s Berry farm, I spotted a sign pointing off to Spiky beach on our left, and made an impromptu decision to stop and check it out. Turned out to be one of the best random stops I have ever made on any trip, ever. Absolutely pristine beach, with squeaky white sand, and massive rock formations to explore, with water so shallowwe were only up to our knees 1km out.
After a good hour and a half exploring Spiky Beach, we got back in the car and made out leisurely way towards Hobart. We got to our hotel and had plenty of time to clean up a bit before heading out to Hobart’s wharf for a fish and chip dinner. Its a beautiful old city, the second settlement in Australia, and next time I go I will be sure to spend more time exploring Hobart itself. In addition, even though on the map it looked like a warren of one way streets, its surprisingly easy to navigate, with little traffic that drove at quite an unhurried pace anyway, so it was quite blissful meandering round till I found parking (it being Christmas holiday season, all parking was free).
Theres lots to see at the wharf; statues of antarctic explorers, dogs,seals and penguins, the boats coming in or out, fishermen unloading the days crayfish haul, fascinating old warehouse type buildings that have been converted to restaurants, and of course, the seagulls. Theres also quite a good collection of eating places on the wharf itself; as you’d expect, most were seafood joints, but there was also a steakhouse, a chinese and an indian restaurant, so really one could have whatever one liked. A very pleasant change from the streets full of homogenous restaurants that I’ve experienced in other Australian cities.
We had dinner and a walk around and then headed back to our hotel in Lindisfarme, on the other side of the bridge that crosses Hobart’s 2 halves. As the driver, I didn’t get to take any pictures of the bridge, but believe you me ,it is spectacular, a single arch spanning a very wide river mouth. A little sister version of the Sydney bridge. It was an early night for us on day 3 (early being 10pm!) as we had to rise with the dawn the next day.