Australia

Hiring a Campervan in Tasmania

by Chrisie of outdoormadness.co.uk on January 23, 2014

Hiring a Campervan in Tasmania

Since we travelled all this way to Australia we didn’t want to miss out on getting to see Tasmania. We looked into taking our campervan on the ferry. Pretty cheap for the van itself, but as soon as you put people on with it, it gets ridiculous. Even for a budget sleeper seat for the 9hr Bass Strait Crossing and a vehicle costs $750 for 2 people. So we didn’t think it was going to be viable to spend that kind of money for two weeks. Now I can see why people go for months at a time.  Out of curiosity we looked into flying from Melbourne to Hobart and hiring a van over there. Our problems were solved as it was definitely the cheaper way to do it. We looked into lots of different hire companies and Tassie Motor Shacks came out top for us.

We booked our flights arranged when we needed the van. We landed in Hobart, after flying over snow covered hills below, although when we landed there was none in Hobart, it was just further up the country. We got picked up from the airport by Tassie Motor Shacks, which really takes out the hassle when you arrive. It was quick and easy to get on the road, after the paper work a quick tour of the van, some ideas of what to see where to go and looking at a few maps we were off. After the much needed hot shower, as Tassie Motor Shacks base is at a caravan site which you can stay at, only a short walk to the beach; an ideal spot. The van we got had everything we needed: bedding, towels, cooker, crockery and utensils, a built in sink and cooler box. It even came with bottles of water and DVD player and heater for when you get a powered site, as there are plenty of sockets in the van. Table and chairs are included at no extra hire cost like they are with some other companies and an awning attached to side of van, great for hot weather or a bit of shelter.

We started by heading south from Hobart out to the Tasman peninsula out to Port Arthur. We discovered some cool places along the way. Pirate Cove is well worth a look, it wasn’t the clearest day when we were there as the rain had set in, but it was a fantastic view, even then. Tasman Arch is a huge naturally sculpted arch carved out by the sea, its impressive; a short walk from here takes you to the Devils Kitchen, another impressive site caused by nature.

We headed on up the coast to the Freycinet National Park, eager to get out for a walk. We wanted to see wine glass bay, which we had heard about, it was voted No.1 beach in the world at some stage. You have to get there and you can see why. There are many different varying levels of tracks according to fitness and how long, and far you want to walk. We opted for the track in the Hazards up to Mt Amos to overlook Wineglass Bay on the other side. It is said to be a track not to be done in wet, slippery conditions as it crosses big slabs of granite. We didn’t expect there to be quite so many slabs to cross, with not a lot of room for error. We enjoyed the scramble to the top, although the light was fading and we knew we didn’t have much light. The walk is advised as 3hr return. We had about 2hrs before we lost the light, and after seeing the track we didn’t want to be coming down in the dark. It wasn’t an easy track to follow; we were constantly looking out for which way the track went, following painted arrows on the rock, and orange ribbons in trees marking the way. It was well worth it, the view was spectacular, and although it would have been nice to have stayed for the sunset, it wasn’t a wise decision considering the slippy slabs and path we had to navigate on the way back to the car. We made dinner in the car park and we are pretty sure we saw a Tasmanian Devil lurking around outside, just catching a glimpse of its back end and tail.

If you are wanting to explore the National Parks its best to get a Holiday Parks Pass, which you leave displayed in the vehicle, it covers you and up to 8 people entry into any of the National Parks across Tasmania and costs $60. Whereas one entry ticket for one person costs you $20 so it’s definitely worthwhile to get the Holiday Parks Pass which covers you for two months.

We didn’t pay for one night’s accommodation the whole time we were in Tasmania, and it really helps, means you can spend the money that you would have spent on the things you really want. Some of the free places you can stay are just as good as some of the paid ones; the councils seem to maintain them to a good standard. We came across a lot of places with power sockets, which was great for us to charge up the laptop and any other things that we needed to. Free and cheap showers around Tasmania make it so you do not have to pay into a campsite for the night just to use the facilities. We came across hot showers from $3 to $1, in Scottsdale and Hamilton, and although we didn’t get to Strahan, we have been told that there are free showers by the tourist information. There are of course a lot of free outdoor cold showers everywhere, but not much to my liking at this time of year, with there being snow on high ground and all. We had the luxury of meeting up with friends in Launceston and being able to use their washing machine and shower. We stayed in all sorts of campsites in our time in Tasmania, some beautiful spots by the sea, hearing the waves gently rolling into the beach and waking up to beautiful sunrises. Night time is when the wildlife tends to come out too, and seeing kangaroos bounding through the campsite is a wonderful site.

One of our favourite places to visit was the Bay of Fires where there are lots of free places to park up for the night. The colour of the sea with the red/ orangey glow of the rocks by the sea especially at sunset was incredible. Bridport was also a beautiful spot to visit on the north coast. The facilities in public areas and rest stops are brilliant with free BBQs and picnic tables to help you enjoy your surroundings. Scottsdale had a lovely wee campsite with gardens, BBQs; kids play area, ponds with lots of ducks and wildlife a great park to explore with short walks through the park. We drove lots of interesting roads and took in the fabulous scenery, on our journey we came across a Dairy with cheese tasting and a café and Mount Elephant Pancake Barn which is said to have has the best pancakes in Australia.

Devonport seemed like a really nice town to be in, although we didn’t get a chance to do much exploring, as we had a fair way to go to get to our campsite for the night, as the North West coastline seems to be the only area sparse on free places to stay.

We hit it at the wrong season, but a definite must is in summer to get out to Table Cape just west of Burnie on the North coast to see the flat plains planted out with tulips that bloom in spectacular colours. They grow them here and then ship them out to Holland as they can grow them here at the time of the year that the Northern Hemisphere can’t.

Stanley is an interesting place, with The Nut, a volcanic plug of an extinct volcano rising up from the surrounding land. You can walk to the top or in summer there is a chair lift to take you to the top to see the spectacular views over Stanley, the sea and beyond.

Our next port of call was Cradle Mountain. This was one of our main draws to Tasmania and we were not disappointed. We got there on a lovely fresh day, since we already had the holiday park pass we could get the free shuttle in to Cradle and a hop on hop off style bus, taking you to different tracks and points to start your walk, or if you are not up for much of a walk, the bus takes you to Dove Lake which Cradle Mountain overlooks, providing great views and photo opportunities.

We decided to walk in from Ronny Creek via Crater Lake and up to Marion’s Lookout. The board walk usually has lots of wombats around; although we saw evidence of their presence we didn’t see any, which was disappointing. It was chilly and hat and gloves were definitely needed, snow was on the ground and further up the path past the lookout there was a lot more, not much of the path to be seen anymore. We headed down via the steep track to Dove Lake; eager to get some good photos over the lake, with the boat shed in the picture. The cloud cleared from the top and we were able to get a good view. A just married couple decided to get photos taken here, even with the snow, not what we expected to see.

Our trip took us through Queenstown, in which there is a no ‘green’ on the hills but yet the hillsides are bare from the mining in this town. It’s a nice drive out of Queenstown with winding roads heading back towards Hobart.

We had the luxury of being able to stay at the caravan park, where Motor Shacks is based and were able to use their facilities; toilets, hot showers, kitchen and also laundry. Our last day was spent in Hobart and we took the drive up to the top of Mount Wellington. This is a definite must; a great drive overlooking Hobart and its surrounds below. At first there wasn’t much to see, as we were up in the cloud, but then it cleared and we had a great view from the top.

So we didn’t think it was going to be a good idea to spend that kind of money for two weeks. That’s when I realized why people travel for months at a time when they go there. We got curious and we checked the prices for flights from Melbourne to Hobart and looked into hiring a van there. Doing that definitely solved our problems, we found out a cheaper way make this trip happen. We looked into lots of different hire companies and Tassie Motor Shacks came out top for us. We booked our flights arranged when we needed the van.

Our time with our campervan had come to an end. We dropped the van back, packed up our stuff and got dropped off at the airport for our flight back to Melbourne. A fantastic trip, it’s a definite must to visit and Tassie Motor Shacks enabled us to do just that. They were great and we got just what we needed to be able to get around and see the country. Check them out at www.tassiemotorshacks.com.au


Chrisie
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by Josefmarke Rewnes
About 5 years ago

Australian owned at Hotel.com.au you can compare, book and save up to 70% at over 460,000 hotel accommodation options world wide and more than 7,000 in Australia. The Search is Over!

Chrisie
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by Rhea
About 5 years ago

Hi - could you share some advice on the campsites you stayed at in Tassie?

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