Winter in Australia: Tasmania & Blue Mountains

 

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I had the most amazing winter trip to Australia πŸ™‚ I decided to split my time traveling in Australia into two trips – a ‘city’ trip that I already did in May (Melbourne & Sydney), and a ‘hiking’ trip that I just did to Tasmania and the Blue Mountains. Here in Malaysia, there was almost a whole week off work at the end of June due to the end of Ramadan, plus I wanted a cold weather vacation since it’s so hot here – so it was perfect πŸ™‚ Β And winter in Australia is not nearly as back home near Chicago! It was great walking weather.

I flew to Sydney, did a 5 day tour of Tasmania, spent some time in Tassie’s capital city, then rounded it off with some solo hiking in the Blue Mountains (just west of Sydney). I did a lot and loved every minute.

Sydney/Hobart stopover

The main part of my trip was a week long stay in Tasmania. But, to get to Tasmania from KL, I had to stop in Sydney first!

Since I had already been to Sydney, it was a super seamless travel process – I already had a visa, transit card, and sim card (and even a yoga studio). πŸ™‚ I had just 1 day in Sydney before my flight to Hobart, Tasmania, and I decided to spend it exploring Newtown a bit. I had gone out for drinks in Newtown during my last trip, but hadn’t seen it in the daylight! It’s a cool neighborhood with lots of artsy shops and cafes. I saw some street art there as well as near my hostel/Central station. That night I got drinks with my hostel roommates at the connected bar.

 

The next morning I flew to Hobart! After arriving, I was a bit tired but ended up checking out a nearby cafe and walking around the city. It’s a small city with a lot of pretty European/British looking architecture – which obviously makes sense, considering the history! I stumbled upon the Salamanca market and walked around there, and also went to a free museum to learn a little bit about Tasmania. I found a yoga studio (really helps me feel at home!) and then hung out at my hostel. I ended up meeting a girl there who currently goes to Purdue – plus my roommate was from KL – small world πŸ™‚

 

Tasmania Day 1: West Tasmania

Early the next morning, I got picked up for my 5 day tour of Tasmania! There were 20-something of us on the tour along with our awesome guide Jake. The first day of the tour consisted of a lot of driving, since we were headed to the less traveled, rainy west coast. It was quite a bit colder than Sydney, and the wetness made it worse! But walking around helped. We explored a rainforest that looked straight out of Jurassic park due to the old ferns, and we saw a kookaburra. We also stopped at a couple waterfalls – they were both super big and super impressive! Really awe inspiring. After driving a bit from this forested, rainy area, suddenly it became mountainous and dry – the landscape in Tassie changes so very fast and is all so stunning. Β Later that night, we made it to Strahan to stay overnight. Β Upon exiting the bus, I looked up – and there was the Milky Way! I had never seen it before. And it was so clear and so remote that just immediately you could see it and so, so many stars. It was really a special moment. πŸ™‚

 

Tasmania Day 2: Montezuma Falls

The next day we first stopped at Macquarie harbor, which is actually larger than Sydney harbor – and very pretty and glass-like! Later that day some people were planning to take a cool railroad ride, and the rest of us did a hike to Montezuma falls. It was a bit wet but not too cold and actually quite clear – apparently much clearer than usual for the west coast of Tassie! Along the way on the hike, there were tons of small waterfalls and greenery. Upon arriving, the sun came out and there was a rainbow in front of the falls! It was really beautiful. That night we stayed in Strahan again, hanging out and playing cards.

 

Tasmania Day 3: Cradle Mountain

Today we drove to Cradle mountain and did a walk around the lake there! It was quite cold but again, sunny and walking warmed us up easily! The views of the snowy mountain were pretty, and the green foliage, streams and waterfalls around were really picturesque. πŸ™‚ That night we stayed in Launceston and had fun drinking wine and cooking together.

 

Tasmania Day 4: Cataract gorge, Bay of Fire, & Tasmanian Devils

In the morning we stopped by to see Cataract Gorge! More dramatic changes in scenery, so cool. In the afternoon, we stopped at the beautiful beach, Bay of Fires, to eat our lunch. In the afternoon we went to a nature park and saw Tasmanian devils, wallabies, wombats, and fed kangaroos! The Tasmanian devils are really strong and make the scariest noises – but they’re still cute, just like all of the other animals πŸ™‚

 

At night we stayed in Bicheno. It was a clear night again, so we did a mini night trek to the beach nearby, where there was a crazy blowhole – scary at night, really – and w were able to see the milky way and tons of stars – even some shooting stars! Loved it, never seen anything like it ❀

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Sunset at Bicheno

Tasmania Day 5: Freycinet National Park

The next day we went Freycinet national park. We had a choice of doing an easy walk, or hiking up the challenging Mount Amos, and of course I chose the latter! It was a fun hike that required a bit of rock scrambling, and the views were really stunning of Wineglass bay. Afterwards, we met up with the group and walked to the lighthouse. From there we were able to see whales blowing up air and dolphins swimming in the ocean πŸ˜€

 

After stopping at a cafe, our tour was over already! Our guide said we did around 1500 km driving total in the five days – we really covered a ton of the island. It’s all so pristinely beautiful and the dramatic changes in scenery are amazing!

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Our group! Minus the guide, Jake

Hobart, Tasmania

I had a couple days to chill in Hobart after my tour. I went to an art museum, the MONA. This museum is notorious for being a bit odd – it’s not underground and very interesting. The ferry on the way there was pretty fancy and had great views. And none of the art is labeled – everyone gets an iphone guide, where you get your info. After, I did some errands like writing postcards and getting groceries. That evening I also had a walking tour through the Festival of Voices! It was about life as a working lady back in the day in Hobart and London – quite a funny performance πŸ˜›

 

The next day I revisited my yoga studio yest again, then hugn out drinking coffee at a cafe and talking on the phone with a friend πŸ™‚ I went again to the bustling Salamanca market, then headed to Sydney and took a train to Katoomba, where I spent the night.

Blue Mountains

I based myself in Katoomba to explore the Blue Mountains for a couple days. πŸ™‚ On my first day, I hiked the National Pass. The weather was absolutely perfect for hiking – crisp and sunny. The views were stunning too, and I saw some colorful wild birds, waterfalls, cool rock formations and pretty trees. This trek and the Blue Mountains in general were a perfect place for solo hiking. Everything was well laid out and accessible – and I loved having some alone time.

 

After this hike, I went down to see the famous Three Sisters. More great views! I was exhausted from walking all day long, but I was rewarded with views of a beauutiful pink sunset on my way back to my lodging πŸ˜€

The next day I explored the Leura area. I hiked to the Leura cascades, Bridal Veil falls, and then did the cliff walk back to the Three Sisters again for more amazing views. I got food at a cute cafe, then read a bit at the hostel and caught a train back to Sydney for my flight.

 

I loved this trip! Everything was so stunning, and the hiking was great, along with the weather. I met great people and saw so many unforgettable views. πŸ™‚ I really love Australia and am glad I jetted over there from KL for a second time!

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