I’m a huge fan of road trips – the idea of the open road, bad food and loud music to sing along to always sounds like the best idea to me. As I’ve come to learn, every place I go to road trip seems to be different – different rules, different places to see, different ways to improve your experience.
I just spent 6 days travelling around Tassie with a friend, and below are a couple tips for those taking the spectacular opportunity to do it for themselves!
1. Add an extra couple of hours onto your expected travel time
I was told that it only takes around five hours to get to Corinna from Hobart. I think it took Vicky and I around eight or nine hours. Between the windy roads where you obviously have to slow down, and my getting used to driving on the left side of the road, it took us a lot longer than expected. Not to mention that Tasmania is absolutely gorgeous, and you want to stop the car to take a couple photos every couple dozen kilometres or so! We also discovered all of these other little nature walks, waterfalls, museums and reserves, lakes, rivers, you name it we found it and we wanted to explore it. For such a small state, Tasmania has a lot packed into it, so expect that!
2. Never let your vehicle get below half a tank
I know that this is a standard road trip rule that should be used no matter where you are, but especially so here in Tassie. Especially in the winter. It does snow here, it does get icy, accidents do happen. And on some roads, you may not drive past another person for hours, so making sure you have that reserve of gasoline petrol to keep the heater on and you warm is a must.
Also, don’t expect there to be a gas station in the next town. Even if it says there is a gas station, don’t believe it until you see it. I drove past so many shut down gas stations it was unbelievable – make sure you have a reserve to get to the next town if you must. Plus, sometimes (I’m looking at you Wineglass Bay) petrol is stupidly expensive, and you’re going to want to wait to get to the next town anyways in the dire hope of a cheaper price.
3. Bring a huge SD card – and a second camera battery
Like I said earlier, Tasmania is gorgeous and there are so many beautiful places to take photos. And you will take hundreds upon hundreds of photos. So, be prepared and bring a second SD card with you, as well as a second camera battery to switch at the tip of a hat. You’ll thank me later.
4. Do not drive past dusk
Yes, it gets dark early in the fall/winter/spring here in Tassie, so prepare to find a place to sleep around 5pm. Dusk and dawn are when all of the crazy Tassie animals become active, and while hitting a wallaby wouldn’t cause you too much harm, a wombat could total your vehicle. Better to be safe than sorry.
BONUS TIP: We’re told this all the time in Canada, and I will post it here too. Unless it is a wombat, don’t swerve to miss it. If it’s at all wet, slippery or icy, your car could go out of control, slide into the ditch, into a tree, or god-forbid into oncoming traffic and hurt another person. One wallaby’s life is not worth yours, your passengers, or the people in the other car coming towards you or behind you. Do not swerve.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Remember that place everyone told you was super awesome, and you were super excited to visit? Yeah, it might not be as awesome as you had hoped, just as a random town you were planning on driving straight through is a heck of a lot cooler than the place you might be going to. Be ready to change plans if need be.
6. Talk to the locals
This is something I will stress no matter where you are in world, backpacking, road tripping, touring or whatever. Talk to every single person you meet, especially the locals.
Every single Tasmanian I talked to blatantly stated that they don’t bother going overseas anymore, they just travel around Tasmania. Which means they are your best guides to the areas you’re visiting, better than any guidebook. Ask where the best place to eat is, if the hike up to the waterfall is really worth it, or for any secret awesome places to check out. It helped us out a lot in Deloraine, so it’s probably the best tip I can give you.
7. There is not cell service. Just forget about it.
In most of the better places to visit in Tasmania (i.e. climbing mountains, kayaking rivers, in the forest, by the ocean) there probably won’t be any cell reception. Or incredibly little. Don’t hate it, just live with it. You don’t need to be updating Facebook or Twitter every 5 seconds, look around you!
This also means you’re google maps app in your iPhone probably won’t work. Bring out the good-old paper map, or your SAT NAV (which I never trust anyways for various reasons) to figure out how to get around the island.
8. All of Tasmanian towns are small, so expect small town living
Have you ever lived in a small town? No? Let me tell you it isn’t very exciting.
No, there are no restaurants open past 8pm, and most shut down their friers an hour before close (as Vicky and I found out the hard way). Also, don’t expect a McDonalds in the next “city,” because I can almost promise you you won’t find one. There is a brand new Subway in Deloraine though!
But, there are always bonuses to small towns. The locals are always incredibly friendly, and are very much willing to help you out if you’re lost or frustrated, and (see number 6) will give you all the information you need about the area you’re in.
Are you planning on doing a road trip through Tasmania when you get there? Have these tips helped you? Do you have anymore to add? Let me know in the comments section below!