Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake.
Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake. Seanna Cronin

Get ready to hit play on this Tassie highlights reel

YOU could easily spend a month or more road tripping around Tasmania - once coronavirus restrictions ease of course. But what if you only have a week?

In seven days you can tick some major landmarks and experiences off the must-see list, but you'll have to be strategic.

The Apple Isle may seem small with a population roughly the same size as the Gold Coast, but those half a million people are spread out over an area the size of Ireland.

Working off the theory that one night is almost never enough in any one place, my partner and I plan out an itinerary with two nights in three different destinations using a rental car for transport.

We arrive in the capital, and largest city, Hobart on a cracking spring day in October.

Coming from a more populated area, everything seems easier in Tassie. Getting out of the airport, where local artist Ben Clifford has some stunning hand-drawn wildlife portraits on display, and to our accommodation is a breeze.

We head straight for the city's historic waterfront where we are staying on the water, literally, at Somerset on the Pier.

Sunrise over Victoria dock on Hobart waterfront. Picture: RICHARD JUPE
Sunrise over Victoria dock on Hobart waterfront. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

The generously sized serviced apartments offer stunning views of the River Derwent and Sullivan's Cove, and it's just a short walk to dozens of restaurants and shops.

Fresh Tassie seafood is at the top of the list so our first stop is Fish Frenzy where crispy calamari, battered fish and chips are served giant cones.

The afternoon is walking, breathing in the crisp ocean air and poking around the shops at Salamanca Market before we hit up the kitschy Drunken Admiral for dinner. Don't let the over-the-top seafarers' decor put you off, the food is delicious and they make a mean cocktail.

Our second day in Hobart is dedicated to the Tasman Peninsula, where we take in the breathtaking coastal views, a fascinating but heart-wrenching tour of the Port Arthur Historic Site and learn about the efforts to conserve the endangered Tasmanian devil at the Tasmanian devil Unzoo.

A Tasmanian devil at the Tasmanian devil Unzoo.
A Tasmanian devil at the Tasmanian devil Unzoo. Seanna Cronin

It's a busy day that leaves us hungry for, guess what, more Tassie seafood so we book into Blue Eye seafood restaurant. Their fresh sashimi, seared scallops and natural Pacific oysters melt in the mouth.

It's an early start on day three as we embark on the four-hour drive from Hobart to Cradle Mountain. The scenery shifts to English-style gardens to farms and drier, sheep grazing country as you head north through the interior of the island before making a sharp ascent up into the central highlands.

The long drive is worth it to visit this world-famous world heritage area, where I hope to see my first wild wombat. I don't have to wait long. As soon as we get out of the car at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge I can see a furry brown lump waddling through the buttongrass.

After all that time in the car, walking the 5.7km-loop circuit around Dove Lake is the perfect way to stretch our legs. While drizzle conditions conceal the top of the mountain, the rain actually enhances the experience of walking through the ballroom forest - you feel like a fairy could be hiding right behind the next tree.

The boardwalk at the Overland Track delivers another wild wombat loudly munching away on grass who doesn't seemed bothered at all by the attention he's getting.

A wombat next to the Overland Track in Cradle Mountain National Park.
A wombat next to the Overland Track in Cradle Mountain National Park. Seanna Cronin

A three-course meal at Highland Restaurant next to a crackling fire finishes off a busy day.

The rain breaks for day four so we head back into the national park for more walking and the obligatory photo of Cradle Mountain's two peaks, followed by a relaxing treatment at the Waldheim Alpine Spa.

After breakfast and a quick walk along the Enchanted Stroll track, where we spot wallabies and pademelons also enjoying their breakfast, we hit the road for our final destination - Launceston.

A pademelon at Cradle Mountain.
A pademelon at Cradle Mountain. Seanna Cronin

If Hobart felt relaxed, then Launceston is even more laid-back.

Peppers Seaport, built on the site of an old dry dock, is a short walk from the CBD and overlooks the Esk River.

We check out Cataract Gorge before quenching our thirst with a tour of the historic James Boags Brewery.

Then it's cocktails, oysters and a melt-in-your-mouth steak for dinner at the Mudbar - conveniently located on the ground floor of our hotel.

Oysters three ways at Mudbar Restaurant in Launceston.
Oysters three ways at Mudbar Restaurant in Launceston. Seanna Cronin

We hit the road on day six for a round of golf at the famed Barnbougle golf courses, about an hour away in the charming coastal town of Bridport. The two links courses take advantage of the natural sand dunes and grasses with stunning views of the coastline.

We stop at a few wineries on the drive back via the Tamar Valley Wine Trail. Enjoying a glass of white on our balcony as the sun sets over the river is the perfect end to the week.



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