Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tasmania with a toddler: Our itinerary and other tips

I've been meaning to wrap up my "Tasmania with a toddler" series for ages - and here it is. Before I went to Tasmania last year, and even while I was there, I was constantly googling phrases like "Tasmania with a toddler" to get some good advice on great places to take a small child, and I didn't come up with a whole lot of useful answers. Hopefully this post will help out some future family travellers headed for Tasmania - and if you've got more tips to add (especially for the cities, where we didn't spend much time, and the east coast, which we've saved for next trip!) then please add them in the comments below.

Our itinerary basically went in an anti-clockwise direction from Launceston, but of course whether you start in Launceston or Hobart really doesn't matter. The posts I link to throughout this one sum up the best sightseeing activities that we found for an almost two-year-old and his nature-loving parents, but of course many are suitable for anyone. A place I haven't mentioned so far is the Melita Honey Farm, a handy halfway stopping point between Launceston and Cradle Mountain. It's a business, in the sense that you can buy an amazing number of different honey products (and taste plenty, too - yum!), but it also has a small museum and a cleverly-built bee hive where you can see the bees busy at work.

Melita Honey Farm
The first overnight stop was at Cradle Mountain, and that post gives you information on the hiking possibilities with toddlers plus the chance to see a video of a wombat (yay, I saw one in the wild!). From there, we drove down to Strahan on the west coast. It's a popular tourist spot but far from spoilt, and I highly recommend the Gordon River cruise.



Cruising the Gordon River, Tasmania
Heading back inland, we visited Lake St Clair and then stayed overnight at a very out-of-the-way town - Bronte Park. There was nothing much to do here but go for walks and stare out the window over the beautiful scenery - and although this suited our toddler fine (the walks more than the window-gazing!), you might want to consider somewhere more exciting for kids who need something to do.

After stopping at Hobart for a night, we then moved down to the Tasman Peninsula where we explored both amazing natural formations like the Tessellated Pavement and the historic site of Port Arthur - all great with a small child, though the runaway highlight was the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park. From the Tasman Peninsula we drove up the centre of the island back to Launceston, ready to fly back to Perth.

The other big tip I have for travelling to Tasmania with children would be to carefully consider what kind of accommodation will suit your family. Although we'd initially considered hiring a campervan (like we did in South Australia a couple of years ago - pre-toddler!), the costs of hiring one that was large enough to be equipped with a children's car seat meant that we looked to self-contained cabins instead, and we were very glad we did. We stayed in some magnificent cabins and apartments, mostly within campsites, and loved it. They had plenty of space for the small boy to run around, and were often stand-alone so no neighbours needed to listen to him if he woke up crying at midnight. Our favourite accommodation turned out to be in the quiet town of Bronte Park - it was a full house, and full equipped, right down to DVDs and CDs, more kitchen equipment than I own at home, and our own garden - and importantly, a great window where our son loved putting his toys up to look out!

Tassie's a fantastic place for a family holiday, with plenty to see and short distances to drive (compared to the rest of Australia, at least!), and the only complaint I would have to make is the weather! We were there in late spring but we still had enough bad weather to several limit several of our plans, since we were focusing on lots of outdoor activities. So, I'd say without hesitation, do go to Tasmania - but take your raincoat!


If you want to follow our whole Tassie trip, these posts follow our itinerary:

14 comments:

  1. Such a pity the Cadbury factory no longer offers tours... But if they did, I imagine a toddler (or any child) would run away and try and live there forever.

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    1. So true ... and not just any child, I wouldn't mind living in a chocolate factory either! I did manage to get on a tour in the good old days (15 years ago) and remember it very fondly ...

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  2. The cadbury chocolate factory doesn't do tours anymore? That's tragic - I insisted on going and didn't even have a toddler with me! We actually did a similar trip around Tasmania some years ago and I agree with your highlights.

    Its such a different state compared to the rest of Australia. More like NZ really as its so compact, and the weather is hmmm, not exactly tropical!

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    1. Yes, tragic is definitely the word for it - they just have a Visitor Centre or something (I was well-informed enough not to go and be disappointed!). I suppose on the old tours we were allowed suspiciously close to large vats of melted chocolate ...

      Glad to hear the Tassie/NZ comparison from someone who knows NZ! I often say this but without having been to NZ (yet) so obviously I've got the right impression.

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  3. Fantastic photo - Gordon River. We are also planning our tour in next weak and I am little worried about weather as I read on other blog that you can see three season in a day. That makes me nervous. We are planning to Trekking In Tasmania and guided tours with one of the tour organizer Cradlehuts, they will provide us accommodation as well. We are very much excited about our trip.

    Regards,
    Brenda.

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    1. Good luck Brenda, yes the not-so-great weather is the only downside to Tasmania really!

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  4. Can you provide the name/website for the place you stayed in Bronte Park? We are going to Tasmania with our 2 young children (16 months and 3 years) and would like to stop between Strahan and Hobart. Thanks!

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  5. Of course, Robin - it was the Highland Cabins & Cottages - Bronte Park - http://www.highlandcabinstasmania.com.au/ - in fact I'm fairly certain that it was Cabin B at the bottom of this page - http://www.highlandcabinstasmania.com.au/cottage-accommodation-tasmania.htm
    Enjoy!

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    1. Perfect - that's the place that I had on my "list" for accommodations. Thank you!

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    2. Yay! Glad to help. Hope you have a fantastic trip!

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  6. Thank you for your informative blog, it has been very helpful in planning our December trip.
    I noticed the Gordon river cruise runs for 5.5 hours. How did your toddler go with this length of time?
    We are just wondering if it's worth doing the West Coast or just stick to the East because at the moment it seems there is not much else we can take our 2 year old to apart from the cruise. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Vanessa, great question, and it was really fine! The boat was really well set up for little kids and along with one other family we were given the run of the very front of the boat, complete with a big toy box full of stuff to play with. Staff were great with him, and he loved getting out into the open air a few times, and the stop-offs worked well too to break up the trip. I had the same concerns, but it worked out really well. Just book as early as you can so you can get the family area at the front.

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  7. Love Tasmania. Bicheno pancakes Elephant Pass, fish and chips St. Helens

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    1. Oh! Those pancakes! I remember having them on my first trip to Tassie nearly 20 years ago. Must go back again now!!

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