Caravaning in Tasmania

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 13:42
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We’re thinking of taking our van to Tasmania later this year. Its overall length is 26 ft and it is not off road. Can anyone tell me if we will have any trouble getting around the highways and major roads? We intend to spend 6 weeks down there.
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Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 14:10

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 14:10
Hi Greg - sounds the same size as our Royal Flair - just ran a tape over it - tad under 8 metres.

We shuffled from Devenport through Launceston & down through Ross to Hobart region through the midlands region - staying Devenport, Launceston, Cambridge, along the way south then a few days down at Huonville before hooking across to the west (by the way - 'The Wall' is a must on the way through).

Slow work up & down through all the hills from Hobart to Queenstown & needed to adjust braking - more onto the van - to avoid overheating the Pajero pads - just a precaution. No real dramas lengthwise, but the lack of a wall one side as you head down into Queenstown can raise the pulse if you don't like heights - like me.

Thoroughly enjoyed the trip - far too short at ten days but packed in as much as we could - all of which is very memorable.

Enjoy - Phil
Phil 'n Jill (WA)

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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:53

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:53
Thank you Phil 'n Jill of measuring your van and especially for the hint 're van brake adjusting for the downhill sections. We travelled 18,300 km around Aus last year but this is our first venture into Tasmania. we will be taking our time.
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Follow Up By: Member - Heather L - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 17:38

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 17:38
Hey Fleggy, John was not happy doing it in the rain a few years ago!!!
And that was with the camper trailer.
I have been here for 4 months, towing 20ft on my own and coping OK.
Yet to do the West Coast.
Parking van at Somerset Caravan PK & flying to King Island for a months farm sit.
Tassie food & people are great.
Cheers Heather
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 17:46

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 17:46
Pleased to hear you are still 'out there' Heather - yes it is a wonderful bit of our country and worthy of the visit - bit different from that stretch between Halls Ck & Fitzroy Xing where I had to borrow a spare from you - oh so long ago....

The farm sit should be fabulous - envious.

All the best.

Cheers - Phil & Jill
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:32

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:32
Phil 'n Jill, you traveled from east to west, our plan was to head west to spend time in Stanley and on the North West coast first before heading down the Murchison Hwy to Queenstown and Strahan and eventually heading east. Is there a preferred direction to travel the Lyell Hwy to Hobart. We're still in the planing stages so can change direction and start on the east coast if we need to. Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:48

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:48
Hi Greg - We just took pot luck & I don't expect it will matter either way. We spoke to locals in Queenstown who regularly do the 'weekend trip' back & forth between there & Hobart for business or family visits - but they wouldn't be towing the van.

The issue to be aware of is watching your mirrors so you know when traffic is behind you. There are many sections where you can pull to the side to let traffic through - nothing like our passing lanes, but enough for you to pull aside. You have to keep an eye out for them though as there is no indication. This was why I referred to it being slow work. I don't like to hold up other traffic & will take every opportunity to let others through. Nobody in their right mind would try to pass in too many places when you are in the hills.

Have fun - regards, Phil
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 12:01

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 12:01
Thank you Phil
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Reply By: Notso - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 14:27

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 14:27
We did it in 2011, the roads are fine just a little hillier than the rest of Aus. Do heed the warning about going down into Queenstown. The road is narrow and winding and steep. Look well ahead as trucks coming up or down use the whole road on the corners and many of them are blind.

The place is so small there's no need to hurry.
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:54

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:54
Thank you Notso, we will be heeding all the hints and warnings that we are given.
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Reply By: baznpud (tassie) - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:38

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:38
Greg_513

Your only problem is the length of time you are spending here, if you want to stop and enjoy some of the places you go to you will need 6 months.
Enjoy the trip.
baz
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:58

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:58
Thank you baznpud (Tassie), at this stage we intend spending at least six weeks in Tasmania. I know we won't see it all, there is so much of Australia that no matter how long we spend travelling, we will never see it all.
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:38

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:38
baznpud, as you appear to know Tassie, I'm sending you as well as Phil 'n Jill this followup and would appreciate your and anyone else's opinion. Our plan was to head west to spend time in Stanley and on the North West coast first before heading down the Murchison Hwy to Queenstown and Strahan and eventually heading east. Is there a preferred direction to travel the Lyell Hwy to Hobart. We're still in the planing stages so can change direction and start on the east coast if we need to. Greg
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Follow Up By: baznpud (tassie) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 16:04

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 16:04
Greg,
You haven't given a date as to when you are coming, so weather dependent, off boat 6.30ish in the morning, have a look around Devonport, then head along the NW Coast, won't mention the smaller towns, but some are worth at least a drive through.

At Burnie, stop at the Cheese Factory for a tasting, there's a whiskey place near by,you never know you may want to leave some of your foreign coinage here (lol), no stopping from Devonport it will take you no longer than 45mins to get to Burnie, about 50ks.

Stanley is a quaint little town, a trip to the top of the Nut is worth while, there is a cvp on the foreshore at Stanlet, and free camping at Black River just before the turn off to the township, well small donation.

If this far along the coast, would suggest a trip to Marrawah, and down to Arthur River, plenty of camping here, and you can do a boat trip up the Arthur River, have a look at the "Edge of the World", then you could do the Western Explorer road to Corinna, you will be to long to go on the Fat Boy, so turn left and travel to Waratah, and end up on the Murchison Highway (MH) some 60 ks south of Burnie, or drive from Arthur River to Couta Rocks then left on the Rebecca Road which will get you back to Smithton.

Down the MH to Rosebery, then swing right to Zeehan, the museum is worth a look, also the spray tunnel (but i haven't been there) then on to Strahan, if in to free camping (little charge) the camp at Macquarie Heads is worth a go. Also a trip on one of the boats up the Gordon River, sometimes they will take you out through Macquarie Heads in to the Southern Ocean.

The road from Strahan is twisty, but slow and steady, not a problem, Queenstown is the next town, believe you can camp on or near the only gravel footy oval in Oz (my Dad played on it), or some ks out of Queeny there is free camping, Lake Burbury.

Travel to Derwent Bridge, camp at Lake St Clair for a charge or Lake King William for free, seven ks or so out of Derwent Bridge is "The Wall", if you don't stop and look at anything else, stop and look at this, it's a must.

From Derwent Bridge you come to Tarraleah, Ouse, if it's lunch time the Lachlan Hotel puts on great meals, you can't jump over them, take a doggy bag in, Hamilton then New Norfolk, at this stage you are 45 minutes from Hobart, but depends if you want to go west to Lake Pedder, Strathgordon, it's a sealed road, but hilly, may be better to CVP in New Norfolk and do a day drive.

Hobart to the Huon Valley, would suggest the cvp in Huonville, green grassy sites and friendly people run it, more like a farm stay, day trips to Cockle Bay, Ida Bay Railway, Hastings Caves, and thermal pool.
, take yu toggs.

Then south east to Port Arthur,, back to Sorell, and up the East Cost, takes a couple of hours from Sorell to Swansea, longer if you have stops,and you will, on to Coles Bay, and Freycinet Peninsula, at least walk to the top of the hill that over looks Wine Glass Bay, wonderful, tale water with you it's a bit of a climb.

On to Bicheno, some 40ks north of Bicheno, call into the Ironhouse Point mini brewery, good beer and food, well was when we were there a few months back.

Then St Helens, out to the Bay of Fires, free camping, by now you could be running short of time, head to Scottsdale, Bridport, along the coast to George Town, down to the Batman Bridge, left to Exeter, and right along the Frankford Highway which will bring you out at Devonport.

I haven't covered the middle at all, but if you have time, you can change direction from any of the highways and be in the Midlands with in a couple of ours.

Hope this helps, travel safe, and enjoy our piece of Gods country.

If in the Huon Valley, and i can be of any help 0418517131

Barry

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Follow Up By: baznpud (tassie) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 16:08

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 16:08
Greg, if you want any further info, click on My Profile, you will find our email address.
barry
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 16:27

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 16:27
Thank you very much Barry. Greatly appreciate the information you have given us. We're planning to be there from October for at least 6 weeks so just might give you a call when we're in your neck of the woods and have a drink or two. Thanks again. Greg and Judith
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Follow Up By: baznpud (tassie) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 17:19

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 17:19
Humm, October, good time to be coming, and we will have just arrived home from our trip to your island, couple of drinks sounds good, look forward to it.
Cheers
barry
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Reply By: new boy - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:54

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 16:54
No probelms we have same size van been twice for 6 and then 7 weeks .Every thing is so close in Tassy you can camp up (C/Ps or cheap/free which ever you want) and do 100 k day trips without dragging the van.All the off road stuff can be done then without the van on.There are some steep windy hills but take it easy and drive to the condition,s ."The Wall " as stated is an aboslute must on the way to Queenstown from Hobart
Enjoy
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 17:00

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 17:00
Thank you new boy. That is what we will be doing whenever and wherever we can.
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Reply By: mbw650 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 17:33

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 17:33
I will second Greg about needing longer to see everything in Tasmania, most people look at the size of Tasmania and assume it can be covered in less time than other states. Many times I have assisted puzzled looking drivers at our local rest stops at Dover, and most know about the big name attractions but have little idea about all the other sights to be seen.
Base your van at Port Huon Regatta campground and enjoy watching the workboats provisioning at the wharf, reposition the van to Geeveston and enjoy the working forests, Tahune Airwalk, picnic grounds beside raging rivers. Stop at Dover caravan park to top up your batteries, empty the toilet and fill the fridge/cupboards, and use it as a base to enjoy Esperence Bay, Cockle Creek, Hastings Caves.
Don't forget to try local roadside fruit stands, apples that have actual taste because they haven't been in cold storage for a year. Raspberries that are tart and flavoursome freshly picked, not those tasteless things the supermarkets charge you a fortune for on the big island up north.
A lot of people will tell you it's not worth coming to Tasmania due to the ferry cost, those people have missed all the best parts by rushing around and missing all the things that make the costs worthwhile.

Get off the ferry and enjoy your trip at a pace the state deserves.

Regards

Mark
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 18:12

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 18:12
Thank you Mark. That's the sort of information we appreciate. where to park, what to see etc. we're looking forward to the experience.
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Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 18:01

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 18:01
Forgot to mention to roll up your van awning if heading off for the day, in case one of those freak storms come through. Several awnings lost at Huonville CP the day we went to Bruny Island in February last year - the ferry was swept away some distance and tried to return to the mainland but couldn't dock because of the damage there and couldn't dock on the Island side because power was lost, When we finally loaded there were hundreds of vehicles lined up awaiting the ferry return.

Feared the worst at the CP, but luckily a few alert campers managed to drop several awnings, (ours included thanks) but several damaged and anything not anchored was totally swept away with the wind. May not be an issue again for a long time but 'keep a weathered eye out' just in case.

Happy travelling - Phil
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 18:19

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 18:19
Thank you Phil, we experienced a lot of wind coming down the west coast of WA last year. we've learnt to roll up the awning whenever we're away from the van.
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Reply By: Member - Chooky and Wobble - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 19:40

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 19:40
No problems you should have ball. We spent 6 weeks and didnt stay at any of the major towns. Just take it easy as already stated going to queenstown. The northwest coast is really worth the trip.

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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 19:42

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 19:42
Thank you Chooky and Wobble. enjoy your trip.
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Reply By: rumpig - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 20:41

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 20:41
Was just down in Tassie over Xmas and NewYear, and spent 6 weeks travelling around there (got home at end of Jaunuary). Cockle Creek whilst a nice location is accessed via a section of dirt road, the week before Xmas the road hadn't been graded in the past 12 months (locals said it was that long) and was pretty badly potholed, you'll have to travel that section of dirt road very very slowly with your onroad van if it stays that way (we had off-road camper trailers ourselves, not such an issue for us).
The must see places for us were (in no particular order)... Mt Wellington (Hobart), The Wall (Derwent Bridge), Timber Water Pipeline (road to Laughing Jack Lagoon near Derwent Bridge), Legerwood Memorial Trees (in the tiny town of Legerwood...do not miss this!!!), Western Explorer Rd (runs from Corrina to Aurthur River, but you won't be able to take your van as it's to big for the ferry), Jacobs Ladder (Ben Lomond Nat. Park...don't take the van up here)..,,and many many more places on top of that. We pretty much travelled all over Tassie in the 6 weeks we were there, didn't see everything but did see a lot, it's a beautiful part of Oz and you'll love it down there. Ignore the speed signs and read the road ahead, they don't mind putting 100kph signs 30 metres before a sharp corner for some reason.
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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:17

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:17
Thank you rumpig, appreciate the list of places to see.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 22:53

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 at 22:53
Highways are good sealed road, even though hilly and winding in many places. The have log jinkers on them, way bigger than your rig.

To be sure we could get into places where parking and turn around room was unknown and get off the major roads to explore the forest and out of the way places, we sometimes left the caravan in key locations and took long day trips. Because of the short distances, radiating out from a central location touring without your caravan is a practical approach.

I have brief blogs on my 2006 My Blogs to give you an idea of what we saw in seven weeks.

Have you worked out how much the crossing will cost you to get there and back with a big rig?

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Follow Up By: Greg_513 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:20

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:20
Thank you Motherhen, yes we have started the budget planning for the trip and are aware of the costs involved in getting there but we think this trip will be worth the expense.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 12:38

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 at 12:38
Tasmania is well and truly worth the cost of getting there Greg; even for six or seven weeks. It cost us more getting from home to Melbourne than the cost of crossing Bass Strait. From our trip, probably little more than six weeks was full on touring, and we spent time with friends old and new as well.





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