Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tasmania Plans April 2018

We wanna take Z caravanning. Or Campervanning

The Wife says we should get a cabin and not "rough it" with a powered site or less. So I checked.
There are more than 50 caravan parks around the state, some with private ensuite facilities for caravan-motorhome travellers. Others include comfortable, cabin-style accommodation for those looking for an economical 'night away' from the confines of your vehicle.
Campsites can be found in most parks and reserves, providing a true wilderness experience on or off the beaten track.

Preliminary Plans

Visit Tasmania in Autumn - April

Temperature is from just below 10 to above 15. So should be comfortable or at least tolerable.

Fall colours in the Cradle Mountains should be gorgeous.

There are no direct flights to Hobart from SG. Most have a stopover - either Melbourne or Sydney. So why not spend a few days in Sydney? Or Melbourne?

So fly to Sydney/Melbourne. Stay for a night or two, then fly to Hobart.

Melbourne has the Skybus airport shuttle.

Rent a campervan for 1 week to 9 days then fly back to Melbourne, stay a night or two, then fly back to SG.

Then in Jan 2018, Emirates had a sale! How fortunate!

We managed to get air tickets for the three of us to Melbourne for $1600.

From Melbourne, I booked Jetstar. At first, I was thinking we should stay a day or so in Melbourne to break up the travelling. But that would mean a transfer from the airport to a hotel, and then back again, so I booked a "connecting" flight - or another flight out about 4 hours later. That should cover most delays.

Another reason was to catch the Salamanca market which is on every Saturday from 8:30 to about 3 pm. The Emirates flight would land on a Friday morning. I booked a domestic flight about 4 hours later (to account for any delays, to ensure that we could make the connecting flight) to Hobart.

Then we would be able to catch the market early on Saturday.

For Sunday, we could try the motor-trike adventure. Doesn't this look cool?!?!

Inline image 1

I thought I would be riding it, with wife and daughter behind. But I think it is more of a guided tour on a motor trike. So the guide would be "driving", and whether this happens will depend on whether they would allow a 3-year-old in the passenger/pillion seat between two adults.

If so, we could just go up to Mt Wellington by trike.

Another option is to rent bicycles, and the shop is right next to our Hotel. I could get a bike, and a tag-along for the kid, and then the wife who cannot cycle can get a mobility scooter. :-)

That would be in Hobart before we campervan.

The Hobart Airporter provides shuttle service between the airport and various accommodations in Hobart.  As I plan to rent our campervan from Britz, and since their branch is conveniently located at the Hobart Airport, we will get a return bus fare for about $100 for the 3 of us.

Campervan Itinerary (9 days)

Monday. Pick up Campervan (Venturer Plus) - quoted A$160 per day (average). This is cheaper than the previous quote I checked though that was for a bigger motorhome (Explorer - over A$220 a day. Drive to Launceston - about 2.5 hours drive. Stay 3 nights at the Big4 Launceston Holiday Park. or Hadspen Discovery Park (depending on vacancies).

If we have time maybe we will drop by Old Hobart Town (Richmond). Or we can take a trip by bus (Service #720 from McQuarie St) on Sunday before we pick up our campervan. If we can't take the motor-trike adventure. It's about 45 minutes to Old Hobart Town from our hotel.
We can stock up on groceries at IGA Everyday at Campbell (about 90 minutes from Britz), on our way to Launceston (50 minutes)

Things to do at or near Launceston:
  • Check out the Gorge Chairlift (Monday) If we have time we might want to check this out before we go to the caravan park. Or do the afternoon cruise (next item) if we are really early.
  • Cruise down the Tamar River (Tuesday - if 3-yr-old wants to) 
  • Visit Kid's Paradise (Tuesday)
  • Visit the Tasmania Zoo (Wednesday, or Thursday, on way to Sheffield). 
I found out about Launceston Harvest Market which is openly only on Saturday AM only but I think we would have to give it a miss this time as I could not fit it into the schedule and if I rescheduled, we would see the market on a Saturday just 4 days before we fly back to Melbourne. Maybe next time, we would fly into Launceston on a Friday to catch the market. Or not.

Weather in Launceston in April 2018: Mostly sunny/cloudy, with a chance of rain. Temperature in the teens mostly, occasionally surging about 20, or dipping below 10. Comfy weather.

Leaving the Caravan Park in Launceston and on our way to Sheffield, we can visit Seahorse World after  (about 50 minutes drive) or Tasmania Zoo (24 minutes). At Sheffield, we plan to stay at the Loft Cabin of Granary Caravan park.

Thursday. Head to Granary Caravan park, Sheffield near Cradle Mountain. About an hour and a bit away. We could stop by the Tasmania Zoo (25 minutes from Launceston). Spend half a day there, then head on to Sheffield. And stay 2 nights.

Things to do:
  • Tasmazia, and 
  • Cradle Mountain. (About 40 minutes from Caravan Park)
Lo Cr (6).jpg
For the Week or so in Tasmania, one place that Z would definitely like (if not love) is Tasmazia.

Saturday. We head to Huon Valley Caravan Park (about 4 hours from Sheffield) And stay three nights.

Here we can observe
"Farm activities and Tassie Devil feeding, daily at 4pm.
Watch the cows being milked.
Walk through the apple orchards.
Experience the taste of vegetables straight from the garden.
Hand feed the chickens, sheep and ducks.
Watch Badge the working dog round up the sheep.
Relax by the campfire in the evening."

Tuesday. We return the campervan to Britz and catch our flight back to Melbourne. But we can drive up to Mt Wellington on the way.


We will be in Melbourne for just 3 nights, and have just two full days.
One day could be for the Melbourne Zoo.
And another day could be for Puffing Billy.

Getting to the Zoo would best with the Melbourne City Sightseeing Shuttle. There is a stop at QVic market, which is near the hotel I booked. Or take the train.

Puffing Billy is easily accessed via the Belgrave Station (take from Melbourne CBD - e.g. Flagstaff station).

Arriving from Hobart, we would be at T4 of Tullamarine (MEL) airport. We can take the Skybus from T4 to Southern Cross station in Melbourne. And then take a free hotel shuttle to our hotel.

Since we would have to go back to the airport in 3 days, a return ticket (for a family) would be convenient.


So the first three nights will be in a comfortable hotel/apartment with beds and everything at Hobart. I can even cook in the apartment/room, because there is a kitchenette or even a full-size kitchen.

Then we go campervanning and the next three nights would be in the camper van in a powered site in Launceston. I hope my daughter takes to it. I think she should be fine, as long as we are with her.

After that we head to Sheffield and I have booked a studio apartment. This would be a change from living in the camper.

Then after two nights, it is back to campervanning at Huon Valley Caravan Park (HVCP). If I could, I would like to get the Ensuite site which would provide a bathroom and toilet. But I believe they have very limited ensuite sites (like 4), so we might not be able to get one. The last three nights would be a bit of a gamble as HVCP doesn't take bookings. But they guarantee all comers a site. So the worst situation would be an unpowered site for the first night. If I cannot upgrade to a powered or ensuite site, I would leave after the first day. There are other caravan parks - Barilla, Mornington, and Richmond. Or head straight to those alternatives.

Other information

Drive times calculator (Tasmania) here.

The National Parks site. There are park entrance fees to be paid.

Suggestions for caravan parks and site are here.

RV in Hobart

Originally, I thought I might have to get this motorhome.
Explorer - 4 Berth Motorhome
Automatic transmission
136L Fridge/Freezer
Toilet and Shower
Gas Stove
                                 A$ 2,021

Average Day Price  A$213.00

This motorhome would be a step up from the camper van (Type B) which I had used/driven previously. I thought this might be better because I was concerned that my toddler might be needy and want her mother to sit with her. With the 3 seater Venturer Plus, she would have to sit by herself in the back seat. But we stayed with the Venturer Plus, and I am a little relieved, because this seems less agile.

Places I am leaving out for this trip, because no time.

There are so many other places to visit in Hobart. And that's just Hobart.

There is also Bronte Park Village. It's about 2 - 2.5 hours drive from Sheffield. There we can see waterfalls and other local attractions.

And I am going to skip Mt Field National Park. Will I regret this?

Mt Field National Park

National park entry fees apply to Mt Field National Park

Mt Field Campground
Unpowered and powered sites, and amenities block with hot showers, clothes washing machine and drier (coin operated), BBQ shelters and hot water.
Mt Field is listed by Australian Geographic as one of 18 best campgrounds in Australia - see 
Contact Parks and Wildlife Service Mt Field  
Mt Field National Park Campground unpowered site powered site
1 person $10.00 $20.00 
2 people $16.00 $20.00
Each additional adult (18+) $7.00 $9.00
Each additional child (5-17, under 5 no charge) $3.00 $4.00
Family (2 adults, 3 children) $22.00 $30.00
Bookings are not taken for the campground. 
Government Huts
Contact Parks and Wildlife Service Mt Field 
Government Huts (up to 6 persons) $45.00 (flat rate for use of hut)
Five cabins with 6 bunks per cabin, with vinyl covered mattresses, cold water, wood heater and firewood. No electricity/gas. Communal toilet block (no showers). Fuel stove essential, no fires outside cabins.

Keys can be collected from and must be returned to the Mt Field Visitor Centre. 
Launceston Harvest Market  - Always fun to visit markets.

Seahorse World. Seahorse World is one of very few seahorse farms in the world that are registered to export seahorses under the CITES program.
(I didn't know you could farm seahorses! I want!)

Zoo Doo Fun Park. This is a small zoo in Richmond. We're giving this a miss for now because one of the "attractions" is animal encounters - for a person (or two maximum) to feed, hold or pet a koala, or meerkat, etc. However there is a minimum age of 5. So maybe when the kid is older.

My initial search for flights in late 2017, returned these fares:

A) SIN - MEL Emirates 2+1 = S$2143.90
+ Jetstar domestic return from Melbourne to Hobart = S$2776. (Starter with 15 kg checked bags - less if we don't pay for a checked bag for kid. S$632.10 just for domestic flight).

B) SIN - SYD British Airways = S$2013
+ Jetstar domestic return to Hobart from Sydney = S$2920.35 (Jetstar Starter with 15kg checked bags each - $907.35)

But in Jan 2018, Emirates had a sale and I was able to get a SIN - MEL fare for $1600 for the three of us! Adding the Jetstar MEL-HBA fare was another $673 for a total under S$2300. The Jetstar fare was for Starter (no meals, no checked baggage), with 15kg checked baggage add-on for two of us. My toddler does not have checked baggage, so that's a saving.

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