a VirtualTourist member from Great Barrington asked on Feb 23, 2013
Hello - I'm starting to plan a trip to Australia & New Zealand next year and I'm contemplating a month+ stay in Tasmania. I'm planning on a lot of cycling/hiking and wonder if anyone has any recommendations for which of the larger cities would be best to use as a base of operations. I'd like to see as much of the island as I can but also want to 'settle' in one place for a majority of the time. The main criteria I'm weighing are - 1) access to the most varied terrain..nice roads in the hills are a big plus, 2) the most economical place to stay for a month or two...thinking Hobart would be the most expensive?, 3) Spring or Fall? I'll be in NZ from Dec. - Feb. and from what I've read on this site I'm thinking march/april in Tasmania would be a better bet in terms of the weather than october/november. Am I correct in assuming this?
I know these questions quite broad but I'd be quite grateful for any thoughts or suggestions. Cheers!
As there is quite high rainfall in Tasmania I would consider renting a cabin in a camp ground. I had bought a tent when I worked down there but ended up bringing it home in its virginal state. As you want to stay for some time you might be able to make a deal with one of the camping places.
I agree with the cabin idea. The two biggest cities, Hobart in the south and Launceston in the north, are both quite a ways from the parks and you'd spend so much time driving And there's no sense in paying rent on some place in the city when you aren't going to be there for several days in a row at any one time. Swansea, on the east coast, is a nice little town that's close to Freycinet N.P. so you might want to consider some smaller towns as a base but again, if you're in Swansea it'll be great while you're at Freycinet but you'll then been way to far for it to be a base of operations during visits to most of the other parks so you'd still have trouble finding a smaller town that would make a good base.
Hi! Both of your choices of months to visit are good. Both times would be around the same temps, something like 8 - 18deg. Tasmania is cool and the weather variable. Sometimes there is snow on Mt. Wellington in December, so you never know what to expect, but one thing, there are 4 distinct seasons. I myself, would split up my time to 3 different places to stay as a base, as Tasmanian landscape changes. Perhaps for the north coast, somewhere like Wynyard, then you can go down the west coast, up to Stanley and visit the pretty areas inland, like Sheffield murals Gunns Plains, etc. Stay at Launceston or nearby, perhaps St. Helens. Down the bottom, perhaps Hobart or somewhere close, that way you can visit the Huon Valley and New Norfolk and the Derwent valley National Parks.
Have you had a look at the excellent Tasmanian tourist info. It is very good and should help you make your decision
This page just outlines what towns, etc I saw in Tasmania
I will email you with the sites.
Although I'm from Melbourne and really only been to Tassie once, I'd opt for the Autumn (Fall) rather than Spring. We were in Hobart for a week in October a few years ago and got snowed on twice (not that I minded - LOL).
Be aware that there have been bush fires in and around the Tasman Peninsula in January and some of the towns in that area were impacted.
Tasmania is an amazing place, a type of scaled down version of New Zealand in some ways (though I personally find NZ to be more rugged and natural).
Cycling/hiking is becoming very popular and the Tasmanian government have produced a great website with useful information which you may like to read.
The website suggests touring between January and April but that is no guarantee of good weather. Summers are generally mild and it can be very windy between October and November and cool off dramatically in April. Tasmania is however currently experiencing one of the hottest summers on record but like Balhannah says its not unusual to see snow tipped peaks in the height of summer.
Tasmania is compact but that doesnt mean it is easy to navigate. If you like cycling through varied terrain you will definitely find plenty of that. Aside from the one main highway which joins Hobart with Launcestion and the North West coast cities of Devonport and Burnie a lot of the main routes are like country roads and are in places narrow, steep and winding.
It may not turn out to be practical to base yourself in one place for too long as many of the nicest parts of the island can't be covered in day trips and you may find yourself retracing your route.
discovertasmania.com/__data/.... This shows the most popular routes for cycling around Tasmania.
The Lyell Highway connecting Queenstown in the west with Hobart is narrow, it is beautiful with rainforest and ferns tumbling down to the road but be careful of the edges, there are deep gullies either side of the bitumen. If 2 cars approach I would probably dismount from the bike. If you do decide to ride this I would suggest north to south (downhill most of the way) .