Tasmania & Melbourne 2015 – Day 1: Tasmania (Hobart) – Mt. Wellington

It has always been my dad’s dream to travel together on a free and easy trip where we can self-drive around and obviously Australia became the best choice because it is right-handed drive and there is no language barrier.

I started to plan for this 10 days 9 nights Tasmania + Melbourne trip around half a year before because it was our first. Previous trips were always with tour agencies but we have started to hate how we had to be forced to go to places where we ain’t actually interested in – basically a waste of time and money.

Please scroll all the way down for individual days link & other detailed guides eg. reservation of car, Airbnb etc

We departed from Changi Airport late at around 8pm.

My cute little travel buddy

After which we had to transit at Sydney. As there was more than an hour of free time, we went to get our tourist SIM card at Optus. Once you exit from the arrival gate, just turn right and you will see the 3 telco shops at the right. I was actually more inclined to get Telstra because of it’s coverage but the price difference was too great. Optus Prepaid Card costs only AUD$30 for 30 days with 1.5GB data & unlimited standard national calls. 10 days would actually mean only AUD$3/day. The staff was very efficient so we still had time to grab a bite.

We settled for breakfast at Hungry Jacks (which is actually just Burger King).

Hungry Jacks for breakfast while transiting at Sydney Airport

Once we reached Hobart airport, half of us went to get our baggage while my dad and I went over to collect our car for the next few days in Tasmania. The car collection place is just beside the baggage collection area. Once you are at the baggage area, walk all the way right and exit from there. Cross the road and you’ll reach. All the car rental companies are there.

We booked Avis because I compared all the car rental companies and Avis came up to be the cheapest even after you add on a “reduce liability to zero”. (For tips on renting cars in Australia, refer to here)

Our first destination was our Airbnb guesthouse! We booked with Jacinta for our stay in Hobart. It was very easy communicating with Jacinta. I’ve told her this was the first time we were doing Airbnb and had no clue on how it worked. She was very responsive and was very flexible especially with our “check-in” timing because the plane got delayed.

The house is huge and it’s exactly what you see in the Airbnb page here. The view is definitely a plus and from one of the bedrooms, you get an elevated bed which gives you a spectacular view of the river without even needing to stand up. Some pictures of our awesome guesthouse below!

A place to park our car outside the house

The view of the river one of the bedrooms

The living room (please pardon our clothes lying everywhere)

The view from the balcony

Seriously love this place. Hop over to the link I’ve mentioned above to check out more photos of the place. Really recommend it. Jacinta also left us many brochures and maps of Tasmania which we could use for our reference.

(Get $28 off your first Airbnb booking by following this link. Do take note that you must go to this link before you register. If you have already registered before, you will not be able to get the credit because this was what I did. In the end I had to delete the account and remake one to get the credit)

After settling down, we were all hungry. We had no choice but to cancel our plans of going to Salamanca Place because the market was already over due to the delayed plane *cries*. In the end we continued from there and went to Woolsworth to buy groceries for our picnic at Mount Wellington!

Our cart which is getting filled

Australia food is expensive and if you want to save on meals, definitely go to either Woolsworth or Coles for groceries. You can buy an entire roasted chicken at AUD$10. It’s so worth it! Plus there are many other ready made meals such as lasagna, pasta, etc. All you need is either a microwave or oven which we do have in our guesthouse.

After stocking food, it’s time to head up to Mount Wellington!

Mount Wellington, officially known as kunanyi / Mount Wellington, is a mountain in the southeast coastal region of Tasmania, Australia. The mountain is the summit of the Wellington Range on whose foothills is built much of the city of Hobart.

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Greeted by the lights of Hobart

We took around an hour and half to reach the summit of Mount Wellington. On the way up, we were busy snapping photos of the pretty view of Hobart at night. This photo above was taken on our way down. The reason for only 1 photo? The winds were SO STRONG. I am not kidding. My dad stopped the car near the ledge to let us take a few pictures but we could feel the entire car shaking. It was totally impossible to snap a photo properly.

We will never forget the epic moment which happened at the peak.

*Dads stops at the peak beside the lighthouse to let us alight and snap some pictures*

*Husband tries to open the door*

Husband: It’s locked.

Dad: No it isn’t. *Checks the car* Yeah it isn’t.

*Everyone else tries to open the respective car door beside them*

Finally my older brother managed to open the door but only slightly. We realised in the end that the force of the wind prevented us from opening the car door. Yes, sounds ridiculous but it’s true. In the end we couldn’t have picnic since we couldn’t even open the car door. I think even if we did try, our food will probably end up in the wind.

Lesson learnt, always check how strong wind speeds are before attempting to travel up a mountain.

In the end we have dinner back at the guesthouse (no regrets) and had  a great night sleep.

*Note: I will slowly update the links once the post for the individual days are completed.

A short summary on our itinerary:

Day 1: Tasmania (Hobart) – Mt. Wellington

Day 2: Tasmania (Hobart) – Port Arthur & Tasman National Park

Day 3: Tasmania – Barilla Oyster Farm, Sorrell Fruit Farm, Freycinet National Park – Wineglass Bay

Day 4: Tasmania (Launceston) – Elizabeth Town Bakery, Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe, Ashgrove Cheese, 41 Degrees South Tasmania, Melita Honey Farm

Day 5: Tasmania (Launceston) – Table Cape Lighthouse, Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park

Day 6: Tasmania (Launceston) – Seahorse World, Platypus House, Tamar Valley, The Cataract Gorge

Day 7 & 8 : Melbourne – Great Ocean Road

Day 9: Melbourne – Phillip Island

Renting a car in Australia

Renting a car in Australia

Self-drive in Australia may sound like an awesome holiday dream come true but when you start researching for more information and comparing the different car rental companies, you’ll probably end up as confused as me. Especially when it is the first time you are actually renting a car.

There are more than 5 car rental companies in Australia and they all have their individual price/day, discounts, add-ons etc. Here are a few important points to take note when booking.

1. GPS

Having a GPS is extremely important in Australia. Do not rely on your smartphone’s GPS. There were many times while my family and I were driving on the roads and we get zero reception (emergency calls only) so if we wanted to change our destination last minute, there was no way to because there was no data for your phone to load the changed route. You can either bring one from your home country or just rent it for a price from the car rental agency.

Another advantage of GPS is that it is much more accurate in timing than Google Maps.

2. Excess Reduction

This is the most confusing point to consider when renting a car and you’ll probably end up with a headache like me in the end. Excess reduction is a product that the car rental agency will offer in order to reduce your liability if there is any damage to the car. Some agencies have a variety of excess reduction options you can choose from and the price of your car will vary significantly depending on what you choose.

As kaisu Singaporeans, my family and I opted to reduce our liability to zero which means that there won’t be a scenario where we will need to pay any amount if something happens to the car. However there is a trade-off for this which is the hefty surcharge. So if paying that cash can make your trip more enjoyable, do it.

3. Sealed & Unsealed Roads

If you ever read the Terms & Conditions when renting your car (which you should), you’ll notice these 2 terms popping up frequently – sealed & unsealed roads. Unlike Singapore where most roads are sealed and there is almost zero probability of you driving on an unsealed one, there is a high chance of you driving on an unsealed road in Australia especially for less urban areas and for us we encountered them frequently in Tasmania.

“A sealed road is a road of which the surface has been permanently sealed by the use of one of several pavement treatments, often of composite construction.”

Most car agencies will not cover you if damage is done while driving on unsealed roads. But I would say this isn’t much of a worry if you just try to be extra careful when driving on unsealed ones.

4. Check your car before driving off

Always check your car before driving off the car rental site because if there are any scratches or damages to the car later when you return, you’ll be held responsible for them. They would give you a car rental slip and remind you to check the car for any damages before you leave the counter. If you do find any, just let the staff at the parking area know and they will indicate them on the slip and sign off to void you of any of the damages caused by the previous driver. Note that sometimes when they pass you the slip, there may already be indications but  do not take it for granted! It is always best to check again yourself because we found several dents and scratches which weren’t already indicated on the slip.

5. Driver

Insurance only covers one driver – the one who rented the car online. (I didn’t realise that and only after I completed the entire booking, I realised the insurance only covered me but I wasn’t the one who will be driving so I had to delete the entire booking and do it all over again). Moreover, insurance will not cover drivers who are under the age of 25. If there is no other drivers who can do that, you can still drive but there will be a surcharge for that.

There are many other points to take note of but I feel that these 5 are those which are more of importance. You can read this article here to understand what else you have to take note of.

The rental company which we went for was Avis which we were very satisfied with during the trip. Oh another thing, if you are unable to collect your car at the timing which you’ve booked beforehand, do not worry because they actually do reserve your car for several hours in the event there is an unexpected event such as a flight delay (which was what we experienced).

Then, have a safe and fun trip in Australia! Feel free to ask me any questions and I’ll try the best of my knowledge to answer them 🙂

Wanderlust

wanderlust

 I think I’m sick. Diagnosed with the illness on the right. Every hour, minute or second, I’m thinking of just dropping everything on my hands, pack my luggage and fly away to the nearest destination available.

I cannot recall when was it when I last realised I have been plagued with this addiction to go overseas. Maybe it started during my first trip when I went to Australia, Gold Coast with my family when I was six. Okay, maybe not. Since I can’t recall anything except the Tweety Bird mascot which I went crazy over and demanded to take a picture together no matter how long the queue was.

Seriously, I think travelling is a magical thing. It widened my horizons, made me realise how small we humans are and also how it is almost impossible to actually ever leave a footprint in this universe. I have always adored the idea of going overseas, stepping out of this familiar land of mine and into the unknown, a foreign place where traditions and cultures are of divergence. Every time I am bound to go overseas, I cannot stop to imagine how the milieu would be like. How will the people behave? How different are their response from ours?

Even though I cannot recall every city or landmark I went vividly, I can never forget the culture or tradition in that region. My trip to Japan for instance is deeply entrenched in my memories even though it has already been 5 years since I’ve been there. The people there are really different from who we are here. The way they behave and respond to things we do are quite the opposite. I have always heard from others that the Japanese are quite peculiar in the good sense as they are shockingly polite and considerate to others.

During my trip there, the most memorial incident was when we realised how trusting they were towards others. Firstly in the subway cabins, after they place their baggage on the metal bars above the seats, they can take a quick nap without any worries that someone would just steal their items. I mean if this scenario is repeated in Singapore, I’m sure it’ll be gone within minutes. Another incident which I recalled was that their shops have no security alarms. We tested it out (yes, we shouldn’t have) by extending our hand out of the store with one of the items and nope, there was no buzz. With that, we finally realised that the trust which they placed in each other is definitely no joke (we did put back the item back to its original place).

Well, Japan isn’t the only country which amazed me. Every single country which I went left me with awesome memories. Every country is different and hence the tradition and culture are also dissimilar. My dream is to visit every country in the world and I wonder when that day will eventually come since till now I have only visited 6% of the countries in the world (mainly in Asia – Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Germany, Australia and Austria).

map

Till that day comes, I guess I have to start saving up every cent of my money since travelling is expensive! Ending my first post in this blog with some pictures taken during my trips.

Europe
Austria, Salzburg
At Eagle's Nest in Europe
Germany – Eagle’s Nest
Zugspitze in Germany
Germany – Zugspitze

 

South Korea, Jejudo - O'sulloc Museum
South Korea, Jejudo – O’sulloc Museum
South Korea
South Korea