I will post up our Tasmania experience as day-by-day accounts. I hope that our photos can inspire you to visit Tasmania for yourself.
We took the Jetstar flight to Launceston at 10:30am. It took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes by air.
What we did find was Launceston airport was not busy at all, given the time of the day. Our conclusion was not many people travel to or out of Launceston; hence, Jetstar has only one flight a day to and from Launceston.
The next thing we did was to rent a car. After asking the available companies, we realised the rates were pretty similar. We ended up with Avis and rented a Hyundai Getz, with $300 excess, sat nav, and a full tank of petrol at 99 cents a litre. When we return the car in Hobart, we wouldn't need to refuel the car. So far, so good.
Having just got my Australian licence not too long ago, I was keen to have some practice. Launceston roads were a breeze to drive on, and other drivers seemed to not be in a rush at all. The other thing we noticed on signposts were some roads were not named, but coded, e.g. C615. To make sure, we rang the hotel to ask for directions. The man who picked up the phone curtly told me that he didn't know what I meant by C324... and told me to follow the sat nav, it would be the correct route. So, with the help of Garmin, we got to the Country Comfort Coach House in about 15 minutes' time.
How did we find the Coach House? Well, we started looking for accomodation about one week before the trip. Most hotels had already been booked on the days we would be there for, it was down to Mercure and the Coach House. After reading the reviews on Trip Advisor, the Coach House seemed to have more decent reviews. That was how we found the Coach House.
Moral of the story: plan well-ahead if you want more options.
The entrance to the hotel was a steep declining driveway. The parking lot was also at an angle. Not good.
The same man who talked with me over the phone greeted us, or more like acknowledged our presence. Room rate was $130 a night not including breakfast (I was under the impression that breakfast included when made the booking), which was more expensive than the Hobart booking. Oh, well...
Fake flowers in keeping with the old west theme
We were excited to tour Launceston as soon as we offloaded our luggage, and we were hungry, too. The receptionist gave us directions to Racecourse Crescent, where the Centro Launceston was located...
We did a bit of shopping at Coles, stocked up on tit bits and bottled water, and drove to the Cataract Gorge Reserve, Launceston attraction #1.
The Gorge was literally minutes away from the CBD, and according to Tourism Tasmania, truly a "wilderness in the city".
Cafe next to the Victorian gardens, on the Cliff Grounds, the northern side of the Gorge.
View from the Cataract Lookout.
The hauntingly beautiful cliffs.
About to do some serious damage.
The atmosphere at Mud Bar and Restaurant was a cosy one, I even kicked off my shoes and sat cross-legged, tired after a good walk around the Gorge. We were advised of a 30-35 minute-wait for our dinner, since grilled meals took longer to prepare. Lulled by the ambience, we were contented to wait and talk about the day just passed.
The waitress mentioned to KT his pork chop would be large. When it arrived, we could not believe the size of the pork chop. The sides were plentiful. We could have shared it! The crackling on the pork was crunchy, and the meat moist and tender.
I struggled to get through my meal, but was reluctant to leave it as it was delicious. KT ordered the chocolate tart, knowing that I loved my chocolate. It was delicious, but very very rich, so rich that I wished it was smaller portion. Launceston people must love their food in generous portions, more so than Sydney-siders.
Mine was a scotch fillet with horseradish cream. Sides were the same as KT's.
Night cap - a trip to the 24-hour public toilets.
We didn't want to end our night so soon, as it was still early at 8:40pm. We drove around the city, to find very little shops opened, a pharmacy opened until 9pm, and surprisingly, Sportgirls was still opened! Or had it been an illusion?