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18 – Saturday, November 18: Melbourne / Wilson’s Prom
Drive down to Wilson’s Promontory National Park, about 3 hours
from Melbourne. Wilson’s Prom is a small promontory, and Victoria’s
most southern place. In addition to sweeping vistas, beaches and untouched
bush, the Prom is famous for its wildlife, including wombats and kangaroos.
Your accommodation tonight is a self-contained cabin just outside
the park at Yanakie, on the waterfront.
19 – Sunday, November 19: Wilson’s Promontory National
Spend the day exploring the park. Late afternoon is an especially
good time to see the kangaroos and wombats come out to graze. The
ranger station in the park can give you maps and a guide to the park,
and make suggestions regarding places to see and when wildlife viewing
20 – Monday, November 20: Wilson’s Prom/Healesville /
Leave Wilson’s Prom this morning and head north, at first retracing
your route down but then he ading via smaller roads to wards Marysville,
in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. The road from Marysville
to Healesville, known as the Black Spur Drive, is one of the most
beautiful drives in Victoria, through towering 200ft + Mountain Ash
trees lining the road. Once in Healesville visit the Healesville Sanctuary,
with its extensive collection of Australian fauna in natural bush
settings. We can arrange for a guide to take you through. Overnight
near Healesville (this is not prebooked, as once again it will depend
on your own inclinations, and just where you end up today. There are
many places to stay in the general Dandenongs area, from right at
Healesville and Marysville to other small town/villages/suburbs from
here to the slightly more south Yarra Valley.
Day 21 – Tuesday, November 21: Melbourne
Slowly return to Melbourne today – it’s only 25 miles
away - via the wineries of the Yarra Valley. Some of Australia’s
best and newest wines are produced in the hills east of M elbourne,
primarily whites but also some interesting reds. There are also many
craft and art galleries, and you will get a good sense for the more
cultured side of Australia, all in beautiful bush settings. As your
return to Melbourne stop at a store on the Maroondah Highway, Redgum,
that specializes in native wood furniture and crafts. From here continue
to your hotel for the night at Melbourne Airport, Ciloms’ Best
Western. The hotel will hold a bag for you while you are in Tasmania,
as you return here afterwards for the night prior to flying home.
22– Thursday, November 23: Melbourne / Launceston / Bicheno
This morning return to the airport and fly to Launceston,
Tasmania. Pi ck up your rental car and begin your exploration of the
Island State. Before you leave you should visit the Tasmania
Wood Design Centre, displaying some of the best wood-based crafts
and furniture Tasmania has to offer. Drive south to Cambelltown, about
55km, and head east towards the coast, arriving at Bicheno in about
90km. Check in to your accomodation, Bicheno
Hideaway, located right on the foreshore, and then head into Freycinet
National Park, a few kilometers to the south. Freycinet has some
of the most stunning scenery in Tasmania, and there are many walks
that take advantage of this. The Ranger Station can help direct you
to the best viewing areas.
23 – Thursday, November 23: Melbourne / Launceston / Bicheno
Spend the day exploring the trails and walks of this pristine and
beautiful area, many of which are the most scenic and photographed
- Wineglass Bay is the classic image - in Tasmania.
24– Friday, November 24: Bicheno / Port Arthur/Dunalley
Head south this morning to Port
Arthur (about 2 ½ hours away), one of convict Australia’s
most notorious sites. Prisoners, both incarcerated and working for
settlers, who committed crimes were sent here. While in appearances
a very pleasant place now, its history belies this near pastoral setting.
There is much here to learn of one of the darker periods of England’s
past. Return a little way up the road to Potter’s
Croft for your overnight. As well as accommodation, Potter’s
Croft has a gallery with a selection of Tasmanian artists and craftspeople
– your host is an accomplished potter with a workshop on site.
25 – Saturday, November 25: Dunalley / Hobart
It’s a short 58km to Hobart,
Tasmania’s historic city, so you can leave Dunalley at your
leisure. The downtown Salamanca markets are on today, featuring local
wares, crafts, arts food and drink. Look around Hobart, much of which
is convict built. Overnight in Hobart.
26 – Sunday, November 26: Hobart / Cradle Mountain
Drive northwest today to Cradle
Mountain, about 270km via the scenic route through the mountains
and the Franklin-Gordon/Cradle Mountain National Park. You stay tonight
in a traditional National Park cabin, very basic but heated, and with
a kitchen area in the general cabins area. Again the Ranger Station
can help you look over the available walks, then enjoy a late afternoon
out in this stunning area. There are many shorter walks, including
one named The Enchanted Forest that winds its way through both eucalyptus
and rainforest, however if the day is fine you will probably want
to enjoy a view of the sunset over the mountains.
27 – Monday, November 27: Cradle Mountain
Spend a relaxing day exploring the park. Suggested is the Dove Lake
Loop, an easy 2 hour walk along a track takes you under the shadow
of Cradle Mountain, through the tranquil Ballroom Forest and back
along the western shore of the lake to your starting point.
28 – Tuesday, November 28: Cradle Mountain / Kings Run
Leave Cradle Mountain this morning and head to Tasmania’s north
coast and then on to Kings Run, arriving about lunchtime. King’s
Run is a former cattle property turned into a wildlife refuge. The
features of Kings Run are the spectacular coastline & its nocturnal
wildlife. The western boundary is the Southern Ocean that pounds a
rugged foreshore studded with quartzite outcrops and an abundance
of shorebirds. Inland heath land and low eucalypt areas containing
rare flora help to support a rich variety of birdlife including many
of Tasmania's endemic species. The rare Orange Bellied Parrot migrates
through the property in autumn and spring. The former pasture areas
are now a marsupial lawn grazed by wallabies, Common Wombat and bandicoots.
These animals in turn support healthy populations of the world's largest
carnivorous marsupials, Tasmanian Devils and Spotted-tail Quolls.
With the co-operation of the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Branch
owner Geoff has developed a method of viewing the Tasmanian Devil
in the wild. There are no roads on the property only sandy tracks;
devils traverse these tracks during their nightly search for food.
A scent trail is dragged along these sandy tracks to a rustic fisherman's
shack to view the devils that generally arrive within a few hours
of sunset. The devils extraordinary sense of smell & hearing do
not detect the guests watching in candlelight through a window as
the animals feed on a road kill relocated from a local road. A "Devil
Restaurant" as such where it's safe for them to eat! A soft outside
light allows guests to see a range of devil behavior and a simple
sound system brings the sometimes "raucous vocalizations"
inside the 'hide'. After an evening of amazing wildlife retire to
your nearby accommodation. Your accommodation is a cottage at Murrawah,
where the last Tasmanian Tiger was trapped.
29– Wednesday, November 29: King’s Run
Continue to explore Kings Run this morning, then head a few miles
south Arthur River Township (more a small village) at the mouth of
the Arthur River. Here board your small cruise boat to travel up the
river through temperate rainforest and adjoining ecotone in the Arthur
Pieman Conservation Area. The guided cruise will stop about 10
miles up river, where your guide will lead you on a walk through the
forest, and you enjoy a picnic lunch. Azure Kingfishers and other
birds are usually seen along the river, and on the return White-bellied
Sea-eagles swoop in to be feed with thrown fish.
get back from the cruise at 3pm, and head north and back along the
coast to Stanley, about 60 miles away. Stanley
is on a small peninsula jutting out into Bass Straight, and at the
base of The Nut, a small hill overlooking the sea are colonies of
both Short-tailed Shearwaters and Fairy Penguins. This evening watch
the return home from foraging at sea of both these species. Both species
are easily seen in very close proximity, the penguins literally at
your feet. Overnight near Stanley, and enjoy a special meal for the
end of your long Australian journey.
Day 30 - Thursday, November 30: Stanley / Devonport
Sleep in this morning after a busy week, complete with several late
nights. Head east along the coast, stopping at small towns and villages.
Fly from Devonport to Melbourne at 5.15pm, arriving at 6.30pm. Overnight
at the airport.
31- Friday, December 1: Melbourne / Los Angeles /Home City
Sadly you leave Australia today, but taking many memories and permanent
souvenirs. Due to the International Dateline, you arrive back into
Los Angeles early this same morning, in plenty of time to catch your
flight to your home city.
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