TAS Less Travelled
I haven’t seen a fraction of the diversity claimed by the Tourism Tasmania brochures, though I have seen enough to know this is the island of inspiration.
Roads Less Travelled are of most interest to me, so that could account for my disinterest in Cradle Mountain, Devonport and even Launceston, the second largest city behind the capital Hobart.
The real reason could be because I repeat the East Coast Escape itinerary every time I visit. I’m drawn to the personable locals, to the sweet berries and sparkling wines, to the uninhabited beaches, and just about everything else down to the 7th hole at the Swansea GC looking out to the Dolphin Sands. Who cares about keeping score with such a distraction.
My life as a Tasmaniac began in Swansea seven years ago. One deep breath of the Great Oyster Bay breeze beneath a full moon was all it took. I travel back there in my mind often, but going there as an off-season tourist this week for more exploring and more great foodie experiences!
Self-Drive Itinerary from Hobart International Airport, through the vineyards, past the oyster farm, and over the bridge into Hobart town. For something different, try a fully-equipped Tasmanian Campervan like the one I rented from a gay-owned business in North Hobart. That way you can fill up the pantry and fridge with food from the roadside stands, like fresh-picked berries and apples. (Tasmania is the apple state.)
Drive 2.5 hours east to Swansea and make a pit stop for the view and chocolates at Kate's Berry Farm. Ahead in town, buy a local wine at the bottleshop and buy a fleece in the General Store, both for later in the campground.
Drive along the shore and country roads till you get to the sign for the Freycinet National Park. It's just past the town of Coles Bay where you stop for last-minute provisions and make tour arrangements, if you want to rock climb, go sailing, kayaking or on off-road adventures.
Awake at the park campground and head for the walking trail of your choice. Mt. Amos, the Hazards, or my all-time favorite, the trip down to Wineglass Bay. Pack a picnic and the videocam. Wineglass Bay is on the World's Top 10 Beaches list.)
Visit the Friendly Beaches before leaving the park, for some alone time with wildlife and watching the wild surfer boys. (Usually no one else on this hidden beach.)
Head back to Hobart by Saturday for Salamanca Marrket. open till 4pm. It's the largest outdoor arts and crafts market in Australia, and there are stalls run by local gay and lesbian artisans and even the Wellington Wanders gay hiking club. I need to replace my sheepskin slippers and get a new cutting board made of Tasmania's finest woods.
These are just some of the highlights and ideas for a gay getaway, either with your posse or with a sweetheart.
For me, paradise always has been and always will be the East Coast of Tasmania, where day breaks first in Australia. How nice that there are lesbian and gay owned accommodation and cafes all over the state, not to mention a plethora of tour operators, bushwalking groups and gay-welcoming restaurants and retreats to suit everyone's taste.