There are so many ways to explore Northern Tasmania that one sample itinerary barely scratches the surface. Is your yearning to see plains carpeted with wombats, a platypus ducking and diving in a babbling brook, Tasmanian devils in the wild, or their comical and crafty cousins, the Eastern Quoll? Or do you long to sample delicious Tasmanian pinots and crisp sparkling wines, acclaimed throughout Australia, the result of long balmy autumn days allowing grapes to ripen slowly in the most stunning of wine regions. With a bit of careful planning you can do it all, and even visit one of Tasmania's most beautiful and least visited offshore islands, Flinders Island.
Shake off the flight with a ride across the longest single spa chair lift in the world, spanning Cataract Gorge in the midst of the city. You will see wallabies and pademelons grazing as you hop on and off.
Head out of the city to nearby Longford, and choose from either convict built cottages at Woolmers Estate, with the National Rose Garden, or the charming historic and farm cottages at neighbouring Brickendon, still run by descendents of the orignal Archers Family. Either way, you will be stunned by the extraordinary preservation of convict heritage at these World Heritage Listed sites.
Day 2 and 3
Leave behind the last century and head towards the Tamar Valley, Australia's prettiest wine route. Stop at some cellar doors (Velo Wines, Tamar Ridge, Jansz) to stock up on some goodies. Head for Beauty Point, a stunning position overlooking the Tamar and perfect for exploring the nearby 'Serengeti of Tasmania' - the Narawntapu National Park where ranger/photogapher Dave Watts once counted 93 wombats from standing! Stay at Beauty Point Cottages or Poloma Spa Cottages - either way your hosts will spoil you rotten.
Day 5 and 6
Say goodbye to the rolling green valleys and sparkling blue waters of the Tamar and head towards Tasmania's stunning heartland wilderness. Your drive, a fairly long and windy but spell-binding one, should take you through Sheffield, Town of the Murals, where a stop for coffee and cake is a must. Carry on towards Leven Canyon and finally to your hideaway for the next two nights, Mountain Valley. This private wildlife reserve is one of the most picturesque spots you will discover, and your hosts Pat and Len will walk you through their land to discover platypus, birdlife and later that evening you can expect visitors on your porch that most will only see in captivity ....
Day 7 and 8
Say goodbye and head just over and hour's drive to one of Tasmania's great icons, Cradle Mountain. Set in glacial alpine landscape, this is a walker's nirvana but actually there is something for everyone - a devil breeding sanctuary, fantastic canyoning for beginners through to experts and rambles that range from five minutes to five days including the pretty Dove Lake Circuit and the climb to the summit of Cradle Mountain itself.
Head north, this time to the coastal fishing village of Stanley, overlooking the volcanic plug that rises out of the Bass Strait, The Nut. Feast upon Tasmania's legendary seafood and enjoy fantastic tours to fur seal colonies. Here you are truly breathing the cleanest air in the world, for the Testing Station that consistently records the purest air on earth is located just a short distance awayVisit Highfield House for another immersion into Tasmania's early history.
Day 10, 11
From Stanley you can continue your journey westwards into the World Heritage Western WIlderness (see Western Wilderness) or you can head back towards Launceston for your grand finale, two days with one of Australia's greatest wildilfe guides, Craig 'Bushy' Williams of Pepperbush Adventures. Your accommodation is in the charming heritage B&B, Beulah, in the north east town of Scottsdale. Bushy will take you on a wildilfe adventure of your life, to his remote shack on private land, his 'restaurant in the sky', in the foothills of Mt Lomond, Tasmania's second highest peak, where he will prepare a bushtucker feast of your dreams before his local wildlife including the cunning and comical Eastern Quolls put on a fantastic display of antics. The next morning, you will visit a private lake for an al fresco breakfast of Tasmanian gourmet goodies while platypus duck and dive at your feet in a remarkable tour of 'Puggles and Bubbles'. Let Bushy take you on a trip through the tallest flowering trees in the world, the 100 metre high White Swamp Gums, discovered by his father and grandfather, and onto the Bay of Fires, normally only enjoyed by walkers on a four day walk. Return to Launceston for your last night at the Hotel Charles and dinner at one of the city's top restaurants.
Day 12 to 14
Prepare to depart Launceston - but not necessarily Tasmania -for if you are really smart, you will have made sure Flinders Island is your final stop on this superb itinerary. A short flight from both Launceston and Melbourne, Flinders Island is 800 square miles, has 800 beaches, and just 800 residents. Spiritual both in its beauty and aboriginal history with wildlife galore, Flinders Island is almost a microcosm of Tasmania, a world that time has forgotten about, yet with stylish accommodation and even its own little winery. With a further 51 islands in this group kown as the Furneaux Islands, you can even take boating and fishing trips to the outlying islands with Flinders Island Adventures. A fitting end to your Northern Tasmanian Odyssey.