This post is sponsored by Spirit of Tasmania
We don’t go on too many holidays. With a family of 6 it can be difficult to find holiday options that are practical, not to mention affordable.
If we fly somewhere we have to hire a people mover when we get there, which makes it extra expensive and a hassle, so we’ve always gone on boring car trips… until now!
My kids were super excited when we told them that we were going on a Tasmania holiday and even more excited that Spirit of Tasmania where sending us there on a big ship! They didn’t much care what we did when we got there, just travelling on the ship was a huge adventure for them.
For us adults, travelling on Spirit of Tasmania just made things easier. We took our own car which meant that we didn’t have the hassle of getting six people to the airport, or the extra expense of car hire, we could just drive right on and we could stuff our car full of as much luggage as we liked! You can even take a trailer or caravan if you like (we’d love to go camping next time).
We went on a day of double sailings so it was dark by the time we got on board, but that didn’t stop the kids all crowding into the porthole window to see the city lights across the bay.
Our Four Berth Cabins had an ensuite and super comfy bunk beds. If you have time there is lots of things to do on board – a cinema, play room, games room and lots of options for food and drinks. You can even buy national park passes and organise your trip while on board.
The kids were excited to go up on deck and watch as we pulled away from the port and out into the bay. We had a quick game of naughts and crosses, dinner at The Captains Table and then we all went to bed… well except the girls and I, we stayed up way too late looking out the porthole in our cabin until we sailed through the heads and out onto Bass Strait.
The trip over wasn’t too bumpy, and while I had worried that Morgan, who gets car sick, might not cope so well, he was asleep before we were out of the heads, and he didn’t wake up till we were coming into Devonport!
We had only taken a small overnight bag each on board the ship (we left everything else in the car which makes things nice and easy) so we were packed and ready to drive off and start our Tassie trip in no time. Our first stop was Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm.
I am not sure what was better at Christmas Hills – the delicious food, or the lovely staff! We sat by an open fire to warm up on the chilly morning and stuffed our faces with all kinds of raspberry treats!
The girls were introduced to the awesomeness of waffles, Noah had ice-cream for breakfast and declared it ‘the best day ever!’ and I indulged in some chocolate covered raspberries… so good!
After breakfast we headed to The House of Anvers to find out how they make their amazing chocolate. It was so lovely to meet someone with such passion for what they do and Todd, our tour guide, had us enthralled as he told us about how Anvers chocolate is made and how and why they source heirloom varieties of cacao in an ethical manner. We got to see the chocolate making in action and of course, we got to taste some of the chocolate too!
The kids argued over which of the truffles (filled with fresh, local ingredients) was the best, but Simon and I were smitten with the Dark Fortunato No. 4 Peru – chocolate made from the most genetically pure cacao in the world!
After eating our fill of chocolate and wandering around the beautiful house and garden at Anvers we piled everyone back in the Big White Bus to head up to Cradle Mountain.
We stayed at Cradle Mountain Hotel – a beautiful hotel set in amazing bushland on the edge of Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. Everywhere you look there are amazing views and crackling open fires.
We only stopped long enough to check in and find our rooms, then we headed a little further up the mountain to the beautiful Dove Lake for a late picnic lunch. Simon and Morgan did the lake walk while the girls, Noah and I explored a shorter walk and played beside a beautiful, pristine, stream.
It was almost dusk when we headed back to the hotel intending on having an early night, but there was so much wildlife in the hotel grounds that we headed out for another walk to take a look at the wombats, paddymelons, and wallabies before dinner.
Now totally exhausted, the kids soaked in the spa bath and then we all collapsed into our comfy beds – my kids discovered the joys of electric blankets!
In the morning there was more wildlife to see from our little balcony which overlooked beautiful bushland. After a delicious breakfast in Quoll’s Restaurant and a wander around the Wilderness Gallery (we were all a bit taken by the amazing photographs in the gallery) we headed off to our next destination, Strahan.
Strahan is a gorgeous fishing village on the west coast of Tasmania, right next to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National park. There is lots to see in this historic town, and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon wandering around town, checking out the historic Huon Pine sawmill, and having a run at Ocean Beach.
We stayed at Strahan Village, in a gorgeous cottage right on the waterfront. It was the perfect family accommodation – close to everything, two bedrooms for the kids, a kitchenette, comfy beds, and lovely helpful staff. The kids were thrilled that there was a TV in each of the bedrooms and would have gladly settled in there for a nice long stay!
That evening, we wandered up the street to catch the historic play The Ship That Never Was (which was awesome!) and then had a delicious dinner at the local pub before an early night because Thursday was set to be a big day!
Thursday morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed in time for a quick breakfast at View 42° Restaurant, and despite the wild and rainy morning the view was amazing! Then we wandered across the road in time to board the Lady Jane II for our Gordon River Cruise.
It was cold and wet as we boarded but the cruise ship was warm and dry and the staff had thought of everything, including blankets for cold knees!
We cruised across Macquarie Harbour and out to Hell’s Gate as we listened to our guide telling us about the history of the area. Then back into the harbour, past the fish farms (did you know that they transport the baby fist to the fish farms in a milk tanker and then just spray them in!?!) and down into the beautiful Gordon River.
As we cruised up the river we were all amazed at the absolute beauty of this wild place. We stopped at heritage landing for a short board walk into the rainforest among the ancient Huon Pines (we saw a tree that is said to be over 2000 years old!). It was just breathtaking!
After a delicious lunch on board we stopped at Sarah Island for a guided tour, but this was not your ordinary tour. This tour was full of interesting historic information about this once penal colony, all wrapped up into a very entertaining performance from our tour guide and several members of the audience who were roped in to help!
We were sorry to leave Strahan and the lovely West coast but we had the last leg of our adventure to complete – the sail home. So we drove back to Devonport and boarded Spirit of Tasmania heading back to Melbourne.
We were treated to a delicious three-course meal in The Leatherwood Restaurant on this part of our journey. I can highly recommend the beef tenderloin and the raspberry brownie for dessert, and the kid’s meals were amazing! The fabulous staff were super helpful, especially with our tired kids. This was a perfect ending to a fabulous trip to Tassie.
The trip home was even smoother than on the way there, and before we knew it we heard the early morning wakeup call and were getting ready to get back in the car and head home.
Tasmania was simply beautiful. There were lots to see and do, lots of good food to eat, and traveling on Spirit of Tasmania made our Tasmania holiday an adventure from start to finish. We are already planning a return visit!
Have you ever been to Tasmania?
Where should we go next time we visit?
This post is co-ordinated by The Remarkables Group
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
You were in my neck of the woods! One of the first dates my now-husband took me on (on my second visit here) was to The House of Anvers. If you ever make it over here again, check my blog under the “tourism” tag, and there’s tons we do with visitors that you didn’t get to visit, if you want ideas for your next trip. ;-) Still a lot we’re trying to check out ourselves as a family (so… cheap and easily accessible things!) In 4 years of living here though, I still haven’t made it to Cradle Mountain.
I so wish we’d had more time to see and do more things! We are really keen to go back so I’ll definitely be checking out your recommendations! thank you!
You should definitely come to Point Lonsdale next!!!!
We did wave to you as we went past in the ship!!
What an AMAZING trip!! I’m bookmarking this for inspiration next year when we’re hoping to travel around Australia! So many great experiences for the kids and fun for adults, too :-)
Danya Banya says
Oh wow, sounds like a great trip. Your photos are amazing!
Kate - An Everyday Story says
I would love to go to Tasmania. I just love all the little cottages and that gorgeous countryside. The cruise up the river would have been incredible…..and we’d probably have to go to Sarah Island too ;)
Next time? I’d love to go to Lord Howe Island, have you been there?
Bek @ Just For Daisy says
Amazing! What a fabulous trip. We loved the Dove Lake walk and in September it even snowed as we were walking around!!!
Thanks for so much wonderful info!
Kate Lloyd says
You guys look like you had a WONDERFUL time. You have totally inspired our next trip. We have two really young girls and plane flights and long car trips don’t suit us at the moment. I’m loving the idea of going on The Spirit of Tasmania. It would be a great experience and Tasmania looks SO beautiful and with so much to do.
Melissa @ Honey Bee Books says
It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. We love visiting Tasmania and spent our honeymoon there and recently went back as a family, including traveling on the Spirit of Tasmania. It was such an awesome adventure for the kids. My youngest is always asking when are we going back to “Tassiemania”.
I keep hearing from people who went on their honeymoon and have since gone back with kids! Sounds like it’s quite a popular honeymoon destination!
Christie-Childhood 101 says
What a fabulous experience, my girls would love the idea of travelling by ship!
The kids loved it! So much fun to sleep in a little cabin and look out the porthole!
Looks fantastic! I am wanting to take my caravan over on the spirit of Tasmania (on my travel list!). So cool to be able to take your own stuff over there. I’ll be referring to this post later for places to go when we get there.
Caro Webster says
I love everything about Tasmania. We’ve been talking about taking the kids there for ages. And I think you’re right the Spirit of Tasmania car option does make it super easy. You’ve inspired me all over again. I wonder if you can get the ship from Sydney? Will have to check it out. Thanks Kate.
Wow it looks amazing! Tasmania is on my list of places to go, looks like the perfect family holiday.
It really was a great place to take the kids… so many things to see and do, even more than I had imagined!
Ailsa Stonehouse says
We took our motor home over on the Spirit what a great trip. We used the cabins which was good. We was in Tassie for 3 great weeks. Went up to Stanley and went up on the chair lift to the top of the NUT. A the little places along the road are great. From there we drove down to Straham. We went on the Gordon River Cruise Awesome. Recommend to anyone. The drive from Queenstown was great. Lovely scenery. Port Arthur was very interesting. Did the Sea horse tour that was very interesting. Went out to Cradle Mountain. enjoyed that. Our trip home on the Spirit was good. meet very friendly people on the ferry. Plenty to do on the ferry.
I’m from Devonport and yes House of Anvers is sooo beautiful to visit my mouth waters everytime I go past that place LOL
One thing that the kids missed out and would’ve loved that is in Latrobe which is only a few minutes from House of Anvers is Reliquaire a vintage store that has tons of teddies and dolls and toys you guys would’ve loved it! It’ll take you there all day to have a look around it’s one of the must see place to go. http://www.reliquaire.com/
My kids would love Reliquaire… and so would I!
That confirms it… we’ll have to go back!
YES!! Reliquaire is AMAAAAAAZING! I take ALL our out-of-town guests there!
It’s like stepping into an I-Spy book page. And the TARDIS room they have….
Deb @ Bright and Precious says
Looks like a fantastic experience! I know Tasmania is beautiful – I have been there once – but I fear the cold! I like warm holidays!
Looks like so much fun! I think my family would love it Kate.
Wow!!! What an amazing place! It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever get to visit (being from The Netherlands and living in the USA), but I LOVE the pictures. Thanks for taking us strangers along on your trip! Love your blog.