Heartland Boy first heard about Tasmania when he was watching MasterChef Australia several years ago. On the show, Tasmania was proclaimed as a place where the produce is extremely fresh, the air crisp, and boasts a pristine natural environment largely unaffected by human commercial activities. Therefore, even before Olympia was born, he already informed Heartland Girl that Tasmania would be the first major overseas vacation for the family. In November 2019, this wish finally came true as the Heartland family, together with the same travel buddies that joined them on their honeymoon in South Africa, took a 12-day long vacation Down Under with their little ones. Tasmania turned out to be exactly as the judges had described, and much more! This blog post is Heartland Boy’s review of his Tasmania holiday with kids.
Beautiful Nature And Wildlife in Tasmania
When Heartland Boy and Heartland Girl visited Perth 4 years ago, she remarked that she would liked her children to grow up in an environment with lots of space and greenery. Unfortunately, that is not happening in Singapore right now (they stay in a 3BR HDB BTO) and the next best alternative would be to look for such environments during their travels. Tasmania fits the bill perfectly, being nearly 100 times larger than Singapore but with a population of only 515,000. That is surely a lot of space and greenery for toddler Olympia to explore.
One such attraction was the Mount Field National Park, located 1.5 hours by car from Hobart city center. They did a 2-hour return hike which took in the magnificent views of Russell Falls and Horseshoe Falls, as well as the world’s tallest flowering plant.
For a more curated type of environment, they took a 5-min drive to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. The park was located alongside the coast and it makes for a breezy and leisurely stroll with a stunning landscape as the backdrop.
Unfortunately, Olympia did tread with trepidation when on the grass as she was not used to this new surface area. She cried when left alone on the grass and refused to take a single step forward, shattering the vision that Heartland Girl has always envisaged of free-wheeling kids on the green. Thankfully, Olympia was very excited to see the different types of plants and flowers on display, when seated in her trike of course.
Of course, no trips to Australia would be complete without seeing its national animal, the kangaroo. Over at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, a short 30-min drive from Hobart city, the kangaroos roam freely.
Besides kangaroos, they also saw the wombat, tasmanian devil, koala bear etc. Olympia had the opportunity to pet the kangaroo, oblivious to the fact that she had just tasted wallaby meat that very morning at the Salamanca Market.
Abundance of Fresh Produce And Top Quality Restaurants
With such beautiful scenery and fertile lands, it is little wonder that Tasmania’s produce carries a premium when exported to mainland Australia. From his interactions with those hawking their fares at the weekend markets (Salamanca Market and Farm Gate Market), Heartland Boy could tell that these farmers are super passionate and proud of their produce. Olympia can consider herself extremely lucky as some of her meals in Tasmania were prepared from the very ingredients bought in these markets. Remember to indulge in apples and strawberries while in Tasmania because they are some of the best that you will ever taste. It was also at the Farm Gate Market that Heartland Boy saw the biggest basil leaves in his life, which would easily make a bottle of yummy pesto sauce!
Being a region known for Pacific Oysters, Heartland Boy even attended a paid tour at Barilla Oyster Farm (located near Hobart airport) to learn more about how they are farmed locally. To satisfy his appetite for oysters further, Heartland Boy took a cruise to the famous Bruny Island to try them at Get Shucked.
Besides the feasting, they also took the opportunity to scale the Truganini lookout, located in the middle of Bruny Island. It offers a vantage point to view native wildlife and the vastness of the sea.
Additionally, having never experienced this in a city such as Singapore, it was quite a novel experience in itself driving a car into a ferry to get transported to another island.
With such amazing produce on offer, it is little wonder that the food in most restaurants are freaking delicious. One exceptional meal that he had was at The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery in New Norfolk, a restaurant awarded 2 Chef Hats in Australia. The cooking was simple and spot-on as the chefs ensured that the local produce was always made the star of the show. Its menu is ever-changing as the restaurant celebrates seasonality everyday.
While en route to Port Arthur Historic Site, they stopped by Port Arthur Lavender Farm for its famous lavender ice cream. Besides the restaurant, they also went to the farm where the lavender are grown and took plenty of photos for keepsake.
Kid-friendly Attractions in Tasmania
Most of the attractions in Tasmania are extremely kid-friendly. Over at Cataract Gorge in Launceston, the most popular trails (First Basin Loop, Bridge Walk) are all sealed boardwalk that makes it super accessible for strollers.
Over at the Port Arthur Historic Site, Olympia enjoyed being wheeled around on her bike while the parents were partaking in the guided tour. The entire complex can be explored with a baby stroller.
Travelling To Australia With Babies
On their 8-hour long flight from Singapore to Sydney, Heartland Boy was fortunate enough to snag a bassinet seat. Being able to place Olympia in the bassinet for her naps offered timely respite for the parents. This ensured that they could have their in-flight meals with both hands, and in peace.
In addition, Heartland Boy realised that the private-hire drivers in Australia are super concerned about babies being strapped in proper car seats. Some initially turned them away until Heartland Boy explained that the Doona stroller doubles up as an approved car seat.
When travelling in the month of November, it is still common for temperature to plunge to a high single digit at night. It can get quite cold when the wind blows, so do pack appropriate winter wear. Also bring along an umbrella as there could be some light showers. For Singaporeans, the best time to visit Tasmania would probably be late December (to coincide with the holidays) where the climate is still reasonably cool.
Money-saving Travelling Tips
As of the date of this article, there is no direct flight between Singapore and Tasmania yet. Therefore, most travellers that originate from Singapore would usually transit at either Melbourne or Sydney. For those who are spending some time in these cities, do consider using Bolt instead of Uber to reduce your transport cost. Not only is Bolt cheaper, using someone’s promo code (such as your travelling partner) reduces $13 off the bill. The person who successfully refers someone also gets $13 off his/her ride. Heartland family managed to save AUD$26 on private hire rides using this trick! Since Bolt is not in Singapore, the likelihood of you being a first-time user (and hence qualifying for the discounts) is extremely high! Credit to Heartland Boy’s travelling buddies who found out about this deal.
In addition, Olympia’s flight ticket from Singapore to Australia cost a grand total of $0 thanks to POSB’s CDA promotion! Yes, this means he saved a couple of hundreds on airport taxes and charges on her infant air ticket!
Finally, budget approx. $3,000 per pax for a 2-week trip to Tasmania.
For readers who are keen on Heartland Boy’s kid-friendly itinerary for Tasmania, kindly drop him an email to request for it!
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