That awful Tassie cry! It’s why this cute little creature with the sharp teeth got named the Tasmanian Devil. Those teeth come in handy, since they are carnivorous and love snacking on chickens, but they’re not dangerous to humans at all. Baby Tassies live in their mother’s pouch, like a kangaroo, which means they’re marsupials. Also, they’re the largest surviving carnivorous mammal in Australia! But, this particular one, whose name is Gretel, is really very sweet, and sleepy.
How do you get to Tasmania? Well, you can fly, which is a short flight from Melbourne, or you can take the slow boat, which we did. The Spirit of Tasmania makes the voyage mainly overnight, and it takes about eight hours. We opted for the rare daytime cruise. It’s a nice bit of downtime, and there is a chance of seeing whales and dolphins, although we didn’t spot any. Lunch and dinner are served on the ship; there’s a gift shop and many public spaces to roam about. Bookings can be made for a suite, cabin, lounge chair or just a seat. Prices are right for every budget.
On Tasmania, we decided to stay in the coastal town of Burnie, since this afforded us access to many of the sights in the north part of the island, like Cradle Mountain.
A Burnie native is the Little Penguin, which is their official name, not only a description of their size. Along the Burnie boardwalk, at night, you can see them hiding and nesting in the berm. Mothers and chicks waddle about, looking as cute as you would expect. Volunteers give a presentation at dusk, and be sure to tip, so this free treat can continue.
A must-see on Tasmania is the Edge of the World. It’s quite a drive from Burnie, through thick forests, farmers’ fields and along the rugged coast, and just when you feel like giving up, you finally arrive. There isn’t a rest stop or sign of civilization from Burnie to the Edge, except one house that sells snacks and freshly cooked fish and chips. We stopped there and bought way too many snacks, out of sheer anxiety of thinking we were lost.
When you get there, it really does hit you in the feels. The ocean is pumping with a powerful surf, the sun is sparkling off the white caps and birds are flying about overhead, vocalizing in their strange language. The beauty is raw, and I can see why natives thought this was the edge of the world. It certainly would feel that way to people that didn’t venture off their safe island.
Tasmania is the hidden jewel of Australia, where many Australians go to get away from the dry, dusty outback. For us, it was initially just an exotic place we wanted to experience, but what we came to love was the landscape, the friendly people, the strange animals and the raw power of the ocean that surrounds this small island off the coast of Australia. It feels isolated and precious, and for us, it will stay unforgettable.