Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vote For My Photos


I was in Australia last month for 5 weeks holiday based in Melbourne. But I also managed side trips to Sydney and Tasmania. I took lots of photos when I was in Tassie and I sent some of them to the Spirit of Tasmania website for a competition. I hope I can win a free trip to Tasmania again next year with your help voting for my photos.

Pine Tree

If you guys have time, please click on the following link and choose RANKING. My photo is on the first 3 pages: just look for the Stanley Pine Tree photo under my name Tu Van Cong. Your time and effort is much appreciated.

Here is the link :

Saturday, November 14, 2009



Launceston is not my favorite place in Tasmania but that doesn't mean it's not interesting. The city is big and stretches quite a way so it took us a bit to drive around to discover it. After we found accommodation, we went to the port for lunch before taking a short cruise along the Tamar River. I couldn't believe that I had to pay $23 for a serve of fish and chips which was a bit of a rip-off compared to Stanley where it was only $6.5 and in Melbourne only$9.


Anyway, we took the cruise for 55 mintues and it was very interesting with lots of information from the old captian. It was a pleasant trip into Cataract Gorge along the Esk River and along the Tamar River to see some of the old boats even though the weather wasn't very good with rain at some points. After the cruise, we drove up into the expensive hillside suburbs where there were some great old Victorian and Edwardian houses mixed with some newer mansions. Most of these houses have great views to the river and over Launcestion and because it was spring, the gardens were in full bloom.

Tu - Launceston

We took a trip to the Launceston casino (lost!) and had a nice Vietnamese meal to end our day in that town.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Coles Bay

Emu - Coles Bay

As I mentioned in the last few posts, Tasmania in general including Coles Bay on the Freycinet peninsula has a cool climate especially in the evening. During the day, the weather is so nice with sunshine, blue skies but the air is a bit crisp. From 4pm, I feel as if I need to put more clothes on. Coles Bay is a pretty small town surrounded by beautiful beaches. It's not surprising that it's hard to find accommodation and we ended up driving around the town for a while. Finally, we decided to stay at the hotstel at the Illuka Holiday Park for 2 nights. Even though we had to share a bathroom and kitchen, it was a well-run place, clean and tidy.

Coles Bay

We stayed in a small room and cooked our own dinner before going to the Iluka Tavern for a drink. After not much luck with wifi access in Tasmania, I couldn't believe that they had free wifi here so I spent almost two hours emailing and updating photos. It is necessary to stay at least two nights in this area and will spend most of the day hours walking up the mountain to see Wineglass Bay then walk down to the beach. Everyone told me that is the most beautiful place in Tasmania that no-one should miss.

Coles Bay

Anyway, we started our day with a walk up to the Wineglass lookout then down to one of the most beautiful wild white sand beaches I've seen. Before we started our walk, we saw a Wallaby in the car park. These animals look like kangaroos but smaller. I was a bit worried at the beginning even though I really wanted to pat him. People say they could attack with their front feet but my friend came over and the wallaby was actually very friendly and licked her fingers. I did the same thing and he licked me too. I was so happy that I tried that and luckily my friends got some shots. Anyway, we started out trek up to the lookout point, the view was amazing. I couldn’t stop taking photos and when we finished our three hours walk, I realized that I'd taken more photos than I really needed. From the lookout, we walked down again and headed to the beach. This walk was quite steep and slippery. It was worth all our energy to see this beach and the colour of the water reminded me of the beaches in Greece, blue water and white sand. Just gorgeous!. Lucky though that I had been exercising a lot before so I didn’t feel too bad, but a bit stiff:).

Wallaby - Coles Bay

On our climb we saw quite a few terribly overweight people trying to walk up to the lookout. Many of them already felt exhausted and were leaning back on rocks or sitting down on the ground holding their knees. Some of them weren’t looking good at all but their families forced them to keep going. I am not sure they could make it up to the top or back down to the start. Anyway, we spent over two hours walking before going back to town for lunch. My friends went to the light house for a wander but I decided to take a rest at the restaurant in town which provided FREE Wifi to uploaded photos and email. I feel regret now after I saw their photos and I may go up to the light house before I leave. They may lend me their photos so I can show you.

Coles Bay

We will head to Launceston tomorrow for a night and hope to have enough time to visit some wineries, a chocolate factory and a cheese factory.

Friday, November 06, 2009


Lake St Clair

I felt so cold last night even though I had two blankets on. It was no wonder as my friends told me it was zero degree during the night. I have never ever been in such a cold situation before and I am a bit worried about my health as for the rest of the trip it could get even colder here in Tasmania. It took us over 6 hours to get to Hobart from Strahan as we stopped to visit Queens town and Lake St. Clair for a bit. Queenstown was not really interesting as it’s kind of a mining town with a few shops and pubs but with old fashioned and charming. Lake St. Clair is so beautiful and peaceful surrounded by huge green tall trees.


Anyway, we finally arrived in Hobart, and after consulting our accommodation magazines that I picked up from the laundry, I called the Welcome Stranger Hotel which is located right near the harbour and also in the city centre. They had several rooms left. We got a good deal and went down to have some dinner at Salamanca Place. I couldn’t find any internet cafés around and finally, we decided to have some pizza for our dinner. Surprisingly, the Cargo restaurant had wifi and it was free. I was so happy with that not because of the free internet, but because they served really nice pizza and French cheese. We had a margarita and a tandoori chicken pizza and they were really great plus the wine was cheaper compared to other shops nearby. Hobart seems a very busy city like other cities at 5pm in the afternoon. There are lots of interesting buildings around mixing old style and the new modern style.


On the second day, we walked along Salamanca street and Battery Point for an hour checking out the shops and beautiful old houses. This is the most expensive area in Hobart I think as it has great views to the harbour. Some houses are over a hundred years old but in good condition so that they are now used in business as hotels, restaurants and shops. We went into a small gift shop in front of the harbour and talked to the seller who sells ethnic minority products including stuff from Sapa in Vietnam. It was such an interesting conversation as she explained the history of the building and talked of her boss' trips to Vietnam. The building had been used to store gunpowder in the old days and had also been some kind of post office museum. We spent about an hour just talking about stuff from Vietnam and I was explaining to her where they are originally from and so on. Anyway, later on, we joined a boat cruise for over an hour up the Derwent River. The boat was nice and we got some education from the captain who explained most things of interest on both sides of the river. After that, we drove up to the top of Mt. Wellington for a great look down at the whole city of Hobart. It’s such a great place to look at the city and the beauty of Hobart and we were actually above the clouds which is even more amazing. I love that feeling that I am higher than everything and also like I am on the plane.


At the end of the day, we spent some time to relax and try our luck at the lobby of the hotel which has poker machines and the Keno bingo game. Surprisingly I won A$30 for the first time which paid for my beautiful dinner at Mure's seafood restaurant which is located on the harbour. My friends and I ordered some grilled fish, salad and seafood platters which included french fries and salad. The seafood was so fresh and tasty, just loved it so much.

Fisherman's basket - Hobart

We headed back to the hotel for an early night as it was pretty cold and also we wanted to wake up early in the morning for our drive to the Freycinet Peninsula. We wanted to spend more time in Hobart as there is other stuff to see and do. I hope the weather is going to get brighter with more sun and heat as I am struggling with the cool temperatures a bit so far.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain

We spent almost 3 hours driving from Stanley to Cradle Mountain; the road was really windy in parts but mostly good so we had a good trip. We couldn’t find any cafés along the road so we ended up stopping at the resort on the way into the Cradle Mountain settlement. It was a bit expensive and I decided to have a glass of local Tasmanian wine, a nice Sauvignon Blanc which made me dizzy as I hadn't had any breakfast!

Tu - Cradle Mountain

We stayed at the Discovery Holiday Park suggested by the RACV accommodation guide. It was the cheapest accommodation in quite an expensive place. We went down to the tourist information centre to have something for lunch; we had some soup which was very nice. We bought the holiday ticket to enter all national parks around Tasmania. After that, we caught the park bus down to the walking spot and started our walk.

Cradle Mountain

We walked from Snake Hill to Dove Lake which took us about 2 hours for over 5kms. The scenery was so beautiful that we didn’t realize how far we walked or how much time had passed. We took so many photos of trees, wild animals, lakes and the beautiful mountain with snow on the top. This is the first time ever that I've seen snow and I think I may try to walk up near the top to touch the snow. It would be very cold but it's worth a go. We will come back here tomorrow to walk around the lake which will take about 3 hours. I hope the weather is warmer as today it was very cold especially in the afternoon.

Moutain Nachos

Unfortunately, we couldn’t do anything on the second day as it was raining and really cold. We missed the lake walk which has the best views of the snow on the top of the mountain. To fill time, we decided to get some education about the area from the information centre. After that, we went to Cradle Mountain Lodge Tavern for a coffee. As the rain got heavier and colder, we had lunch. We had had some pizzas for dinner there last night and the food was excellent even though it was a bit dear and over our budget. The lamb shrank looked amazing and I went for it today and it was just delicious. My friends had the trio of dips and mountain nachos, I tasted them all and they were damn good. This lodge is a cosy place on a rainy day with friendly staff, great food and good views from the restaurant. If I ever go back to Cradle Mountain again, I will definitely come here to have all my meals and stay in this place as well.

Wombat - Cradle Mountain

We are going to Strahan tomorrow morning for a night before heading to Hobart. I hope we will have great weather so that we can spend sometime in the sun.