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Van Journal Week 9: Another Lap Around the Sun

Van Journal Week 9: Another Lap Around the Sun

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Another week around Tasmania and another lap around the sun for me. Birthdays are always a great time to reflect and for me, turning 27 this week made me think about just how fortunate we are to be in Tasmania. I guess that a small isolated island at the bottom of the world isn’t the worst place to be in a global pandemic.

But privilege of this scale isn’t without its grievances. This week, the virus was wreaking havoc across the Indian subcontinent. Widespread death, fear and subsequent lockdowns was a reality for so many, yet felt further away than ever before. This week, my thoughts were with the people of India and Nepal. The people of those countries stole a piece of my heart and I know that their undying optimism and love of life will get them through this.

My privileges didn’t end with my Covid-free location. I was also very fortunate to be surrounded by great people for the week of my 27th birthday. This time, our third and final (for now) visitor came to check out Tasmania with us in our van. Kim, Haylea’s cousin had already travelled with us for other adventures including Sri Lanka and Europe so it was great that she was keen to check out Tassie too!

Wicked Cheese Factory

Week 9 of our van travels around Tasmania was fairly fast-paced but not our usual style of travel. Truthfully though, I didn’t mind the change up and it was refreshing to experience things on the regular tourist beat.

The first stop off the plane for Kim was an 11AM wine and cheese platter call at Wicked Cheese Factory. Haylea wanted to surprise her cousin with a bit of a treat and I certainly wasn’t complaining.

Hobart cheese tour, things to do, attractions

Back to Launceston: Cataract Gorge

I left the planning and adventures up to Haylea this week and she did a great job of it. Directly from the cheese factory we hit the highway back up towards Cradle Country. On the way, we stopped at Launceston and checked out Cataract Gorge, a scenic gorge with plenty of short walks and trails just out of town.

We wrapped up the day by stopping in at Chudleigh, a short pitstop before the Cradles.

A Short Stop at Cradle Mountain

At first light, we hit the road again towards Cradle Mountain. Unfortunately, we were on a tight schedule since Kim only had a few days in Tasmania but we still managed to squeeze in some short scenic hikes around Dove Lake and the surrounding Cradle Mountain rainforest trails.

I was gifted with perfect weather on my birthday at Cradle Mountain followed by a great night around the fire at nearby Lake Gairdner.

Back to Launceston & Old Mac’s Farm

A short stop at Cradle Mountain and we were back on the road towards Hobart. We have plans to return to Cradle Mountain so we weren’t too stressed about not seeing everything it had to offer.

But first, the girls enjoyed a bit of girl time going on a horse-riding trip at Cradle Mountain adventures and stopping in Launceston for a mini-shopping spree while I locked myself in the van catching up on a fair bit of blog work.

We again camped just outside of Launceston but this time at Old Mac’s Farm.


The following day we headed back down to Hobart. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side this time so we booked tickets for MONA.

MONA was hands down one of the strangest experiences that I’ve had travelling. I really can’t put MONA into words and I guess that’s exactly what the curators aimed for.

Saying Goodbye to Hobart

On Kim’s last night we had an absolutely epic feed at Da Angelos restaurant at Battery Point. It was nice to treat ourselves and the pizzas definitely lived up to expectations.

We said our see you laters to Kim the following day. It was a great week in Tassie and we were both sad to see her leave. But, Haylea and her were already planning the next trip and I have a feeling she’ll be back sooner than she first thought!

Haylea and I also said goodbye to Hobart this week. It had served as a great back-and-forth base for the past few weeks but it was time to venture deeper into Tassie’s wild side!

Haylea and kim