A Travellerspoint blog

June 2013

Let's go to Tassie!

"Let's go to Tassie!"
"Righto, cool!... When? How long for? Self drive or public transport with tours? What's there to see and do? You wanna pay for it!?... Ok, can we afford it?"

And so the idea was formed...

But hang on...

"What about the kids? Are we crazy?!"
"Nah, it won't be that bad. No worse than going round the world with Sonia when she was 9 - 12 months old."
"But there's 2 of them now! And they'll be 10months and 2.5yrs old!"
"That's fine, just plan accordingly!"

And so the planning began...

However, if you've ever tried to research a winter trip to Tasmania, with 2 toddlers, you'll understand the frustration that occurs from lack of information readily available. We had a fairly long list of questions, with no quick easy answers.

Ie.

  • Campervan with toddlers in winter… good or bad idea?
  • What’s the weather like for ‘shorter’ hikes/walks that time of the year?
  • Many walks available to do with a stroller?
  • How best to keep toddlers warm and dry during hikes?
  • Free camping with campervan?
  • Accessibility of camps, hikes, and other things during winter?
  • If booking into accommodation… do you need to book much in advance?
  • Are many things or areas closed during the winter season?
  • Recommendations on things to definitely do/not do with toddlers?

After reading a few other travelers’ blogs, putting questions out on various different forums, and numerous phone calls, I’d answered quite a few of our queries, but still wasn’t a hundred percent sure on others. Figured we’d just have to go and enjoy the adventure, learning along the way! Hey, we’d previously survived a three month round the world trip (July – October 2011) with one toddler and basically no research… how much worse could this be?! Maybe that’s why I was now trying to do a lot more research prior to this trip!

And so that brings me to this blog… trying to carry out this research got me thinking that if I’m having difficulty finding information and answers, maybe others could be going through a similar situation. Hence the idea of writing this, hoping our experiences would be able to help others in similar situations. Here’s to hoping it does!

Posted by Goannaray 00:28 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania questions toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! preparation_hints/tips_summary interstate_overseas Comments (0)

More background info...

After doing some initial basic research, we figured we had about 3.5weeks available in July to explore as much as possible. We’re from WA and are more interested in nature, but don’t mind history and other general things as well.

Basic outline:
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  • Fly into Launceston from Perth beginning of July

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  • Hire a car to get to Latrobe for the Winterfest, drive down to Hobart, and explore around Hobart and surrounds while based there

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  • Stay in a hotel while we have the car and are based in Launceston and Hobart for the first week or so

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  • Hire a campervan to drive around and explore as much of the rest of Tasmania as we can in the remaining time available

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  • Fly out of Hobart back to Perth

I have to point out here that several dates for things like the Latrobe Chocolate Winterfest and pre-booked accommodation in Hobart, (prior to further research), had a major influence on how we had to plan things.

Posted by Goannaray 00:41 Archived in Australia Tagged itinerary 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! preparation_hints/tips_summary interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Things we don't really want to have to miss!

In no real order of any sort!

• Latrobe Chocolate Winterfest
• Cadbury Chocolate Factory
• Mt Field National Park - Russell Falls
• Snow - Ben Lomond or Mt Field NP
• Port Arthur
• See Tasmania Devils
• Cradle Mountain National Park
• Platypus House
• Seahorse world
• Louisa’s Walk
• Lake St Claire National Park
• Montezuma Falls
• Leven Canyon
• Tasmazia
• Liffey Falls
• Ralphs Falls
• Bay of Fires
• Wineglass Bay
• Tessellated pavement
• Remarkable Caves
• Legerwood Woodcarvings
• Bruny Island Cruise – Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

Posted by Goannaray 00:44 Archived in Australia Tagged things_to_see 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! preparation_hints/tips_summary interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Some answers to questions so far...

Campervan with toddlers in winter… good or bad idea?
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  • Won’t know till we get there

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  • Everyone’s different regarding what they enjoy or can put up with!

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  • Perfect example… me Vs my husband!! I enjoy camping, he doesn’t!

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  • Will see how we go for space and general comfort as well!

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  • If taking toddlers in a campervan though, make sure it can take the car seats you need, and that the beds are toddler safe before you book

What’s the weather like for ‘shorter’ hikes/walks that time of the year?
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  • Most likely cold and wet

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  • As to how cold and wet… who really knows till we actually get there!

Many walks available to do with a stroller?
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  • There are a few

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  • I’m guessing those that are labeled wheelchair accessible should be no problem for a stroller

How best to keep toddlers warm and dry during hikes?
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  • We’re thinking of using an Ergo baby carrier for our then 10month old, and whoever’s carrying him, wrapping their larger size raincoat around him as well. ?? smaller umbrella as well if it’s really heavy rain to reduce water running down between adult and child. This worked well for us before in New Zealand.

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  • For longer hikes, we’re thinking we’d also take a Kathmandu child carrier backpack for our then 2.5yr old. Wearing our own raincoat, and putting a poncho over her and the backpack. Have yet to test this method!

Free camping with campervan?
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  • Apparently there are quite a few sites available

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  • We’ll see what we end up doing when we get there

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  • Also depends on if we end up deciding if we want to pay for power so we can have a heater going overnight, or if we want showers and toilets or not

Accessibility of camps, hikes, and other things during winter?
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  • Can sometimes be inaccessible due to snow

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  • Won’t really know till we get there

If booking into accommodation… do you need to book much in advance?
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  • Not such an issue in winter unless there’s something happening maybe

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  • Like possibly in Latrobe during the Chocolate Winterfest in July, but we fly into Launceston the night before so decided to stay in Launceston instead and just do a day trip.

Are many things or areas closed during the winter season?
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  • A few are yes!!

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  • Not many (?? 2 or 3 of the things we would’ve liked to have done), but definitely worth checking before you go.

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  • Tarkine Forest Adventures – Slide into the Tarkine: Shut during winter season

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  • Eagles Eyrie – Maydena: Can shut depending on weather. Refund/Reschedule will be offered if this occurs they said

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  • Westcoast Wilderness Railway: Shut due to financial issues. ?? re-opening for 2013/14 summer season

Recommendations on things to definitely do/not do with toddlers?
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  • Depends on what your toddlers enjoy

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  • We’ve received quite a few excellent suggestions, so will have to see what happens and how the kids enjoy them when we get there

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  • For kids needing a baby seat, it pays to check that tour companies are able to cater for them. We’ve found several companies that wouldn’t be able to take our 10-11month old as their vehicles didn’t have an anchor point for his seat.

Posted by Goannaray 00:48 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania questions answers toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! preparation_hints/tips_summary interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Internet sites I've found helpful...

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  • www.letsgokids.com.au : Awesome site for ‘things to do, where to go, vouchers, special offers’… all family related, for each state.

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  • www.tripadviser.com : Excellent site for wide range of general and destination information with reviews

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  • www.tasmaniasleepervans.com.au : Yes, it is a campervan website. But they also provide excellent research resources. I particularly liked their information and list of different walks available round Tasmania

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  • www.think-tasmania.com : General Tasmania info, plus ‘Things to Do in Tasmania: Top Ten For Kids’ is rather helpful

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  • www.parks.tas.gov.au : National Parks site. Good for information on the parks in general, specific walks, camping…

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  • www.forestrytas.com.au : Good for information on forestry walks. Many helpful and informative blogs by Shannon on a large number of the walks available

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Posted by Goannaray 01:11 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania research toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! preparation_hints/tips_summary interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Misc hints/tips...

  • Travel High Chair AlternativeKaden in the Totseat

    Kaden in the Totseat

Totseat / Mobiseat – As they say it’s ‘the washable, squashable highchair’. (www.totseat.com). Made out of cloth, clip it onto/around whatever regular chair is available, and have your child safely sit in/on there. We bought one of these off ebay for our round the world trip to use with our daughter who was 9 – 12 months at the time. Packed really small and found it extremely useful. Even now with our 10month old son, we got extremely frustrated and annoyed at ourselves for not taking it with us to visit my parents for a week, two weeks ago. Trying to eat your own meal, plus feed and hold a squirming 10month old who loves to grab anything he can reach is not fun!

  • Ipad or other tablet alternative

We hadn’t previously gotten one of these yet, so thought we’d pick one up and see how it went as an entertainment device for our 2.5yr old daughter, and as a laptop replacement for us while traveling. We ended up deciding to save a bit of money and not get the best, new, top of the range item, as we didn’t really know if it would end up being worth it or not. Plus, it’s not long till I’ll be needing a new laptop soon anyway… and many of the best tablets available, cost just as much as a new laptop! So we’re now the owners of a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Will see if it was worth it over the duration of this trip!

  • Camps 7 Book

Was recommended this book, and from numerous previous long driving trips around/through Australia and overseas… thought it looked to be a pretty good investment not only for this trip, but also for future trips within Australia. I’m not a fan of GPS systems for driving, preferring a physical map to look at to get a better ‘picture’ of what’s where, and where I want to go. I’ve photocopied the Tasmania section to take with us, and will see how useful the campsite information provided with the maps is for us in Tasmania.

  • Baby/Toddler Car Seats

We’ve decided the best option for us is to hire baby/toddler car seats through the companies we’re hiring vehicles from. Less hassle, and means we can bring other child items free of charge on the plane (Stroller, Kathmandu child carrier backpack etc).

  • Tasmania National Parks Pass

Decided to pay for it online before we go and take the corresponding printout, instead of purchasing at the park, as we may want to go into a smaller park that doesn’t have that service available, before we get to somewhere we can do that. I rang and asked, and they said the printout should be fine if you haven’t had a chance to exchange it for the physical pass/card yet.

  • Discounts

Definitely check these out!! A lot of the tourist brochures/booklets you can pick up often have local business discounts in them. The ‘Let’s Go Kids’ booklets, and online for each state are awesome sources of ideas and discounts. Also check out what discounts you can get through any of the cards/memberships you may have. For example, RACWA (RACV, NRMA, RACQ etc), YHA (Youth Hostel Australia), QANTAS Frequent Flyer. Also, we’re really lucky that our children are both younger than 3yrs. So entrance fees are not needed for them to any of the places we want to visit (as far as I know so far anyway!). Plus, our son pretty much fly’s for free as he’s under 2yrs. However… we found out that as soon as they turn 2, and you have to pay for a seat… it’s basically straight up to adult fare cause they’re taking up a seat. The downside to the age thing… they very likely won’t remember much (if any) of the trip.

Posted by Goannaray 22:25 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania tips hints toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! preparation_hints/tips_summary interstate_overseas Comments (0)

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