On leaving Strahan we were headed to Port Arthur but decided that we needed to break up the journey and therefore booked ourselves a last minute stop at the beautiful Sassafras Springs in Ellendale, just north of Hobart.
We drove out via Lake St Clair – a stunning lake on the other side of the Cradle Mountain National Park, where we had a wonderful walk amongst more snow and warmed up with hot chocolate in the cafe before driving onto Ellendale.
Magic in Ellendale
We had booked Sassafras Springs, last minute as a quick stop over, but wished we had been able to stay longer. The site is an eco-retreat and has so much to offer – from stunning views to roaring log fires, the play hut for the children, art hut for us all to get creative, veg garden, chickens and walks. We had nowhere near enough time here but the girls made the most of it and explored from the minute we arrived until after dark! In this remote part of Tasmania, the stars were so clear that you could see so many more and so much more than you can in England – truly stunning. This was definitely a highlight of our trip and once again we had a bath to relax in at the end of the day as well!!
The girls thought that the name of this town was similar to Arendale (from Frozen) and they felt like they had as much fun as if they had been with Elsa and Anna themselves. This place really is a hidden gem and if you happen to be in Tasmania, make sure you add it to your itinerary. We will be returning in the future, hopefully in warmer weather to really appreciate this special place.
$5 Hats and Funky Tea Break
The next day we headed towards Port Arthur following the River Derwent (just like being at home – the Derwent flows through Derby in the UK). We decided to stop off in New Norfolk, for coffee and to see what the town had to offer. We were not disappointed after refueling with amazing coffee and cake at The Cake Lady, we headed to a nearby shop to select $5 hats for us all as we were feeling the cold and sunhats weren’t quite right in winter!
Further exploration led us to a second-hand bookshop where all the girls made purchases before we headed to the library for a half an hour relax before continuing our drive south.
We found our accommodation in Port Arthur easily and were very pleased to have such a beautiful cabin right by the lake. Another last minute find after deciding we wanted somewhere a little different from the usual holiday park, the Four Seasons Holiday Cottages are highly recommended and even include bacon and eggs for breakfast!!
After a little explore we decided a takeaway dinner was called for and we were all well fed with fish and chips in Port Arthur.
Convicts and Devils
After deciding that the historic site would be a little too boring for the girls and having realised we’d spent two weeks in Tasmania without spotting a Devil, we made the decision to visit the Unzoo the next day so that we could finally see one in the flesh. This place didn’t disappoint, we learnt far too much about the Tasmania Devil life cycle and spent time listening to them crunch their way through their food – they literally eat everything including bone!
The highlight of our Unzoo experience, however, was feeding Kangaroos – something completely unexpected and that everyone found enthralling. We had no idea we would be able to get so close to these creatures, let alone hand feed them.
In the afternoon we headed on a drive around the convict route, explored the Coal Mines historic site before heading back to the cabin to pack ready for our drive to Hobart the next day.