I didn’t know what to expect when I made my way into Tasmania’s North West. I didn’t know what the landscape would be like, how the towns would be arranged and how the things I take for granted may differ. In my city upbringing, my ignorance came with me.
# 1 Have Cash On You
Some towns don’t have ATMs. Some towns don’t take EFTPOS. If you’ve forgotten your pin code make sure you find out before you leave because some machines may not have payWave either.
“Hey, can I pay by card?”
“No, sorry, we don’t have a machine.”
“No worries! Where’s your closest ATM?”
“The next town over.”
“It’s only a 10-minute drive.”
“But… how do you like… pay for things if you need something?”
“… You use cash?”
# 2 Be Prepared For Little Mobile Reception
The reality is, escaping to the wilderness means you’ll have to give up some of the luxuries of city life. Things like your big warm beds and your doggos and your mother’s/housemate’s/partner’s chocolate brownies.
You’ll also have to be prepared for little reception. Sure, there are pockets for the odd ‘gram or quick phone call, but it’s important to make sure you haven’t promised to maintain Snapchat streaks before you go.
# 3 It’s Remote, In The Best Kind Of Way
Sometimes we escape because we start to feel lonely even in a room full of people we know. Somehow, escaping somewhere remote is reinvigorating. For the introverts out there, Tassie is great if you need some solo time. For couples, this is great if you want sexy camping times without worrying about whether the tent 3m away can hear you. For mates, you can play music all night and no one will get annoyed.
# 4 Respecting Sacred Indigenous Sites Is Imperative
Tasmania’s Aboriginal history dates back 40, 000 years. There are hundreds of sacred sites all over the island and it is important to be cautious and informed. If a sign tells you not to camp or climb or photograph something, don’t. If you’re curious as to why, look it up before you decide in frustration you’re going to camp or climb or photograph it anyway.
In the space of 30 years in the 1800s, the Aboriginal population in Tasmania declined from between 5,000-10,000 to a mere 300 thanks to the devastating impact of “prosperity” and “progress” in the name of colonisation. We must grasp the shocking reality of this before we decide to ignorantly disregard sacred artefacts.
# 5 You Need To Take A Car
If you’re coming from another state, take your car over on the Spirit of Tasmania. If you don’t have a car, invite a friend who does and subtly mention that maybe you should take theirs.
Having your own vehicle means you can pack it tight with tents and pillows and doonas and snacks and kayaks if you so please. It’ll save you a heap of money, it’ll maximise comfort and adventure, and it’ll give you the freedom to explore all the nooks and crannies of Tasmania’s North West.
# 6 Tasmanians Are Always Willing To Lend A Hand
Run out of petrol at 9pm on a Sunday night? No worries. Walk into the local pub and you’ll be greeted with a sea of smiling faces willing to give you a jerrycan full of car juice.
# 7 If You Get Lost, It’s Okay
Everyone will help you. We ran low on fuel and a couple of us had to venture into town to look for diesel in the late afternoon, despite all the petrol stations being closed (yes, they close). 10 minutes later we had found someone who knew someone with a tank of diesel on the back of their truck. Minutes later we were in convoy, 7 tradesmen to our rescue.
Naturally, the guy with the diesel hose was having a cheeky smoke while he was doing it. That’s Tasmania.
# 8 Free Camping Spots Are Everywhere And Beach Fires Are OK
Oh man, the liberation for a city slicker to be able to build a fire on a beach and pitch a tent without worrying about rangers/police/council raining on your parade. There’s no nannying here. Of course, there are plenty of sacred Indigenous sites and places you can’t camp for legitimate environmental and safety reasons, so just make sure you look out for signs.
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