8 Days in Tassie

Headshot of Lily Nannini.
Lily Nannini
February 8, 2024
ocean beach before the rain

There are many things I miss about studying in Europe. Besides the bread, what I truly miss is the potential and convenience of travel. While it was relatively easy to get away every weekend in Europe, I have not found that to be the case for Australia. Not only does the academic schedule reveal little about potential travel dates, but places in Australia are, simply put, FREAKING FAR AND EXPENSIVE!!!

My intensive summer term course at UNSW lasted only two weeks, leaving me with two weeks of complete freedom before the start of Term One. I knew I had to seize the opportunity to travel, as there aren’t many guaranteed days after this. The only thing holding me back was the idea of going alone. I’ve always wanted to do a solo trip, so I figured this was as good a time as any

I booked some tours. I booked some hostels. I booked the flight. Then I texted my parents my plans. In my pre-departure blog, I mentioned my love for the notecard in my journal that reads, “a blank page holds endless possibilities.” I had no clue what I was getting myself into when deciding on Tasmania, but I would have never imagined choking back tears at 4 in the morning on the bus to the airport when it came time to leave


You can find my exact itinerary with tours, tickets and accommodations here. A link to my video from the trip can be found here. Below each day’s entry, I’ve shared a corresponding snippet from my journal in italics.



“and so the spending begins”


I took the light rail from the UNSW Anzac Parade stop to Central. From there, I boarded the train to the airport. It was extremely easy, but surprisingly expensive ($17.48AUD just to ride two train stops to the airport??). Security was a breeze. I didn’t have to show my passport at all and never scanned my boarding pass until right before I got onto the plane. I got so lucky and had the row all to myself on an otherwise full flight to Hobart.

Once I landed, it was an easy exit from the airport directly to the Skybus. The driver was so laid back and friendly. She made sure to point out significant landmarks and interesting facts as we made our way into the city. I got off at stop two (Brooke St Pier). It took less than five minutes for me to walk to the Salamanca market, a huge market with over 230 stalls that happens every Saturday from 08:30-15:00. I only had about an hour to explore before everyone started to close up shop. I managed to cover the entire area, though at a rather hasty pace. I sampled some fudge and bought a box of chocolate raspberry and a little gift sampler bag from the House of Fudge booth. I also bought a bag of kangaroo jerky for my dog to try when I return home. For lunch, I got a scoop of blueberry lavender Tasmanian ice cream which was exactly what I needed. 

It was about a 15 minute walk from the market to the Hobart YHA. I checked in then found my room on the first floor. I was the first one to arrive which meant I scored my first choice of bunk (bottom by the window). With the weight of my backpacks literally off my shoulders, I could finally explore with a little more ease. I walked back toward the market area and into the Hobart Bookshop in Salamanca Square. I also made my way up Kelly’s Steps to the lovely neighborhood of Battery Point and eventually back down through Princes Park to Sullivans Cove. After an intense Google search, I settled on getting takeout from Fish Frenzy for dinner. I ordered the three fish entree with chips then sat on a bench in the shade by the water. It was weird eating alone. It felt wrong to be out in public eating dinner without company. At the same time, it felt like ultimate freedom. I could accidentally fling ketchup (they call it tomato sauce) all over myself and not feel embarrassed because, to any passerby, I was just a stranger. I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without absolutely zero restrictions. While I was eating, I saw a fairy penguin briefly pop up to the surface then dive back under the water. It was a simple, but incredible moment and memory I will hold onto forever. 

When I got back to the hostel, my roommates’ bags were there but they were not. I took the opportunity of an empty room to journal, shower, and organize my bags for the next day. They returned just as I had settled into bed and started reading my Kindle. They were super kind and so fun to talk to. I found out one of them was from Switzerland, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. Having hardly any experience staying in hostels and never alone, I was skeptical about who I was going to be sharing a room with. There were no locks for the storage cabinets, so I really did put complete trust in the strangers I was sharing a room with. I quickly realized I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Whether it be people I passed in the hallway or strangers in the kitchen, everyone I encountered always gave a genuine smile.  I found out my three roommates were doing the exact tour I was doing, but leaving for it the next morning. It worked out perfectly, because we all had our alarms set for 06:20, a very fortunate coincidence. 

I had a great day exploring Hobart on my own. I got a glimpse into solo traveling, and quickly realized I was not only capable of doing it, but genuinely wanted to keep doing it. I learned the value of doing the things you want to do, even if no one else is available or wants to join. One of my goals in life is to push myself out of my comfort zone. It is here that I find the greatest lessons and experiences are gained. Not only am I proud of myself for booking the trip and going alone, but I’m so eternally grateful to myself for booking the trip and going alone. In the following recounts of my days, I hope my passion and love for solo travel and this experience, if it hasn’t already, becomes evident. 



“saw the most beautiful full rainbow quite literally at the end”


For day two, we all woke up to our 06:20 alarms. I was quick to get ready (I slept in the clothes I planned on wearing). I walked through Battery Point to Jackman & McRoss bakery. It was a coffee and pastry lover’s dream. I arrived right as they were unlocking the doors for the day. I ordered a blueberry custard tart and flat white, then sat on a bench in Arthur Circus Park. I felt so at peace, sitting alone in the middle of a beautiful cul de sac, surrounded by the most picturesque houses, with only the sound of morning birds chirping and rustling leaves. 

Eventually, I made my way down to the dock where I met my group for my Bruny Island day tour. There were a decent amount of people on the trip, but it was still small enough to be personable. I sat toward the front (live love motion sickness!) in a row all to myself. It was a relaxing drive. Our guide pointed out beautiful sights and shared fascinating stories about the land as we made our way to the spot where we would drive the bus right onto the ferry. I learned that there are cameras in Tasmania that not only capture the speed, but also detect whether passengers are wearing their seatbelts. I also found out that Hobart is a launching point for ships heading to Antarctica. Once on the ferry, I got to step out of the bus and feel the breeze and take in the views during the ride. Once again, it was kinda weird to have no one to share this experience with

Our first stop was a cheese and beer tasting at 10am. We sampled four different cheeses and a pale ale. I loved all the cheeses and even enjoyed the beer, despite not being the biggest beer fan. After the tasting, we drove to The Neck, a narrow, long isthmus connecting the north and south ends of the island, and climbed the stairs to Trugani lookout. Our next stop was Two Tree Point in Adventure Bay. There, we walked on the softest white sand beach and explored the rock pools. Our guide told us some fun facts about kelp. It is, indeed, slimy. 

Our next stop was lunch at Pennicott’s beachside restaurant. I sat at a table with two older couples that I befriended in the group. We all got a round of sparkling wine, then each got three Tasmanian oysters to start. The oysters were very good, but I’m a Wellfleet Oysters fan until the day I die. The greatest difference between the two was the deep shell and creamier texture of the Tasmanian oysters. For our main course, we all got fish and chips with salad. For my second included drink, I got a glass of sauvignon blanc. Our guide gave us each a little spiced apple mead liquor shooter as a gift. I will give it to my dad when I get home. On our way out of the parking lot, we saw a regular and a white wallaby! This was an exciting moment for me, as it marked my first Australian wildlife sighting

We made a brief stop at the Bligh Museum. It was interesting, but didn’t feel completely necessary. After that, we did a short walk through the rainforest. I would have preferred to skip the museum to spend more time in the rainforest, but I appreciated getting to experience both. 

We made it to the chocolate shop where we each got to pick out a chocolate to eat or take home. I got the mint chocolate fudge. We got to walk around the property of the store owners, which boasted a stunning garden and path that led to an open field with a lovely ocean view. 

Our final stop of the tour was the Bruny Island Honey Shop. It was so adorable inside and had honey products of all types. We got to sample a wide variety of locally made honey and each got a cup of Tasmanian leatherwood honey ice cream which I really savored. We also got to pick out a little jar of honey to take home. I was overwhelmed by the options, but decided on the ginger honey. 

On our way back to the ferry, our guide stopped at the Black Devil, a tiny shack selling Tasmanian cherries. I bought half a kilo. It rained for our entire drive back to Hobart, but a vibrant rainbow appeared just as we arrived back at the dock. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rainbow so complete and in such a pristine location. For dinner, I ate some cherries and half of the mint chocolate fudge I got. I met one of my new roommates who was from Scotland. I was obsessed with her accent. I still didn’t sleep great, but slept a lot better than I did the night before. 



“today was one of the best days of my life”


I woke up at 6am and went to the meeting point for my Maria Island day trip. Two other girls, around my age, were waiting at the spot when I arrived. We introduced ourselves and awkwardly, but hilariously, shook hands. Our tour guide picked us up shortly after. We hopped into the van and joined a couple from the US who were also on the tour. We made a quick stop at Banjo’s bakery where I got a ham and cheese toastie to save for lunch. At the ferry dock, we all got coffee from a cute cart before boarding. The ride lasted about 40 minutes and I was so cold. I definitely did not pack right for Australia because my thin hoodie was the warmest thing I brought. My flat white definitely warmed my soul, and the conversation with the people from the group was so nice. I learned that the couple were visiting their son who lives in Singapore, and they travel to a different place every time they visit him. I also noticed the guy was wearing a PCT hat so I asked him if he had hiked it. Turns out, he thru-hiked it back in the 90s! The two other girls were close to my age and also so fun to talk with. We formed a connection instantly and laughed throughout the entire day. 

It was dark and rainy when we got off the ferry. We took a quick stop for the bathrooms then promptly began our walk. I hardly noticed, but the clouds quickly disappeared to reveal a blue, sunny sky. Immediately, we saw pademelons and wallabies. As we were walking, we spotted a wombat by a tree at the top of the hill. Our guide invited us to go up to get a closer look, and we realized the wombat had a baby with her!! At that moment, my life felt complete. While my first couple days consisted of experiencing things alone, it was really nice to feel the joy of getting to see a wombat for the first time with others. The wombats looked like most innocent little fluff balls and I just wanted to pick them up, though they did seem quite dense and can get aggressive. We watched them make their way down the hill and continued on our way. 

When we reached the top of the path, we were greeted with the most incredible ocean view over the cliffs. My jaw literally dropped. For a moment, I really think I forgot we were on an island and that we were going to see water, as the walk up to that point felt so forested and inland. The water at Fossil Bay was so deeply blue and sparkled so intensely. It’s hard to imagine that I was putting on sunscreen when it was raining not even an hour before. 

We continued walking along the outer part of the island, making our way toward our lunch spot. We saw kangaroos along the way which were simply so cute. Before we settled in to eat lunch, we saw another wombat sleeping under the deck of a cabin and another wombat with a baby! My untoasted ham and cheese toastie hit so hard and was just what I needed to replenish my energy for the rest of the tour. Butter and bread and cheese and meat never tasted so good

After lunch, we walked down to the most pristine white sand beach. The color of the water at settlement harbour was simply breathtaking. No description can do it justice like experiencing it in person. The water was deeply blue but became light and turquoise as it got shallow and the contrast with the sand was just stunning. We set our bags down in the shade then walked along the painted cliffs, smooth sandstone cliffs with amazing colors and swirling patterns. As we were about to leave, we saw a black tiger snake. All I can say is we have been truly lucky with our wildlife sightings on this tour!

We walked along a wooden boardwalk through the forest as we made our way back to the ferry dock. Of course, we stopped to watch some more wombats up close before reluctantly continuing on to the end of our journey. As we were on the ferry heading back to the mainland, the island looked a lot more welcoming than it did when we arrived. It was so green and looked so alive. The blue water and the white beach made it seem and feel like I had gotten to experience heaven for a day. I loved the wild nature of the island, and the lack of shops and restaurants. The little human impact truly reflected the natural beauty of the land

When we got back to Hobart, we all exchanged contact information. I went to a shop with the two girls I met at the beginning of the tour. I bought a stuffed wombat, postcards, and a Tasmania spoon for my collection. We went from shaking hands and introducing ourselves to hugging goodbye within the span of ten short hours. I plan to meet up with one of the girls who I became closest with back in Sydney. 

I was internally freezing, so I hurried to Kathmandu where I bought a long sleeve shirt from the sale rack. For dinner, I got a curry scallop pie from the Salamanca grocery store, but didn’t have a way to heat it. I sat on a park bench and ate it cold. Back at the hostel, I did a small load of laundry and put my things together for the start of my five-day tour.



“our guide’s name is tom”


If the past three days weren’t enough to convince you to travel to Tassie, these next five will for sure. As I write this, I can’t help but smile and feel a deep tinge of sadness at the same time. It’s an extraordinarily bittersweet feeling to be hit with so many emotions from the memories all at once

I got up early, dropped my keycard in the box and walked to Hobart Coffee Roasters where I ordered a flat white. When I got back to the YHA, I joined two girls who were sitting with their bags outside the front. I learned they were also doing the 5-day tour. Slowly, others began to trickle in until a man named Tom approached and told us he would be our tour guide. Apparently, two buses were leaving for the tour so some people had to wait for the other driver to arrive. I was on Tom’s list, so I gave him my backpack to put in the trailer then grabbed a seat at the very front of the bus. The seats started filling up and soon we were on our way. I met people from Germany, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Japan, India, France, Chile, Slovenia, Ireland and Italy. Most of us were solo travelers and I loved how open everyone was to get to know each other. 

We made it to Freycinet National Park where we did the walk to the Wineglass Bay viewpoint. At the trailhead, Tom was telling us about the wedge-tailed eagle right as one flew overhead. Watching his excitement toward seeing the eagle was honestly greater than me getting to see the eagle. I didn’t realize the full extent of the moment I was witnessing until after the fact. Apparently, wedge-tailed eagles are critically endangered and are only found in Tasmania and nearby islands. They are Australia’s largest living bird of prey and one of the largest eagles in the world. Tom told us he hadn’t seen one in years, so it really was an incredibly fortunate encounter

The view of Wineglass Bay was just breathtaking (I’m gonna be saying that a lot throughout this blog). We learned that its name originated not just because of its shape, but because of the whalers and sealers living in the area who would set out in small boats to chase and harpoon passing whales. As a result, the bay would turn red with blood, like red wine in a glass. We made our way down a thousand steps to the beach where we climbed the rocks and walked down the shore. It was a painful one thousand steps back up to the van, but so worth it for the beach. 

We drove a short distance to the Cape Tourville lighthouse, where we saw a wallaby up close and walked to a platform overlooking the Tasman Sea and small granite islets called “The Nuggets.” We drove another short distance to a beach near the visitor center that looked out at Coles Bay. This was the beginning of what would become hundreds of group photos together. 

We got back into the bus and completed our longer portion of the drive to the charming coastal town of Bicheno. While part of me wished I could stay there a little longer, one night was honestly the perfect amount of time to experience what felt like everything the town had to offer. We checked into our accommodation, Bicheno Backpackers, which was exclusively reserved for our tour group. I was in a room with four other girls and I claimed a bottom bunk with the most adorable snail comforter. Besides the massive dead spider on the carpet, the common area felt very homey. There was a long dining room table with many seats and a nice little kitchen. 

Dinner was a relatively straightforward, unanimous decision. The second Tom mentioned pizza, me and pretty much everyone else in the group had our dinner plans made. We were all starving, so we walked to Food & Brew Bicheno quickly after setting our bags down. We sat at a table outside. I shared a pizza called the three pigs with one of the other girls and my mouth is watering just thinking about it. All I can say is everything about it was perfect. We lingered for a while, caught up in conversation, until three of us decided to leave to catch the sunset. We walked up to Lookout Rock and saw a little bit of pink in the clouds before quickly wandering down to the beach where we spotted little penguins coming back from their day of fishing out at sea. It was adorable and incredible and fortunate. Tom told us one of these days the penguins will stop coming back to their homes, so I am very grateful that was not the day. Amidst the clouds I looked up to see twinkling stars that radiated in the dark night sky and thought to myself, “holy crap I’m in Tasmania.” This was one of the most fulfilling days packed with new friends, experiences and memories



“felt like a fairytale”


We got up early and went to Blue Edge Bakery. I got a flat white, then we got in the bus and traveled north to the Bay of Fires. This was definitely one of my favorite stops on the tour. Climbing the rocks was so fun and the water looked like the purest ice blue. The orange hue of the rocks from the lichen made the view even more picturesque. We continued on and made a quick stop in St. Helen’s to buy lunch. I got a roast beef salad wrap which was surprisingly really good! 

The next portion of the drive was relatively longer, but not without the most stunning views. We drove through green farmland and mountains. There were so many cows of all colors and sizes lingering in the fields. Tom slowed down for two really cute ones hanging out on the side of the road. As we made our way inland, we stopped to see the giant tree ferns at St. Columba Falls. It was an easy walk down to the falls and we got our first taste of the incredible rainforest. It felt so tranquil and magical. We took so many photos before making our way back up to the bus. As we kept driving, we stopped again at a roadside dam to spot platypuses! They were much smaller than I imagined they would be, but so cool to see! 

The cloudy weather was perfect earlier in the day for the Bay of Fires. By the afternoon, it became very hot and sunny which was ideal for Cataract Gorge. We jumped in and swam in the water. It was beyond refreshing. Before heading back to the bus, we quickly made the trek up to the bridge which offered stunning views from every direction. 

In Launceston, we checked into our hotel which wasn’t anything extraordinary, but the rooms were spacious and came with a private bathroom for the three of us. Once we put our bags down, we walked to Woothworths where I got a container of dried apricots and a box of Uncle Toby’s strawberry granola bars. For dinner, we ate at a Mexican place. I got a small burrito bowl. 

When we got back to the hotel, we realized we all needed water and there was no sink in the kitchen. Shoutout Apple Maps for giving us directions to  a nearby water fountain! While we were searching for water, we literally found the water because the fountain was in a beautiful park beside the harbour. We saw an adorable white golden retriever who was also looking to get a drink from the fountain. After we filled our bottles, we found a spot to sit along the ramp and soak in the view of the town. There was a small waterfall coming out of the rock behind the buildings, adding to the enchantment of the scene. We decided to walk along the docks around sunset and got to witness the most lovely almost full moon rising as we made our way back. The sky was the lightest shade of purple and the simplicity of the moment was just too good



“listening to tom talk abt taking his daughter out of school to travel (can’t get the experience of learning different cultures from school), his experiences hitch hiking + the pure kindness of strangers”


We started our morning in the sweetest little town called Sheffield. It had incredible murals depicting all types of scenes painted around the town. The mountains in the background made it feel really special. We went to Bossimi’s bakery where I got the best flat white of my life and a carrot muffin (also very delicious). They had “Growin’ Up and Gettin’ Old” by Luke Combs playing on the radio and I instantly fell in love with this cafe. The lyrics really hit home at the right time. There I was, standing in a random bakery in Tasmania in this random middle-of-nowhere small town with people I just met a couple days ago, hearing one of my favorite country artists sing “it’s when you start thinkin’ how much time left you got, if there’s more sand in the bottom or the top… ‘cause that hourglass we have don’t last forever, been thinking ‘bout it more and more these days…” And oh my god just as I started to type those lyrics this exact song started playing on my Spotify. Music always seems to find a way to be there at the right moments

We continued the drive to Cradle Mountain and got on the shuttle to the trailhead. The bus ride offered gorgeous views of the park and our driver had a very funny sense of humor. Most of the group opted for the challenging hike to Marion’s lookout. We all shared the mindset that we came all this way so we might as well do it and be in it together. Tom led us up which was awesome. I really enjoyed the entire hike and didn’t find it too difficult. Every angle and elevation offered a unique and incredible landscape view. When we reached the summit of the hike, we were rewarded with the most insane 360 panoramic view. The water of Dove Lake shimmered so intensely below us, it reminded me of one of those paint gem projects but in real life. We got breathtaking views to Cradle Mountain and over to Crater Lake as well. 

We saw an echidna, a spiny anteater, on the walk down. Now I have seen the only two living egg laying mammals in the world! We also spotted a couple wombats at Ronny Creek before boarding the shuttle bus back to the park entrance.

We checked into our hostel in Strahan, where we would be staying the next two nights. Emma and I microwaved our $0.83 package of curry pasta for dinner. It wasn’t great, but it was food! We watched the Australian Open and cheered on the US. One of the guys on the tour that was from the UK works in sports, so it was really fun to talk with him about Bruins hockey. I was amazed that he knew so many of the players! 

We were the only ones in the kitchen that night. A couple people brought decks of cards, so we played games until midnight. Playing spoons was the most stressful thing I’ve felt in a long time, but in the best possible way. We all laughed so hard. It truly felt like family as we were gathered around the table, enjoying each other’s company and having a genuinely good time



“the wedge-tailed eagle on the first day was def an omen of good luck for the trip :)”


This was a dark, rainy day. A couple people from the group opted to go on a river cruise, but most of us chose to do the hike to Tasmania’s highest waterfall, Montezuma Falls. The rain lightened for the perfect amount of time as we completed the walk. Blue skies suddenly appeared while we were at the falls but quickly clouded back up as we started our return trek. 

We walked into an old mineshaft. It was a quick visit for me after Tom pointed the flashlight at all of the spiders inhabiting the cave. We also walked across a narrow, swinging bridge. I was very scared, but the view of the falls on one side and the lush green rainforest on the other was unmatched. 

When we got back to the bus, it immediately started downpouring. We quickly hit the road to our next stop. Henty Dunes is a series of giant dunes formed by the Roaring Forties. I was amazed at how far inland they were, which really highlighted the power of the wind. We climbed the dunes as the rain beat down on us. We only spent a short amount of time at the top before running down and taking shelter in the bus. This was definitely an experience where you just had to embrace the rain and make the most of the experience despite the conditions. 

We went back into town and took refuge from the cold at the cutest little place called the Coffee Shack. It was this tiny cafe with tons of plants, beautiful ceramic dishes, and a rustic wooden counter. I ordered an avo, chicken and cheese toastie and a small hot chocolate. The drink was beautifully prepared and tasted so good. The sandwich was also a nice change of pace from my usual protein bar lunch. 

After our short break, we reunited with the people on the cruise and went to Ocean Beach. The waves looked insane as there was no distinguishable current and all I saw were endless whitecaps. We saw some whale carcasses and learned that 470 long-finned pilot whales were beached on sandbars and trapped inside the heads of Macquarie Harbour in 2020. It was the worst mass stranding on record in Australia. 

On a lighter note, we took a group photo and the second after Tom captured the shot the rain came pelting down and rapidly moving in on us. I found it hilarious that the guy (Tom) who kept saying we’re not made of sugar literally was the first to sprint toward the bus like his life depended on it. 

When we got back to the hostel, we all quickly took showers, changed into fresh clothes then Tom drove us back into town. We went to the longest running play in Australia called “The Ship That Never Was.” The cast was made up of only four actors, so audience participation was mandatory. All I can say is it was so much fun. You really need to be there to experience the lightheartedness of the event in person. I was so impressed by the entire production and the props and the enjoyment of the experience. Despite the jokes, it really was educational. Overall, it was a great way to spend part of the evening. 

The realization that it was our last night started to sink in. Someone left a box with tons of free stuff on a table outside our room, so Emma and I cooked Indomie noodles and Ananya cooked us fried eggs to top them off. Lander and Mateo made us ceviche and it was so delicious and fresh. Everyone was trying to get rid of their food, so we feasted on chocolate chip cookies, Tim Tams and Biscoff for dessert.



“genuinely so sad, i’ve come to love these people + this group so so much”


Today we started to make our way back to Hobart. We began our morning in Queenstown. The streets looked like they were straight out of the 1900s and the cloudy weather only added to the effect. We went to the Tracks Cafe where I got a flat white and chocolate muffin. 

The tone of this entire day felt bittersweet. We all knew it was coming to an end, but didn’t want to acknowledge it. Our first stop was at Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. We did a short walk along the river and through the rainforest to the visitor center. We stood on the shore of Australia’s deepest freshwater lake, Lake St Clair. I learned that the aboriginal name is Leeawuleena, which means sleeping water. In the shop, I got a postcard, magnet and Tasmania national parks passport which I filled with stamps. 

Our final destination of the tour was Mt Field National Park. When we got out of the bus, there was a light rainfall but the sky was remarkably blue with only a few wispy clouds floating overhead. The sunlight passing through the water droplets as I looked up was an especially magnificent sight. The contrast of cool raindrops and the warm sunshine at the same time felt magical. Antoine asked me for a song to add to his playlist (he collects one from every person he meets on his travels). I told him “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers because it was stuck in my head all day. 

We did the tall trees walk and saw some of the tallest flowering plants in the world. Eventually, the trail led us down to Russell Falls which was the ultimate conclusion of our sights to see on the tour. We were all standing on the platform admiring the gentle stream of the falls together. 

The bus ride back to Hobart was quiet. The landscape and open winding road was beautiful. As we got closer to the city, Tom told us that the question he gets asked the most on the tour is if he ever gets tired of seeing the same things. He explained that he doesn’t because he gets to meet new people from all over the world and watch their excitement grow when they see all the wild and natural places. I love his admiration for Tasmania and his graciousness in helping share it with others. 

Everything started happening quickly as the drop offs began. Tom notified us in advance to say our goodbyes, but nothing can ever truly prepare you for saying goodbye

There were only a few stops before Mara and I got dropped off outside of Montacute Hostel in Battery Point. It was really sad to watch Tom get our bags out of the trailer for us for the very last time. It was a rushed goodbye, but I wished more than anything for more time to linger. I wanted more time to talk to Tom and hear stories from his life (because he had plenty and they were all fascinating) and express my gratitude for the entire past week. I wanted to tell him that he truly changed my life and my perspective on so many things, and I couldn’t imagine exploring Tasmania any other way. All I could manage to say was, “thank you so much,” before he was hopping back in the van and giving two little honks of the horn as he drove away with the remainder of the group. From the bottom of my heart, I hope he knew how deeply thankful I was, for everything. 

After Mara and I checked into our rooms, we went for a short walk down to the water. We saw, once again, an entirely full, vibrant rainbow above Hobart. It was the most special and complete end to the experience of a lifetime. As we ended our walk, we said tschüss and parted ways. 

I went to dinner alone at the Honey Badger Dessert Cafe, because it was on my Hobart bucket list and didn’t appeal to me during my first two nights. I ordered the Berry Bliss, a croffle (croissant waffle) with berries, raspberry curd, coconut white choc snow, pistachio and boysenberry ice cream. It was heavenly. 

I walked back to Battery Point after dinner and sat in Arthur Circus Park one last time. In the hostel, I caught up on journaling and met my roommates. They were so nice and I found out they were leaving the next day for the exact same tour I had just finished. I envied them and would have dropped everything to be able to do it all over again. I set an alarm on my watch for 3:40am and didn’t go to sleep until after midnight. Memories from the trip were playing in my head on repeat until I finally drifted off. 



“driving over the tasman bridge it took everything in me not to cry right then + there”


I woke up naturally two minutes before my alarm. I brushed my teeth, packed what little remained into my bags and was out the door. It was early Sunday morning and I passed so many people coming back from the bar. I walked about ten minutes through the dark down to the Brooke St Pier bus stop, the exact location I had arrived at eight days before. 

While I was sitting on the bus, “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers started playing on Spotify. I was looking out the window as we drove over the Tasman Bridge and it took everything in me not to break down and start sobbing. I just had the most incredible week with the most incredible people and incredible experiences, and then I just had to…leave??? How? How can I come to love a place and a group of people so much? We were strangers five days ago, but for five days we shared the same life. It sounds ridiculous and dramatic, but everything in my body physically ached. The pain I felt from having to leave this life I’ve been living is indescribable. I loved waking up everyday and exploring new places with these people. I wasn’t ready to just go back to city life and routine. 

When I got to the airport, it was so tiny. There were only 6 gates and I could see them all. I got a flat white and it was probably the best airport coffee I’d ever had. I had a layover in Melbourne and my luck continued, as I was randomly assigned the window seat for both of my flights. The entire flight to Melbourne, I didn’t stop looking back out the window until Tasmania was out of sight and it was just water. On my way to my gate in Melbourne, I passed a gate that was leaving for Hobart. I so strongly desired to get on that plane and go back to Tasmania that day. Ultimately, I boarded my flight to Sydney. I took an Uber from the airport because I simply was not in the mood to deal with public transportation. When I got back to my room at the UNSW Village, I unpacked my bags just to repack them to leave for surf camp the next day. 


“i’m very exhausted but also entirely sad. i miss tasmania”



  • be prepared for any kind of weather - it went from cold and rainy to hot and sunny within a matter of hours. the warmest thing i brought to australia was a hoodie and i ended up buying a long sleeve for another layer. 
  • don’t overpack, save room for souvenirs - i flew with virgin australia and they didn’t weigh my bags for any of my flights, but they were 100% over the 7kg limit. i know jetstar is very strict with the weight of carry-on bags. i wasn’t necessarily tight on space in my cotopaxi 28l allpa and had plenty of room still in my camelbak day pack, but i packed more outfits than i actually ended up needing
  • you don’t need pajamas - after i showered before getting into bed, i slept in the clothes i planned on wearing the next day (athletic wear)
  • pack sunscreen - the sun is deceiving but the uv is strong!
  • pack sandals/teva’s - these were nice when i didn’t want to wear my bright pink plastic birk shower shoes, but wanted to give my feet a rest from my hiking boots (though if you're tight on space/weight then these can be skipped!)
  • pack hiking boots if you have them - i’m so glad i had these instead of my hoka’s. they were a lot more comfortable and definitely more durable to withstand the mud, rain, sand and anything else i put them through 
  • pack protein bars if you want - i’m glad i had some bars stashed in my bag in case, but tom gave us plenty of opportunities to go to bakeries or grocery stores to get food


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Lily Nannini,

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Lily Nannini

Hi! I'm Lily and I'm from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I currently attend Washington and Lee University in Virginia. I'm always down for spontaneous adventures, catching sunrise/sunset, and taking pictures of food:) When I graduate college I want to renovate a van and travel the country, visiting every U.S. National Park as I go. Hopefully I'll have a golden retriever with me too. I love meeting new people and gaining new experiences, so I am extremely excited for this term in Vienna!

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