Tuesday, February 14, 2023

[HOBART] Kunanyi Half-Day Tour

Visiting either Hobart or Launceston should have sufficed for Tasmania, but since the island is split into two regions by Nomadmania, I decided to just visit both. The two cities might be located on opposite ends of the island but both can be reached via the Red Line bus in just three hours. If Cradle Mountain was the sole itinerary for my Launceston stop in the north, Kunanyi or Mt. Wellington is defo the highlight of this stop of mine in the south. Both are mountains, so what’s the difference?

Cradle Mountain offers more activities and sights, I believe. You can do more there should the weather permit. You can visit Dove Lake. You can hike some of the peaks. You can stalk wallabies. You can visit Waldheim. There are a plethora of options. Hobart’s Kunanyi, on the contrary, is all about the views of Hobart and the surrounding islands from above. Depending on the tour you end up joining, the operator will probably just give you 20 minutes to spend at the peak, which is simply not enough.

There were several stops along the way from one viewing deck to another. They vary in elevation but the view of the city down below remains the same. In any case, it is always a sight to behold and you will surely be taking a lot of photos. Trust me. Hiking trails are also available but some were closed for maintenance. I also heard about some helicopter tours if that is your thing, although I wasn’t able to verify the details. Overall, what the average tourist does here is join a bus tour and spend 20 minutes at the top before heading back to downtown Hobart.

You can drive a rental car of course, but I recommend that only if you are coming accompanied. If traveling alone, the tour bus is your best bet. The two-hour return tour costs AUD40 (~PHP1,500). The bus has WiFi. Going up will eat over an hour of your time because of the stops. Driving down will be around 45 minutes max depending on traffic. The name of the tour bus is Kunanyi Explorer Bus and one of its stops in downtown Hobart is right in front of the harbor, so it’s hard to miss.

The main attraction at the top is a viewing deck as well as an indoor shed which is a looker itself. You can follow the trails if you drive up there and have more time. If you are with a tour, then running here and there for sightseeing, taking photos, and your toilet break will all be competing for those scarce 20 minutes. Since time is limited at the top, the indoor viewing deck is almost always packed despite people just staying there for a few minutes to take photos.

People say that the view changes radically during winter as snow is abundant on the peaks. Since I went in summer, it wasn’t that cold. I already expected it to be freezing given the Cradle Mountain experience a day or two ago, but I was surprised that the cold up there in Kunanyi was more tolerable. Besides, you are only staying there for a very limited amount of time. Your chances of dying from hypothermia is truly low. Anyway, there is a tower thingy there at the center next to the parking lot but I already forgot what it’s supposed to be.

Back in downtown Hobart, spend some time taking a stroll along the harbor. Hobart is the southernmost port of Australia and I believe you can catch ferries heading to Antarctica from here should you decide to go. Otherwise, basking under the sun without feeling too hot because of the cool breeze can be relaxing in its own right. The harbor area is always alive and brimming with tourists and locals thanks to the selection of restaurants and bars you can find there. You can also find the town hall there if you want a bureaucracy inspired selfie.

Skybus operates in Hobart and can take you to the airport or downtown in front of the harbor in just 30 minutes. The one-way fare is AUD19.50 (~PHP730) and can be purchased online on their website. Or you can always head north to Launceston if you haven’t been there yet. Redline fares start at AUD44 (~PHP1,650) one-way for the three-hour scenic bus ride.

[HOBART] Kunanyi Half-Day Tour

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