Bay of Fires Lodge to Launceston
Start - Bay of Fires Lodge
Finish - Design Tasmania, Launceston
Length - 3.5km (One Way)
Grade - Green
Terrain - Single Track, 4x4 Track
Vertical Climb - 77m
Time - 1 hour
Cost - See TWC website
Date Hiked - 24th April 2019
The Hike - The final day on what had been a fantastic experience was upon us and much like the previous two mornings I was up early to take in the sunrise. With a fluttering of cloud cover spreading out from the horizon it was clear that this was going to be a much better event than the previous day.
Changing from a Vanilla Sky dream sequence to a burning orange and then settling on a fairy floss colour palette for the final part of the show, this was a very enjoyable sunrise from a pretty amazing spot. While not as dramatic as the previous morning, there was a pleasant subtlety to the display on this occasion. With the kitchen a buzz with guides preparing the morning meal I ventured in to grab a coffee before heading outside to enjoy the last of the candied skies. The previous night Joel had explained that today would be a very relaxing lounge around the lodge where we could do whatever we wanted before walking out around midday for the return back to Launceston.
That answered my question about the timings of today as the trip notes state there is an hour of walking for the day but we wouldn't be back in Launceston until 5:30pm. Breakfast was soon served and we enjoyed the last sit down meal of the trip together (I can't remember what we had but I want to say pancakes or waffles). The big morning activity Caris had planned was a trip to the day spa that was just over the hill from the lodge. You can book baths, massages and treatments before your trip and Caris had decided that she would indulge in a bath after our second day. When we arrived on day two she met with the spa manager and it was suggested that maybe the morning of day four would be best as once the sun goes down it gets dark very quickly and the views are wasted.
With that in mind she rebooked to this morning and at 9am we ventured over the hill and to the spa centre. Build in the same style as the lodge with plenty of wood, great views and nestled into the landscape, we took a look around while Marion filled the bath and prepared the experience for Caris. While I wasn't partaking in the Tasmanian Peet style bath, I was here as Instagram boyfriend, taking a few photos of Caris in various travel magazine style poses before leaving and letting her enjoy the actual bath. When all was ready Caris got in and I took a few snaps before leaving her in peace. As I didn't book in a massage or treatment (in hindsight I regret not doing this) I decided to head out onto the east deck and partake in some relaxing Pilates. I'd noticed a yoga mat and foam roller in the chest of the library so pulled them out and spent half an hour just stretching and going through the exercises I remembered.
With the sounds of the waves it was very relaxing and the foam roller really hit some spots in the calves and hamstrings. Caris found me out on the deck and with a lot of the morning left we decided to take a walk down to the beach to explore the rocks and soak it all in one last time. I stayed a little longer than Caris and was having a great time climbing all over the rocks, exploring rock pools for crabs (some dead, some alive) and even finding some very cool anenome in one section. Having a good look around the entire beach and jagged rocks, my secret hope was to find a Tasmanian Devil or Wombat but in reality I was happy just doing nothing but being a curious kid climbing over the rocks. With one last deep breath and longing gaze at the lapping waves and white sand I left the beach and headed up to the lodge again. Francesco had baked some hot cross buns and for people that know me, they understand how excited I would have been for these treats (they should be sold all year round).
We still had about an hour before we departed on the walking section of the day so I sat on the couch and read my book in the silence. I was reading The Light Between Oceans, an engaging but sad story about a lighthouse keeper and his wife set in the South West of Australia after WWI. Having spent a lot of time there it was easy to imagine the story even if the town it is set in is fictional. The call soon went out for everyone to gather in the courtyard for departure so we said goodbye to Francesco and Marion before setting off on the last adventure of the trip. The start would be familiar as we made our way down to the 4x4 track but once there we set off in a different direction along a single track.
Joel said the final day would be like the forest hugging you goodbye and he wasn't wrong with some very thick sections of ferns making it feel very cosy at times. Luckily it hadn't been raining otherwise we'd all have been soaked through. The walking was very pleasant and the forest a photogenic shade of green with different ferns, dry sclerophyll and the occasional variety of pine tree. The 3.5km went very quickly and we soon reached the lunch spot where the bus driver would walk out to meet us. We all sat down on rocks or logs and ate the delicious salad while Jessie decided that a game of Leaf, Stick and Rock. Basically what would you leaf (leave) here with, what stuck with you and what rocked your world about the trip. It was a corny but fun game to play where the consensus from everyone was that Joel and Jessie had done a fantastic job and made the trip very special.
Our bus driver arrived and we all piled into the bus for the long trip back to Launceston. We stopped to stretch our legs at a small town but for the most part everyone was just tired and keen to arrive back in civilisation. Caris fell asleep on my shoulder and I finished my book as it started to rain for the first time on the trip. The finishing point where we would separate our gear and be reunited with our luggage was Design Tasmania near the centre of Launceston. We had visited here during our stay prior to the trip and found it odd that the shop girl said to us "see you when you get back" after we mentioned that we were doing the Bay of Fires (the trip notes mention finishing at a winery). With our gear all sorted we were given a tour of the building with the main focus of the centre to showcase Tasmanian craftspeople and artists as they use locally sourced wood.
It was a lovely way to end the trip but I had to cut out early as I changed our hire car booking to be picked up a local hotel instead of the airport. As a result I missed out on saying goodbye to everyone, exchanging details and most importantly thanking Joel and Jessie for a wonderful trip. I thought everyone would still be around when I returned but it wasn't to be. With a two hour drive to our AirBnB near Freycinet and supplies to pick up along the way we piled into the Rav4 hire car and set off on the long journey. The drive gave me time to reflect on the great experiences I had over the past few days and how much I was looking forward to getting home to edit the photos and relive the wonderful memories.
Final Thoughts - When reflecting on the entire trip my first thank you has to be to Candy and Hal for their generosity in inviting us to join them on this experience. They are great travel partners with a lot of world experience that they are thankfully willing to share with us. This is not something I think I would have done at this stage of my life so to have the opportunity was incredible and we are grateful for their kindness.
Joel, Jessie and the entire lodge crew made our trip very enjoyable, delicious and entertaining with their dedication to the job and genuine interest in making sure everyone was having a good time. Even though they met 20 minutes before we met them, they had a great big brother/little brother chemistry that morphed into a real friendship by the end.
The group we had on this trip was also a big plus with a good variety in ages, stories, backgrounds and working life. We certainly made more effort on this trip to get to know everyone and hang out outside of the day's hiking because everyone was very likable and we all got along well.
The trip itself I found to be a great experience and I'm sure if you reached this point you've read all the posts and seen all the photos. It's an iconic part of Tasmania for a reason and I think this is the best way to see it.
As one of the cheaper Tasmanian Walking Company tours (I'm not affiliated with them), this is a great luxury hiking option if you don't want to worry about the logistics of organising your own extended stay in the area.
If you're lucky you might get the same great weather that we did and have a great trip too.
Get out there and experience it!!!
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