Tasmania: Sunsets, Stars, and Sand

Jess makes a kangaroo friend. Photo Credit: Jessica Solomon

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imaged touching the stars or seeing the most vibrant pink sunset reflected against the sea. Nor did I imagine participating in a failed sunset-chasing trip up an unmarked hillside, only to reverse in a stick-shift car with barely enough room to not fall off.
When looking at a map, Tasmania appears to be the size of a penny. In reality, to get from Bay of Fires on the East Coast to Macquarie Harbour on the West Coast, it takes seven hours. After weeks of planning, meetings, booking Airbnb’s and hostels, rental cars (one stick-shift and one automatic), adding people to the group, and route mapping, the eight of us were finally ready to go.
We set off from Melbourne, with dreams of petting kangaroos, seeing the “Tassie Devil”, and having the best fall break ever. I was astonished that the flight from Melbourne to Launceston was only 45 minutes. It’s shocking considering it takes an hour and 15 minutes on the tram to get from La Trobe University Melbourne to Flinders Street Station, which is in the heart of Melbourne. Upon arriving to Launceston, which is one of the smallest airports I have ever seen, we were greeted by three 25-year-olds, who were picking up the cars and making sure we had the proper insurance.
In seven days, we stayed in four different towns, drove through countless others, spent hours at beaches (including a “hotel guest only” beach), hiked, saw some friends from Melbourne, became friends with a person from Arkansas, critiqued wine, made family dinners, and saw incredible sunrises, sunsets, and stars. Those seven days were packed full of adventure and amazing memories. Every morning, I was overwhelmed and excited for what was to come. Each moment posed a different question: what would the drive look like today? Who will get the nicest room in the Airbnb? Will the car stall out? Will we see a “Tassie Devil,” wombat, or kangaroo? What will the stars look like tonight?
On our first night in Bay of Fires, we could hear the Tasman Sea roaring from our backyard. But we couldn’t find the gate! So we all walked down the street, only to be amazed at the zero-light-pollution town. We took flashlights and finally came upon a small patch of sand and the vast sea. To sit and see the stars so clearly, as if you could reach out and truly touch them, was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I had never just spent time sitting and staring at the midnight sky. Or getting up before dawn to literally chase the sunrise and see the day truly come alive. Or pet kangaroos, or stop at the tiniest grocery stores or drive with minimal directions. The craziest experience was being lost in a small town at midnight, with only one phone working, no hostel phone number, two street lamps, and the stars shining bright. Though we knew roughly where we were going and that we always needed to make it to the Airbnb or hostel on time, we had the freedom to drive. This is a freedom I don’t know if I will ever experience again. There were no worries; just the open road, friends, and an almost straight-shot to our next destination. Tasmania will always have a special place in my heart and I am thankful that we didn’t hit any “Tassie Devils”, and that the kangaroos didn’t fight us.

T-A-S-S-I-E Photo Credit: Jessica Solomon

Jessica Solomon is a Media and Communications Major from Philadelphia, PA. She is passionate about photography, fashion, and travel.

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