Iconic Tasmania. Karmen Harley's top 5 photo spots with stunning images of Tasmania's rugged vistas and abundant wildlife.

My Top 5 Photo Spots

So the three week trip we’d planned to Japan somehow morphed itself into a ten day trip to Tasmania. This in part due to my brother having an engagement party (that turned into a surprise wedding) and my husband (my chief tripod carrier) having to return to work earlier than planned.

Therefore, instead of boarding an eight hour flight to Tokyo, we took a hop, skip and a jump to Hobart. So, armed with a map printed from my computer the night before and a handwritten list of places to visit from my Dad’s partner who’s a Tassie native, we were ready.

Wellllll… after queuing for an hour at the airport to collect our hire car, we were ready!

Thankfully we had plenty of things to think and talk about in that queue and with lunch top of the list we began googling the best restaurants in Hobart. We had caught a 5am flight, it was the first day of our holiday and we were ready to spoil ourselves.

So we had lunch at pretty fancy shmancy restaurant called The Agrarian Kitchen which is housed in a former psychiatric hospital. Perfect! Actually it was pretty damn amazing. That night we stayed in Hobart at a rather fabulously grand ye olde worldy hotel called Hadley’s Orient Hotel before heading West to Derwent Bridge.

Which brings me to the start of my Top 5 Tassie list. By the way, this list is in order of our travels and I know there’s probably a gazillion places we’ve missed and I’m sorry but they’ll just have to wait for our next trip (definitely happening)!


The shot I was after was an aerial view of Pumphouse Point on Lake St Clair but on arrival we discovered that pretty much the entire area is National Park or Reserve and we couldn’t use our drone so I had to scout for a different angle.

We returned at sunrise the next morning with tripod, filters and full of optimism (if little else) to ward off the cold. Then just as we were leaving, it started snowing. In November. In Australia! I didn’t get the shot I wanted but it didn’t matter, snow is exciting and I was like a (very cold) kid in a candy shop freezer.

FYI – If you’re in the area you have got to go to The Wall. It’s amazing. Trust me.


For such a big tourist drawcard, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife have done an amazing job at protecting this area and keeping it a wild, untamed, glorious piece of Australia.

The two days we were in the Park, we crossed paths with only two other people who were out hoping to spot Tasmanian Devils. Admittedly we were not in peak season and most tourists/hikers were arriving and leaving on the shuttle bus. Plus I’m always chasing sunrise and sunset for the best light so we were arriving at 5am and leaving around 9am or arriving after 7pm.

The wildlife that emerge around this time is prolific and even as an Aussie born and bred, I let out an excited screech the first time I spotted a wombat in the wild. My husband was driving at the time and was a little less impressed with my high pitched vocals.

A wombat and her young emerge for a feed just as the sun sets, Cradle Mountain National Park.
A curious joey watches the world go by from the safety and warmth of its mother’s pouch.
Cradle mountain breaks through the cloud behind an old boatshed built by a ranger in 1924. The glass-like waters of Dove Lake provide a beautiful reflection in the cold, early morning light.


We visited quite a few waterfalls on our Tassie travels but this one was my favourite to photograph and the most confusing to get to. Both Google maps and the road signs could do with a little updating. If you want to do the shorter walk, take the road that heads uphill (you’ll understand when you get there).

We also stopped at Russell, Horseshoe and Nelson Falls which are all beautiful. There’s some photos of them too so you  can make your own mind up. Or do what we did and visit them all.

Liffey Falls
Russell Falls
Nelson Falls
Horseshoe Falls


We had hit the East Coast and I was excited! I had all these great sunrise photos pictured in my head with red lichen covered rocks glowing as the morning’s sun rays bounced off them.

Not so.

As per every sunrise we had experienced on the trip so far, we were greeted with thick grey cloud and a lacklustre (at best) sunrise. By this point I have to admit, the constant 4am wake ups, a lack of coffee and no spectacular sunrise shots to show for it, may have made me a little grumpy.

However, after a hot shower, a blast of coffee and a bite of toast, the clouds cleared and we were back out on the rocks, this time armed with our drone. Finally a place we could let it fly!

Fun fact for the day: Bay of Fires was actually called that because of the Aboriginal fires that lined the shores when Captain Tobias Furneaux sailed past in 1773. Not because of the red lichen on the rocks like I had thought!

An aerial view of a small red boat moored up in a sheltered alcove at Binalong Bay, Tasmania
Thousands of tiny bird prints pattern the sand as turquoise waves lap the beach. Photo taken on the East Coast somewhere between St Helen’s and Scamander.


Arriving in Coles Bay in the late afternoon, we took ourselves down to the beach to scout locations and were treated to a brilliant sunset. As the sun lowered, more and more people arrived on the beach with their chairs and blankets quietly soaking up the last of the day’s rays.

As it was the last stop on our trip before heading back to Hobart for our flight home to Brisbane, I suggested to my husband we could do an early morning walk up to Wineglass Bay Lookout for sunrise, or even better Mt Amos. Alternatively, we could do an early morning scenic flight.  After a week of disappointing sunrises, he didn’t hesitate and the scenic flight was sensational.

Mother Nature had decided to finally reward us for all our past sunrise dedication and the weather was the best we’d had so far. The sun was brilliant, the water like glass and not a single puff of wind. Of course in typical fashion for Tasmanian weather, all that changed a few hours later when the clouds rolled in and the wind started blowing a gale but by that stage we were back in front of our log fire.

It was the end of a spectacular day and as the sun lowered, the granite peaks of The Hazards soaked up the last of the day’s rays.
The early morning sun lights up Wineglass Bay and The Hazards in spectacular fashion, bathing the rugged coastline in warmth.
Wild and largely untouched, schouten Island and Freychinet’s East Coast is bathed in Golden Light from the early morning sun. It’s such a clear day that even Mount Wellington can be made out in the distance.
The pink granite peaks of The Hazards rise up dramatically from the horizon, glowing red in the afternoon sun.

Well that was my Top 5 but here’s two more bonus places I would like to mention.


We took the car over on the early morning ferry and made our way straight down to the lighthouse because we wanted to avoid the tour busses that we’d been told would arrive later.

It’s totally worth the drive and when we got there, we could pay to go up to the top, which we did so I could get a better view. But the real highlight of this was the Bruny Island local that came up with us and told us all about the lighthouse, the region and the history – he was a bit of a character too.

Of course, Bruny Island is worth a visit just for the local cheese, craft beer, Tassie wine, handmade chocolate and freshly shucked oysters too. Literally ALL of my favourite things. Luckily we had the car, otherwise I would have had to be rolled back onto the Ferry.


If you find yourself on the West Coast passing through the old fishing town of Strahan with time to spare, it’s worth doing the boat trip with Gordon River Cruises.

The weather was against us so I wasn’t able to capture those beautifully mirrored reflections in the Gordon River but the cruise out through Hell’s Gate made the trip worthwhile. As did visiting Sarah Island and learning about the story and history behind one of Australia’s worst convict penal settlements.

Iconic Tasmania. Karmen Harley's top 5 photo spots with stunning images of Tasmania's rugged vistas and abundant wildlife.
The lighthouse on Bonnet Island, also marking the entrance through Hell’s Gate into Macquarie Harbour is also home to a thriving colony of little penguins.
An old floating boatshed perfectly at home tied up alongside fishing boats in Strahan, Tasmania
The lighthouse on Entrance Island marking the notorious passage through Hell’s Gate and into Macquarie Harbour, Strahan.

In Tasmania, you’ll find yourself surrounded by wild, rugged vistas, an abundance of wildlife and friendly down-to-earth locals so I hope my Top 5 helps but you really can’t go wrong wherever you choose to explore in Tassie.

If you would like to hang a little piece of Tassie on your walls, head on over to the gallery to check out my prints for sale or click on the Shop Now  button at the top of the screen.

K xxx

Ps. This is not a sponsored post. When I’ve mentioned companies, hotels, restaurants or anyone else it’s because I would highly recommend them and they truly added to our experience. I have not received payments, discounts, free stuff or kickbacks from any of them.

Under The Stars of Africa – Part 1

Under The Stars of Africa. Weeks of freedom, a dilapidated Land Rover, old maps and a navigator with no sense of direction.


Four glorious weeks of freedom, a dilapidated Land Rover, old school roadmaps and a navigator with no sense of direction (that’s me). All the elements were there for the making of a great misadventure and with the electrics of our car catching fire on the first night, our trip through East Africa did not disappoint.

For most travellers, the highlight of their trip to Africa is a face-to-face encounter with a member of the big five or to witness the great wildebeest migration across the Serengeti.

Our trip was no different and the thrill I felt when staring down my lens and into the fearless eyes of a battle-worn lion was everything I expected it to be and more.

However, what made our trip different from most was what happened when we returned to camp at night. There were no champagne bottles on ice or fancy safari lodges or posh glamping tents with luxurious bedding waiting for us. There was just our rooftop tent, our box of warm wine and a simple pasta dish cooked over our gas plate. And very often an unexpected encounter with wild Africa.

Under The Stars of Africa. Weeks of freedom, a dilapidated Land Rover, old maps and a navigator with no sense of direction.

At Fisherman’s Camp, a herd of resident hippos – one just three days old – would emerge from the lake in the evenings and graze quietly on the banks of the camp. We were reassured that for our own safety we were surrounded by an electric fence although personally, I have my doubts as to whether it was even active.

Through Hell’s Gate and a Meeting with a Local

Our camp at Hell’s Gate was much more isolated. With towering cliffs and billowing steam caused by intense geothermal activity, it’s a pretty impressive National Park for its size and we were surprised when we realised there was not a single other camper staying the night. We set up camp high on the ridge to be able to capture what I hoped would be a spectacular view at first light.

That evening, when my husband had wandered off for a toilet break, I was left to sit in the dark and soak up the sounds of the bush at night. As I did, I heard someone slowly and quietly approaching from behind. Not only had my husband walked off in the opposite direction, he wouldn’t try to sneak up on me in the dark.

Footsteps came closer, my heart was thumping, my hands sweaty and I realised I was holding my breath. I was scared and completely on my own – my husband was nowhere in sight. As the footsteps got even closer I leapt up and spun around with the torch on full power ready to face my attacker.

All I managed to do, however, was scare the bejeesus out of the curious baboon standing behind my camp chair. He scampered off just as my husband nonchalantly wandered back to our camp, completely oblivious to what all the fuss was about or why my heart rate was through the roof!

Our Journey Continues..Eventually

Our adventures through Kenya continued, although we were hindered by a batch of dirty fuel which continually blocked our fuel lines and clogged our fuel filter. Unable to find replacement parts, we limped further south towards the Tanzanian border.

Coming to the realisation that we wouldn’t make it to the border before dark, we found a lodge that someone had suggested may let us camp on their grounds for the night. They kindly let us stay and we took advantage of their hospitality with hot showers (heaven!) and laundry hung from every part of our vehicle.

I’m sure the mere presence of our beat up old landrover, our dirty laundry and our dusty tent devalued their property, but we were made to feel just as welcome as the rest of their guests. And while their other guests were enjoying a meal and drinks in the five-star restaurant, we were enjoying a million star view of the Milky Way as it rose over our camp.



Ps. Crossing the border from Kenya into Tanzania with our car the next day was considerably less enjoyable. Trouble abounded, confusion reigned, and it was several hours before we figured out that the production of a $20 note could clear up the “confusion”. That transaction completed, we were given the paperwork needed to get the car across the border and continue our journey.

Under The Stars Of Africa – Part 2

Under The Stars of Africa Part 2. We continued our adventures as we crossed the border into Tanzania in our old Landrover.


So, where did I leave off in this tale of (mis)adventure? Ah yes. In part one I finished by cluing you in a little about what it takes to get across a border smoothly in Sub-Saharan Africa, in case you ever go.

After we crossed the border into Tanzania, the blocked fuel lines on our (trusty) old Landrover continued to hamper us, but we thought so long as it didn’t get any worse we could continue our trip, albeit rather slowly.

Unfortunately, we were wrong. It was going to get a whole lot worse.

A New Camp and a New Friend

It’s about 50km of dirt track from the gate we entered to our campground in the heart of the Serengeti. Fifty kilometers of rough, corrugated gravel road.

On the way down, we hit a snag. Actually, we hit a rut. A really big one. Doing so broke the Land Rover’s suspension and the car careened off the road and up the embankment. My door flew open as we became airborne and I simultaneously grabbed hold of the driver’s seat head rest and the cameras in my lap to stop us both from flying out the open door while my husband struggled to regain control of the car.

Thankfully a large tree slowed our momentum and brought us to a sudden stop.

A little shaken, we took a few minutes (and more than a few deep breaths) before continuing. To add to our existing car troubles, we now had a broken bull bar, a large scrape on the passengers side the full length of the car and broken suspension on both the front and rear axles. We literally hobbled into camp.

Sometimes spotting wildlife in a 15,000km2 National Park is like trying to find a lion shaped needle in a haystack so having a guide who knows the area is a huge advantage.

We made enquiries at the information centre and one of the tourism students working there offered to be our guide. This is great in so many ways. It gives the volunteer students a little cash and guiding experience and it gives us the chance to make new friends and interact with locals that we possibly wouldn’t have on our own, or with a professional guide

To add to our car woes, the cigarette lighter hadn’t worked properly since the electrics caught fire on the first night. Combined with the heat and no ice, our car fridge was ineffective and our fresh food was not staying fresh for very long.

Instead of letting us live on a diet of pasta and rice while we were there, Abu (our student guide) would take us to the workers camp for lunch and dinner. At the end of the day we would have impromptu Swahili lessons over a few beers in the staff bar. Very few tourists can say they enjoyed those kinds of experiences.

Onto The Cradle of Life – Via a Brush with Death

(OK, maybe that’s a bit dramatic)

Our last morning in the Serengeti was bittersweet – we had met some great people and the wildlife was incredible – I would have loved to stay longer. However, Ngorongoro Crater was our next stop and we were keen to see what this legendary ‘cradle of life’ was about.

We were just about to set off. I was in the passenger seat studying the maps and our planned route, and my husband started the car, always an adventure in itself as there was about a 50% chance it would start first go.

Under The Stars of Africa Part 2. We continued our adventures as we crossed the border into Tanzania in our old Landrover.

Happy that the car had started and unbeknownst to me (when I’m focused, I’m really focused) he decided to leave the car running while he left for a quick toilet break before our departure.

I looked up to find the car slowly rolling backwards down a slope through camp and no-one in the driver’s seat. Have I mentioned that the handbrake doesn’t work?

There was a backpack blocking my access to the drivers seat, making it too hard to clamber across so I jumped out of the car, ran around the front and launched myself into the driver’s seat, stamping both feet onto the brake. Just in time for my husband to nonchalantly wander back to camp completely bewildered as to why I was in the driver’s seat and why I had decided to move the car!

His toilet breaks will be the death of me!