The coolest holidays for over-60s
By Travel at 60On Friday 27th Oct, 2017

The exciting new experience about to hit Tasmanian shores

There's a real buzz in the air in the seaside town of Bridport, on what we discover is a public holiday. Families are out with their kids and family pets and the coffee machine whizzes into action at the local cafe as we sit for cups of tea and coffee ahead of our four-day, three-night wukalina Walk.


The first official stop of our trip is Stumpys Bay in wukalina/Mt William National Park, about two hours from Launceston, detouring briefly in the town of Gladstone, if only to take in the view of the large roadmap to put our journey into perspective.


This crisp 17-degree Tassie morning, complete with blue skies and frolicking wallabies amongst the grass trees, provides the perfect setting for taking in the cultural homeland of the palawa people and the wilderness of Tasmania's north-east coast.

As we walk along the white sand beach of Stumpys Bay, which rivals the beauty of the likes of Whitehaven Beach on the Whitsundays, it almost feel like we're hiking through snow-covered wilderness rather than along a pristine coastline. And while the scenery is visually spectacular, the cultural significance of the area is never far from mind.


We come across what our guide, Chris, tells us are called middens, remnants of where traditional Aboriginal people once shared meals and spent time together.

These broken pieces of abalone, seashells and charcoal are pieces of important evidence of traditional Aboriginal activities in the area, including how they hunted and their food-processing methods. It’s thought that the middens we’ve come across could be thousands of years old.


Yellow-tailed cockatoos, suki oyster catchers and Pacific seagulls fly in all directions above us and they’re almost too fast for the camera to capture. Not that you’ll want to spend too much time behind the lens, really, the scenery is too spectacular here.


I repeatedly find myself standing at the ocean’s shore staring aimlessly out to the horizon, wondering what the Aboriginals felt when they spotted the foreign-looking ships approach the island in 1803.


After our 5km walk along the water, with just a couple of rocky headlands to teeter over, we make our way through the scrub until the view of the award-winning architect-designed krakani lumi standing camping camp emerges from the surrounding grass trees and banksia plants dotted throughout the landscape.


The six black charred wood cabins emerge as we walk along the raised wooden boardwalk, a secret oasis out of sight from the beach. Bird houses are thoughtfully built into each, proving just how well the luxury abodes blend in with, and become part of, the natural landscape.


The domed interiors, complete with comfortable swags, fluffy pillows and wallaby skin throws, pay homage to the traditional homes built by Aboriginal people from this region, and made from sheets of bark, grass and mud.

This indulgent camp comes complete with an industrial kitchen, heating and eco-friendly bathrooms. The fire pit at the centre of the scattered cabins provides the perfect spot to hear stories from the respected elders that guests meet on their journey.


Our new friend, Clyde, chair of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, and a respected elder himself, greets us all with a traditional welcome to country ceremony.

We stand amongst the coastal wattles as he invites us into his home in palawa kani, a constructed language that is composite of the estimated dozens of original languages once spoken by the palawa.


To hear Clyde speak the closest reference to his native tongue is both a significant and a very moving moment to witness.

His words are carried up around us with the powerful sea breeze and we stand in silence for a moment to let the gravity of the situation set in.

The next morning, we set off on the 14km round trip to tackle wukalina/Mount William. The summit walk ends up being a relaxing 35-minute walk at just a slight incline, with some rocky elements that need a little bit of extra time to walk through toward the top.


Keep your eye out for the diverse wildlife during your trek through here, too, because, although there are no koalas in Tasmania, there is a plenitude of other native fauna.

While we didn’t see a Tasmanian devil here, we knew they were in the area because their furry grey skat could be spotted throughout the walk. The hard-to-miss cubed wombat dropping alerted us that these cuddly creatures were close by, too.


The tunnel of trees we walk through looks almost mystical, but the canopy quickly parts as we reach the top of wukalina and gaze upon the distance we’ve covered, the land that the palawa call home and where our onward journey will take us in the morning to the Lighthouse precinct at larapuna/Bay of Fires.


The wukalina Walk departs from Launceston each Sunday at 8.45am, commencing Sunday 7 January 2018 through to Sunday 15 April 2018. Click here for your chance to win this experience for yourself, or click here to continue our account of this magnificent experience.

wukalina Walk
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