Welcome to our very first blog of our puppy friendly adventures in Tasmania.
Last weekend we headed from our home town of Launceston to Dolphin Sands; fifteen minutes north of Swansea. We found a cosy looking two-bedroom house on Airbnb called Beach Haven that fronts on to Nine Mile Beach. You can usually book last minute accommodation in winter In Tassie (as we did) but in summer most holiday rentals are heavily booked; requiring a little more planning. Dolphin Sands is one of our favourite places to stay so we’re always on the lookout for puppy friendly accommodation along that part of the coast. If you don’t mind the cooler weather, autumn and winter are great months to get out and about. Often the days are spectacular with clear blue skies and sparkling sunshine. Some of the best sunsets and sunrises occur during the winter months and they always look better from the beach.
Beach Haven is located about half way along Dolphin Sands and is set back from the road on a five acre bush block. The house has an open plan kitchen, dining and lounge with a wood heater, two bedrooms and a large corner spa in the bathroom. The kitchen is stocked with most of the basics to prepare, cook and eat your meals. Swansea is only a fifteen minute drive from the house should you need anything. We sometimes indulge in the pizzas from the Old Bark Mill but brought all our groceries and other essentials with us this time.
The house itself is clean, tidy and comfortable and warms up nicely once the wood heater roars into action. There’s plenty of chopped wood on hand for the cold winter nights and electric blankets on the beds for those who need the extra warmth. Being avid craft beer drinkers, we were also impressed with the second fridge or ‘'beer fridge’ as we preferred to call it. You can see a couple of the neighbouring houses from the block but they are far enough away, so they don’t intrude on your privacy. The tops of the Hazard Mountains are visible from the house which is a lovely reminder of where you are; a one-minute walk from the beach.
We arrived about 4.30pm on the Friday and Archie knew exactly where we were, even though he couldn’t see the water. We headed over the sand dune to the beach to catch the last glimpse of the sun bouncing off the beautiful mountains. It certainly didn’t disappoint with hues of pink and mauve framing the iconic rocks. The pictures never do it justice and it’s a view we never tire of.
After a few happy snaps of the happy hound, we headed back to the house to unpack and unwind. John lit the fire (which was already set) and I opened a couple of beers and organised Archie’s dinner. Being our wedding anniversary weekend, we had a nice selection of craft beers – sours for me and IPAs (amongst others) for John. Archie was in his bed counting sheep as soon as he finished his dinner; wet, sandy, smiling and no doubt thinking of his coming day at the beach. John and I turned to sampling some of our beers, snacked on a cheese platter I threw together and played a few games of cards.
The following morning, we drove into Swansea after breakfast to grab a coffee before meandering around the town and its many beaches. Swansea (originally named Waterloo Point) has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Even in the height of summer you can be the only person for miles on the sand. Being settled in the early 1820s, there are some striking historic buildings throughout the town; many set against stunning natural backdrops. It’s virtually impossible to walk anywhere near a beach without Archie enthusiastically heading in that direction so it wasn’t long before we ended up on Waterloo Beach, heading towards the point.
The Waterloo Point walk is a must-do for both people and on-leash puppies. The easy forty minute return walk, winds along the Loontitetermairrelehoiner track and wraps around the cliffs over-looking Great Oyster Bay, Schouten Island and over to Freycinet. The iconic Hazards are also part of the outlook, changing colour throughout the day with the weather and position of the sun. There’s a seat about half way along the walk where you can sit and take in the magnificent panoramic views. We continued along the track to the next beach with Archie in tow and just kept going…
After a couple of hours of walking around in the winter sun we headed back to the house for lunch before trouping off to Nine Mile Beach to finish the day. The rest of the afternoon was a standard day at the beach for us. Archie swam, chased his frisbee and dropped sticks at our feet, I fossicked amongst the shells and other beach treasures and John played with his fancy camera; taking random photos of us all and the stunning setting. We were lucky enough to see another colourful beach sunset before calling it a day and heading back to light the fire. Press repeat for night two - Archie had dinner and then was out like a light after his big day while we finished off our anniversary beers over a few games of cards.
Sunday morning arrived quicker than any of us would have liked. We packed up the car after breakfast, headed to Swansea for our morning coffee and then continued south to explore some of the beaches between Swansea and Rocky Hills. We called in to four beaches, all no more than 20 minutes south of Swansea and all puppy-friendly. The beaches are well signed and indicate where puppies can go and if they need to be on leash.
First stop was Cressy Beach, which has easy, flat access and takes about half an hour to walk to one end. It’s a sheltered beach with some decent waves and mostly sand with only a small cluster of rocks to navigate on your walk to the end. Alternatively, you can avoid the rocks by turning right when you enter the beach. There was a couple of people down the right-hand end, so we turned left but as usual around Swansea, we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. Archie was in his element with his early morning swim, in between longing glances at the back-pack carrying his frisbee. No need to guess who won that battle of wills.
Spiky Beach was our next stop and my favourite of the day with its incredible views from the top of the track, across to the mountains and down to the beach. It’s a five minute steepish walk to an intimate little beach with rock pools and crashing waves. There was a small group of people on the beach when we arrived, but we soon had the beach to ourselves after the mandatory oh he’s so cute comments directed at Archie. This would be a great little beach to while away a day on with a picnic hamper, so we’ll definitely be back.
Kelvedon Beach (spelled Kelvendon on the sign) was a much larger beach with easy beach access from the parking area and a flat walk. There were a couple of paddle boarders enjoying the surf when we arrived, despite the cooler June conditions. We came across large collections of beautifully coloured shells along the beach which made for great pictures with our accommodating dog model. The frisbee had a good work-out here as well.
Last stop was Mayfield Beach that is well known amongst campers and caravaners as a scenic spot to stop for an evening or two. The campground has lovely beach views, basic amenities and level access to the beach. It’s very busy in summer but there were only a handful of campers set up when we arrived. There’s a beautiful old bridge about ten minutes into the beach walk that Archie was keen to check out. The beach itself is quite long and after walking for nearly an hour we hadn’t made it to the end. There’s a small island at the far right-hand side of the beach that would be worth a closer look. It’s on the list for next time as sadly it was time for us to head home.
We’re going back to the east coast next month and staying somewhere very special, so until then choose your own adventure, just make sure you take your best friend along.