Top 10 Things to do in Tasmania
Tucked away off the south coast of Australia lies the intriguing island of Tasmania. A small but perfectly formed landmass easily accessible from the mainland, Tasmania offers visitors a host of activities and attractions and a chance to enjoy a different side of Australia. Far from the beaten tracks along the East Coast, this is a largely undiscovered island idyll, which has something to offer every explorer. For those keen to include a trip away from the mainland in their Australia travel plans, here are 10 brilliant things to do in Tasmania.
1. See the Tasmanian Devil
There’s no other way to start a voyage of discovery in Tasmania than by tracking down the infamous Tasmanian devil. Made famous worldwide by a much-loved Looney Tunes character, Tasmanian devils are the largest carnivorous marsupials on the planet. They have sharp claws, menacing teeth and a reputation for being aggressive which isn’t wholly justified. Males usually weigh up to 12kg, while females are a little smaller in build. In most cases, these unique creatures generate screeching, ear-piercing noises as a result of fear, but it’s wise to avoid getting too close.
Tasmanian devils were once native to mainland Australia, as well as Tasmania, but they have since become extinct in other parts of the country. It’s not easy to catch a glimpse of these creatures in the wild as they are nocturnal, in addition to which, they also tend to be rather nervous. The best way to see them is to visit a wildlife park, such as Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Brighton. This provides opportunities for visitors to see this iconic species at a safe distance.
2. Enjoy Culture in Hobart
Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city, is a cultural hub home to an array of galleries and museums. Here, visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls around markets selling arts and crafts, as well as tours around established galleries. The Museum of Old and New Art, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the Maritime Museum of Tasmania are particularly popular and well worth a visit.
Hobart itself is a very pretty city, which appeals to art lovers, fans of music and foodies. There’s a spectacular selection of cafes, restaurants, bars and street stalls, many of which sell local produce and are well worth a visit. The best way to enjoy Hobart and the rest of Tasmania is with the freedom of an exciting Tasmanian self drive.
3. Step back in time at Port Arthur
Port Arthur is one of Australia’s most important and symbolic historical sites. In the 19th century, this was one of the most prominent prisons in the country. Its remote geographical location and strict regime meant that it was labelled the ‘inescapable prison.’ Associated with decades of crime and punishment, today, Port Arthur is an open-air museum, which offers visitors the chance to tour the prison buildings and really get a sense of what life was like for convicts serving time on the edge of the Tasman Peninsula. There is a selection of themed Tasmania tours available, including the option to take on the role of a prisoner and try and escape from Port Arthur.
Choose our Tasmanian Wonders 10 day guided tour if you would like to include historic Port Arthur in amongst other great things to do in Tasmania.
4. Enjoy a Glass of Tasmanian Wine or Beer
Tasmania is known for its local wines and beers and there’s a vast range of vineyard and brewery Tasmanian tours available. For fans of craft ales or a crisp glass of white, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than sampling the produce. Many breweries and wineries have cafes and delicatessen stores attached, and there’s no shortage of giveaways on offer! Highlights include the James Boag Brewery, Frogmore Creek Winery and Josef Chromy Wines Winery.
5. Hike Cradle Mountain
The focal point of the stunningly beautiful Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain poses a gruelling challenge to intrepid explorers keen to take a hike in Tasmania. The National Park boasts a host of trails, some of which form part of the famous Overland Track. There are hikes to suit all abilities and fitness levels and a circuit around Dove Lake is ideal for those keen to stick to a sedate pace and flat terrain. For those eager to test their mettle, reaching the summit of Cradle Mountain is a task too tempting to resist.
This is the fifth highest peak on the island, standing at around 1,545 metres above sea level and making for a great challenge, but while the park is renowned for its outdoor pursuits, it’s well worth a visit even for those who aren’t desperate to don their walking shoes. As well as being home to alpine forests, tranquil lakes and dense rainforest, visitors can also enjoy the opportunity to spot a host of wildlife species, including Tasmanian devils, platypuses, and echidna.
6. Wineglass Bay Kayaking
Widely regarded as one of the most spectacular beaches in the world, Wineglass Bay is a jewel in the crown of Freycinet National Park. A sweeping golden sand bay that is flanked by vivid turquoise waters, this is a breathtaking spot to soak up the sun and embrace the peace and quiet. Kayaking is a very popular activity in the park and it gives visitors the chance to explore the clear waters and enjoy vistas that definitely don’t need a filter for social snaps.
Sea kayaking is a gentle, hugely enjoyable means of navigating the vibrant blue waters and discovering secluded bays and inlets that aren’t easily accessible on foot. The colours on display are scintillating, with green-blue water, sparkling yellow sand and distinctive pink granite mountains creating a feast for the eyes.
7. Explore South West National Park
Tasmania’s largest national park, South West National Park, is a slice of rugged wilderness, which is characterised by mysterious rainforests, imposing mountain ranges, rumbling rivers and lush grasslands. Much of the 660,000-hectare park is inaccessible, but it is possible to explore other parts on foot or by car. There are routes on offer for hikers of all abilities and there’s also a network of rustic roads, which afford visitors the chance to enjoy the views from the comfort of the car.
The drive to the northern entrance along Gordon River Road, is one of the most scenic mini road trips on the island. Highlights for hikers include the very simple and swift 20-minute meander along the Creepy Crawly Nature Trail and the more arduous – but arguably more rewarding – trail to Lake Judd.
8. Cruise the Gordon River
One of Tasmania’s main rivers, the Gordon River provides a scintillating backdrop for a cruise through the wilds. Departing from Strahan, boats make their way along several kilometres of rippling river before reaching the calmer waters that lap against the rainforest fringes. Cruises offer visitors the chance to marvel at mesmerising scenery and embrace the serenity of this incredible, isolated part of Tasmania. There’s also a chance to see the Huon pines, which are accessible via a boardwalk. These trees date back thousands of years.
For a truly immersive experience, choose a 7 night cruise that includes all of Tasmania’s best waterways.
9. Walk in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is one of the world’s last remaining patches of true wilderness. Spanning more than 1 million hectares, this area occupies more than half of the island and it has great cultural and natural significance.
A range of activities are on offer here, from bushwalking, camping and angling to bird watching, boating, rafting and kayaking. It’s also possible to set the pulses racing with outdoor pursuits like climbing, mountain biking and abseiling. Visitors are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for wildlife species seen around the island, including the Tasmanian devil and tiger, but also the Eastern quoll and the platypus.
10. Soak up the sun at the Bay of Fires
Located on the north-eastern coast of Tasmania, the Bay of Fires comprises a magical stretch of sandy beaches, which span over 50 kilometres. Running from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, it is believed that the bay was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux in 1773. Legend has it that he chose the name after spotting raging flames on the beaches, which were produced by fires created by Aboriginal communities. Another theory is that the area gets its name from the distinctive orange boulders, which are scattered along the white sands.
The Bay of Fires is a unique area, boasting a series of sweeping bays, secluded beaches and inlets that are ripe for exploration. The waters are often calmer than in other parts of the island, making this is an idyllic spot to snorkel, swim and catch some rays on a summer’s day. Those keen to explore are encouraged to hike, swim or surf. It’s also possible to kayak and paddleboard, and game fishing is a popular pursuit. The off-shore reefs are bursting with marine life, so those who enjoy diving will not be disappointed.
Tasmania is a hidden gem nestled off the south coast of Australia. This beautiful, rugged land mass offers a host of activities that enable visitors to take in incredible views, learn about the history of Tasmania and immerse themselves in the local culture. There’s a spectacular array of attractions, charming towns and cities, and vast areas of remote wilderness to explore, as well as golden beaches, vivid blue waters and verdant meadows and forests. Tasmania offers something for everyone and no two days here are the same. Hike, bike, climb or swim one day before sampling Tasmanian wines, craft ales and organic foods or touring museums and galleries the next. It really is an island ripe for exploration. Enjoy all the best things to do in Tasmania on your next Australia holiday and let us help you start the planning today.
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