Australia is a very large country with a lot to see. So much so, that the tiny island state of Tasmania often gets overlooked by international tourists, who seem to favour the big-ticket locations like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Great Barrier Reef or Ayers Rock.
Affectionately known to the locals as ‘Tassie’, what Australia’s smallest state lacks in size, it makes up for with the amazing experiences it has to offer. From a buzzing contemporary art scene, award-winning foodie trails, spectacular scenery, and world-class hiking trails. There are so many reasons why you should add Tasmania to your itinerary on your next visit Down Under.
TASMANIA HAS THE BEST MUSEUM IN THE WORLD
Tasmania’s MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) is arguably the best museum in the world. Some would say it’s outta this world!
Resembling an underground cavernous mine shaft, you’ll find some of the most unique, confronting and controversial works of art at this gallery. Located in Hobart, take a ferry ride up the Derwent River – an experience in itself.
Before too long you’ll be descending into the underground depths, marveling at ominous exhibits like the poop machine and the Mine. Stick around for the afternoon and enjoy a wine and late lunch on the roof-top green space and cellar door overlooking the Derwent River and Moorilla Winery.
TASMANIA IS CHAMPAGNE HEAVEN
Well, theoretically the sparkling wine produced in Tasmania can’t be called Champagne, because it’s not produced in Champagne (duh!). But the climate and conditions of the Coal River Valley are very similar to that of the Champagne region in France. Some of the sparking houses in Tasmania are amongst the few that still produce their wines using the Méthode Traditionnelle, a technique refined in by the French many hundreds of years ago.
Within one hour’s drive from Launceston, you’ll find some of the best Sparking Houses in the world. I would even go so far as to say that I think the sparkling wines from this region could be better than the Champagne Houses in France! Two of the most popular and award-winning sparkling houses to check out are Jansz and Clover Hill.
THEY HAVE A BAY NAMED AFTER A WINEGLASS (WELL, KIND OF)
About 2 hours’ drive north of Hobart is the jewel of Tasmania’s East Coast – Freycinet National Park, which is home to the famed Wineglass Bay. One could be mistaken for thinking that the name of this bay is owing to its shape. But in fact, the real story behind the name is slightly more gruesome.
As history would have it, many whaling stations used to operate in this region. The water in the bay would turn red when the creatures were slaughtered. (Note: Whaling hasn’t been allowed in Australia for a long time).
Despite is horrific past, Wineglass Bay is one of the most beautiful and popular attractions in Tasmania. There are several options to see Wineglass Bay.
The Wineglass Bay Lookout is a 45-minute hike one-way from the carpark. If you wish to continue onto Wineglass Bay beach, allow 90 minutes one-way, or 3.5 – 4.5 hours return.
Alternatively, the best view of Wineglass Bay can be taken in from Mount Amos (around 5-6 hours return), which involves a steep uphill rock scramble and should only be attempted by experienced and prepared hikers.
THE RUGGED WILDERNESS IS STUNNING
Did you know that 45% of Tasmania is covered in National Park? Yes, a whopping 45%! That means there are some seriously good hiking and mountain biking tracks in this region of the world.
If hiking is what you’re after, some of the best spots to check out in Tasmania are the Dove Lake Circuit in Cradle Mountain National Park, the Wineglass Bay walk at Freycinet National Park, Cape Hauy Track in Tasman National Park, the Painted Cliffs walk on Maria Island and Russell Falls Circuit in Mount Field National Park.
If a multi-day hike sounds like your thing then check out the 6-day Overland Track from Cradle Mountain National Park to Lake St. Clair National Park or the 4-day Three Capes Track along Tasmania’s remote southern coast.
SEE THE DEVIL IN ALL HIS CUTENESS
Tasmania is home to the cute little Tasmanian Devil, a rare and endangered species that can only be found in this region of the world. It’s a native Australian marsupial that is no bigger than a small dog. and the only place in the world you’ll be able to see one in the wild.
You can see a Tasmanian Devil up close at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, about 30 minutes’ drive from Hobart. The sanctuary is open weekends and public holidays, from 9 am to 5 pm; admission is $31 per adult and $17 per child, which includes a free bag of kangaroo food. You can also book one of their night-time experiences to see the Tassie Devils in action in their natural habitat.
BAY OF FIRES IN THE HOTTEST DESTINATION IN THE WORLD TO VISIT
Well, theoretically it’s not anymore. But in 2009 the Bay of Fires was voted the worlds “hottest” travel destination by Lonely Planet.
It’s not hard to see why they chose this destination, with its white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, lined with fiery red lichen-covered boulders. During our visit, we opted to take an offshore excursion with Bay of Fires Eco Tours to see the spectacular coastline and learn all about the history of the area, and the ‘real’ reason why it’s named Bay of Fires. If you’re lucky you might even spot a whale!
One of the most accessible viewing spots along the Bay of Fires coastline is Binalong Bay. Here you can walk out onto the boulders and watch the sky explode into fire during sunset.
LIKE FOOD? THEN YOU’RE GONNA LOVE TASSIE!
Tasmania is home to some of the best food producers and freshest seafood in Australia! I’m not sure why there is such a high density of outstanding food producers for such a small state, perhaps it’s the climate. Or, the fact Tasmania has some of the cleanest air and purest water in the world!
But there’s one thing for sure, they certainly love their food in Tassie! Think award-winning cheeses, locally distilled gins, craft-brewed beer, superb cold climate wines, fresh seafood, and chocolate! Many of these delicacies can be found within driving distance of the main cities.
Bruny Island is one of the most popular food destinations in Tasmania. An easy day trip by car/ferry from Hobart and you’ll find yourself slurping freshly shucked oysters at Get Shucked, sampling various kinds of whiskey and gin at the Bruny Island House of Whisky and savouring the curds at Bruny Island Cheese Company.
And let’s not forget the cities of Hobart and Launceston, which also boasts some of the most amazing restaurants, serving locally-sourced produce. Within driving distance, there’s also a plethora of excellent breweries and charming vineyards, where you can enjoy a lazy afternoon wine-tasting session.
TASMANIA IS PERFECT FOR A GIRLS ROAD TRIP
Whilst Tasmania is a small island state compared with the rest of Australia, the majority of the best highlights are outside the main cities. I recently spent 6 days in Tasmania doing a road trip along the Great Eastern Drive with two of my girlfriends.
I mean, technically you could do a road trip around Tasmania with anyone, not just your girlfriends. But road tripping along the east coast with Fleetwood Mac playing in the background was seriously one of the best girls trips I’ve ever done. We visited some of the most iconic locations including Freycinet National Park, the Bay of Fires and we even tried our hand at clay target shooting!
Our Tasmania road trip itinerary took us 6 days along the east coast from Hobart to Launceston, but it can be easily completed in 3-4 days. There is also the option to extend the road trip a few extra days, making the round-trip back to Hobart, via Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park and Bruny Island.
We hope that this article has helped inspire you to visit Tasmania. If you have any questions or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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Our Top Places To Stay In Tasmania, Australia:
- MACq 01 Hotel
- The Henry Jones Art Hotel
- Peppers Silo
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- Sign up to AirBnB and receive a US $35 off your first booking
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