Tasmania has contributed to unique biodiversity, and it has also fostered a rare community of creative, down-to-earth, resourceful people with time to make you feel welcome. It is a place where seasonality and hospitality go hand in hand.
One of the joys of travelling in Tasmania is not just the chance to taste produce straight from the farm and ocean, but the ease of meeting the makers at cellar doors, farm gates and local markets. And with four distinct seasons, there’s always something new to see, taste and feel.
Tasmania is a place for adventure; however you define it. Test yourself on scores of mountain-bike trails, tee off on top-ranked golf courses overlooking Bass Strait, cast for wild brown trout in glacial tarns, raft on wild rivers. Find stories and freedom on drive journeys connecting wild places, quintessential Tassie towns and friendly locals. Whether the view is from the privacy of a hot tub in a forest, or from a kayak for two, or fireside with Tassie whisky and friends, the world looks different from Tasmania.
Here are the top six things to do down under in Tasmania.
Hike Cradle Mountain
Iconic Cradle Mountain is a place of exceptional natural beauty in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. From moss-covered ancient rainforests and deep river gorges to snow-covered mountain peaks, wild alpine moorlands and glacial lakes, the park is revered for its diverse and breath-taking landscapes. It varies in different seasons, so even return visits will offer something new. From deep snowdrifts in winter, spectacular displays of yellows, oranges and reds across the mountain slopes in autumn, playful young joeys and hungry echidnas emerging in spring, and the fragrance of wildflowers filling the air as you dip your toe into a crystal-clear lake on a summer’s day. The Park offers many world-class walking tracks to explore from short easy strolls to multi-day hikes like the Overland Track.
Where to stay: Discovery Parks – Cradle Mountain is set on the edge of world-heritage listed Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park. There are self-catering cabins, campsites or caravan sites (powered) to choose from. Either way, you will have a true wilderness experience that is on the doorstep of your cabin, tent or caravan.
Open your mind at Mona
Head to Mona, the Museum of Modern Art for a day of exploring the unusual. Mona is a museum in Hobart, Tasmania, created by David Walsh and can only be described as going down the rabbit hole. The Museum has regular and one-off exhibits, guaranteed to leave you in awe. There is even a lively entertainment and dining area out on the lawn where you can spend a lazy Sunday session having a few drinks while kicking back on bean bags.
Where to stay: Movenpick Hobart is a great base in town. It has a funky art vibe to it and you can easily walk around town and down to the harbour from here. The elegant rooms and suites offer sweeping views of the spectacular harbour and city, allowing you to soak in Hobart from above. Dine in the restaurant – Tesoro, and access to hotel facilities such as a fitness centre and free wifi, Movenpick Hotel Hobart encapsulates the spirit of Hobart and makes an ideal base for your next holiday or staycation.
Go to the end of the road and see Southern Lights
Spotting the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, can be very hit and miss. The universe really does need to align for you to get the clear skies, perfect possie and on-point weather conditions. You can actually see the Southern Lights year-round in Tasmania, however, the colder months of May to August is the ultimate time as night falls earlier at this latitude. Your best chance of witnessing Aurora Australis is to be as far south as possible to find an unobstructed view to the south and be as far away from light pollution as possible. Drive 148km south of Hobart and you will be at the most southern road’s end in Australia, Cockle Creek. On Tasmania’s far south tip, naturally, it’s a prime position for this southern light show. The beach at Recherche Bay is a good starting point, then continue to the Fishers Point Navigation Light and Pilot Station ruins and take the well-marked track to South East Cape for stunning cliff-top views of the Southern Ocean and Maatsuyker Island. The beaches at nearby Dover also offer viewing to the south without any serious light pollution.
Where to stay: Castaway Cottage at Dover is a little haven by the sea. This charming cottage is your home away from home, overlooking beautiful Dover Bay. This little gem is within walking distance of historic Dover’s town centre, and only a few steps from the beach. Relax by the fire in winter and explore the beach and surroundings in summer.
Stay on Bruny Island
Bruny Island has some of Tasmania’s most beautifully preserved natural environments with abundant wildlife and stunning clifftop views. The island is about 50 km long but appears to be two islands with North and South Bruny joined by a narrow strip of land called The Neck. South Bruny National Park’s towering cliffs and long sandy beaches offer loads of spots to set up a spot to see the lights. Bruny Island is accessed via a 20-min crossing on a vehicular ferry from Kettering, around a 35-min drive south of Hobart. The service runs seven days a week. To get some elevation, head to the lookout at the Neck and you can also watch the penguins come in to rest for the night. For an in-depth tour of the island, catch a boat with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. The three-hour Bruny Island Cruise explores the rugged coastline of Bruny Island, taking in some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs, towering crags and pass through the narrow gap between the coast and ‘The Monument’ and feel the power of nature at the point where the Tasman Sea meets the might of the Southern Ocean. You can expect to see some coastal wildlife too, such as seals, dolphins, migrating whales and sea birds.
Where to stay: You can’t go past the eco-friendly and sustainable Free Spirit Pods. The delightful, luxurious pods are situated on the waterfront with beautiful views of Quarantine Bay. Set on eight acres to enjoy and explore, you will even have some friendly local wildlife come to visit. The open-plan studio pods, Flying Duck and Blue Wren, feature double glazed floor to ceiling bi-fold doors leading onto your spacious private deck. Each pod sleeps two adults and has room available for a couple of kids.
Explore the Tahune and Huon Valley
Located in Tasmania’s South, the beautiful Huon Valley begins just 30 minutes from Hobart and extends to the southernmost place in Australia. The region extends down the Cockle Creek but if you venture up to the Tahune Forest, you will find ultimate adventures with Tahune Forest Adventures. Take a walk high above the forest canopy on the Airwalk and look down to the place where the wild waters of the Huon and Picton Rivers mingle. You can even take it up a level and kayak on the river and see the forest from a completely different angle. King River Rafting’s Twin River Winter Adventure will have you paddling, drifting and splashing on a raft or kayak through bouncy rapids and quiet stretches of the Picton River.
Where to stay: Why not stay up on the mountain in the Tahune Forest. Set amongst the tall trees, the Tahune Cabin offers private, self-catering accommodation for up to four people. You can even bring along your furbaby. There is a fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom, and lounge area but you will need to bring your own supplies as there are no dining options and the mountain is closed for the night. This is the perfect spot to sit around the fire and stargaze, even if the Southern Lights are a no-show.
Head into the wild West wilderness of Tarkine
Nestled in the North-West corner of Tasmania, you will find the expanse of temperate rainforest, that is the Tarkine Wilderness. This region remains a hidden treasure that expands some 477,000 hectares across uninterrupted wilderness. Not only is it home to the largest temperate rainforest in Australia and second in the world, but is alive with unique creatures and habitats not found anywhere else, housing ancient relics of both plants and animals dating back millennia. Here you can explore vast forests of myrtle, leatherwood and pine trees and engage with them as living links to Gondwanaland that it shared with Patagonia, Papua-New Guinea and New Zealand. Embark on an adventure with walks, self-guided drives, river cruises or visiting the amazing natural sights.
Where to stay: The area is quite remote, so you will need a place to stay when visiting, and you can’t go past Corinna Wilderness Experience. The eco- friendly retreat Corinna once was a mining town, set in the pristine rainforest on the banks of the majestic Pieman River in Western Tasmania. It was inhabited by white settlers in 1881 and proclaimed a town in 1894, following a flood of people coming to the area in pursuit of gold. The township of Corinna (in the Pieman River State Reserve) is singularly placed in Tasmania’s history as a unique example of a remote mining town that has survived. The accommodation uses as much of the original town buildings as possible, including the original Roadman’s cottage with double bed, the old pub which is like a guest house (with single and double rooms) available for groups and sixteen new wilderness retreats built in the original style. Don’t be fooled by the disconnection from TV, phone reception and internet as you relax into “switching off” for there being nothing to do. There is a range of unique wilderness experiences, including cruises on the Pieman River in the legendary Huon pine vessel, MV Arcadia II, kayaking, walking, boating, fishing, bird watching and nature experiences.