Tasmania is laden with natural beauty, old world charm and some of the tastiest food and jaw-dropping scenery on the planet. The island state is packed full of culture and contrasts, where World Heritage wilderness meets a world class art museum and plenty of local stories and creativity in between. Step back in time for a taste of Tassie's colourful past and into some pretty stunning scenery for a nature fix unlike anywhere on earth. Mingle with the friendly locals and sample food, wine, cider and whisky while you're at it. Tasmania is full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.
History & Culture
Take a journey into Tasmania’s dark past. At any of the five UNESCO World Heritage convict sites dotted across the island. Port Arthur and the Coal Mines on the Tasman Peninsula, Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart, Darlington Probation Station on the isolated Maria Island and the stately Woolmers and Brickendon Estates near Longford. Immerse yourself in strikingly beautiful landscapes as you listen to tales of immeasurable despair.
Visit the west coasts wilds with its untamed wind and ocean swells. Hear tales of early settlers and pioneering spirit. Learn how the fight to save the Gordon River captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Be transported to a different era as you explore Georgian villages dotted among the landscape or soak up the old haunts in Tassie city centres.
Against the well-known background of natural beauty and rich history, a new Tasmania is emerging; one that puts a high value on cultural and artistic endeavours. In Tasmania old world charms are mixing with a new vision. Tasmania is an island of inspiration for local artisans. There is a thriving art and culture scene with galleries, markets and Mona Museum of Old and New Art, Australia’s largest private museum of art and antiquities and the Tasmanian Museum Art Gallery, TMAG. All across the island, people have found Tasmania the perfect place to foster their talent. Artisans are baking traditional bread, crafting handmade cheese, harvesting oysters, writing novels, expressing the environment through art, fashioning jewellery or designing coastal retreats that tread lightly on the landscape.
Walk to Wineglass Bay over granite mountains to be met by Bombay Sapphire seas lapping at a curve of perfect white sand in the Freycinet National Park.
The Three Capes Track is an independent multi-day coastal walk on the Tasman Peninsula. Get close to Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy with stunning vistas to Cape Raoul.
Cradle Mountain is located at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain is one of Tasmania's most visited natural attractions. Although not an actual town, the village provides everything you need for an alpine stay. It’s also a great place to find information about the many walks in the area.
The Bay of Fires is a ribbon of coves, rocky outcrops, and empty beaches flow under azure skies.
The Tarkine’s definition of ‘getaway’ gives the term new meaning. Picture ancient myrtles, towering ferns, waterfalls, empty coastline and untouched middens in the greatest expanse of cool temperate rainforest in Australia, and second largest in the world.
Outdoor Activities & Adventures
From night-time penguin spotting to sea kayaking, the gentle art of fishing for wild brown trout to cliff-side abseiling, Tasmania has a wide range of outdoor and adventure activities. The island is well-suited to river cruising, sailing, cycling, guided walks, animal and birdlife discovery tours, and adventures with dolphins, migrating whales and seals.
If you’ve heard about Tassie’s recent rise to become a mountain biking mecca, you’ll want to travel to a little town called Derby or for the more experienced rider, check out the trails at Maydena in the Derwent Valley.
Tasmania is home to some of Australia's most iconic walks – the Bay of Fires, Maria Island and of course the Overland Track, to name a few. But one doesn't have to embark on a multi-day trek to experience the best of Tassie on foot.
Work your way down the list of Tasmania's 60 Great Short Walks. They give just about anybody the chance to explore some of Tassie's most scenic and iconic regions, with walks ranging from about 20 minutes to a couple of hours
Explore our island from the water and paddle the coastline past massive granite peaks, to watch the Hazards mountains turn pink in the setting sun at Freycinet National Park. Or head up river on the west coast, gliding through the mist past prehistoric rainforest along the Gordon River. Take a twilight paddle in Hobart’s Constitution Dock for a different view of the city.
Mona, Museum of Old and New Art - Browse controversial art at Mona described by the museum’s owner as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland’. Take your time exploring Australia’s largest private museum.
Cruise the Gordon River - Wild doesn’t have to mean crazy, wind-in-your-hair madness. A cruise down the Gordon River often rewards with mirror-calm reflections of World Heritage Area rainforest.
Salamanca Market - a celebration of Tasmania's unique culture, creative artisans, talented musicians and diverse producers. The weekly outdoor market, held every Saturday, brings Hobart’s waterfront alive with the colours, sounds and smells of Tasmania.
Port Arthur Historic Site - The Port Arthur Historic Site was established in 1830 as a punishment-orientated timber station and by 1833 it evolved into a penal colony and housed and punished over a thousand of Tasmania's most notorious convicts.
Tamar Valley Wine Route - Over 170 kilometres of winding roads lead to enviable cool-climate wine territory and welcoming cellar doors.
Wineglass Bay – the almost perfect curve of pure white sand fringed by turquoise waters has earned Wineglass Bay a reputation as one of the top ten beaches in the world. Climb The Hazards to look out over Wineglass Bay and be rewarded by one of the best views in Tasmania.
The Nut, Stanley - That’s right, there exists a place known as The Nut. It was a volcano about 13 million years ago and now you can ride a chairlift to the top. The Nut sits right on the edge of Bass Strait so imagine the sweeping vistas and incredible views; you can hike The Nut too.
Points of Interest
Best Time to Visit
|Catch a glimpse of the Aurora Australis||Possible year-round, but September offers the best opportunities|
|Listen to voices harmonise and soar||Festival of Voices during June and July|
|Pick up some local produce||Every Saturday at the Salamanca Market|
|View Hobart from above||Mt Wellington offers stunning views of the city|
If you’re one of the lucky ones able to see all of Tasmania, prepare yourself - there’s never a dull moment. The island may look small on a map, but it’s much bigger on the inside.
With good roads, few freeways or motorways and scenic views wherever you go, getting around Tasmania is part of the fun. Although Tasmania is a small state by Australian standards, it's actually the same size as Ireland, so don't underestimate the time it takes to explore. Even driving around the state will take several days, especially if you take the time to look around. There are no train services in Tasmania so travellers rely on bus and coach and of course car-hire to get to and from our cities and regional centres. Coach tours offer a comfortable and relaxing way of seeing the state with many national coach touring companies offering traditional coach touring around Tasmania. They provide extensive year round multi-day itineraries for budget, deluxe and luxury travellers.
Eating and drinking is one of life’s great pleasures and when it comes to abundant and superb produce, Tasmania is a foodie paradise. Growing and preparing food is considered an act of love here – from tending and nurturing through to harvesting and cooking. Local producers and chefs are basically giving you a little piece of their heart when you indulge in the island’s produce – and you can taste their passion in every mouthful.
It’s different here, you won’t just dine in Tasmania, you’ll have the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into a cooking school. Discover a gourmet paradise where people live off the land and sea and there’s a natural flow from paddock-to-plate. Meet the producers and sample their wares at cellar doors and farmers markets.
Foodies will love seeing all that they foraged at the market served up to them at innovative restaurants across Tasmania, as chefs create menus that showcase locally sourced produce.
Create special memories and treat your senses as you explore every delicious corner of Tasmania – laugh, share, listen, discover and enjoy as you visit artisan cafes, farm gates and road side stalls, historic pubs, orchards, cutting edge restaurants, vineyards, boutique breweries and distilleries. Island produce will nourish and revitalise you – and leave you wanting more.
With an abundance of creative talent in Tasmania, there's no shortage of places to find local art, craft, clothing and design and even meet a maker or two. Try exploring Hobart's laneways and smaller side streets for speciality shops. In Launceston you'll find hand-made wares, shops full of boutique designs, markets filled with fresh grown local produce and stores selling antiques from bygone eras.
Tassie is a bargain hunter's paradise and it's easy to find a beautiful pre-loved piece of history in the many antiques and collectables stores. From friendly outdoor markets to high end boutiques, it's easy to buy local in Tasmania and take a beautiful piece of the island home with you.
What to Pack
Tasmania has a mild oceanic climate with four distinct seasons. However, because we sit beside the Southern Ocean, the world’s weather engine, the climate can vary greatly on any given day. As Scottish comedian Billy Connolly once said, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather - just bad clothing’. So no matter when you come, be sure to bring a warm jacket and a rain jacket. In the cooler months, it’s best to bring clothing you can layer because even the winter sun can be quite warm.
There's so much to do and see in Tasmania, be sure to plan your visit in advance with these great resources.
For more check out discovertasmania.com.au/what-to-do/events
For some great Travel Tips, visit: www.gobehindthescenery.com.au/insiders-guide
Also head to Tasmania's very own Instagram page instagram.com/tasmania and follow #discovertasmania to view where people are visiting.
Finally, get in the mood for adventure by watching some great videos on the Discover Tasmania YouTube Channel: youtube.com/user/DiscoverTasmania/videos