When you think of Australia, where do you think of? Sydney? Melbourne? Maybe Uluru? Chances are, the island of Tasmania off of Australia’s south coast isn’t what immediately springs to mind. However, Tasmania is one of the most interesting places to visit in Australia, and those who visit it are sure to be richly rewarded. Here is our guide to travelling in Tasmania – what to do, what to see, and how to get there!
Introduction to Travel in Tasmania
Just half a million people call the island of Tasmania home, making it one of Australia’s smallest states and best kept secrets. Despite its modest reputation, Tasmania is actually pretty big – comparable in size to Ireland and measuring 320km across.
Getting to and Around Tasmania
There are two options to get to Tasmania: the ferry or a plane. The ferry is a great option if you have a car, and the Spirit of Tasmania departs frequently from Melbourne. The crossing can be a bit rough, so be prepared if you’re prone to seasickness.
You can also fly into Tasmania from other capital cities including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. There are several airports you can fly into, the two most popular being the capital of Hobart, and Launceston. Although you can’t fly direct from other cities, you can easily get connections and the layovers usually aren’t long.
We recommend getting a car once you arrive in Tasmania if you didn’t get the ferry. The attractions in Tasmania are spread out and public transport is very limited. While it’s possible to get around without a vehicle, it is a lot more challenging so we recommend picking up a rental.
What to See and Do in Tasmania
If you love unspoiled, rugged wilderness – you’re going to adore Tasmania. It has some of the clearest air anywhere in the world, and much of its natural beauty has been untouched for thousands of years. Most people who live on Tasmania consider it a world away from metropolitan Australia, and it’s easy to see why.
Tasmania is simply filled with amazing natural beauty, and some particular highlights include Cradle Mountain National Park, which has many amazing hikes to take in beautiful views, and the Bay of Fires with its scorched red rocks overlooking the ocean. If you’d prefer to take in Tasmania’s natural beauty from a comfortable setting, the West Coast Wilderness Railway is absolutely stunning.
As well as the activities on Tasmania’s mainland, it also has a few outlying islands that offer even more exciting and fun things to do. One particular favourite is Bruny Island, which has many beautiful natural attractions as well as several lighthouses that make great additions to any photo!
An activity for animal lovers is to meet Tasmania’s adorable Little Penguins at Low Head. It’s hard not to be delighted by these cuties! Another unique and adorable animal you can’t leave Tasmania without meeting is the Tasmanian Devil, which can be found in many of the national parks in both the south and north of the country.
There are also a few attractions that are sure to delight history lovers, especially at Port Arthur. The former convict colony is rumoured to be one of the most haunted places in Australia, but even if you don’t believe in ghosts, it’s still interesting to find out what life was like for those convicts who were banished to Tasmania in its early days.
What to Eat and Drink in Tasmania
Despite its modest population, Tasmania bats far above its weight when it comes to great food and wine.
Tasmania has several great wine regions where you can sample all different types. One of the best is the Tamar Valley Wine Region, which has a great selection of white wines and particularly of the variety Sauvignon Blanc. There are also breweries and whisky distilleries dotted around the country.
To sample the many different tastes of Tasmania all at once, we recommend heading along to a Farmers Market where you can buy items right from the producer. We love the Farm Gate Market on Sundays in Hobart, where you can buy pretty much everything you want – and then head for a beautiful spot for a delicious and scenic picnic!
If you’d rather eat at a restaurant, don’t worry, Tasmania has a fantastic selection, especially in Hobart. To try modern, sustainable Australiana head for Peacock and Jones, which also features a fantastic selection of Tasmanian wines, or for something different go for Frank, also in Hobart, which serves Argentinian with a modern twist. Be sure to book ahead for both!
Final Thoughts on Travel in Tasmania
There’s definitely a thrill in discovering a secret place that’s hidden from the world – and if you visit Tasmania, you’ll be joining a small group of intrepid travellers who’ve been thrilled by its charms. With amazing natural beauty, fascinating history and delicious, fresh food, you’ll be so glad you decided to visit Tasmania!