With a stunningly beautiful natural landscape, gorgeous glacial lakes, steep mountains and an ideal climate for producing some of Australia’s best gourmet food and wine, Tasmania has become a hot destination for global travellers.
Whether you are an outdoor buff, a foodie, a wine aficionado or a nature lover, there’s always plenty to do on the island state.
There’s no shortage of fantastic restaurants, from Monty’s on Montpelier and Me Wah in Hobart to the Terrace Restaurant and Stillwater in Launceston. And you won’t go far without stumbling on a winery. Pinot noir and chardonnay are two of the most prominent grapes grown throughout the state.
For some of the best wine, head to the Tamar Valley near Launceston. Visit the Jansz Wine Room in Pipers Brook to sample some sparkling wine, visit Tamar Ridge winery to sip riesling and savour the pinot noir at Goaty Hill.
One of the most visited and talked-about places is Cradle Mountain, part of the World Heritage-listed Tasmanian Wilderness, a 1262-sq-km national park. Tasmania’s highest peak, Mount Ossa at 1617 metres and deepest lake, Lake St Clair are in the park.
Cradle Mountain is surrounded by glacial lakes, ancient rainforest and unusual alpine vegetation and is located at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
There will be plenty of opportunities for seeing wildlife including wombats, wallabies and pademelons. Even platypuses and Tasmanian devils can be spotted.
It is easy to appreciate the sheer beauty of this unique area from the many short walks available. There’s the Enchanted Walk where you can stroll from the cascading rivers to dense rainforest in just 20 minutes. For an extended walk, the two-hour circuit of Dove Lake is one of Australia’s great walks or you can spend the entire day tackling Cradle Mountain summit itself.
Cradle Mountain is also the starting point for the world-renowned Overland Track, a magnificent six-day walk through the heart of the world’s finest mountain terrain from Rooney Creek to Lake St Clair.
10 more top experiences
1. The Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) occupies an improbable riverside location Moorilla winery on Hobart’s Berriedale peninsula. Described by its owner, philanthropist David Walsh as “a subversive adult Disneyland”, there are three levels of underground galleries showcasing more than 400 controversial works of art. Visitors may not like everything they see, but it’s guaranteed to generate heated debates after the experience.
2. Salamanca Market on Hobart’s waterfront is packed with fresh produce, ethnic food, clothing, souvenirs and bric-a-brac. The eclectic Saturday marketplace attracts buskers and artisans selling quirky arts and crafts. There are 300 stallholders and you can pick up anything from handmade woodcraft to jewellery. Surrounding the outdoor market are historic sandstone warehouses, home to Hobart’s cultural hub with cafes, galleries, restaurants and bars.
3. Port Arthur is the best preserved convicted precinct in Australia and a designated World Heritage site. Today, the 19th century penal settlement is an open-air museum. You can take a short cruise circumnavigating the Isle of the Dead or the popular 90-minute, lantern-lit historic ghost tour which leaves at dusk.
4. Mount Field National Park, about 80km northwest of Hobart, is famed for its spectacular mountain scenery, lakes, waterfalls and abundant wildlife. It is one of Tasmania’s most loved national park because of its diversity in vegetation from tall swamp gum forests and massive tree ferns at the base of the mountain to rainforest along Lake Dobson Road to alpine vegetation at higher elevation. Stunning walks take you through enormous fern forests and the tallest trees in the world.
5. Freycinet Peninsula is one of Tasmania’s biggest drawcards. Pack a picnic and hike into the photogenic Wineglass Bay. Ascend to Wineglass Bay lookout. For the less adventurous try the 500m boardwalk walk to Cape Tourville and be mesmerised by the sweeping coastal views of Wineglass Bay.
6. Three Capes Walk boasts the highest sea cliffs in the country. The enticing cliff-top walk in the Tasman National Park is an invigorating experience where you can chill out at three cabin sites that provide modern comforts with minimal impact on the environment. You can hire walking gear and fill the cabins with the food you like.
7. Glamping is camping on glamour steroids. Add wombats, wallabies, fine wine and cheese and luxury tents and you get glamping Tasmanian style. There’s Glamp Sandridge, an eco-village of luxury tents set in native forest, the East Coast’s Bay of Fires bush retreat and Truffle Lodge furnished with safari tents, cosy beds and timber bathtubs.
8. Wukalina Walk is a three-night, four-day walk with aboriginal guides around Larapuna (Eddystone Point), Wukalina (Mt William) and the famous Bay of Fires in North East Tasmania. Two nights are spent in comfortable domed huts and one night in the newly renovated Lighthouse Keepers Cottage at Larapuna.
9. Barilla Bay Oysters are renowned for their delicate taste and texture. Located close to Hobart Airport, the 60-minutes tour includes a beach tour of the oysters lease, drying of abalone produce and the making of Tasmania’s traditional ginger beer. The farm specialises in packing fresh oysters and other gourmet food for overseas travel.
10. Tahune Airwalk is about 90 minutes south of Hobart in the picturesque Huon Valley. The airwalk rises to about 30 metres above the forest. For thrill seekers, there’s the cable eagle hang glide adventure where you can feel the wind beneath your wings as you glide through the tall trees and over the Huon River. The Huon Swinging Bridge extends 100 metres over the mighty Huon and Picton rivers rushing beneath your feet.