- 10 Days
Hobart, Port Arthur, Freycinet and the gorgeous Bay of Fires: check out four of Tasmania's greatest hits on this sunny east-coast cruise.
Hear the heartbeat of Hobart: great pubs and cafes, brilliant restaurants and heritage vibes. Don't miss Salamanca Pl (and Salamanca Market if it's Saturday morning), an afternoon at the amazing MONA and the view from atop kunanyi/Mt Wellington.
From Hobart, head southeast to the dramatic coastal crags of the Tasman Peninsula and the grim convict stories of Port Arthur Historic Site. Near Copping, shortcut to the east coast via the Wielangta Forest Drive. Hop on a ferry out to Maria Island National Park for mountain biking, camping, bushwalking, wildlife spotting and west-facing beaches (rare for the east coast).
Stop at some east-coast wineries near Swansea, then get your camera primed for Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay, and follow with sea kayaking and oyster appreciation at Coles Bay. Continue north to the chilled-out fishing town of Bicheno for some penguin spotting, then unwind with some serious downtime among the rocky lagoons and headlands of larapuna/Bay of Fires.
Hobart as a Hub
- 4 Days
Fancy a long weekend in Hobart? Take advantage of Tasmania’s short driving distances by day-tripping around the hip southern capital.
Spend a day mooching around the Hobart waterfront and Battery Point, taking a boat trip up the Derwent River to the dazzling MONA, and ending with dinner and drinks in North Hobart. Next day, drive out to history-rich Richmond: don’t miss the stoic Richmond Bridge, the interesting Bonorong Wildlife Centre and a lazy picnic lunch at Puddleduck Vineyard.
On day three, continue the foodie theme with a prebooked cooking class at Fat Pig Farm near Cygnet, where food-critic-turned-farmer Matthew Evans runs entertaining cook-it-then-eat-it classes.
If you have another day up your sleeve, truck out to Mt Field National Park for an accessible alpine bushwalk, or book a place on the Mt Wellington Descent – a 22km downhill mountain-bike run from the summit of kunanyi/Mt Wellington behind Hobart to the waterfront.
Exploring Cradle Country
- 2 Weeks
Launceston, the west coast, Cradle Mountain and the northwest: this is certainly the least-visited corner of Tasmania. Enjoy!
Kick off with a couple of days in ebullient Launceston: check out Cataract Gorge and the excellent Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery (QVMAG), and have dinner at Stillwater and drinks at St John.
From Launceston, explore the eclectic enticements of the Tamar Valley: seahorses, gold mines, lighthouses and wineries. Loop south through historic Evandale before drifting west through Deloraine to the Mole Creek caves. Don’t miss a few days exploring the northern end of impressive Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the starting point for the famous Overland Track.
From Cradle Mountain, skate southwest to the lunar landscapes of Queenstown and ride the West Coast Wilderness Railway to Strahan. From Strahan, head north through the vast Arthur Pieman Conservation Area to check the surf at Marrawah; then clamber up the Nut in Stanley on the north coast. An ocean dip at photogenic Boat Harbour Beach is the perfect journey’s end.
Up the Guts
- 10 Days
The historic Midlands is Tasmania's agricultural heartland; the Central Highlands are the state’s alpine core. Explore both over a week-and-a-bit.
Get started in Hobart with coffee at Jackman & McRoss in Battery Point and a waterfront walk. Check out Saturday’s sensational Salamanca Market, Australia's oldest beer producer Cascade Brewery, and the engaging Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery.
From Hobart head northwest to Mt Field National Park for waterfalls and bushwalking – just a hint of the vast southwest wilderness beyond.
From Mt Field, day trip through the hop fields of the gorgeous Derwent Valley, passing pretty Westerway, little Ellendale and historic Hamilton, continuing to soporific Bothwell in the Central Highlands, where you can tee off at Ratho, Australia’s oldest golf course. Bothwell is also the launchpad for Highlands trout-fishing trips.
Back east in the Midlands, you can sip some fine Tasmanian whisky at Redlands Distillery in Kempton. Oatlands offers the restored Callington Mill and more Georgian sandstone buildings than any other Australian town. Ross is a gorgeous colonial village with a great bakery and a historic bridge. Campbell Town makes a handy stop en route to laid-back Launceston: reward yourself with a tour of the hallowed Boag’s Brewery.
- 1 Week
Tasmania's southeast is an agricultural and scenic smorgasbord, with an actual smorgasbord of local produce on offer.
From Hobart, trundle south to Kettering to catch the car ferry across to easy-going Bruny Island. Give yourself at least two nights to appreciate Bruny’s charms, including artisan cheeses, Australia’s southernmost vineyard and a boat cruise past seal colonies and cliffs. Don’t miss the little penguins at Bruny Island Neck.
Back on the Tasmanian ‘mainland’, swing west to funky Cygnet for a cafe lunch. Continue north along the picturesque Huon River to Huonville. Tasty distractions abound: roadside summer fruit stalls (apples, cherries and more), lunch spots in Ranelagh and marvellous southern cider at the Apple Shed.
Travel south through Geeveston – made famous in the ABC-TV production Rosehaven – to the swaying treetops at Tahune AirWalk. Go bushwalking in Hartz Mountains National Park, or continue south through chilled-out Dover for a swim at Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs. Negotiate the winding, unsealed road to Cockle Creek: this is the end of the road, and of the known world…
Tasmania with Kids
- 2 Weeks
Tasmania is a naturally active destination: if you’ve got kids in tow you’ll find plenty of challenges, fun times and exercise opportunities right across the island (sometimes all at once).
Starting off in Hobart, give the family a musical education with some live Friday-night tunes at the Salamanca Arts Centre Courtyard, followed by a crash course in busker appreciation at Saturday's hyperactive Salamanca Market. Other highlights include harbourside fish and chips (try Flippers), an afternoon exploring the excellent Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, and a drive up kunanyi/Mt Wellington for a short walk on the lunar-like summit or some winter snowball hurling. If the weather's looking good, Roaring 40s Kayaking runs kid-friendly paddles around Hobart's docks.
Tracking into the state’s sublime southeast, check out Bruny Island’s wild beaches or explore the craggy coastline with Bruny Island Cruises. Don't miss the lofty Tahune AirWalk near Geeveston, some underground action at Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs (even in winter, the pool here is lovely and warm), and a chug along the super-cute Ida Bay Railway, the most southerly railway in Australia, at Lune River.
Rolling up the east coast, consider a boat trip to Maria Island, a beautiful national park overrun with native wildlife. Hire some mountain bikes and explore the trails. If you want to stay the night, bring your tent or bunk down in convict-built lodgings. An endless sequence of brilliant squeaky-sand beaches unfurls as you continue north. Talk to Freycinet Adventures about some low-key kayaking at Coles Bay, or tackle the hike up to Wineglass Bay Lookout in Freycinet National Park. Ogle some hungry Tasmanian devils at Natureworld near Bicheno, or go on a night-time walk to spot the town’s resident penguins.
Tracking northwest, Launceston offers plenty of distractions for small humans. Get interactive at the Queen Victoria Museum, then check out the Japanese macaques at home in City Park. Defy gravity on the chairlift over Cataract Gorge (you can swim here, too, in summer), or try some cable hang gliding in nearby Trevallyn. Further north up the Tamar Valley, check out the odd little residents at Beauty Point with a visit to Seahorse World and Platypus House.
The Food & Wine Route
- 3 Weeks
With a few weeks at your disposal and a powerful thirst/appetite, you'll find that Tasmania plates up a bounty of delights for your consumption.
Start in the island's northwest. Near Burnie, Hellyers Road Distillery leads the charge of Tasmanian whisky makers: warm yourself with a few nips of fine single malt. At the House of Anvers in Latrobe you can fill the chocolate-shaped voids in your life. Further south, in Deloraine, visit Truffles of Tasmania for a look at some funky fungi.
Modest little Launceston offers some fine urban dining: book for dinner at Geronimo or Pierre’s. Coffee culture is firmly entrenched here, too: try Sweetbrew or Milkbar for a cup of the good black stuff. Launceston is also a beery sort of town: tour the impressive Boag’s Brewery (going since 1881) or enjoy a few craft beers at St John. More into wine? Tour the cool-climate Tamar Valley Wine Region north of town, sipping fine French-style sparklings and pinot noirs. Try Tamar Valley Winery Tours if you don’t want to drive.
Trucking south through the Midlands, stop at Ross for a classic Tasmanian curried-scallop pie at Bakery 31, and at Kempton for further single-malt indulgences at Redlands Distillery, before assessing the wineries in the Coal River Valley Wine Region near Richmond (Puddleduck Vineyard is our pick).
In Hobart, fill your hamper with local produce at the Saturday-morning Salamanca Market or Sunday-morning Farm Gate Market. Top restaurant picks here include the endearing Templo and high-end Aloft. Cafes are everywhere: Pilgrim Coffee and Jackman & McRoss are hard to top. Thirsty? Sign up for a tour of Australia’s oldest brewery, Cascade, or pinball between the pubs and bars in North Hobart or around Salamanca Pl and the waterfront.
Continuing south, stop by Devils Brewery on the old Margate Train for a craft-beer tasting. A short ferry ride from Kettering, Bruny Island offers plenty for wandering foodies: oysters, cheese, smoked meats, beer, whisky and Australia’s most southerly vineyard. Bruny Island Cheese Co is a highlight. Back on the ‘mainland’, the Huon Valley is Australia’s apple basket, also producing stone fruit, berries, cider and yet more great cafes and vineyards. Don’t miss the Apple Shed cider house in Grove. Enjoy!
- 3 Weeks
With so much gorgeous wilderness and so few people, outdoor adventures in Tasmania tend to be soulful natural experiences. Bushwalking, kayaking, mountain biking, rafting, surfing, swimming, abseiling – it’s all here.
With a bit of planning (you’ll need to book), launch your outdoor epic on the famous five-day Overland Track in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Not far west of Lake St Clair is the Franklin River, where multiday rafting trips shoot the rapids. Further west, beyond Strahan, is Ocean Beach, one of the wildest stretches of sand you'll ever see. Tracking back to the southeast, adrenaline fiends can tackle the 140m abseil down the Gordon Dam at Strathgordon.
Heading into Hobart, there’s great mountain biking at the Glenorchy MTB Park, or the more leisurely Mt Wellington Descent, a downhill run from the summit winding up on the Hobart waterfront (plenty of places for a celebratory ale). Kayaking fans can explore the Hobart docks – or cliffs and caves further south around Storm Bay – with Roaring 40s Kayaking.
For a low-intensity dip in the sea, head to Seven Mile Beach near Hobart Airport, or Kingston Beach in Hobart's southern suburbs.The closest surf to Hobart is at Clifton Beach, but for something a bit wilder try Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula. The Tasman Peninsula also hosts the excellent new Three Capes Track, a four-day hike atop eye-popping sea cliffs (as with the Overland Track, you'll need to book).
Up on the east coast is Coles Bay (yet more sea kayaking, with Freycinet Adventures) and Freycinet National Park, with bushwalks from 20-minute boardwalk ambles to multiday epics. Don’t miss a chilly swim at wondrous Wineglass Bay! North of here, surf beaches abound: Redbill Beach at Bicheno has reliable breaks.
Tasmania’s new mountain-biking mecca is Derby, a rather forlorn-looking former mining town in the northeast. Blue Derby is the overseeing body, managing 25-plus trails through this rugged terrain, from 1km to 40km. Priceless advice: book your beds in advance if there’s an MTB event happening!