Bargaining and haggling isn't really part of Australian culture. That said, there's a definite 'cash' culture in commerce here, where you might get a lower price on a purchase if you pay cash rather than use a credit card (thus relieving the vendor of some of their official tax obligations).
Dangers & Annoyances
Tasmania is a relatively safe place, but you should still take reasonable precautions.
At the Beach
Surf beaches can be dangerous places if you aren’t used to the conditions. Undertows (or ‘rips’) are the main problem. If you find yourself being carried out by a rip, the important thing to do is just keep afloat – don’t panic or try to swim against the current, which will exhaust you. In most cases the current stops within a couple of hundred metres of the shore: you can then swim parallel to the shore for a short way to get out of the rip and make your way back to land.
In the warmer months of the year, expect mosquitoes, especially around sunset. Insect repellents will deter them, but it’s best to cover up. Ticks are found in moist bushy areas and can be avoided by covering up in light clothing. Most people experience little or no symptoms of bites, but occasionally paralysis or allergic reaction to their toxins can occur. If you find a tick lodged somewhere on your body, gently remove it with a pair of fine-pointed tweezers by grasping as close to the skin as possible.
Jack jumper ants have a black body and orange pincers. They are aggressive and can sometimes ‘jump’ from the vegetation. Bull ants (aka inchmen) are larger, with dark browny-red bodies. Bites from both cause an allergic reaction, followed by devilish itching. Signs of an ant nest can include small pebbles at the entrance to the hole.
Leeches may be present in damp rainforest conditions: bushwalkers often find them on their legs or in their boots. Salt or a lit cigarette end will make them fall off. Do not pull them off, as the bite is then more likely to become infected. Clean and apply pressure if the point of attachment is bleeding. An insect repellent may keep them away and gaiters are a good idea when you’re walking.
Despite the bad rep, shark attacks are rare in Tasmania, with only six deaths in the last 50 years in state waters. That said, the sea is their house: if you walk through the front door, someone might be home.
Tasmania is home to three snake species: tiger, white-lipped and lowland copperhead snakes; see www.parks.tas.gov.au/wildlife. All three are venomous, but they are not aggressive and, unless you have the ill fortune to stand on one, it’s unlikely you’ll be bitten. Snakes are most active in summer and are often spotted on bushwalking trails around the state.
To minimise your chances of being bitten, always wear boots, socks and long trousers (ideally gaiters) when walking through undergrowth. Don’t put your hands into holes and crevices and be careful if collecting firewood.
There are a few spiders to watch out for in Tasmania. The white-tailed spider is a long, thin, black spider with a white tip on its tail. It has a fierce bite that can lead to local inflammation. It is a ground scavenger and can sometimes crawl into piles of stuff left on the floor. Tasmanian funnel-web and redback spiders are venomous; if you're bitten, seek medical help ASAP. The disturbingly large huntsman spider has a nonvenomous bite. Seeing one will more likely impact on your blood pressure and/or underpants.
Government Travel Advice
Tasmania can seem a long way from global strife, but if you're heading beyond these island shores, the following government websites offer travel advisories and information on current hot spots.
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (www.smartraveller.gov.au)
Canadian government (www.travel.gc.ca)
French Ministère des Affaires Étrangères et Européennes (www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs)
Italian Ministero degli Affari Esteri (www.viaggiaresicuri.mae.aci.it)
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (www.safetravel.govt.nz)
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/fco)
US State Department (www.travel.state.gov)
iVenture Card Flexible combo passes to a selection of tourist lures around the state.
Senior cards Travellers over 60 with some form of identification (eg a Seniors Card – www.australia.gov.au/content/seniors-card) are often eligible for concession prices. Most Australian states and territories issue their own versions of these, which can be used Australia-wide.
Student and youth cards The internationally recognised International Student Identity Card (ISIC; www.isic.org) is available to full-time students aged 12 and over. The card gives the bearer discounts on accommodation, transport and admission to various attractions. The same organisation also produces the International Youth Travel Card (IYTC), issued to people aged under 26 years who are not full-time students, and has benefits equivalent to those of the ISIC. Also similar is the International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC), available to teaching professionals. All three cards ($30 each) are available online or from student-travel companies.
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Ambulance, fire & police||000|
|Australia's country code||61|
|International access code||0011|
|Tasmania's area code||03|
Entry & Exit Formalities
Security at mainland Australian airports has increased in recent years, at both domestic and international terminals, but Tasmania’s arrivals procedures are generally less time-consuming.
All visitors to Australia, and thus Tasmania, need a visa. Apply online through the Department of Immigration & Border Protection (www.border.gov.au), unless you are a New Zealander (Kiwis are granted a special visa upon entering Australia).
- Many European passport-holders are eligible for a free eVisitor visa, allowing visits to Australia for up to three months at a time within a 12-month period.
- eVisitor visas must be applied for online. They are electronically stored and linked to individual passport numbers, so no stamp in your passport is required.
- It’s advisable to apply at least 14 days prior to the proposed date of travel to Australia.
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA; 601)
- Passport-holders from many of the European countries eligible for eVisitor visas, plus passport-holders from Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the USA, can apply for either a visitor ETA or business ETA.
- ETAs are valid for 12 months, with multiple stays of up to three months permitted.
- ETA visas cost $20; apply via travel agents worldwide, or online.
- Short-term Visitor visas have largely been replaced by the eVisitor and ETA. However, if you're from a country not covered by either, or you want to stay longer than three months, you’ll need to apply for a Visitor visa.
- Standard Visitor visas allow one entry for a stay of up to three, six or 12 months, and are valid for use within 12 months of issue.
- Visitor visas cost from $140 to $1020.
Work & Holiday (462)
- Nationals from Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the USA, Uruguay and Vietnam who are aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a Work and Holiday visa prior to entry to Australia.
- Once granted, this visa allows the holder to enter Australia within three months of issue, stay for up to 12 months, leave and reenter Australia any number of times within those 12 months, undertake temporary employment to supplement a trip, and study for up to four months.
- The application fee is $440.
Working Holiday (417)
- Young (aged 18 to 30) visitors from Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK are eligible for a Working Holiday visa, which allows you to visit for up to 12 months and gain casual employment.
- Holders can leave and reenter Australia any number of times within those 12 months.
- Holders can only work for any one employer for a maximum of six months.
- Apply prior to entry to Australia (up to a year in advance) – you can’t change from another tourist visa to a Working Holiday visa once you’re in Australia.
- Conditions include having a return air ticket or sufficient funds ($5000) for a return or onward fare.
- The application fee is $440.
- Second Working Holiday visas can be applied for once you're in Australia, subject to certain conditions.
If you want to stay in Australia for longer than your visa allows, you’ll need to apply for a new visa (usually a Visitor visa 600). Apply online at least two or three weeks before your visa expires.
There are no restrictions for citizens of any particular countries entering Australia, and thus Tasmania. If you have a current passport and visa, you should be fine.
There are stringent rules in place to protect the 'disease-free' agricultural status of this island state: fresh fruit, vegetables and plants cannot be brought into Tasmania. Tourists must discard all such items prior to their arrival (even if they’re only travelling from mainland Australia). There are sniffer dogs at Tasmanian airports, and quarantine inspection posts at the Devonport ferry terminal. Quarantine officers are entitled to search your car and luggage for undeclared items. See www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/biosecurity-tasmania for a detailed traveller's guide.
Although largely informal in their everyday dealings, Tasmanians do observe some (unspoken) rules of etiquette.
- Greetings Shake hands when meeting someone for the first time and when saying goodbye. Female friends are often greeted with a single kiss on the cheek.
- Invitations If you're invited to someone's house for a barbecue or dinner, don't turn up empty-handed: bring a bottle of wine or some beers.
- Shouting No, not yelling. 'Shouting' at the bar means buying a round of drinks: if someone buys you one, don't leave without buying them one too.
Gay & Lesbian Travellers
It wasn't always the case, but LGBTQI-rights groups now consider homosexual and heterosexual people to have greater equality under the law in Tasmania than they do in most other Australian states. But beyond the law, a lack of discrimination outside urban centres should never be assumed.
Hobart has one gay bar – Flamingos Dance Bar – but most urban venues are open-minded.
TasPride (www.taspride.com) Based in Hobart, but a Tasmania-wide support group. A good source of info on upcoming events, including November’s annual TasPride Festival.
A good travel-insurance policy covering theft, loss and medical problems is essential. Some policies specifically exclude designated ‘dangerous activities’ such as scuba diving, skiing and even bushwalking. Make sure your policy fully covers you for your activity of choice, and covers ambulances and emergency medical evacuations by air.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Checking insurance quotes…
Access No one goes to internet cafes any more, do they? They're very hard to find these days. At a pinch, try the free terminals at libraries or government-funded Online Access Centres, which operate in dozens of small Tasmanian towns. For a complete listing of these centres, see www.linc.tas.gov.au/locations.
Wi-fi Wireless access is fast becoming a given in most Tasmanian accommodation (even across some entire town centres), but access is still limited in more isolated areas such as Bruny Island and the southwest. See www.freewifi.tas.gov.au for free government-sponsored wi-fi locations around the state. If you're travelling here from overseas with your smartphone, you might be better off buying a local SIM card with a data allowance you can top up.
Tasmanian cafes and pubs have been slow to adopt free wi-fi for customers, though you can find it (you might have to ask). At your accommodation, if access is not totally free, you might still get a certain amount of data gratis, then pay-per-use after that.
Most travellers will have no contact with Tasmania’s police or legal system. If you do, it’s most likely to be while driving.
Driving There’s a significant police presence on Tasmanian roads – police have the power to stop your car, see your licence (you’re required to carry it), check your vehicle for roadworthiness and insist that you take a breath test for alcohol (and sometimes illicit drugs).
Drugs First-time offenders caught with small amounts of illegal drugs are likely to receive a fine rather than go to jail, but the recording of a conviction against you may affect your visa status.
Visas If you remain in Australia beyond the life of your visa, you’ll officially be an ‘overstayer’ and could face detention and then be prevented from returning to Australia for up to three years.
Arrested? It’s your right to telephone a friend, lawyer or relative before questioning begins. Legal aid is available only in serious cases; for Legal Aid office info, see www.legalaid.tas.gov.au. However, many solicitors do not charge for an initial consultation.
One of the best road maps of the state (1:500,000) is produced by the Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania (www.ract.com.au) and is on sale in the organisation’s offices around the island. This sheet map includes detail of main city centres.
For more detail, including contours, try the maps (1:250,000) published by Tasmap (www.tasmap.tas.gov.au). Tasmap also produces more detailed 1:25,000 topographic sheets appropriate for bushwalking, ski touring and other activities requiring large-scale maps.
Many of the more popular sheets, including day walks and bushwalks in national parks, are usually available over the counter at shops specialising in bushwalking gear and outdoor equipment, and also at urban and national-park visitor centres, Service Tasmania and the Tasmanian Map Centre.
The best atlas is Tasmania Hobart & Launceston ($35), published by UBD. It contains clear, detailed maps of 40 significant towns in the state.
Newspapers The Mercury (www.themercury.com.au) covers Hobart and the south; The Examiner (www.examiner.com.au) covers Launceston and the north.
Magazines Tasmania 40° South (www.fortysouth.com.au) is an excellent quarterly magazine with food, travel and wildlife stories. Warp (www.warpmagazine.com.au) is Tasmania's free music and arts street press, covering the whole state.
TV Watch the ad-free ABC, the multicultural SBS, or one of several commercial stations, including Channel Nine, WIN and Southern Cross, plus additional digital channels.
Radio Tune in to ABC radio; check out www.abc.net.au/radio.
ATMs widely available. Credit cards accepted in most hotels and restaurants.
ATMs & Debit Cards
ATMs Tasmanian cities are flush with ATMs, but they're often absent in smaller towns. In towns without banks, the local post office sometimes acts as a bank agent. You’ll also sometimes find a multicard ATM in the local grocery store, pub or petrol station.
Debit cards For international travellers, debit cards connected to the international banking networks – Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and Eurocard – will work fine in Tasmanian ATMs. Expect substantial fees. A better option may be prepaid debit cards (such as MasterCard and Travelex ‘Cash Passport’ cards) with set withdrawal fees and a balance you can top up from your bank account while on the road.
Credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted for most accommodation and services, and a credit card is essential (in lieu of a fat wad of cash) to hire a car. They can also be used to get cash advances over the counter at banks and from many ATMs, depending on the card – but be aware that these withdrawals incur immediate interest. Diners Club and American Express cards are not as widely accepted.
The Australian dollar comprises 100 cents. There are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins, and $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Tipping in Australia is common in many situations but certainly not mandatory.
- Restaurants and upmarket cafes If the service warrants it − 10% of the bill is the norm.
- Taxis Drivers appreciate your rounding up the fare to the nearest dollar or two.
- Bars and pubs Not expected or required.
Opening hours are fairly consistent: you'll more likely find venues closing for certain days during winter rather then shortening hours on the days they remain open.
Banks 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, to 5pm Friday
Cafes 7.30am to 4pm
Post offices 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday; some open Saturday morning in cities
Pubs and bars 11am to 10pm (closing later in cities)
Restaurants Lunch noon to 2pm, dinner 6pm to 8.30pm
Shops 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, to noon or 5pm Saturday, 'late-night' Hobart shopping to 8pm Friday
Australia Post (www.auspost.com.au) is the nationwide provider. Most substantial Tasmanian towns have a post office, or an Australia Post desk within a local shop. Services are reliable, but slower than they used to be (recent cost-saving cutbacks are to blame). Express Post delivers a parcel or envelope interstate within Australia by the next business day; otherwise allow four days for urban deliveries, longer for country areas.
The holidays listed are statewide unless otherwise indicated.
New Year’s Day 1 January
Australia Day 26 January
Hobart Regatta Day 2nd Monday in February (southern Tasmania)
Launceston Cup Last Wednesday in February (Launceston only)
King Island Show 1st Tuesday in March (King Island only)
Eight Hour Day 2nd Monday in March
Easter March/April (Good Friday to Easter Tuesday inclusive)
Anzac Day 25 April
Queen’s Birthday 2nd Monday in June
Burnie Show 1st Friday in October (Burnie only)
Launceston Show 2nd Thursday in October (Launceston only)
Hobart Show 3rd Thursday in October (southern Tasmania)
Flinders Island Show 3rd Friday in October (Flinders Island only)
Recreation Day 1st Monday in November (northern Tasmania)
Devonport Show Last Friday in November (Devonport only)
Christmas Day 25 December
Boxing Day 26 December
The Christmas/summer school-holiday season runs from mid-December to late January. Accommodation often books out. Book early for Spirit of Tasmania ferry services. Three shorter school-holiday periods occur during the year: roughly from early to mid-April, late June to mid-July, and late September to early October.
Smoking Illegal in pubs, bars, restaurants, offices, shops, theatres etc, and within certain signposted distances of public-facility doorways (airports, bus depots, cinemas etc).
Taxes & Refunds
Australia has a flat 10% tax on all goods and services (the GST); this is included in quoted/shelf prices. A refund is sometimes possible under the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS): see www.border.gov.au/trav/ente/tour/are-you-a-traveller.
Australia’s main telecommunication companies all operate in Tasmania:
Telstra (www.telstra.com.au) The main player, with the best mobile coverage. Offers landline and mobile-phone services.
Optus (www.optus.com.au) Telstra’s main rival. Landline and mobile-phone services.
Vodafone (www.vodafone.com.au) Mobile-phone services.
Information & Toll-Free Calls
- Numbers starting with 190 are usually recorded-information services, charged at anywhere from 35c to $5 or more per minute (more from mobiles).
- Toll-free numbers beginning with 1800 can be called free of charge from anywhere in Australia, though they may not be accessible from certain areas or from mobile phones.
- Calls to numbers beginning with 13 or 1300 are charged at the rate of a local call; the numbers can usually be dialled Australia-wide but may be applicable only to a specific state or Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) district.
- Telephone numbers beginning with 1800, 13 or 1300 cannot be dialled from outside Australia.
- When calling overseas you need to dial the international access code from Australia (0011), the country code and the area code (without the initial 0).
- If calling Australia from overseas the country code is 61 and you need to drop the 0 in the state/territory area codes.
- Local calls from private phones cost 30c and are untimed.
- Local calls from public phones cost 50c and are untimed.
- Calls to mobile phones attract higher rates and are timed.
Long-Distance Calls & Area Codes
Australia uses four long-distance STD area codes:
- STD calls can be made from virtually any public phone and are cheaper during off-peak hours (7pm to 7am).
- Long-distance calls (more than 50km away) within these areas are charged at long-distance rates, even though they have the same area code.
- When calling from one area of Tasmania to another, there’s no need to dial 03 before the local number.
- Local numbers start with 62 in Hobart and southern Tasmania, 63 in Launceston and the northeast, and 64 in the west and northwest.
European phones will work on Australia’s network, but most American and Japanese phones will not. Use global roaming or a local SIM card and prepaid account.
Australia's main service providers (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) all have prepaid mobile systems. Buy a starter kit, which may include a phone or, if you have your own phone, a SIM card and a prepaid charge card.
Numbers Local numbers with the prefix 04 belong to mobile phones.
Reception If you’re not on the Telstra network, coverage can be patchy in remote areas (and sometimes even if you are with Telstra).
Networks Australia’s digital network is compatible with GSM 900 and 1800 (used in Europe) but generally not with the systems used in the USA or Japan. For overseas visitors GSM 900 and 1800 mobiles can be used in Australia if set up at home first; contact your service provider before you travel.
Phonecards & Public Phones
A variety of phonecards can be bought at newsagents, hostels and post offices for a fixed dollar value (usually $10, $20 etc) and can be used with any public or private phone. Shop around.
Most public phones use phonecards; some also accept credit cards. Old-fashioned coin-operated public phones are becoming increasingly rare (and if you do find one, chances are the coin slot will be gummed up or vandalised beyond function).
Australia is divided into three time zones:
Western Standard Time (GMT/UTC plus eight hours) Applies in Western Australia (WA).
Central Standard Time (GMT/UTC plus 9½ hours) Covers the Northern Territory (NT) and South Australia (SA).
Eastern Standard Time (GMT/UTC plus 10 hours) Covers Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales (NSW), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Queensland.
Daylight saving in Tasmania begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April. These arrangements are in line with Victoria, NSW, SA and the ACT. Daylight saving does not operate in Queensland, WA or the NT.
- Toilets in Tasmania are sit-down Western-style (though you mightn’t find this prospect too appealing in some remote spots).
- See www.toiletmap.gov.au for public-toilet locations.
Tourism Tasmania (www.discovertasmania.com) Tasmania’s official tourism promoter.
Hobart visitor information centre A helpful spot for planning statewide travel, and can handle bookings of all sorts.
Parks & Wildlife Service Manages Tasmania's parks and reserves. Contact it for park passes, and to book bushwalking permits on the Overland and Three Capes Tracks.
National Trust Keepers and protectors of many of Tasmania's gorgeous old heritage buildings.
Local Tourist Offices
Tasmania’s main visitor centres supply brochures, maps and local info and can often book transport, tours and accommodation. They generally open from around 8.30am or 9am to 5pm or 5.30pm weekdays, with slightly shorter hours at weekends. Info centres in smaller towns are usually staffed by volunteers (chatty, benign retirees), resulting in less regular opening hours.
Travel with Children
As any parent will tell you, getting from A to B is the hardest part of travelling with children. Fortunately, in Tasmania, A is never very far from B. This will leave your family feeling unhurried, stress-free and ready to enjoy the state's beaches, rivers, forests and wildlife parks.
Best Regions for Kids
- Hobart & Around
A musical education: live Friday-night tunes at Salamanca Arts Centre followed by Saturday's Salamanca Market buskers. Other highlights include harbourside fish and chips, the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery and kunanyi/Mt Wellington for mountain biking and winter snowball throwing.
- The Southeast
Check out Bruny Island’s wild coastline by boat. Don't miss the Tahune AirWalk, Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs and the Ida Bay Railway.
- The East Coast
Brilliant beaches, Coles Bay kayaking, hungry Tasmanian devils at Natureworld and Bicheno’s cute penguins.
- Launceston & Around
Curious critters: City Park’s Japanese macaques and the odd little residents at Beauty Point's Seahorse World and Platypus House. Defy gravity with the Cataract Gorge chairlift or some Cable Hang Gliding.
Tasmania for Kids
Tasmania is a naturally active destination, with plenty of challenges, fun times and exercise opportunities for children (sometimes all at once). Cruise past coastal scenery to spy on seals and dolphins, or paddle a kayak around Hobart’s docks. Explore the forest canopy, or ride a mountain bike down Mt Wellington.
On the gentler side are riverbank bike paths and feeding times at Tassie’s excellent wildlife parks. And when the kids have hiked, biked and kayaked all day, treat them to superfresh local fruit from a roadside stall, or some alfresco fish and chips.
Many motels and better-equipped caravan parks can supply cots. Caravan parks also often have playgrounds, games rooms and hectares of grass on which to burn off some cooped-up-in-the-car kilojoules.
Top-end, and some midrange, hotels are well versed in the needs of guests with children. Some may also have in-house children’s movies and child-minding services. B&Bs, on the other hand, often market themselves as blissfully child-free.
Eating Out with Children
Dining with kids in Tasmania rarely causes any hassles. If you sidestep the flashier restaurants, children are generally welcomed. Cafes are kid friendly and you’ll see families getting in early for dinner in pub dining rooms. Most places can supply high chairs.
Dedicated kids menus are common, but selections are usually uninspiring (ham-and-pineapple pizza, fish fingers, chicken nuggets etc). If a restaurant doesn't have a kids menu, find something on the regular menu and ask the kitchen to adapt it. It’s usually fine to bring toddler food in with you.
If the sun is shining, there are plenty of picnic spots around the state, many with free barbecues. During summer, Tassie is also a great place to buy fresh fruit at roadside stalls.
Breastfeeding & Nappy Changing
Most Tasmanians are relaxed about public breastfeeding and nappy changing: a parent using the open boot of a car as a nappy-changing area is a common sight! Hobart and most major towns also have public rooms where parents can go to feed their baby or change a nappy; ask at the local visitor centre or city councils. Items such as infant formula and disposable nappies are widely available.
In Hobart contact the Mobile Nanny Service, or check out the statewide listings on www.babysittersrus.com.au.
Admission Fees & Discounts
Child concessions (and family rates) generally apply to tours, museum admission and bus transport, with discounts as high as 50% of the adult rate. Nearly all tourist attractions offer kids' prices, with kids aged under four or five often admitted free. However, the definition of ‘child’ can vary from under 12 to under 18 years. Accommodation concessions often apply to children under 12 years sharing the same room as adults. On the major airlines, infants up to three years of age travel free (provided they don’t occupy a seat).
Beaches & Swimming
- Seven Mile Beach The best safe-swimming beach near Hobart.
- Sisters Beach
- Douglas-Apsley National Park Take a dip in a deep, dark river waterhole ('Was that an eel?').
- Fortescue Bay If you've made the effort to drive in here, you might as well camp for the night. And have a swim.
- Cataract Gorge Cool off in the free outdoor swimming pool at First Basin.
We’re Hungry, Mum
- Flippers Fish and chips on Hobart’s Constitution Dock. Launceston's equivalent is Fish ’n’ Chips by the river.
- Sorell Fruit Farm Bag your own fruit (cherries, strawberries, apricots, apples etc) on the doorstep of the Tasman Peninsula.
- Doo-Lishus Food Caravan Scallop pies for lunch! Then a short walk to Eaglehawk Neck's blowhole.
- Hillwood Farmgate Berry picking/scoffing near George Town.
- House of Anvers For a quick-fire choc fix near Devonport.
- Tarkine Forest Adventures Slip down a 110m-long slide into a deep-forest sinkhole.
- Tahune AirWalk Make like a possum in the treetops along walkways 20m above the ground; near Geeveston.
- Tasmazia Totally ridiculous maze and theme park near Lake Barrington.
- Hollybank Treetops Adventure Swing through the trees with the greatest of ease at this adventure park near Lilydale.
- Killiecrankie Enterprises Fossick for ‘diamonds’ (well, semiprecious topaz) on Flinders Island.
A History Lesson
- Historic Ghost Tour The Port Arthur Historic Site by day is creepy enough, but come back at dusk for extra atmos-fear.
- Ida Bay Railway Historic WWII-era rattler, running 14km through bushland to the beach near Southport.
- Callington Mill Oatlands’ old-time mill is cranking out flour again.
- Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre Hands-on gold-mining displays and plenty of heritage.
- Mawson's Huts Replica Museum Antarctic heritage in Hobart.
Meeting the Locals
- Maria Island National Park Close-up encounters with wallabies, echidnas, honking Cape Barren geese and maybe even a Tasmanian devil.
- Bonorong Wildlife Centre A whole bunch of beasts, not far from Hobart. The emphasis is on conservation and education.
- Bicheno Penguin Tours Watch the waddling locals come home to roost.
- Seahorse World On the waterfront at Beauty Point.
- Natureworld Daily Tasmanian-devil feeding sessions at this wildlife centre near Bicheno. Show the progeny a tiger snake without the accompanying fear and peril.
Messing About in Boats
- Bruny Island Cruises Boat tours of the island's southern coastline, cliffs and caves (...and the ferry ride to the island itself is fun!).
- Lady Nelson Tall-ship sailing on Hobart's Derwent River.
- Freycinet Adventures Easygoing sea-kayak paddles around sheltered Coles Bay. Sunset tours a bonus.
- Huon Jet Jet-boat rides on the otherwise-tranquil Huon River in the southeast.
- Arthur River Canoe & Boat Hire Paddle around on the Arthur River in a Canadian canoe.
Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children contains buckets of useful information for travel with little 'uns. To aid your planning once you get to Tassie, pick up the free LetsGoKids magazine (www.letsgokids.com.au) at visitor centres for activity ideas, kid-friendly-accommodation listings and event discount vouchers.
When to Go
When it comes to family holidays, Tasmania is a winner during summer. Having said that, summer is peak season and school-holiday time: expect pricey accommodation and a lot of booking ahead for transport and beds (especially interstate flights, rental cars, the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, camping grounds and motels).
If your own kids don't need to be at school, a better bet may be the shoulder months of March and April (sidestepping Easter) and November, when the weather's still good and there's less pressure on the tourism sector. Winter is even better (if you don't mind the cold and aren't into swimming and camping) – you'll have the whole place to yourselves!
What to Pack
Tasmania’s weather is truly fickle, even in summer, so a diverse wardrobe with lots of layers is recommended. Definitely pack beach gear for your summer holiday, but also throw in a few thermal long-sleeve tops, beanies and jackets. A compact beach tent will also be handy, given Tasmania’s capricious winds. Don’t forget hats and sunglasses – essential for Tasmania’s sharp southern rays.
Feature: Free-Ranging Activities
At Tasmania's most popular national parks during summer (usually from the week before Christmas until early February) and over Easter, the Parks & Wildlife Service runs a fab program of free, family-friendly ‘Discovery Ranger’ activities: guided walks, spotlight tours, slide shows, quiz nights and games.
National parks that stage these activities include Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair, Freycinet, Maria Island, Tasman, Mt Field, Narawntapu and South Bruny. Click on 'Learning & Discovery', then 'Education Services' on the PWS website to see what's happening.
Travellers with Disabilities
An increasing number of accommodation providers and key attractions have access for those with limited mobility, and tour operators often have the appropriate facilities; call ahead to confirm.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel. Also check out the Hobart CBD Mobility Map from Hobart’s visitor centre.
Several agencies also provide information:
National Information Communication & Awareness Network (www.nican.com.au) Australia-wide directory providing information on access, accommodation, sports and recreational activities, transport and specialist tour operators.
ParaQuad Association of Tasmania Information for travellers with disabilities. Download The Wheelie Good Guide.
Parks & Wildlife Service Parks for all People (PDF download) outlines access for mobility-impaired visitors to Tasmania’s national parks and reserves. Click on 'Recreation', then ‘Disabled Access’.
Volunteering is an excellent way to meet people and visit some interesting places, with a number of worthy projects active in Tasmania.
Conservation Volunteers Australia Helps volunteers get their hands dirty with tree planting, walking-track construction and flora and fauna surveys.
Greening Australia Helps volunteers get involved with environmental projects in the bush or in plant nurseries.
Volunteering Tasmania Useful resource bringing volunteers and volunteer projects together.
Willing Workers on Organic Farms WWOOFing is where you do four to six hours' work each day on a farm in return for bed and board. Most hosts are concerned to some extent with alternative lifestyles, and require a minimum stay of two nights. Join online (one year/six months $70/50), then get started (farm listings, maps etc also online). An app is available.
Weights & Measures
Weights & Measures The metric system is used throughout Australia.
Tasmania is generally a safe place for women travellers, although the usual sensible precautions apply. Sexual harassment is rare, though some macho Aussie males still slip – particularly in rural areas when they've been drinking. Hitchhiking isn't such a great idea anywhere in Australia these days, even when travelling in pairs.
Casual work can usually be found during summer in the major tourist centres, mainly working in tourism, hospitality, labouring, gardening or farming.
Seasonal fruit picking is hard work and pay is proportional to the quantity and quality of fruits picked. Harvest is from December to April in the Huon and Tamar Valleys. Grape-picking jobs are sometimes available in late autumn and early winter, as some wineries still hand-pick their crops.
Australian JobSearch (www.jobsearch.gov.au) Myriad jobs across the country.
Harvest Trail (www.harvesttrail.gov.au) Harvest job specialist.
National Harvest Telephone Information Service Advice on when and where you’re likely to pick up harvest work.
Seek (www.seek.com.au) General employment site; good for metropolitan areas.
Travellers at Work (www.taw.com.au) Excellent site for working travellers in Australia.