Lonely Planet Writer

Just back from: Tasmania, Australia

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart Kathryn exploring the botanical gardens at Hobart © Kathryn Rowan

Kathryn Rowan, Product Editor at Lonely Planet, recently returned from a trip to Tasmania, Australia.

Tell us more… I spent 12 days driving around Tasmania, exploring a part of my country that I’d never been to before. During that time we managed to see a large amount of the state, including Cradle Mountain, Stanley, Launceston, Hobart, Port Arthur, Saint Helens and Richmond.

In a nutshell… Tassie has everything – mountains, beaches, wildlife, wineries, food, crafts, history and the list goes on. But the landscapes and wildlife especially are incredible. There’s beautifully rugged wilderness everywhere, and you can’t go far without coming across local critters going about their day (in many cases dead on the road, but locals say it’s actually a good sign of a thriving animal population).

Beach at Bay of Fires, Tasmania The stunning sandy stretches of the Bay of Fires © Kathryn Rowan

Fave activity? I’m a sucker for a stretch of white sand and bright blue ocean so seeing the Bay of Fires and other east coast beaches was the high point for me. The blowhole in Bicheno was amazing to watch, as were the sea creatures living in the neighbouring rock pools. But if I thought that was great it had nothing on the seemingly endless stretch of undisturbed beach in the Bay of Fires. What a great place to relax!

Good grub? With such a great variety of local produce it’s hard to work out where to start. A standout experience was picking strawberries on a berry farm in the Tamar Valley. The minute you got out of the car you could smell delicious berries, and I’ve never tasted one quite as sweet. With Tasmania being an island it’s natural to find seafood everywhere: buying takeaway fish and chips from a boathouse in Hobart was a definitely a foodie highlight.

Salamanca Market is a great place to go if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for the region’s best produce, with many stalls allowing you to try before you buy. I left with a delicious strawberry and champagne jam and the most amazing local honey.

Port Arthur's Penitentiary, Tasmania Port Arthur's Penitentiary © Kathryn Rowan

You’d be a muppet to miss… the Port Arthur Historic Site and Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). If you’re looking for history the World Heritage convict site is the place to visit but if quirky art and amazing architecture is more your speed then head to MONA.

Bizarre encounter? Meeting a very friendly wild wallaby at the Wineglass Bay Lookout in Freycinet National Park. Seeing wildlife in a national park doesn’t sound strange, but this one came right up and climbed on me in the hope I’d give him my banana (or that he could steal it while I wasn’t watching!). He clearly hadn’t seen the sign about not feeding the animals.

Want more behind-the-scenes adventures? Find out what Territory and Key Account Manager Claire Beyer got up to on her recent trip to Iran.