Home to just 500,000 people, the island of Tasmania is as intimate as it is beautiful. Its gorgeous capital city, Hobart, is home to one of the world’s most intriguing art galleries, while northern Launceston is one of the few cities on the planet to be wrapped around a gorge. Drive anywhere in the island state and you can go from beach-lined coasts to World Heritage-listed mountain areas in just a few hours. Along the way you’ll pass welcoming farm-gate producers, cellar doors and restaurants specialising in local produce so fresh it’s the envy of the culinary world.
Explore Hobart’s Capital Treats
Tasmania’s welcoming capital city, Hobart, is pressed between a mountain and a river, and provides a diverse range of city activities and experiences. Wander among the city’s beautiful sandstone colonial architecture, drive to the summit of Mount Wellington for the best of Hobart’s views, and dine on Tasmania’s famously fresh produce in any number of outstanding restaurants.
Visit the Underground Art World of Mona
Hobart’s amazing, subterranean Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, is a heady combination of art and architecture. A multi-tiered labyrinth cut into sandstone cliffs in the city’s northern suburbs, this world-class gallery has a collection of art designed to provoke.
Delve into Convict History
World Heritage-listed penitentiary buildings around Tasmania tell the story of almost 50 years of harsh convict life in the 19th century. Australia’s most notorious convict settlement sits in the beautiful coastal setting of Port Arthur, a one hour drive east of Hobart. If you’re feeling brave, stick around for the nightly ghost tour.
Rock the Cradle
The most famous of Tasmania’s multitude of mountains is Cradle Mountain, a dramatic cliff-lined peak rising from the shores of Dove Lake in the state’s north-west. View it from the six kilometre (3.7 mile) Dove Lake Circuit walking track or, if you’re feeling energetic, climb to Marions Lookout for a stunning view over mountain and lake.
Wander the Sands of Wineglass Bay
A short walk from the car park at Freycinet National Park brings you to a lookout platform above the flawless white curve of Wineglass Bay on the eastern Freycinet Peninsula (three hours drive north-east of Hobart). From here, walk down to the beach and feel the sand between your toes. You’ll probably meet a kangaroo or two on the beach, and may see dolphins playing in the water. Combine whales and wineglass with a cruise tour and accommodation with Swansea Holiday Park http://www.swansea-holiday.com.au/ where a warm and friendly welcome awaits you.
Be Seduced by Seafood
Seafood can come no fresher than this, as you take a boat from Hobart’s docks for a banquet pulled straight from the ocean on a Tasmanian Seafood Seduction trip run by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. On this day-long tour towards the coast of southern Bruny Island, you’ll harvest oysters straight from a farm’s leases, and feast on crayfish and abalone caught by your guide. The catch is barbecued right on the boat.
Walk on Air
Walk among forest giants on the edge of 1.6 million hectares of World Heritage listed forest at Tahune AirWalk. Walk a platform through the tree canopy, and cross swinging bridges across the Huon and Picton Rivers. Or fly like an eagle with the cable eagle hang glider. Visit http://tahuneairwalk.com.au/ for more information.
Meet a Devil
Wildlife parks across Tasmania offer opportunities to see the state’s emblematic Tasmanian devil. Take a night tour at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, 30 minutes drive north of Hobart, and you’ll get to feed the devils in a tug-of-war game; or join a Devil Tracker Tour at the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo on the Tasman Peninsula (about a one-hour drive south-east of Hobart) to help monitor wild populations.
Discover native plant collections, rear & threatened species, and Tasmanian native plant collections at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. There’s treasure to discover in the historic heritage, there’s even the world’s only subantarctic house, how cool is that! http://gardens.rtbg.tas.gov.au/
Go Nuts about Stanley
One look at cute Stanley, on Tasmania’s north-west coast, is usually enough to inspire love at first sight. This colourful and welcoming fishing town huddles at the base of a curious rectangular hill named the Nut. It’s the plug of a former volcano. Little penguins waddle ashore each night across long Godfreys Beach.
The riverside township of Franklin has lots of old-fashioned Tasmanian charm, from the quaint historic buildings and streetscape to the pretty wooden boats floating on the Huon River.
Located in the ultra-scenic Huon Valley, Franklin is the oldest township in the region and sits quietly on the western side of the beautiful Huon River. To make the most of the oceans and rivers book a sail with Yukon, choose from one of 4 cruises or tailor your own cruise. You will sail in harmony with the wind & the waves, get involved – se and trim the sallies, learn a useful know or try a ‘trikc’ at the helm. For more information visit http://yukon-tours.com.au/
Franklin is vibrant and charming, with a real village feel. Quaint old buildings and cottages line the main street, many with front gardens full of flowers and fruit growing on heirloom trees while quiet lanes lead up to the hills behind the town and offer wonderful views of the township and river below.
Franklin serves up a feast of local food and produce with a good selection of eateries including riverfront cafes and restaurants. Roadside fruit stands sell fresh local apples and pears – a reminder of the rich apple-growing heritage of the Huon Valley.
You will be needing some cider to wash down all the great local produce, head to Franklin Cider Company, using 100% pure fresh fruit grown in the beautiful Huon Valley, golden apples, heritage pears & luscious cherries yield that ‘just picked’ aroma & clean crisp finish. Be sure to try one of their multi award winning ranges. http://www.frankscider.com.au/
In town, the Palais Theatre is a lovely example of federation style architecture and hosts a range of events, including the monthly Franklin Market.
There’s a strong creative community in Franklin too, and their locally-made wares can be found in the town’s art and craft stores.
Wooden boats are also big here, attracting keen builders and boat-lovers from across the world. Stop at the Wooden Boat Centre, a wooden boat building school and visitor centre dedicated to preserving the traditional craft of wooden boat building. They also offer a range of short and intermediate courses for both learning and leisure. http://www.woodenboatcentre.com/
Franklin offers many places to stay, from quaint Bed and Breakfasts and holiday house rentals to local hotels and cottages. Franklin is a 40-min (45 km) drive south from Hobart.
Walking in Tasmania
The location alone at the edge of the world, is enough to excite any keen walker, but Tasmania isn’t only for hardy explorers. Slow down to island time and let nature’s drama unfold. The island’s wilderness, beaches, and wildlife can all be experienced on well-marked tracks, hand in hand with cosy cabins, gourmet food and a glass of pinot. Tasmania is home to some of Australia’s most iconic walks – the Bay of Fires, Maria Island and of course the Overland Track, to name a few. But one doesn’t have to embark on a multi-day walk, there are short walks all over the island. Work your way down the list of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. They give just about anybody the chance to explore Tassie’s scenic and iconic regions.
Markets, Antiques and Local Art and Craft
Mixed markets in villages and towns are bringing communities together to celebrate eating and making local. Makers, crafters and bric-a-brac-ers come together with bakers, dairy producers, pig farmers and orchardists to offer a snap shot of the regions’ creative diversity. With an abundance of creative talent in Tasmania, there’s no shortage of places to find local art, craft, clothing and design and even meet a maker or two. Tassie is a bargain hunter’s paradise and it’s easy to find a beautiful pre-loved piece of history in antiques and collectables stores.
There’s good reason Tasmania’s wine, cider, beer and spirits are highly sought after. The island’s moderate climate allows grapes to ripen slowly on the vine resulting in maximum flavour. It doesn’t matter which direction you head in Tassie, it’s likely there’s a wine trail and charming cellar doors to drop into. Tasmanian cider producers are lucky enough to have access to premium produce from third, fourth and even fifth generation orchardists, as well as some of the purest water in the world at their fingertips. Take the cider trail and meet Tassie’s passionate cider producers. The island’s also one of the few places in the world where whisky is still made the old-fashioned way. Meet the makers and sample their liquid gold on a whisky trail dropping in on local distilleries. You can also discover the charming characters and captivating stories behind Tasmania’s craft beers on a beer trail.
It’s an unlikely spot for a food revolution – a bountiful green island off the southern coast of Australia. Tasmania’s cool climate and rich soils allow small-scale producers to flourish and some of the best produce you will find anywhere is grown, harvested and served on the island. There are farmers markets, cutting edge restaurants, gourmet walking tours, farm gates and providores scattered all across the island. Farm-based cooking classes will have you harvesting vegetables and cooking up a feast. It’s all part of the Tasmanian food experience.
Some places are built to rush, others to explore, walk, play golf, and sip wine. Tasmania is in the latter. Short drives lead to microbreweries, convict settlements, beaches, fields of lavender, and lush rainforests. There are literally hundreds of things to see and do, and much to feast on – and it’s all within reach.
Held across Hobart’s vibrant and bustling waterfront, enjoy the festivities at the four-day Biennial event; the Australian Wooden Boat Festival
National Penny Farthing Championships and Evandale Village Fair