Exploring Australia: Best Places to Visit in Tasmania
March 2, 2019
by Xenia Sanut
While Australia is admired for its natural wonders and unique wildlife, one of the country’s most beautiful places doesn’t catch much international attention. Often overshadowed by the hustle and bustle of Sydney, the arts and culture of Melbourne and the summer weather of Queensland, Tasmania was the second-last choice for international visitors in 2017.
However, this Australian state harbours some of the most diverse natural landscapes in the world and is a great place for a road trip for backpackers, travellers and outdoor adventurers alike. Here are seven destinations that were the highlights of my visit and are must-see destinations for your trip.
From its humble beginnings as a British settlement to now being the second largest city in Tasmania, there is plenty to see and do in Launceston. With renowned wineries and celebrated restaurants being an integral part of its charm, Launceston still holds a small-town aesthetic while staying true to Tasmania’s natural roots.
Near the centre of Launceston is Cataract Gorge, a great place for a perfect day out. The reserve’s sloping hills provide a great spot for an outdoor lunch and there are plenty of attractions to keep everyone entertained. The gorge has an outdoor swimming pool, a chairlift, walking paths and scenic lookouts so you can take in all the natural beauty Tasmania has to offer.
6. Freycinet National Park
No matter how long you spend in Tasmania there is no way you can explore all of Freycinet National Park. This park, located on Tasmania’s eastern coast, is the perfect place for campers and those looking to truly immerse themselves in the natural world. While it’s very busy during the summer holidays and on weekends with nice weather, it doesn’t mean that you should pass this national park by.
From a short day-trip to Wineglass Bay or a two day walk down to Cooks Beach, there is something for people of all camping and hiking experience. While we only visited during the day, I highly recommend that you stay a night or two to truly experience the most of Freycinet National Park, as it is one of the closest places you can get to a world untouched by man.
5. Port Arthur
The remains of this convict settlement provide an extensive history about British colonisation in Australia. This UNESCO World Heritage site is south-east of Hobart and provides many activities to truly immerse you in the history of the area.
Entry onto the site includes a guided tour and harbour cruise to share stories of the inmates’ escape attempts and the lives of the guards and residents connected to Port Arthur’s history. For those feeling adventurous, the museum also runs ghost tours once night falls.
Regarding its recent history, the grounds of Port Arthur is where one of the worst mass shootings in modern day Australia occurred with the site still standing to this day. A moving tribute lies nearby to commemorate those who lost their lives that day and to mark a great change to national gun regulations as a result of the tragedy.
No trip to Tasmania is complete unless you visit the state’s capital, Hobart. While it certainly doesn’t feel as busy as Australia’s other metropolises, Hobart still has much in store. Although we regrettably missed it, it’s highly recommended that you stay over a Saturday as the Salamanca Market, a large local market selling unique Tasmanian produce, only operates once a week so you wouldn’t want to miss out.
The Museum of Old and New Art is another must-see and one of the best galleries I have ever visited. The exhibits range from the thought-provoking to amusing and back, making for a memorable experience even if you’re not the biggest art fan. Even if only for a day, Hobart is a nice place to rest after several days on the walking trail.
3. Bruny Island
Just south of Hobart and a ferry’s ride away is the gorgeous Bruny Island, where much of Australia’s coastal wildlife is preserved. Ideal for a summer’s day, Bruny Island has many sandy beaches and bushwalks at their South Bruny National Park to further enjoy Tasmania’s landscape with friends and family.
Connecting North and South Bruny is a thin stretch of land dubbed, The Neck, which provides spectacular views of the coast. The island’s delicious oyster restaurants and local produce are perfect for filling up an empty stomach or to snack on for the remainder of your trip. If the beach calls to you as it does to me, Bruny Island is a must-see.
2. Lake St Clair & Cradle Mountain National Park
While a bit of a mouthful to say, Lake St Clair & Cradle Mountain National Park is filled with ancient and natural grandeur. Right in the heart of Tasmania, this national park contains many famous attractions, such as the titular Cradle Mountain, and popular hikes, including the six-day Overland Track.
There are plenty of walks ranging from a few hours to several days depending on your expertise and experience, so all can explore the majestic rainforests and rugged mountains. If you really want a taste of true Tasmania, Lake St Clair & Cradle Mountain National Park is the place to go.
Our final stop on our Tasmanian journey was the beautiful Stanley. Even with its strong sea breeze, sprawling coastal beaches and colonial cottages, you can’t go to this north-western town without visiting, or at least seeing, the gigantic rock known as The Nut. If you decide to walk up this 150m steep protrusion of rock, be sure to bring your asthma inhaler and a large water bottle.
My experience ascending and descending The Nut‘s steep incline had me more exhausted than all the previous walking trails combined. If you’re not up for it, there’s also the option to ride the chairlift to the flat peak. But no matter how you get to the top, the views are spectacular, and this quaint but friendly town easily made it a favourite Tasmanian destination.
If you’re up for a trip you won’t forget, Tasmania will definitely give you a taste for adventure.
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May 10, 2019
Makes me interested to visit the place after such a picturesque narrative. Well written Xenia! Good job!