Tasmania (or Tassie as the locals call it) might be Australia’s smallest state, but it still has much to explore for one to two weeks. 42% of its land is in national parks and World Heritage Areas, so it has an abundance of incredibly scenic natural landscapes. Mist-shrouded peaks, alpine lakes and picturesque peninsulas are just some of its enchanting sceneries. Lace up your boots! Here are some of the best things to do in Tasmania.
1. Explore Freycinet National Park
A World Heritage Area, Freycinet National Park is on Tasmania’s relatively sunny east coast and one of Australia’s oldest nature reserves. Hiking the many scenic trails here is the best way to explore the park. But the real star of the show here is Wineglass Bay, one of the top ten beaches in the world. You can enjoy it in different ways – head down to the beach, hike to the visitor’s platform for a great view over or tackle the hike to the top of Mt. Amos for an even better view. Beyond Wineglass Bay, there’s plenty more to uncover. The Hazards – a granite mountain range that rises dramatically from the bays – provides a breathtaking backdrop that is never far from view.
2. Hike Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park
Another World Heritage Area, a visit to Cradle Mountain National Park is an absolute must. From mossy ancient rainforests and deep river gorges to snow-capped mountain peaks, wild alpine moorlands and glacial lakes, the park is revered for its diverse and breathtaking landscapes. There are many great trails ranging from short easy strolls to the legendary Overland Track. This five-to-six day hike stretches 80km from Cradle Mountain through to Lake St Clair and is an unforgettable journey through Tasmania’s alpine heart.
3. Summit kunanyi/Mount Wellington
At 1,271 meters (4169ft), kunanyi/Mount Wellington towers over the capital of Hobart like a benevolent guardian. It is a constant reminder of the wilderness that literally lies on the doorstep of this waterfront city. Many visitors explore other sites along the way such as The Springs and The Chalet while journeying up Pinnacle Road to the lookout at the summit. From The Springs, take a walk to Sphinx Rock and stretch your legs with views of Organ Pipes, Hobart and the Derwent River. We should mention that the weather on Mount Wellington is notoriously fickle – some days you can see across the Tasman Sea and into the wild South West National Park. Some days, you cannot even see your shoes!
4. Shop in Salamanca Market
Every Saturday, locals and visitors alike flock to Salamanca Market on Hobart’s waterfront in the historic Salamanca Place. With over 300 stalls, the finest local talent come together and display everything from woodcarving to fashion to glassware and ceramics. And we haven’t even started on the food! Think all of the finest flavours of the local region all in one spot, set against a Georgian architectural backdrop. Picking up some fresh sourdough and local cheese for a picnic are just some of our favourite things to do in Tasmania!
5. Catch the Aurora Australis
Yes, the Southern Hemisphere has its own aurora too and you can see it from some parts of New Zealand, Antarctica and of course, Tasmania! They are the brightest during the equinox in September. Or, you could visit Tasmania in winter, since the short days and long nights mean a greater chance of catching the wonders. The best spots for catching the aurora in Tasmania are Dodges Ferry, South Arm Peninsula and Cockle Creek. Read more here for a complete guide to the Southern Lights!
6. Snorkel in the Bay of Fires
You’ve climbed mountains and now it’s time to swim in the sea! Set by the east coast, the Bay of Fires gets its name from the vibrant orange lichen that covers the rocks on the beach. Start your journey at the southern end of Binalong Bay, and take your pick of activities to do. There is everything from hiking to game fishing to snorkelling in the crystal clear water. Or, treat yourself to a luxury eco-lodge experience with the award-winning Bay of Fires Walk.