If Tasmania isn’t at the top of your travel bucket list yet, this article will quickly change your mind! Separated from the Australian mainland, the island state of Tasmania has a life and culture of its own. With smaller cities, fewer residents and untouched natural environments, Tasmania offers a much-needed retreat for those seeking a slower pace of life. But don’t be mistaken — despite its size, Tasmania’s vibrant arts and culture scene leaves more than enough to do while countless outdoor adventures await among the jaw-dropping coastal, mountainous and forested landscapes.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Tasmania!
Dine at the MONA
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart is one of the city’s most prized cultural locations. The museum houses one of the largest private art collections in the world and features a range of additional features including a restaurant, library, cinema, multiple entertainment venues, wine and beer tasting rooms, and contemporary accommodation options. The restaurant is a must-visit for adventurous foodies while the exhibition museum guarantees hours of entertainment and wonder for people of all ages. MONA can be accessed via a 30-minute high-speed ferry ride departing from Hobart’s waterfront. If you plan your trip right, you might even catch the much-anticipated Dark MOFO winter festival hosted by MONA every year.
Explore the Bay of Fires
Tasmania is known and celebrated for its awe-inspiring natural landscapes. When you see the Bay of Fires, you’ll understand why. The bay stretches 50 kilometres along the northeastern coast of Tasmania from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point. This has long been acknowledged by locals as one of the most beautiful places in Tasmania, although the rest of the world only caught up in recent years. Now one of the most popular places to visit in all of Australia, the Bay of Fires with its white-sand beaches, clear waters, stunning coastline and strikingly orange boulders will leave you lost for words.
Catch the view from the top of Mount Wellington
Mount Wellington watches over the city of Hobart, standing tall at more than 1,200 metres above the ground. Also known by its Aboriginal name, “kunanyi”, the mountain is an iconic natural landmark in Tasmania. A 21-kilometre road leads to the top of Mount Wellington, accessible by vehicles and also popular among mountain bikers. Guided tours of around two hours each depart daily from Hobart. The narrow road may not be for the faint of heart, but the lush forested surroundings along the way followed by the rewarding view from the top will make it well worth your while! At the summit, you will be blessed with a view like no other, stretching over the city, the sea and the Tasmanian wilderness down below.
Hike in the Freycinet National Park
The Freycinet National Park plays an important role in Tasmania’s biodiversity conservation. Occupying a large part of the Freycinet Peninsula about 125 kilometres northeast of Hobart, the Freycinet National Park is home to a host of Tasmanian wildlife, from wallabies and whales to cockatoos and wattlebirds. Along with Mount Field National Park, this is the oldest park in the state. With a variety of bushwalking trails, there are plenty of opportunities for hikers and nature lovers to explore the park. The hikes range from two hours to three days, so there is something for everyone! The park also includes a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk with amazing coastal views.
Go into the Tasmanian wilderness
Another outdoor adventure that can’t be missed out on is a trip to the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. This 1600+ square kilometre national park is part of the World Heritage-listed Tasmanian Wilderness and includes spectacular mountainous landscapes. The northern part of the park is centred around the prominent Cradle Mountain, while the southern part features the natural freshwater Lake St Clair. Ambitious hikers can brave the 65-kilometre trek between the two sections, although the park also offers a myriad of shorter trails to explore the ancient rainforests and alpine mountain ranges.
Visit the Salamanca Markets
Spending a Saturday morning at the Salamanca Markets at the historic Salamanca Place in Hobart is one of the best things to do in Tasmania. The Salamanca Markets have been taking place every week since 1972! Hosting more than 300 vendors selling everything under the sun, from fresh produce and homemade baking goods to jewellery and furniture, this open-air market is a cultural institution in Hobart. The area surrounding the market is just as charming, with a wealth of cafes, antique shops and art galleries bringing life to the heritage buildings of Salamanca Place. As a bonus, a free shuttle travels between the city centre and the market every 10 minutes on market days.
Catch a glimpse of the Aurora Australis
The Aurora Australis is a must-see natural phenomenon. The Southern Hemisphere’s aurora can be seen from a handful of locations, with Tasmania offering some of the most desirable viewing spots in the country. Although the aurora can be seen year-round, it is most commonly observed during the winter from May to August and during the spring equinox in September. Bruny Island, Satellite Island, Bathurst Harbour, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and Central Highlands are known as some of the best spots to view the Aurora Australis in Tasmania. Have your camera at the ready because these lights will be unlike anything you have ever witnessed!
Admire the tulip fields
Every September to October, Tasmania lights up in vibrant colours and floral fragrances with the annual Bloomin’ Tulip Festival. With the tulip blooming season in full swing, the small town of Wynyard on the northwest coast of Tasmania transforms into a joyous celebration of the arrival of spring. At the heart of the festival is the Table Cape Tulip Farm, which is home to the largest tulip fields in the Southern Hemisphere that visitors can stroll through. Alongside the picture-perfect tulip fields, the town buzzes with food, music and cultural activities that will keep the whole family entertained.
Walk among giants
Some of the biggest and oldest rainforests in Australia are located in Tasmania. From the world’s tallest white gum trees found in the Evercreech Forest Reserve (reaching heights of more than 90 metres at ages of over 300 years!) to the immersive airwalk above the forest canopy of the Tahune Forest, tree lovers will have more than enough to keep themselves busy in Tasmania. The Tarkine Forest is another sight to behold. This forest represents the greatest expanse of cool temperate rainforest in Australia and the second largest in the world.
Venture to Bruny Island
For a quick island escape, pack your swimsuit and sunscreen and hop on a ferry to Bruny Island. A 40-minute drive from Hobart followed by a 20-minute ferry ride from Kettering will deliver you to the doorstep of Tasmania’s best island destination. Not only a great place to swim, snorkel and surf but also a culinary paradise with mouthwatering artisan dishes and fresh seafood! Bruny Island has several hiking trails to explore the tropical wilderness and rocky coastline. Visitors can also opt for a leisurely cruise around the island — if you’re lucky you might even see a couple of dolphins and fur seals.