We see it time and time again. Our community of travellers just can’t seem to get enough of Tassie. And nor can we. It is a state that seems to have gripped visitors by the heart, and no matter how many times you go there, there is always something else that draws you back.
Perhaps it’s the fresh, clean air. Or the fact that us mainlanders feel like we are going ‘overseas’. Maybe the friendly people with an industrious nature who warmly welcome you? Or the incredible food and drink. And you can’t forget the unbelievable landscapes.
I think it is all of the above, and more.
When we wrote our book ‘Australia’s Top 100 Places to Go: The Ultimate Bucket List’ we were stumped. We simply wanted to include every place we had ever been to in Tasmania. They all had their reasons and excluding anything just didn’t feel right.
But when forced to choose, I have five absolute favourites. They are places that I could visit time and time again, and always find something new, different, and special. They are quite simply, places you shouldn’t miss.
Top 5 places to visit in Tasmania
- Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park
The pure magic of being enveloped in such raw beauty just gets me every time. You couldn’t ever feel more immersed in nature than in this spectacular location and the story of Gustav Weindorfer who, back in the early nineteen hundreds, made it his mission to make the area accessible for everyone to enjoy, resonates with me. It is simply a piece of nature that everyone needs to share.
As lovers of the outdoors we have spent a lot of time at Cradle Mountain. All of our trips have varied enormously, and that is part of the appeal. From the six-day Overland Track to a stroll around sparkling Dove Lake, we’ve always been overwhelmed by the park’s beauty. Surrounded by mountains and ancient rainforests, we always feel a world away from civilisation and replenished by Mother Nature. While you are here you will meet and bond with fellow trekkers and nature lovers. Everyone unites in this amazing location.
Just outside the national park, we recommend staying at the local BIG4 Holiday Park, where wallabies visit you at your campsite. And in the winter, there is almost nothing better than sitting in front front of a crackling fire with a red wine at the end of a day at the famous Cradle Mountain Lodge.
- Bay of Fires.
The entire East Coast is deserving of at least a few days drive by car, a route that in my opinion, is one of the best in the country. The coastal scenery is simply breathtaking, and I particularly love the stretch between the seaside village of Bicheno and the Bay of Fires. The Pacific Ocean glistens, the tall forests frame the road and, north of St Helens, you are greeted with the iconic white sandy beaches and red lichen covered boulders that symbolise this iconic area.
It is virtually development free. Thanks to some pretty strict limitations and a coastal reserve, this area is simply pristine and virtually untouched by Western standards. This means that visitors can feel like they have stretches of this paradise all to themselves. You can free camp in the reserve, with nothing but the sand and sea in front of you. Or choose to stay in the fishing villages of Bicheno, St Helens or Binalong Bay and meet the incredibly friendly locals, dine on sumptuous fresh seafood and greet the little penguins that wander back to their homes in the sand each evening.
We went diving for fresh abalone and crayfish, just metres off the shore. And don’t forget about Tasmania’s unique eco-system, where you can discover rare species of weedy sea dragons and kelp forests by glass bottom boat.
- Freycinet National Park
I can’t seem to get away from the East Coast, and Freycinet is another treasure. I will never forget arriving at Wineglass Bay, walking up to the lookout and watching the sun set over one of the most stunning coastlines of Australia, where the pristine beaches seem to go on forever.
We went kayaking on Coles Bay, and I felt like I was in a postcard. With a deep blue sky above us, and the sun lighting up the Hazards so they were a sparkling pink, I can’t say we thought to paddle much as we kept stopping to gaze around at our surroundings.
That night we feasted on Tasmania’s spectacular seafood, fresh lobster and prawns, topped off with a chilled wine. Freycinet really is a beautiful part of the world.
Hobart seems to be the cool kid amongst the major cities of Australia at the moment. There always seems to be a new and amazing restaurant opening there cementing its place in the national foodie scene. And its culture, in the form of MONA, the Salamanca Markets, and the incredible local history, just can’t be beat.
We love wandering down Elizabeth St Pier, grabbing some fish and chips, or a plate of fresh Bruny Island oysters accompanied by a local Riesling, and simply sitting to watch the boats bobbing on top of the sparkling harbour. Surrounded by the iconic stone architecture you can’t help but wonder about the heritage and history of this place and what it must have seen.
For an aerial view across Southern Tasmania, head up to the top of nearby Mount Wellington, where it can often snow even in the middle of summer. We capped off this experience with an adventure, riding mountain bikes down the hill from the summit to the sea.
MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) is a destination upon itself, where it pays to expect the unexpected and you could literally spend days exploring the labyrinth of exhibitions that extend three levels underground.
- Bruny Island
A hop, skip and a jump from Hobart, Bruny Island is little treasure. Drive half an hour to the small fishing village of Kettering and board the regular vehicle ferry, which will take you to an island you will never want to leave.
One main road cuts through the heart of this 100 kilometre long island, which is actually a north and a south island joined by an isthmus called ‘The Neck’. Dotted along the route are all kinds of reasons to stop. From the Bruny Island Smokehouse, to the Bruny Island Cheese Co and Bruny Island Premium Wines, this island is renowned for its gourmet goodies, so remember to bring an empty stomach and a cooler bag for your purchases. We simply couldn’t get enough of the oysters at Get Shucked, which have been freshly plucked and shucked from the adjacent ocean that day.
At ‘The Neck’, climb the steps to the lookout for 360 degree views over both islands and the incredible coastlines where the Tasman Sea meets the Southern Ocean.
One of the most famous adventures on Bruny is the wilderness cruise along the coastline of South Bruny National Park. The award winning 3-hour cruise explores the some of Australia’s highest cliff faces and deep sea caves, and discovers the local marine life including dolphins, whales and seals. It is three hours full of thrills and fun and the ultimate way to get the most out of Bruny.
To learn more about Tasmania and find your top 5 places to visit, make sure you Discover Tasmania