The Australian mainland has no shortage of wilderness excursions, from venturing through the Outback to diving the Great Barrier Reef. These are solid options, to be sure, but if you’re looking to get away from the traditional tourist circuits, one of your best options is to head below Down Under to the island of Tasmania. Teeming with unique wildlife and home to a fascinating and terrible history, there are things to do in Tasmania that are sure to wow even the most seasoned traveler.
As isolated as Australia is, Tasmania is even more so. There are no international flights to the island, meaning it can only be accessed by domestic flights or ferries. In regards to the former, direct flights are available from the major hubs of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Being the closest city to Tasmania, Melbourne has the most flight options and flies to several different towns on the island, including Devonport, Hobart, Flinders Island, and more.
The Spirit of Tasmania ferry runs from Melbourne to Devonport, and while the trip runs a bit slower it does have its advantages. The ferry is recommended for anyone wanting to bring a vehicle with them, or anyone who might enjoy watching the island majestically come into view (Note: Rental cars are available on the island as well).
While life in Tasmania is quite literally on the edge, the island’s towns are not without their comforts. Surprisingly, there are several world class museums located across the island that are more than worth the price of admission.
The list begins with MONA – The Museum of Old and New Art. Combining ancient history and contemporary art in an extraordinary subterranean setting, there are few museums in the world quite like this one. It can be reached via a short ferry ride from Hobart. Also in Hobart is the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. This is the place to learn all about the history of Tasmania, stretching from the modern era all the way back to prehistoric times.
If you’re in Hobart on a Saturday, you may be able to catch the Salamanca Market just a few steps away. Stop by to check out artisan woodwork, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Don’t forget to check out the fresh food stalls as well!
While Hobart is the most modern city on the island, the other towns also hold their own charms. Consider adding one of them as a stop on your itinerary to get an even better feel for local culture.
In The Wilds
Once you get out of town, things get wild fast. Places such as Mount Wellington and Cataract Gorge are within a twenty minute drive of their respective towns. The real wilderness, however, is found out in Tasmania’s beautiful national parks.
By far one of the best experiences to be had in Tasmania is in Tasman National Park. The park boasts many unique formations, including Blow Hole and Tasman Arch, and also features waterfalls, beaches, and jaw-dropping sea cliffs. A unique blend of landscapes makes this a park that shouldn’t be missed.
For a different side of Tasmania, head out to Cradle Mountain. Part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain offers untouched wilderness that includes old-growth rainforests, beautiful lakes, and soaring mountains. Hikes can run anywhere from two hours to six days here, depending on how much of a naturalist you are. The park can also be explored by helicopter or horseback, again depending on your preference. If there’s one attraction that shouldn’t be missed in Tasmania, this is it.