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Whittling down a list of must-sees and must-dos in Tasmania to just ten is a tricky prospect, but to help you make the most out of your Tassie holiday we’ve attempted to do just that. We’ve included a mix of nature, history, oddities and award-winning drinks, so you can be sure there’s something (if not ten things) that will appeal to you.
Be warned, however, that some of your favourites – Cradle Mountain, Mount Wellington and Mount Field National Park, for example – haven’t made the cut. It’s not that they’re not incredible places – because they truly are – it’s just that the competition in Tasmania is so high.
Our top ten for Tassie, in no particular order:
- Freycinet National Park
- Bay of Fires
- Sheffield’s murals
- Cape Grim’s clean air
- Little Blue Lake
- Tasmanian devils
- Sullivans Cove whisky
- Overland Track
Freycinet National Park, east coast
Anyone who’s been to Freycinet will understand why it’s made the list. A peninsula of jaw-dropping vistas and white secluded beaches with countless walking trails make Tasmania’s east coast a local favourite holiday spot. Most famous for Wineglass Bay and the pink granite peaks of the Hazards mountain range – Freycinet is the perfect for hiking, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and wildlife watching. Amazing sunrises, passing pods of dolphins and incredible snorkelling are wonders to behold. Just under two hours from Launceston and two and a half hours from Hobart, it couldn’t be easier to get back to nature.
Bay of Fires, north-eastern corner
If you’re flying into Launceston, make sure you plan a drive to the Bay of Fires in Tasmania’s north-east. Like with Freycinet, we’re not winning any awards for originality by including it on our list, but it’s simply impossible to leave off.
For photographers looking for landscapes filled with contrasting colours, this is it. White beaches, blue water and bright orange boulders combine for dramatic pictures. It’s somewhere that’s unlike anywhere else in Australia, perhaps the world, and once you’re here, you won’t be able to get enough of it.
The Town of Murals, Sheffield
In Tasmania’s north, just 30 minutes inland from Devonport, is a small town with an artistic streetscape. When work dried up in the area in the late 80s, the town of Sheffield came up with a plan to stand out: murals. Not just one or two murals either, Sheffield currently has more than 60 murals painted on the sides of its buildings and major structures – not bad for a village of just 1500 residents. No matter where you park in town, you won’t have to wait long to spot your first few paintings.
You can appreciate these murals year-round, but if you time your trip to visit in April you can attend the annual International Mural Fest. At the heart of the festival is a mural painting competition, with artists given a poem as inspiration to create their masterpieces. The nine winning entries remain on display in the town’s aptly named Mural Park until the next competition.
It might seem like a cop out to add a museum to a list of must-sees, but Mona – Museum of Old and New Art – is an exception.
The museum is more accurately described as one man’s private art collection. That man, David Walsh, is a Hobart icon, a self-made millionaire who spent more than $75m to build the museum and open it to the public. Walsh isn’t your average art collector – with a fortune made through professional gambling, he believes art should challenge the mind. This helps explain the museum’s eccentricities, its unusual exhibitions and mind-blowing festivals.
Expect the bizarre, chaotic and entrancing. From Egyptian mummies to a machine that replicates the inner workings of the human digestive system (excrement and all), there really is something for everyone.
World’s cleanest air, Cape Grim
If you’re looking to get away from the urban sprawl to truly appreciate wide open spaces and nature at its purest, this is the place.
Admittedly, Cape Grim doesn’t have the most enticing name, but it does have one major attraction: the world’s cleanest air. Take a deep breath, exhale and repeat. You’ll feel your lungs filling with goodness and your troubles floating away.
Blowing in from the west, there’s thousands of kilometres of nothingness, leaving the breeze as fresh as it can be. In fact, if you head due west from Cape Grim, the first land mass you come across is Argentina.
Little Blue Lake, South Mount Cameron
Little Blue Lake is one of those Australian names that really does its job describing its attraction – making it fit alongside the Great Sandy Desert, Swan River and the Snowy Mountains.
Found in the north-east of Tasmania, Little Blue Lake is a sight to behold, with water the colour expected in a fairy tale. However, the colour comes from heavy metals in the old mining area, so while beautiful it’s not for swimming in.
Heritage and history in Ross
Roughly halfway between Hobart and Launceston, Ross is a gorgeous riverside village that provides a break in the drive between Tasmania’s two major cities.
The convict built town has many heritage-listed buildings, from historic convict sites, cemeteries, churches, hotels, inns to police stations – a real throwback to early Australian colonial times. Ross also has Australia’s third oldest bridge.
One oddity in the town is the bakery which has, by accident, become a major draw to anime fans because of its similarity to the bakery in the 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service. It also claims to have the world’s best vanilla slice, which opens up a whole other debate.
Tasmanian devils, island-wide
Seeing a Tasmanian devil in the wild is almost as unlikely as seeing a Tasmanian tiger on your trip. The devil has dark fur, is nocturnal and is incredibly shy.
Luckily, there are many wildlife conservation sanctuaries where you can see the marsupial up close. Unzoo, near Port Arthur, is one of the best for its wildlife-first approach to animal keeping, but you can also see them at Bonorong, Trowunna, Devils@Cradle and more.
World-class whisky, Hobart
You may think that some of the world’s best whiskies come from Scotland, but the fine folk at Sullivans Cove might like to correct you on that assumption.
Don’t believe us? Then listen to the experts. This distillery has won a sleuth of international awards, competing against tipples from Scotland, Ireland and elsewhere, while head distiller Patrick Maguire became only the second Australian to be inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame.
If you want to sample this world-class drop, take a distillery tour to learn the distilling process and taste whisky straight from the cask. Or call into the cellar door in Hobart, open every day for whisky tastings.
What better way to escape your busy lifestyle than with a six-day trek through the Tasmanian wilderness? The Overland Track is often touted as one of Australia’s best walks and for very good reason; it truly is an unforgettable experience. Along the 65km trail, you’ll discover some of the state’s best natural sights, while also racking up incredible stories for your return.
Experienced hikers can tackle this trek by themselves, or join a group of like-minded souls on a guided walking tour, such as Cradle Mountain Huts Walk. They provide all the essentials; food, shelter and wine. They can also ensure you see all the best spots.