Tasmania boasts more than its fair share of world-class experiences; an engaging cultural scene, tantalising gourmet produce and raw yet accessible wilderness. The island has become a must-see destination in recent years, a title that is much deserved.
The very talented photographer and travel influencer Paul Fleming (who you can follow on @lovethywalrus) is a Tasmania native, and has to listed the best destinations to visit when travelling to Australia’s most enthralling island.
Hobart is enjoying a cultural revolution – the thriving arts scene is inescapable around the city.
A low-rise capital city and Australia’s second oldest (after Sydney), Hobart is pocketed with lush green parks and its urban spaces are spread along the magnificent Derwent River and deep-water harbour.
Venture beyond the colonial cottages and galleries and within minutes you’ll find yourself immersed in nature and savouring fresh produce direct from the farm gate.
Stroll the waterfront amongst the yachts and working fishing fleet, around to Salamanca’s tree-lined boulevard of sandstone warehouses where you’ll find restaurants, art galleries and the famous Saturday markets.
For the grandest views of Hobart there is no better place to start than the 1,270m summit of kunanyi / Mount Wellington. ‘The mountain’ is the ever-present backdrop to the city, and offers sweeping vistas taking in the city and surrounding wilderness.
Waterfalls, lakes and ancient forests call to you from the west of downtown, not far past antique stores, hop farms and colonial villages.
Hobart’s cultural heart is undoubtedly the darkly eclectic and fortress-like privately funded Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) at Berriedale. Take the ferry from the city for the complete experience.
For beer lovers, join a tour of the 1824 Cascade Brewery, Australia’s oldest. For non-beer lovers, wet your whistle at Lark Distillery (whisky), with Shene Estate’s Poltergeist Gin or down a Willie Smiths Cider.
Hobart loves festivals, from the vivid MONA FOMA and delicious Taste of Tasmania in summer, to the quirky and cultural Dark MOFO and soul-warming Festival of Voices in winter.
This flowing black ribbon winds its way beside rocky shores caressed by sparkling azure waters – add in farm-gate fresh produce, award-winning vineyards and berry farms and you’ll quickly see why the East Coast is one of Australia’s most scenic road trip destinations.
Taking in charming seaside villages and holiday home hamlets, the Great Eastern Drive is the perfect escape if sun, sand and pristine water is your inspiration. And yes, this is still Tasmania we’re talking about!
Most roads are designed to get you to your destination fast. The Great Eastern Drive is both the journey and the destination – plan to stop, often. Think of it more as a wander than a drive, and you’ll get the idea.
The Freycinet Peninsula is easily the place you’ll want to spend the most time – you can walk for minutes or days and always be rewarded with incredible views at each turn.
Visit between May and November and you may spot migrating humpback and southern right whales, and from August to May you can venture into the darkness with Devils in the Dark at Bicheno to see Tasmanian Devils in their natural habitat.
Tasmania’s most accessible wilderness experiences are to be found around Cradle Mountain. From endless hiking routes, scenic drives to stunning outlooks and activities to get your heart pumping – or resting – this is a playground for lovers of the outdoors who also cherish the comforts of home.
Tread lightly along the boardwalk through the valley at Ronney Creek on dusk – if you want to see wombats, this is where they’ll be.
Catch the sunrise, or set, at Dove Lake at the base of Cradle Mountain for that classic postcard view.
In the far North West of the island a landscape that defies belief.
Ancient myrtle forests, sprawling golden buttongrass plains and a jagged coastline so wild you’ll wonder how the indigenous people survived here for over 40,000 years. Their stories are incredible, matched only by the natural wonders they were nurtured from.
Explore the fishing village of Stanley, and its landmark sheer-sided ‘The Nut’ to begin your journey into the Tarkine.
Slow down and breathe fresh air as you wind through the Tarkine Drive, a looping scenic route that explores ancient forests, sinkholes and natural stone arches, mountain ranges mixed with engaging indigenous stories.
The most remote of the islands wilderness is also the most rewarding – few make the effort so you’re likely not to see another person there!
Access is limited but far from impossible.
Par Avion Wilderness Tours fly from Hobart to Melalueca in the heart of the South West in an hour, although you’ll swear you’ve gone back a few thousand years once you see the landscape. Join their day tour for an experience your eyes will salivate over and heart will sing for.
Drive three hours west of Hobart to Strathgordon. Whilst the lakes are man-made for hydroelectricity generation, the landscape is a national park and bordered by rugged and craggy mountain ranges that are a photographer’s dream.
All seasons are stunning in Tasmania – cliché, but true. Summer is peak tourist season in Tasmania, so book ahead if you plan to visit between December to March.
Autumn colours ignite the hillsides and Spring blooms with roadsides aglow with flowering bulbs.
Winter can bring crisp blue skies and snow to the mountains.
Dressing in layers is the best way to face the islands often unpredictable and rapid-changing weather. Sunscreen is a must-have item in summer.
Daylight hours in Tasmania vary seasonally more than anywhere else in Australia – expect about nine hours of daylight in winter to fifteen hours in summer.
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