Tasmania is very different to any other state of Australia. It does not have the intense heat or sunlight nor the flatness or red seen in the rest of the continent. Instead it is lush and compact in size compared to the vast, extreme distances seen on the mainland. The farmlands are fertile, small and orderly – almost making them look like hobby farms. To illustrate the size, Hobart in the south and Launceston in the north are only just over 2 hours drive apart.
Typically Tasmania is an array of picturesque mountains. The skyline highlights a terrain that is uneven in every direction. The land is bound by lofty escarpments and windy highlands which cover over sixty percent of the state. Vast areas of wilderness have still not yet been explored.
Snow is unpredictable and likely to fall at any time on the mountains, however very rare in the State’s capital of Hobart (except for the peaks of Mt Wellington which stands at 1,271 metres above sea level). In central Tasmania, several times a year the temperature is likely to drop to or below freezing point.
Habitation is mostly centred around Hobart, in the south-east of the state in old farming settlements and along the northern coastal strip.
The north coast of Tasmania displays an abundance of farmlands producing large crops of vegetables, potatoes and fruit as well as dairy herds, beef and sheep. The northern towns of Burnie and Devonport handle most of the State’s shipping.
Hobart has retained more of its colonial past and charm than any other capital and is set on the picturesque Derwent River against the dominance of Mt Wellington.
The Huon Valley, giving Tasmania the title of the Apple Isle, is thick with orchards.
On the Tasman Peninsula the ruins of Port Arthur are the best kept group of building from Australia’s penal past. The south-west part of the state, the land of 3,000 lakes, is regularly visited by trout fishermen. Lake St Clair is the deepest lake in Australia. The entire south-west region is protected as it constitutes one of the last remaining temperate wildernesses in the world.
Visit the historic harbour precinct, a place of fishing boats, restaurants, pubs, cafes, art galleries & craft shops. The Salamanca Market is held here every Saturday. Uncover the state’s history nearby at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery. Embark on the ferry at Brooke Street to discover MONA, presenting antiquities, modern & contemporary art, only 30 minutes away. Take a harbour cruise. Drive to the summit of Mt Wellington for views across the Tasman Sea & into the South West National Park.
The Huon Valley
The Huon Valley has rich soil and bountiful orchards, with riverside settlements and towns on the forest edge, providing many culinary delights from the land and sea. Try some of the seasonal fruit including local crisp apples in autumn and juicy, sweet berries in summer along with wine and seafood.
Only 20 minutes south of Hobart, follow The Huon Trail which encompasses four areas – the Huon Valley, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Bruny Island and the Far South.
Coles Bay & the Freycinet Peninsula
This area is ideal for fishing & boating, bushwalking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, sun & sand, and spectacular coastal scenery. Freycinet National Park is famous for Wineglass Bay, with its white sandy beaches and azure waters. Take one of the walking tracks to enjoy wildlife, wildflowers and outstanding scenic lookouts. The popular 11 km Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Circuit (4 to 5 hour return) is remarkable. There are a handful of scenic drives including Cape Tourville & Friendly Beaches.
Port Arthur is well known for its convict past. It was an early penal settlement and many of the buildings remain. Take a 90 minute latern-lit ghost tour after dark. Also venture to The Coal Mines Historic Site which is a great and safe place to explore on foot. Make time for the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park which gives an up close encounter with the little critters. While you are here hand feed the kangaroos and watch the amazing kings of free-flight show.
Cradle Mountain & Lake St Clair National Park
The park contains many walking trails and hikes along the well-known true wilderness 65 km Overland Track. Most trails begin at the northern end of Cradle Mountain. The finishing point for the Overland Track is at the southern end at Lake St Clair. A range of tours are offered from Cradle Valley, just outside the park boundary, including horseback trail rides and helicopter flights over the region’s rugged mountains. Try your hand at trout fishing or canoeing and be alert for wildlife including platypus, echidna or wombat. Cradle Mountain weather is known for its unpredictability and snow can fall at any time of the year so come prepared with extra layers of clothing.
The trip to Stanley, one of Tasmania’s quaintest little beachside villages, is definitely worth the drive. Go to see the unusual land formation called “The Nut” and reach the top by chairlift for panoramic views of the pristine coastline & lush farmlands.
For history buffs, there is plenty of history and heritage just waiting to be explored including the Highfield Historic Site. Nature lovers will enjoy Dip Falls, which are two-tiered, on the Dip River at Mawbanna.
Located just outside of Launceston, the Tamar Valley is very picturesque with pastures, farmlands, vineyards, forests and oceans views making it a perfect area for scenic drives. Take a Tamar River Cruise from Launceston into the magnificent Cataract Gorge and Tamar Valley. Ride the chairlift at Cataract Gorge for something a little bit different. Drop into Seahorse World to unlock the mystery of these shy little creatures. Make time for Platypus House just next door. Stop in and relax at Lavender House. Embark on a mission to meet the penguins at Low Head. Venture off on the Wine Route Trail.