Come to Tasmania to indulge in history, vast wilderness areas, Australia’s most spectacular mountains, beautiful beaches and the freshest food and wine imaginable. Separated from mainland Australia by the 150 miles stretch of Bass Strait, Tasmania is a green island of wild, mountainous and beautiful landscapes, with friendly, welcoming people. You’ll find a temperate climate; quality cool-climate wines and food; a spirited history; and a creative arts community; all in a relaxed lifestyle.
More than 40 per cent of the island is protected as World Heritage Area, national parks and reserves. And because Tasmania is so compact it is easy to walk through an ancient alpine meadow in the morning and be on a pure white beach in the afternoon. The island is home to just 500,000 people, and is beautiful, yet with an intimate feel. The capital, Hobart, is home to the world’s best art galleries. You can drive anywhere on the island and go from beach-lined coasts to World Heritage mountain areas within just a few hours.
Families will enjoy walking across the suspension bridge at the Launceston Cataract Gorge & First Basin, while adrenaline junkies can hike Wellington Park’s Organ Pipes or embark on a multi-day trek along Cradle Mountain’s Overland Track. Freycinet National Park is an ideal spot for water sports like snorkeling and kayaking, and once the sun goes down, you can get your heart pounding during an evening ghost tour of the Port Arthur Historic Site. In between sightseeing and exploring your surroundings, you’ll find a variety of shops and art galleries, as well as eateries that serve fresh seafood and produce alongside locally made wines, beers, ciders and spirits. Our Tasmania Travel Guide will provide you with everything you need to start planning your vacation to beautiful Tasmania. For a complete list of the best beaches on the island of Tasmania, << Click Here >>.
Weather (When to Go)
The best time to visit Tasmania is between December and February, Australia’s summer season. Though crowds are at their thickest and room rates at their highest, these months offer the most comfortable temperatures for enjoying the island’s abundant outdoor activities. Additionally, summer is filled with food and culture festivals. If you’re hoping to hike but want to save some money, consider visiting in late spring (October and November) or early fall (March and April). June, July and August are also months where you’re more likely to find accommodation and airfare deals, but you’ll want to pack appropriate attire and snow boots to help you cope with the region’s chilly temps and ample snow.
Entry & Exit Requirements
To visit Tasmania, you will need a valid U.S. passport and a visa. If you’re staying in Australia for less than 90 days, you can apply for your Electronic Travel Authority (an electronic, label-free visa) on the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website. Some airlines and travel agents can apply for an Electronic Travel Authority on your behalf.
Getting Around Tasmania
Cycling Tasmania is one of the best ways to get close to nature. Roads are generally in good shape, and traffic outside the cities is light. If you’re prepared for occasional steep climbs and strong headwinds, you should enjoy the experience immensely. Bike rental is available in the larger towns, and a number of operators offer multi-day cycling tours or experiences such as mountain biking down Kunanyi/Mt Wellington in Hobart. Bicycle helmets are required in Tasmania, as are white front lights and red rear lights if you’re riding in the dark.
There are a few regional ferries around Tasmania, accessing the islands off the island.
Bruny Island Ferry Vehicle/passenger ferry running at least 10 times a day from Kettering to Bruny Island in Tasmania’s southeast.
Furneaux Freight Small weekly passenger and car ferry from Bridport in Tasmania’s northeast to Lady Barron on Flinders Island.
Encounter Maria Island Runs at least three ferries daily from Triabunna on the east coast to Maria Island National Park; carries passengers and bicycles.
Tasmania has a reasonable bus network connecting the major towns and centers, but weekend services can be infrequent. There are more buses in summer than in winter, but smaller towns are still not serviced terribly frequently. Small operators run useful services along key tourist routes and to smaller regional towns. The two main players – Tassielink and Redline – don’t currently offer multi-trip bus passes.
Getting around Tasmania with a car is pretty straightforward thanks to the island’s compact size and well-maintained roads, which are generally uncrowded. Road signs are in English, and Americans only need a valid U.S. driver’s license to drive in Australia. Some Tasmanian customs are different than those found in the U.S. Locals drive on the left side of the road, gas is sold by the liter – most gas stations are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily – and distances are measured in kilometers.
The Port Arthur Historic Site is the best-preserved convict settlement in Australia and among the most significant convict era sites in the world. It has won many awards and has been called one of Australia’s great tourism destinations. The Site combines rich history and scenic beauty to tell the stories of the harsh discipline and determined industry of the settlement. It is a place to discover Australian history and connect with the origins of Australian culture.
About 7.5km south of Port Arthur is Remarkable Cave, a long tunnel eroded from the base of a collapsed gully, under a cliff and out to sea. The waves surge through the tunnel and fill the gully with sea spray (and sometimes water – watch out!). A boardwalk and 115 steps provide access to a metal viewing platform. Believe it or not, hardcore surfers often brave the cave, paddling out through the opening to surf the offshore reefs beyond.
The Cape Bruny Lighthouse is the most iconic & dominant landmark on Bruny Island. Nestled on the sea-cliff tops in the South Bruny National Park, at the southern top of Bruny Island. Built from 1836 she sits proud, overlooking the craggy coastlines of Southern Tasmania. This is the southernmost lighthouse tour in Australia. The tours operate daily. For just $15 you will hear stories of shipwrecks, convicts and how the lighthouse keepers performed their daily duties. Learn how the lighthouse was built and experience the wild ocean and sea cliff views from above.
Wineglass Bay is one of Tasmania’s most photographed beauty spots and it’s easy to see why. Part of the Freycinet National Park, the bay is simply flawless – a perfect crescent of dazzling white sand and sparkling blue water set against pink and grey granite peaks known as The Hazards. Just remember that ocean temperatures can be chilly even at the height of summer, so a light wet suit is recommended if you want to spend any time in the water whether swimming or snorkeling.
Famous for its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches and orange lichen-covered granite boulders, the Bay of Fires is one of Tasmania’s most popular conservation reserves. The Bay of Fires conservation area extends along the coast from Binalong Bay in the south to Eddystone Point in the north. The Bay of Fires area contains rocky gullies, with many small secluded beaches and inlets to explore. Binalong Bay is the area’s main beach – a beautiful stretch of white sand and clear water for swimming, snorkeling, surfing or simply relaxing. There’s a wealth of local wildlife to discover, too, including birds that can be encountered on self-guided and guided walks. The area is renowned for game fishing, with numerous boat ramps. The offshore reefs contain rich marine biodiversity that attracts divers and snorkelers.
Things to Do
Discover Freycinet! Tasmaia’s greatest sea kayaking destination The Freycinet Paddle- explore the breathtaking coastline of Freycinet National Park by sea kayak on this relaxed guided, award winning tour. Listed #4 Things to do before you die, in Australia For more information call 03 6257 0500, or visit them on the web at Freycinet Adventures.
Step aboard Schouten Passage II for an unforgettable 4.5 hour cruise. Let our experienced and friendly crew guide you through the sights and history of the Freycinet Peninsula; taking you from the gentle shores of Coles Bay, to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Stop for lunch at Wineglass Bay and enjoy some of Tasmania’s finest fresh produce with a grazing platter served to you. Let go of the every day and absorb the serenity of your destination. The scenery is stunning, the wildlife abundant, and you will experience a rare, intimate outlook on one of Tasmania’s most extraordinary places. For more information call 03 6257 0355, or visit them on the web at Wineglass Bay Cruises.
Join them on their 3-4hour Seal & Ocean Expedition and observe wild Fur Seals and other marine life underwater with mask & snorkel, wearing dry suits on top of your clothes, safely suspended on our floating sea-view platform. Rather stay on top of it? On their 2-hour Coastal Adventure, you will get to see beautiful caves, stunning cliff formations and amazing wildlife. They ensure minimal impact on the environment and by joining their tour, you help support our marine and wildlife conservation projects. For more information call +61 473 770 416, or visit them on the web at Wild Ocean Tasmania.
Their PADI 5 Star Dive Center is situated on the Tasman Peninsula in southeastern Tasmania at only 1 hour from Hobart. Eaglehawk neck is the gateway to the spectacular Three Capes Track or the historical site of Port Arthur Convict settlement. They can offer you a great diversity of world-class scuba diving sites in this area, including the famous Cathedral Cave, the historic wreck SS “Nord”, or the magical sponge garden at Sisters’ rocks. Dive with very playful Fur Seals or meet the bizarre Weedy Seadragon. They have sites suitable for divers of all levels of experience from novice to technical. For more information call 03 6250 3566, or visit them on the web at Eagle Hawk Dive Centre.
They offer safe and exciting tours using ATVs. Traverse the iconic Henty Dunes carved out of the landscape by the legendary roaring 40 winds.Take a short walk to ocean beach admire the view hear the waves crash onto the beach. Take the Sunset Tour to the magic Macquarie Heads view the birds marvel at the stunning beauty sit back enjoy our Tasmanian Gourmet Hamper as we watch the sunset. Take your cameras and binoculars, go for adventure, fun, laughter or just cruise along at your pace. For more information call +61 407 343 797, or visit them on the web at Strahan ATV Adventures.
Best Rated Area Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
Located in Launceston, this award-winning restaurant serves up contemporary Tasmanian cuisine along with an indulgent five-course evening menu. The beautifully restored 1830’s flour mill has exquisite views over the Tamar River, and is known for its professional service and wonderful cuisine. Stillwater is Tasmania’s most awarded regional restaurant with a flair for local seafood, including oysters and calamari, but with equally great meat and vegetable dishes. For more information call 03 6331 4153, or visit them on the web at Stillwater.
$$$$ The Source
This restaurant is part of the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) on the Derwent River. You will be dazzled by the French-influenced cuisine. Dishes are playful, rich and daring. To find out what this place is all about, choose the nine-course menu which includes dishes such as pan-fried scallops, whole roast duck, rabbit sausage and venison. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. The wine list here is truly impressive, so make the most of this by ordering one of the great selection from Australia, New Zealand and further afield. For more information call 03 6277 9900, or visit them on the web at The Source.
$$ – $$$ Mud Bar & Restaurant
Overlooking the Tamar River in the old seaport, Mud Bar & Restaurant is a laid-back place for an evening drink, a long relaxed lunch or a more formal dinner. The menu is the sort of thing you might find in any good gastro pub: lemongrass chicken curry, slow roasted lamb and grilled salmon. Make sure you have the oysters here — they’re sensational. Mud has a good selection of Tasmanian wine by the glass, plus local beers, ciders and cocktails. For more information call 03 6334 5066, or visit them on the web at Mud Bar & Restaurant.
$$$ – $$$$ Black Cow Bistro
This eatery is reminiscent of those great New York steak joints, but the premium beef on offer here is defiantly Tasmanian. While the bistro does offer a token, non-meat option, you come here for the steaks which are large and succulent. The kitchen uses only aged beef from northern Tasmania. Choose from porterhouse, rump, scotch fillet or rib eye. Try the grass-fed Wagyu from Robbins Island – a carnivore’s dream. Kick off your meal with a dozen freshly-shucked Moulting Bay oysters. For more information, call 03 6331 9333, or visit them on the web at Black Cow Bistro.
It may be a casual bar-restaurant vibe, but Preachers is a Hobart institution and rightfully deserves its place on a ‘best eats’ list. Preachers is a backyard type of affair (quite literally) and does some of the most mouth-watering salads, burgers, and fries in town. Open nightly with a fun and care-free al fresco and an on-trend atmosphere, Preachers makes for a great mid-week dinner or casual dinner date spot. For more information call 03 6223 3621, or visit them on the web at Preachers.
As the second oldest pub in Australia, The Brunswick Hotel has tonnes of history and is a favorite of locals who love to kick back in a casual, know-the-bartender-by-their-first-name sort of environment. Perfect for a mid-week pint or afternoon hangout on the weekend, this local watering hole is perfectly set in the center of town with affordable hotel accommodation, too. For more information call 03 6234 4981, or visit them on the web at The Brunswick Hotel.
Hobart Brewing Co. is one of the best places for beer lovers to seek out when in Hobart. Independently created, this bar-cum-brewery is synonymous with local lovers of that golden goodness, with exciting and unusual beer options spotlighting Tasmanian brews. Brewery tours are available, too, for those who really want to ‘nerd out’ on all that hoppy goodness. For more information call 03 6231 9779, or visit them on the web at Hobart Brewing Company.
Preachers is a loose little local spot for the hipsters and hanger-outers. With a great open-plan back garden featuring an old-school school bus, this place is laid-back and on-trend. With beers, burgers, and board games aplenty, this is the perfect spot for a mid-week drink or as a day-to-night venue for the weekend. For more information call 03 6223 3621, or visit them on the web at Preachers.
Tavern 42 Degrees South (T42º) is one of Hobart’s leading bar venues. With waterfront views, this stunning contemporary venue is the perfect place for evening cocktails overlooking the water. Chic and cosmopolitan, the bar also serves up stylish plates of fantastic Australian-international fusion fare. A nightclub and wine bar are also featured within its walls. For more information call 03 6224 7742, or visit them on the web at Tavern 42 Degrees South.
IXL Long Bar is the perfect place to escape to when in search of creative cocktails in a contemporary and cultured setting. Part of the renowned The Henry Jones ‘art hotel’, the bar is suitably stylish, attracting a cool clientele who sip on curious concoctions made by award-winning mixologists. For more information call 03 6210 7700, or visit them on the web at IXL Long Bar.
Mona Pavilions is located on a private peninsula on the Derwent River, it offers a heated lap pool and on-site restaurant. All pavilions at Mona feature a spa bath, state-of-the-art kitchen and laundry facilities. The bathrooms have under-floor heating. Each living area and bedroom has a TV and iPod dock. Boasting panoramic views of the Derwent River, each Mona Pavilion has an individual wine cellar and is decorated with artworks from the Mona collection. Guest facilities include a sauna and a fitness center. There is a micro-brewery and a winery at the property. Free Wi-Fi is available. The Source Restaurant serves breakfasts prepared with local products from small producers. The Cellar Door offers guests a taste of the wines and beers produced at Mona. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit MONA Pavilions.
Hadley’s Orient Hotel was originally built by convict labor in 1834 and plays host to almost two centuries of stories, scandals and secrets to be explored. Tucked behind the original Heritage listed façade in the hear of Hobart’s CBD are 71 elegantly appointed accommodation suites, hotel rooms and stunning event spaces. Step inside and be enchanted by the stunning chandeliers, vintage wallpaper and charming atmosphere. They look forward to meeting you. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Hadley’s Orient Hotel.
Designed within the original silos and the new North tower are beautifully appointed modern hotel rooms with all of the modern amenities. Plush interiors are decorated with earthy tones to compliment the surrounds and offer in-room complimentary WiFi, LCD TV with Chromecast and Foxtel channels, mini bar and guest en-suite. Taking in sweeping views over the meandering river, the Gorge River Rooms and Premier Suites boast private balconies where you can soak in Launceston’s natural ambiance. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Peppers Silo.
At the Henry Jones Art Hotel history and art collide. Hobart’s oldest waterfront warehouses have been thoughtfully reimagined as Australia’s first dedicated art hotel. Located in the Hunter Street precinct, the hotel blends modernity with an industrial past. Decadent elliptical spas bubble underneath rough-sawn timber trusses. Blackwood-lined boardrooms have been refashioned into stately, indulgent suites. The precinct hums with galleries, award-winning restaurants, bars and cafes. Hotel views capture the bustling port with kunanyi/Mount Wellington beyond. Attention to every guest is unique – much like the 500 contemporary Tasmanian artworks lining the hotel walls. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit The Henry Jones Art Hotel.
Salamanca Wharf Hotel is a contemporary self-contained boutique apartment hotel offers its visitors ultimate comfort and convenience within one of the oldest and most beautiful precincts in Australia. Salamanca Wharf Hotel has been awarded a ‘Stellar Stays’ property, earning a place among the top 3% of over 800,000 properties worldwide. The Salamanca Wharf Hotel has been designed to provide guests with every modern comfort and convenience in a beautiful, self-contained apartment. Our Hotel provides the option of cooking or laundering for yourself if you desire, or simply using it as a traditional hotel room with the bonus of some extra space to stretch out, do some work or conduct a meeting. All this within Tasmania’s premier entertainment precinct – Salamanca. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit the Salamanca Wharf Hotel.