The small island state of Tasmania is one of Australia’s hidden gems. It often gets missed off the itinerary because it sits 300km away from the mainland, separated by the Bass Strait, which is a real shame because it has so much to offer. A huge percentage of the island is made up of beautiful national parks filled with unique wildlife. There is also a lot of great history in Tasmania and it’s a haven for food lovers. If you haven’t visited before, these are some of the best attractions to see on your first trip to Tasmania.
Lake St. Clair National Park
There are a lot of amazing national parks in Tasmania but if you only visit one, it should be Lake St. Clair National Park, where you can see the incredible Cradle Mountain as well as the deepest lake in the whole of Australia. The whole park is filled with picturesque lakes, impressive mountain summits, and thick beech forests. There are some great hiking trails, like the Lake Dove Walk, which gives you the best view of Cradle Mountain. If you want to get in touch with nature, there are some great camping spots in the national park as well.
Hobart has a troubled history associated with convicts, but the modern day capital of Tasmania has been completely transformed. These days, it’s a hub of culture set to a beautiful backdrop between the sea and Mt. Wellington. You will find some great art galleries, like the MONA (museum of old and new art) and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Along the waterfront, you will find plenty of great cafes and restaurants serving cuisine from around the world.
If you want to learn more about the history of Hobart, you can visit the Hobart Convict Penitentiary or the old sandstone warehouses, which have now been turned into a hub for shops and cafes. From there, you can also follow the Battery Point Sculpture trail where you can see some beautiful historical architecture.
If you are a foodie, you should definitely visit some of the Oyster farms while you are in Tasmania. The Barilla Bay oyster farm is a great attraction where you can take a tour of the farms and see how the oysters are produced and harvested. Afterwards, you can head over to the restaurants and have an incredible meal with freshly farmed seafood. This is an absolute must visit for anybody that loves seafood.
The Three Capes Track
If you love hiking and exploring the great outdoors, Tasmania is the perfect place to do it. The best way to see as much of the amazing natural landscape as possible is to hike the Three Capes Track. The trail starts and ends in Port Arthur, the historic convict settlement. Before you set off, you can explore the ruins in this interesting world heritage site and look around the museum, which is filled with old documents and relics that tell a story of the troubled past of the area. If you’re feeling brave, you can even take a ghost tour of the ruins at night.
Once you are finished exploring Port Arthur, you can set off on your hike down the 48km trail, which goes right through the centre of Tasman National Park. Along the trail, you will get some incredible views of the national park on one side and the sea on the other. In the heart of the forest, you will find all sorts of amazing wildlife, like Wallabies and Wombats.
It’s a 3 day, 4 night hike but there are plenty of cosy cabins that you can stay in along the way. Even though it is a long hike, it’s not actually that difficult so it’s perfect for families as well as experienced hikers.
Just under an hour away from Hobart by car and ferry, you will find Bruny Island. If you’re a food lover, you should definitely add a day trip to Bruny Island to your itinerary. It’s famous for its artisan cheeses, incredible seafood and handmade chocolates and there are some great island tasting tours. If you haven’t had your fill of national parks, you won’t be disappointed by the South Bruny National Park, which has some beautiful views of the coastline. Seals and penguins swim just off the shore so if you are lucky, you can have a truly amazing wildlife experience here.
Tasmania might be the smallest state in Australia but it has a huge amount to offer. You’ll never see everything in a single trip so if you are heading to Tasmania for the first time, make sure to catch these highlights.