Whilst Tasmania is Australia’s smallest state, it packs a punch and has loads to offer.
Historic towns, World Heritage Listed wilderness areas, pristine beaches, rugged coastline, gorgeous mountains, hiking, wildlife and a terrific food and wine industry that will make your taste buds EXPLODE.
We took our car over on the Spirit of Tasmania car ferry and spent a month driving around Tassie. If you don’t take your own car over simply fly in and grab a rental car, doing a road trip is the best way to explore the island.
Of course you can fly in and just visit Hobart or Launceston over a weekend. But then you would be missing out on the BEST of Tasmania. Give Tassie at least a week, or three and get to know as many of the below places as possible.
Even though it’s a small state it does take longer to drive around than you’d anticipate, so don’t rush, but slow down and take more in.
19 Places in Tasmania to Visit
Hobart is charming, inviting, walkable, and one of Australia’s oldest cities with lots to do in and around the area – we spent 6 days here. The history is still alive with its 19th Century sandstone warehouses that now serve as cafes, restaurants and artists’ studios. Quaint cottages and colonial mansions are all over the small city.
And then there is the backdrop of Mount Wellington rising above the city and the River Derwent racing through its heart. Get a dash of history by wandering around the historic harbour, Battery Point, and Salamanca. And of course there is the incredible MONA museum.
Historic Richmond is a lovely small town within easy reach of Hobart (25km north east) to spend a few hours exploring the historic sites. We took a stroll along the river before grabbing a bite to eat at the Richmond Arms Hotel, followed by coffee and cake at the popular bakery.
Richmond is home to Australia’s oldest bridge (built in 1825) and Australia’s oldest Roman Catholic church, St John’s. You can also check out the Richmond Gaol and just wander around town looking at the numerous heritage-listed buildings.
3. Port Arthur
Looking for history, drama, beauty and sadness? Port Arthur is where you’ll find it in spades. Port Arthur has a violent and troubled history as a penal colony for some of Australia’s hardened convicts.
It’s one of the best things to do in Tassie and if you’re based in Hobart it’s accessible via a day trip. And for a great bite to eat on the way, don’t miss the Doo-Lishus food truck at nearby Eaglehawk Neck for the best fish and chips in Tasmania, plus homemade scallop, rabbit, and venison pies.
4. Bruny Island
Ruggedly beautiful with towering sea cliffs and deep sea caves, fur seals, fairy penguins, an abundance of bird life and if you’re visiting in the right season, the opportunity to see migrating whales.
Bruny Island is an easy day trip from Hobart, and the best way to experience Bruny if you only have half a day is with local legend Rob Pennicott from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys.
5. Coles Bay
Coles Bay is set in a spectacular location with uninterrupted views of the red and pink granite peaks known as The Hazards. It’s a small town with a few shops and cafes – don’t miss Tombolo Restaurant and coffee bar for great coffee + wood fired pizzas with stunning views.
This town is mostly known as the gateway to Freycinet National Park (our favourite place in Tasmania). Nearby Honeymoon Bay is brilliant and consider going kayaking in the beautiful bay. We could easily spend a week based here exploring Freycinet and all its walks.
6. Freycinet National Park
One of our top three in our list of 25 National Parks in Australia to set foot in. Freycinet is spectacular, a peninsular of pink granite mountains, pure white beaches, coastal dues and dry eucalypt forest.
Within this peninsular is the famous Wineglass Bay – a beach consistently rated as one of the world’s best. Three pink granite peaks – the Hazard mountains – rise dramatically, protecting the bay from the infiltration of humanity.
And Hazards Beach, a beach that is pure, remote, desolate, peaceful, and breathtaking.
Both those beaches feature in our 38 best beaches in Australia list. Freycinet is a 2.5-hour drive from Hobart.
7. Bay of Fires
On the north-east coast of Tasmania, the Bay of Fires is a region of pristine white beaches, blue water and these incredible rock formations (orange-hued granite) in which the colour is produced by a lichen. It’s wildly regarded as one of the most beautiful places in Tasmania. And we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves.
It’s a two and a half hours drive from Launceston, or base yourself in St Helens or Binalong Bay.
8. Binalong Bay
Binalong Bay is a small coastal town situated at the southern end of the Bay of Fires.
Once you’ve photographed the Bay of Fires and played on the beach at Binalong, be sure to hit up the Binalong Bay Cafe for great coffee and delicious desserts, complete with an awesome view of the beach.
We only stopped for lunch in Bicheno but wished we’d planned a night. The beach is a pleasant surprise, just beautiful, as is the coastal walk around to the rocky headland overlooking the bay.
The town is primarily a fishing port popular with holiday makers and retirees for its mild climate and sunny weather. Bicheno is also a well-known place for seeing the fairy penguins.
Getting to Strahan on the west coast of Tassie involves a decent half to full day of driving (depending on where you’re coming from) but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Strahan is a small port town with one of the best sunsets we have ever seen anywhere, and from where we did our cruise down the famous World Heritage Gordon River, one of the highlights of our month in Tassie.
Remote, quiet, small, and a true wilderness experience that’s Corinna. It’s a former mining town on the banks of the Pieman river and at the end of the Tarkine (the largest temperate rainforest in Australia) and the northern most point where the famous Huon pine grows.
Stay in a rustic cottage, walk amongst the rainforest, kayak down the river or take a cruise on the historic Arcadia II. Access to Corinna is by barge boat (if coming from Strahan) and is a unique experience in Tasmania away from the mass tourism.
Situated on the shores of Bass Strait, Penguin is the best town to base yourself to explore the north-west region of Tasmania. We really enjoyed the vibe of the town, Kalyra liked the big Penguin dressed in a Santa suit, and the local markets were a hit with Caz.
Don’t miss the nearby Turners Beach Berry Patch (great for the kids), Hellyers Road Distillery in Burnie, the Nut in Stanley and the coastal drive to Ulverstone. We stayed at the Penguin Waterfront Escape Apartments right in the centre of town with awesome views over Bass Strait.
13. Cradle Mountain
One of the most iconic destinations in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain is in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. There are over 20 different self-guided walking tracks, ranging from 20 minutes to 9 hours, including the world-famous Overland Track, a magnificent 6-day walk that takes you through the heart of some of the finest mountain terrain.
This area is also great for spotting wombats in the wild all year round, they even like rolling around in the snow. Cradle Mountain is 1 1/2 hours drive from Devonport, or 2 1/2 hours from Launceston.
There’s not a whole lot going on in Launceston itself, but it’s a great base to explore some excellent places nearby, and it’s also the cheapest city to fly into from the Australian mainland. Once you’ve had breakfast at Fresh cafe, seen City Park, the James Boags Brewery and done the Saturday Harvest Market, the best nearby attraction is beautiful Cataract Gorge.
The Gorge, as the locals call it, is just outside of town. It’s hard to believe such a beautiful gorge exists merely minutes from the city centre, no wonder it’s a locals favourite. Take in one of the leisurely walking or hiking trails, or jump on the world’s longest single span chairlift, go abseiling, and spot wildlife.
When you arrive in Evandale you feel as if time has been wound back 100 years. It’s a National Trust classified Georgian village with unspoiled heritage buildings making it a popular place for tourists and easily accessible from Launceston. Clarendon House, just outside of the village, is said to be one of Australia’s greatest Georgian houses.
We devoured a coffee and cake at the Ingleside Licensed Bakery Cafe located inside the old Council chambers built in 1867. Sit in the pretty courtyard bursting with flowers or, in the winter, by the cozy fire inside.
16. Brickendon Estate
Brickendon Estate is a convict World Heritage Site near Launceston, and Brickendon’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it is still a lived in and working farm with a rich Australian history of convicts and free settlers working together and a landscape that remains virtually untouched for 200 years.
Smokehouses and ovens, outhouses, and shearing sheds can still be explored and the old blacksmith shop is left as it was in the 1930’s. You can stay over at Brickendon in historic cottages and rustic cabins. Sit by an open fire and wake up to stunning views overlooking the paddocks.
17. The Tamar Valley
Just 10 minutes drive north of Launceston brings you to The Tamar Valley, a wine region known (secretly) as one of the best wine regions in Australia. The Essential Travel magazine (UK) named the Tamar Valley Wine Route as “One of the top 10 wine routes in the world”.
The cool climate the area enjoys is perfect for producing high quality and elegant wines, our favourites being at the Ninth Island and Moores Hill. There are plenty of local pubs, restaurants and cafes scattered along the area including our favourite the Ilk cafe.
And don’t miss the the Tamar Island Wetlands Walk.
18. Liffey Falls
There is hot debate amongst Tasmanian’s as to what is the best waterfall in Tasmania: Liffey Falls or Russel Falls in the south of the island? We didn’t get to Russel Falls, but we can recommend you go see Liffey.
This is another one of Tassies World Heritage Areas, and a 40-minute walk in the forest will bring you to Liffey Falls within the Liffey Falls State Reserve, an area of cool temperate rainforest, featuring myrtle, sassafras and leatherwood on the slopes of the Great Western Tiers.
19. Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe, Elizabeth Town
No, not a town, but almost a destination in itself. When we asked our Facebook followers for tips on things to see and do in Tassie, so many of them recommended the Raspberry Farm Cafe and said we must go there.
The Raspberry Farm also came recommended highly by the locals we met on the ground in Tassie, so we did and gorged ourselves on chocolate and raspberry mud cake, lemon tarts and scones. My fave was the mud cake with raspberries:
The stone and timber café overlooks lush green lawns running down to a lake filled with water lilies. The garden features native trees and a herb garden overlooking the raspberry canes in the distance.
Other foodie stops worth considering nearby include Ashgrove Cheese in Elizabeth Town (handmade and award winning), The Cherry Shed in Latrobe, and for the total chocolate experience visit the House of Anvers in Latrobe (try the Aztec hot chocolate).
Plan Your Trip to Tasmania
We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time! We start our research with these sites below:
- Booking.com has 600 properties in Tasmania including hotels, apartments and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.
- Skyscanner is a comparison site that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, you book directly through the airline or agent (no extra fees).
- RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise and Europcar.