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Tasmania surprised me; though it’s such a small state, it left a big impression. I guess the saying “good things come in small packages” fits well with Tasmania.
Although Tasmania is famous for being quiet, calm, and full of unique wildlife and natural beauty, there are so many more things to do in Tasmania than soak in its clean air and admire picturesque scenery.
I knew it was going to be a whole lot quieter and slower pace of life than mainland Australia, and I was expecting the beautiful scenery, but it turns out there were more attractions in Tasmania than we had time for.
We embarked on a year-long road trip in Australia in which we spent a month in Tasmania, and now we feel we know possibly the most under appreciated state in Australia.
But if you’re not sure what to do in Tasmania, here’s some of our recommendations and what you can experience on your visit, even if just for a weekend getaway.
- Things to Do in Tasmania
- 1. Admire Cataract Gorge
- 2. Do The Tamar Island Wetlands Walk
- 3. Admire Liffey Falls
- 4. Explore The Freycinet Peninsula
- 5. Cruise the Rugged South East Coast of Tasmania
- 6. Explore the Wine Region of Tamar Valley
- 7. Go Wine Tasting at Josef Chromy Vineyard
- 8. Check Out Saturday Harvest Market, Launceston
- 9. Have Afternoon Tea at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe, Elizabeth Town
- 10. Walk The Convict Trail of Richmond to Port Arthur Historic Site
- 11. Check Out the Brickendon Estate
- 12. Visit Hobart
- 13. Talk to the Locals
- 14. Look For Tassie's Native Wildlife at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
- 15. Walk to Binalong Bay and Bay of Fires
- 16. Hike Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park
- 17. Visit Queenstown
- 18. Ride the West Coast Wilderness Railway
- 19. Cruise Along The Gordon River
- How to Get Around Tasmania (Road Trip)
- Tours of Tasmania
- Final Thoughts
Things to Do in Tasmania
From visiting nature spots to sipping on crisp, refreshing wine, there is something for everyone in Tasmania! Here are some of the most exciting and unmissable Tassie attractions…
1. Admire Cataract Gorge
Cataract Gorge, or The Gorge as the locals call it, is a must see destination just outside of Launceston. It’s hard to believe such a beautiful gorge exists merely minutes from the city centre, no wonder it’s a locals favourite.
We started our visit with a delicious breakfast at the Basin Cafe which overlooks the First Basin and the suspension bridge featured in the photo above.
Once you’ve filled up it’s time to burn it off by taking in one of the leisurely walking or hiking trails, or if you have an empty stomach you can do some laps in the outdoor swimming pool.
Cataract Gorge also has the world’s longest single span chairlift, abseiling, wildlife, and beautiful gardens. So spend an hour or half a day. Get active or relax with a picnic and enjoy this unique natural formation.
See the Cataract Gorge in Launceston by pressing play below:
2. Do The Tamar Island Wetlands Walk
Only a 10 minute drive north of Launceston, the perfect way to start your morning is with a leisurely 3km return walk through the wetlands to Tamar Island.
Get there early enough and you’ll have the walk all to yourself, except for the abundance of birds that come to life swooping amongst the reeds towering above your head.
A boardwalk extends over swamps and crosses the river to two islets and then Tamar Island, and with each step you experience a peacefulness and serenity you don’t expect to find this close to the city centre.
3. Admire Liffey Falls
There is hot debate amongst Tasmanians as to what is the best waterfall in Tasmania: Liffey Falls or Russel Falls in the south of the island? Without having visited Russel Falls yet we can’t answer that, but we can recommend you go see Liffey.
A 40 minute nature walk in the forest will bring you to Liffey.
This is a World Heritage Area, and the walk lies 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.
4. Explore The Freycinet Peninsula
Freycinet National Park is a peninsula of pink granite mountains, pure white beaches, coastal dunes and dry eucalypt forest. It’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of Tasmania’s National Parks.
It was not meant for buildings and tour groups, rubbish and flashing neon lines, and those not willing to make a journey to experience paradise.
Within this peninsular is Hazards Beach. A beach that is pure, remote, desolate, peaceful, and breathtaking. Besides the main stretch of beach, you will find rock pools with starfish and sea snails hiding under rocks, sea anemones and hermit crabs.
The famous Wineglass Bay – a beach consistently rated as one of the world’s best, also resides here. Three pink granite peaks – the Hazard mountains – rise dramatically, protecting the bay from the infiltration of humanity.
Wineglass Bay is a 2.5 hour drive from Hobart. You can cruise into the bay on board a Freycinet cruise vessel, fly over it in a sea plane, but I think the best way to appreciate it is to take the two hour hike down from the Wineglass bay lookout.
5. Cruise the Rugged South East Coast of Tasmania
Rob Pennicott, a Tasmanian celebrity, has been running Tasman Island cruises along the coastline of Port Arthur since 1999. The entire coastline is isolated and rugged and unspoilt.
We were promised lots of marine life sightings: Australian and New Zealand fur seals, bottlenose dolphins, cormorants, diving gannets, and little penguins.
We stopped to explore sea caves, passing lobster fisherman, and the highest sea cliffs in the Southern hemisphere at Cape Pillar.
It was isolated and eerie, a lonely place to sit and watch with only seals on the rocks below as friends.
You can also do a Rob Pennicott cruise around Bruny Island.
6. Explore the Wine Region of Tamar Valley
The Tamar Valley is a wine region just 10 minutes drive north of Launceston and is 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, and exploring this wine region was a highlight of our Tasmanian experiences so far.
There are plenty of local pubs, restaurants and cafes scattered along the area including our favourite the Ilk cafe where I had the best Bruschetta I’ve ever eaten (topped with roasted capsicum, pine nuts, grilled haloumi and smoked ocean halloumias an explosion of flavours).
7. Go Wine Tasting at Josef Chromy Vineyard
We discovered this winery via a local who said:
“Without a doubt the best winery in Launceston. The views are spectacular and the food and wine world-class.”
Josef Chromy Wines began in 2007 and has amassed over 14 trophies and 170 medals which makes it one of the most successful launches in the history of the Tasmanian wine industry.
The cellar door is located in the estates original 1880s homestead, and with gorgeous views over the lake and vineyards appreciated from either the outside deck of the restaurant or from behind the full length glass windows, it makes for an idyllic place for lunch and to while away the hours.
8. Check Out Saturday Harvest Market, Launceston
The Harvest Market is an authentic farmers market and is held in the Cimitiere street car park every Saturday, and only sells food and beverages grown and produced in Tasmania, and there is a range of foods for all tastes.
Best to go arrive at opening in the mornings and spend an hour, or two, taste testing and purchasing some supplies. You can even purchase some Wallaby, a good meat option similar to kangaroo, which I haven’t seem for sale on the mainland.
9. Have Afternoon Tea at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe, Elizabeth Town
The Raspberry Farm Cafe came highly recommended by our facebook community and also by the locals we met on the ground in Tassie who said we must go there. So we did and gorged ourselves on delicious desserts.
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 stops worth considering include Ashgrove Cheese in Elizabeth Town (handmade and award winning), The Cherry Shed in Latrobe, House of Anvers in Latrobe (try the Aztec hot chocolate), Berry Patch in Turners Beach, and finish off at the Hellyer Road Whisky Distillery in Burnie.
Click to read more things to do in Launceston Tasmania
10. Walk The Convict Trail of Richmond to Port Arthur Historic Site
Teach yourself (and your children) a little of Australian history in Tasmania by following the convict trail.
Port Arthur is Tasmania’s most famous convict site. The beautiful historic buildings of the old prison house a museum which brings to life the lives of convicts and the crimes and punishments that happened surrounding some of Australia’s worst criminals.
Not to be missed are the ghost tours of Port Arthur. Allow the stories to help you decide if you are a believer or not.
Richmond is a town artisans have been drawn to for generations. You can find their work in galleries and cafes. It’s also home to Australia’s oldest bridge built by convict labour and Australia’s oldest jail.
11. Check Out the Brickendon Estate
Brickendon Estate is a convict World Heritage Site near Launceston.
Brickendon’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it is still a lived in and working farm, 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.
Whilst the family home is closed to the public, don’t miss wandering the gardens which has a very English feel with its flowering beds of roses, camellias and trees from around the world such as oaks, elms, and pines.
Check out more of Brickendon Estate in our YouTube video…
12. Visit Hobart
Hobart is beautiful, inviting, walkable, and one of Australia’s oldest cities.
It’s a city that has learned to coexist with the modern world while still maintain its old world charm.
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.
Stories of Australia’s history seep out from its walls enticing you to learn more as you wander the streets and sit in bars where whalers perhaps sat in the 1800′s.
And then there is the backdrop of Mount Wellington rising above the city and the River Derwent racing through its heart.
Down on the harbour, the place where the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race ends, is so serene early in the morning. Take a stroll along Hobart’s waterfront and book yourself onto a scenic flight to discover the beautiful gems of Tasmania’s West Coast.
Get a dash of history at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Gallery which celebrates Tasmania’s indigenous history and culture. Be sure to check out the Museum of Old & New Art (MONA).
Be sure to wander through the cobblestoned streets, check out the famous Salamanca Markets and see what else this fine city has to offer.
13. Talk to the Locals
I know we bang on about this all the time. But seriously, the locals in Tassie are super friendly and are more than willing to share their local secrets.
Most of the experiences I’ve written about here come from chatting with the locals. It’s how we always like to travel and the locals down there didn’t let us down.
Just be warned, you may find yourself running late for your next destination or meal, they really love a chat!
14. Look For Tassie’s Native Wildlife at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit destination for animal lovers. With a passionate team dedicated to wildlife conservation, this sanctuary is one of the best places to see Tassie’s native wildlife in an ethical way.
It is home to several native Australian animals like the Tasmanian Devil, Tasmanian Bettong, and Eastern Quoll, which are extinct outside of Tasmania.
You can also see other notable Aussie animals such as wallabies and kangaroos, as well as wombats.
The sanctuary provides a safe haven for injured and orphaned animals, with a 24-hour Wildlife Hospital on-site.
By visiting Bonorong, you not only get to witness these incredible creatures up close but also contribute to their preservation.
15. Walk to Binalong Bay and Bay of Fires
Located on Tasmania’s northeastern coast, Binalong Bay and the stunning Bay of Fires are a natural phenomenon not to miss.
This picturesque region boasts a 50-kilometer stretch of pristine coastline, with crystal-clear waters and breathtaking scenery, but what really makes this beach special is the beauty of untouched beaches that are covered in vibrant orange-hued granite rocks that look like flames of fire.
The orange hues are from a lichen which has spread over the granite boulders. You can learn more about Bay of Fires in our full guide.
16. Hike Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park
Nestled in the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness, Cradle Mountain the most famous natural landmark on the island.
One of the main attractions is the famous Overland Track, a 65-kilometer trek that takes you through diverse landscapes, from ancient rainforests to alpine meadows.
It’s a truly immersive experience that allows you to connect with nature and marvel at the breathtaking scenery.
For those seeking a more relaxed adventure, walk around the beautiful Lake Dove, which has crystal-clear waters reflecting the majestic peaks.
Of course, if you don’t want to hike, the single-span chairlift offers a thrilling ride with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
17. Visit Queenstown
A gorgeous town on the West Coast of Tasmania you should be sure to check out is Queenstown.
In Queenstown, prepare to be captivated by its rich history and stunning landscapes. Explore the wild beauty of the South West Wilderness, marvel at the contrasting colors of the mountains, and discover hidden gems like the Hogarth Falls.
It’s a gateway to Tasmania’s untouched wilderness, promising an escape from the ordinary and a chance to connect with nature’s wonders.
18. Ride the West Coast Wilderness Railway
Looking for unique things to do in Tasmania? Explore Tasmania’s wilderness by riding the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
This heritage train ride goes beyond a simple train ride, immersing you in the untouched beauty of the cool-temperate rainforest that blankets the west coast.
As you traverse the rugged railway track, expert guides share stories of resilience and triumph, enriching your understanding of the region’s history.
Indulge in local produce, marvel at the surrounding heritage, and let the motion of the train soothe your soul.
19. Cruise Along The Gordon River
Embark on a mesmerizing journey along the majestic Gordon River, a pristine waterway just outside the town of Strahan.
It’s surrounded by ancient rainforests and rugged wilderness, and allows you to feel the serenity and tranquility of the river, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
A Gordon River cruise is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to cherish forever. You can learn more about a Gordon River cruise in our complete guide here.
How to Get Around Tasmania (Road Trip)
The best way to see Tasmania is by road tripping. Whilst Hobart and Launceston our small and walkable cities, once you get away from them public transport is non existent and you need your own vehicle.
But don’t worry, the state is very small in comparison to the mainland and distances between points of interest are short.
If you have your own vehicle, bring it on the Spirit of Tasmania, the ferry that sails between Melbourne and Devonport.
If you need to hire a car, DiscoverCars.com is the one of our favorite car rental comparison and booking site. We love their easy to use platform, competitive pricing, easy cancellation policies, and excellent customer service.
How To Get To Tasmania Video
If you’re not sure how to get to Tasmania, here is our YouTube video that shows you how it’s done…
Tours of Tasmania
We have two Tasmania group tours to recommend if you don’t want to travel independently. These are with our preferred partner, Globus tours which also include Cosmos. Be sure to use our discount code when booking!
- Ready to discover what all the fuss is about? Serving up waterfalls, wine tastings, and rustic, resort lodges within a stone’s throw of some of Australia’s most spectacular sights, this 9-day Tassie tour will introduce you to the favorite features and creatures of this idyllic island state.
- Consider yourself a bit of a foodie? This escorted tour of Tasmania with Cosmos Tours is the one for you! Embark on the adventure of a lifetime during this 7-day culinary-focused Tasmania tour from Hobart to Launceston.
GLOBUS DISCOUNT JUST FOR YOU!
We’ve secured an exclusive yTravel discount: Save $100 per person on select 2023 and 2024 Globus and Avalon Waterway Vacations. Use the code: YTRAVEL when booking online at the Globus, Cosmos, and Avalon Waterways websites, by calling Globus and Avalon Waterways directly, or booking with a preferred Travel Advisor. Terms & Conditions.
It’s hard not to be amazed by the beauty of Tasmania. With breathtaking scenery, rugged coastlines, and pristine national parks, Tasmania is a paradise for nature enthusiasts.
By now you’ve realized there is so much more to do here than just admire it’s nature.
Tasmania is a destination that beckons anyone looking for a relaxing pace of life, clean air, and chilled vibe.
We hope this guide helped you plan what to do in Tasmania and gave you some ideas for your own itinerary! Before you leave for your trip to Tasmania, be sure to learn more about the best beaches in Tasmania, small towns in Tassie not to miss, and best places to visit in Tasmania.
Can you suggest things to do in Tasmania? If you have any questions ask away in the comments below…