Captivating natural beauty, diverse cultural experiences and a thriving food scene are every traveller’s takeaways from Tasmania.
Isolated from the rest of Australia, this island state sits across the Bass Strait and has long been disregarded by mainlanders for being old-fashioned and a good few years behind the rest of the country. However, nowadays Tasmania holiday packages have become hot property as the island’s rugged peaks, shimmering waters, incredible local produce and intriguing towns have put it firmly on the map.
Protected by preservation laws, Tasmania’s natural riches continue to thrive. Its moderate climate, teamed with its fertile lands and rich waters, have made it one of the most sought-after foodie destinations in the country.
The thought of slurping fresh oysters on Bruny Island, visiting the fascinating Museum of Old and New Art, or wandering along the white sand of the Freycinet National Park may draw you in. Still, it’s everything you didn’t expect to encounter in Tasmania that will make you want to return.
This Tasmania travel guide will introduce you to everything you need to know about this island state before you set off on your trip. It may even lead you to book a trip to this rugged island paradise!
When Is the Best Time to Go on a Tasmania Tour
Tasmania enjoys a colder climate than the rest of Australia, which means even in the height of summer, the temperatures don’t tend to rise above 21ºC.
Summer spans December, January and into February and is when most of Tasmania’s festivals and music events take place, for which the island state is known for. During these months, the tourist numbers are high; however, depending on what you’re looking to do on your Tasmania tour package, summer is a great time to escape the crowds and head into the rugged wilderness.
The winter months span May to September; if you don’t mind the cold, these months are a great time to wrap up warm and enjoy the great outdoors. Many of the hiking trails are devoid of tourists during the winter months, which makes for a pleasant experience. However, you must be cautious as the tracks can be slippery and icy.
Like most destinations, the shoulder season (either October to November and March to April) is the best time to visit Tasmania. The crowds are reduced, accommodation is cheaper than in summer months, the hiking conditions are good, and there are still several festivals scheduled during these months.
Top 10 Things to Do in Tasmania
A captivating state, the list of the best things to do in Tasmania is never-ending. From eclectic festivals and gastronomic dining experiences to hiking national parks and wandering along stretches of deserted sand; there are experiences to suit everyone in Tasmania.
First up and arguably one of the most iconic destinations in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain sits in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Its natural beauty, exceptional mountain terrain and miles upon miles of self-guided walking tracks make it one of the best Tasmania tourist attractions.
Cradle Mountain is the starting point for the world-famous Overland Track, a six-day walk that takes you through the heart of Tasmania’s beauty. The journey from Cradle Mountain to Launceston, one of Tasmania’s major cities, is around two hours.
Part of the Freycinet National Park, a jewel on Tasmania’s east coast, Wineglass Bay is a beautiful, remote crescent of shimmering white sand. While most people think that the name is derived from the shape of the bay, it had a more gruesome past. The bay was named after the colour the water would turn after whales were slaughtered here.
With this horrific past behind it, Wineglass Bay is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Tasmania. There are several different hikes to reach the bay, each as scenic as the next. The drive from Hobart to Wineglass Bay takes around 2.5 hours.
Hobart & MONA
Sitting at the foot of the mighty Mount Wellington, Hobart is Australia’s second-oldest city and a city set to rise on the list of must-see places in this country. Blending stunning scenery, culture and heritage with unmissable local attractions, a day or two of your trip should be dedicated to a Hobart tour.
Hobart is famously home to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), the country’s largest private museum, has one of the most controversial private collections of modern artefacts, art and antiquities in the world. MONA is just one of the many places to visit in Hobart.
A stunning contrast of rugged sea cliffs and arctic wildlife to hay-bale-filled fields and grazing cattle, Bruny Island tours have become popular with those that want to experience an abundance of wildlife while in Tasmania.
Most visitors to Bruny Island are on day trips from Hobart. However, if you want to experience the true beauty of island life – tasting fresh oysters, dining on decadent local cheese and other gastronomical delights – then you’ll want to spend a few days here.
Combine beauty, sadness and history at the Port Arthur historical sight on your Tasmania holiday. Port Arthur served as a prison for some of Australia’s most hardened convicts; the prisoners were tortured and killed in cruel ways.
Today, the past is behind it, but the eerie atmosphere remains. Port Arthur tours take you around this ex-prison for a spooky insight into its history. The drive from Hobart to Port Arthur takes around 90 minutes.
Freycinet National Park
Sitting on Tasmania’s beautiful east coast, Freycinet National Park boasts impressive pink granite peaks, secluded bays filled with white-sanded beaches and abundant birdlife. Looking out over the Tasman Sea, one of the best past times in this national park is to hike to different viewpoints such as Wineglass Bay.
The trails that lace the park are suitable for all levels of abilities and offer fantastic photography opportunities. If hiking isn’t your thing, you can set out on a sea kayak for a different perspective like on this Tasmania itinerary.
Bay of Fires
Voted the world’s ‘hottest’ travel destination on Lonely Planet Tasmania in 2009, the Bay of Fires is a region of pristine beaches, turquoise waters and fiery red lichen-covered boulders which scatter the shores.
Despite widespread assumption, the bay’s name is not derived from these boulders or the impressive sunsets which light up the water and boulders each night. The Bay of Fires was named in response to Aboriginal fires Captain Tobias Furneaux saw burning on the shores in 1773.
Set against a backdrop of red and pink granite peaks of The Hazards, Coles Bay is a beautiful little town known for being the gateway to the Freycinet National Park.
If you’re looking to spend a few days exploring Freycinet, it’s beautiful bays and excellent walking trails; Coles Bay is the perfect place to base yourself.
Tamar Valley & Wine Tasting in Tasmania
A short drive outside of Launceston city and you’ll be in the Tamar Valley, a wine region which is -secretly- one of the best wine regions in Australia. The cool climate and fertile soil have led to high-quality and elegant wines being produced here. The Tamar Valley Wine Route is slowly becoming one of the top wine tours in the world, but for now it remains mostly a secret!
As well as the Tamar Valley, the Coal River Valley is also a worthy stop as the conditions largely resemble that of the Champagne region in France. While the sparkling wines produced here cannot be called ‘Champagne’; they are in the same league!
Ancient Tarkine Rainforest
Step foot in the second-largest temperate rainforest in the world in the Tarkine Rainforest in Tasmania. A vast expanse of 477,000 hectares, the Tarkine wilderness holds ancient treasures dating back millennia. Its lands are alive with unique flora and fauna that have never been found anywhere else in the world.
Self-guided drives, forest walks and river cruises; whichever way you choose to experience the Tarkine, it will be an intriguing experience.
The Tasmania Travel Guide to Getting Around the Island
With its vast mountainous regions, beautiful coastline and abundant wildlife spotting opportunities, the best way to travel around Tasmania is with your own transport. While there are public transport options, beyond the cities, they become scarce, and it’s in these places that the magnificence of Tasmania shines through.
Rent a Car to Get Around Tasmania
Car or campervan hire offer the most flexibility during your Tasmania tour. While there are things to be cautious of such as high fuel prices and wildlife on the roads to be wary of, the benefits of being able to stop when you like, tour remote areas and encounter all of the destinations you wish to far outweigh these.
To head off on a Tasmania road trip, you’ll need the same documents as you would in Australia – driver’s license and travel insurance. The roads are well maintained and sealed, much like the rest of the country.
Public Transport Options in Tasmania
If you’re looking to spend most of your time in the main tourist cities, Hobart and Launceston, then you won’t need to hire a car as most attractions are accessible on foot or by bike. The islands of Maria and Bruny are serviced by daily ferries.
However, in Tasmania, there is no scheduled rail service apart from the West Coast Wilderness Railway which is a beautifully charming 35-kilometre heritage steam train ride from Queenstown to Strahan.
Tourist buses run between main tourist hubs and attractions. However, these services become much less frequent at the weekends, during holidays and in the low season.
Private Tour of Tasmania
Ultimately, a Tasmania road trip is the best way to see this isolated island in all its beauty. However, if a self-drive Tasmania tour is not what you’re looking for, then you can design a trip which includes a driver and a guide to take you around the island.
This option is great for those that want the freedom of a Tasmania road trip but don’t want to have the hassle of driving themselves. This 9-Day Wild Tasmania can be customised to include a private driver and guide who will accompany you for the duration of your trip!
If you’re intrigued by what your Tasmania holiday could look like, then connect with one of our on-the-ground Local Experts in Australia who can take your budget, interests and travel style, and create your perfect trip!
Where to Stay on Your Tasmania Trip
Tasmania is a large island; If you don’t plan to hire a car, you’ll want to make sure you stay in a city or a town with good transport connections. A Tasmania tour can come in all shapes and sizes; with the varied landscapes from urban charms to rugged wilderness, you’ll encounter hip boutique hotels as well as rustic cabins in the same trip if you wish to!
Here’s a breakdown of the best places to stay in Tasmania and what each of them offers;
Staying in Hobart
A beautiful blend of culture, scenery and heritage, Hobart is a lively, charming town which is a must-do stop on your Tasmania tour.
Featuring a handful of unmissable attractions including the world-famous MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) and Mount Wellington, Hobart is the perfect place to begin your trip or to base yourself for the duration of your journey like on this 3-day Hobart tour.
Affordable accommodation can be found in the city and by the waterfront, whereas more high-end self-catering apartments and holiday homes can be found at Battery Point.
Staying in Launceston
Tasmania’s ‘other city’ after Hobart, Launceston has regenerated itself following its colonial past. Today, this historic town boasts superb restaurants debuting many of Tasmania’s local delights and the Queen Victoria Museum, known as one of the best regional museums in Australia.
For those looking for a more reasonable option than Hobart, Launceston is a good alternative. Most accommodation clusters are around Brisbane Street but there is a range of options from affordable backpackers and motels to five-star hotels scattered throughout the city.
Staying on the East Coast
For the adventurous travellers who are looking to engage in adrenaline-rush activities and escape the crowds of Hobart, the East Coast is the perfect place to stay in Tasmania.
With abundant watersports, a laid back vibe and a stunning coastline, the East Coast is an excellent place for families and couples to enjoy Tasmania. The East Coast is where you’ll find Flinders Island and the historic town of Swansea.
There’s a range of accommodation available on the East Coast but with less competition, expect to pay more than you would in the cities.
Staying on the North-West Coast
For those that want to explore the rainforests and the coastal heathlands, the Northwest Coast is the perfect place to stay. Home to Australia’s largest temperate forest, Tarkine, which meets the coastline, the Northwest Coast is a hiker, surfer and outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise rolled into one.
Camping sites on the beach or beach house hideaways are great accommodation options on the Northwest Coast of Tasmania. Head to Sheffield or Devonport for the best range of places to stay.
Tasmania Places to Visit If You’re a Foodie!
Oysters in Bruny Island, freshly-caught scallops on the Hobart waterfront, apples from a roadside stall and a big glass of Pinot Noir in the Tamar Valley? Tasmania is bursting with foodie experiences. If you’re looking to make the most of the fresh produce this island state is known for, then you’ll want to make sure you spend some time in each of these regions!
Launceston & Tamar Valley
Tasmania’s gourmet city and wine region sit a mere ten minutes from each other. Ideal if you’re looking to hit up some of the top restaurants, sample Tasmanian beef and ethically sourced produce overlooking the Tamar River, and wash it down at one of the many cellar doors in the Tamar.
Defined by the space between the cities of Devonport and Launceston, the North-West presents countless options for those that like to design their trips around food stops. From cafes stocking fresh produce from around the island to vineyards serving ever-changing decadent lunchtime platters, this is an excellent region to road trip through if you want to punctuate your journey with famous cheese, delicious berries and chocolate truffles.
The Far South
After spending a night or two in Hobart, it makes sense to head south towards Port Arthur via the orchard region which famously gave Tasmania the nickname ‘The Apple Isle’. Here, you can stop off to taste cider, stock up on snacks at artisan bakeries and visit gourmet chocolatiers.
Hobart & More
Hobart prides itself on its range of dining options which take influence from the four corners of the globe. You are spoilt for choice in this city, and you’ll want to do your research to narrow down the long list of options to ones that suit you. For an after-dinner tipple, there are several wine bars, whiskey distilleries and English-style pubs to enjoy on your Tasmania Tour.
Driving through this region, you are treated to spectacular views as well as a wealth of restaurants providing great refuel stops. Fresh seafood, woodfired pizza or something a little more gourmet – pick your accompanying poison and enjoy the view.
Cost of a Tasmania Tour
Many factors can come into play when designing your Tasmania holiday. When factoring in all of these different variables, it can give you a little bit of a headache trying to organise a trip that is within budget and suits your travel style and interests.
Tripfuser’s Local Experts on the ground in Tasmania, Australia and 60 other countries around the globe take the stress out of planning a trip. Taking care of everything from airport transfers to rental car pick, hotel and restaurant reservations, guided activities and tours, our Local Experts make planning a trip to Tasmania, Australia, or anywhere else in the world, simple!
As an example, this 9-day Tasmania trip costs AU$1,846 per person and includes:
- 4- and 5-star accommodation
- Breakfasts each morning
- Ground transportation
- Entrance fees to all attractions
- Licensed English-speaking guides
- A number of activities
Simple changes such as which season you choose to travel, how many places you visit and where you stay can make your trip more budget-friendly.
Special Events & Festivals in Tasmania
Whether it’s a food festival, a wine weekend or a bizarre music and arts extravaganza, Tasmania attractions are primarily made up of these unique festivals and events! If you’re designing a Tasmania road trip, you’ll want to start here to make sure you encounter at least one of these events.
Taste of Tasmania – January
Australia’s longest-running and most prominent food and wine festival, with local gourmet treats, live music and a beautiful setting, this summer event is not to be missed.
Mona Foma – January
Mona Foma is an eclectic mix of art, music and theatre bought together in a week-long festival in Launceston.
Australian Wooden Boat Festival – February
Every year for three days, thousands gather for a celebration of Australia’s rich maritime heritage and culture.
Taste the Harvest – February
Devonport’s food and wine festival showcases Tasmania’s top food producers, restaurants and wineries as well as entertainment for all those that attend.
Panama Festival – March
This festival is an intimate two-day event held in North-East Tasmania on a beautiful 50-acre cider brewery. As well as critically acclaimed music acts, you can enjoy cabaret, poetry and DJ acts and delicious local food stalls.
Cradle Mountain Film Festival – April
If a weekend of five-minute films sounds ideal to you, then you’ll want to make sure you catch this festival set in Tasmania’s rugged wilderness.
Tasmanian Whisky Week – August
Not confined to one area, Tasmanian Whisky Week is a statewide celebration of the markers of Tassie Whisky! If you’re in attendance, you’ll soon learn why the world raves about this tipple.
Great Eastern Wine Weekend – September
Celebrating the best of Tasmania’s viticulture, this three-day festival means food tasting, wine tastings, long lazy lunches and beach picnics.
Tasmania Medieval Festival – October
Take a step back in time and join in the excitement and revelry as you witness life-like pageantry of medieval times, – including sword fighting!
Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – December
Taking centre stage in Hobart’s event calendar for December, the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race is an annual race that you can experience from the docks at Sullivan’s Cove.
So, Are You Ready to Book Your Tasmania Tour?
Written to inspire, this Tasmania travel guide hopes to have succeeded in opening your eyes to the treasures that await you in this ruggedly beautiful island state.
At Tripfuser, we know that everyone has different interests, priorities and preferences when it comes to planning a trip to Australia. You can browse our range of fully-customisable Australia tours and tailor any one of them to your preferences with a Local Expert. Or better yet, select what you want out of a trip using the ‘Design your Own Trip‘ function and let one of our Local Experts design your perfect trip!