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Tasmania - Top 21 Hot Spots

Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain

Hobart and the surrounding region

Hobart

Hobart is a magical destination that can provide for any sort of holiday you might imagine. If you are looking for scenic surrounds, Hobart is cradled in the Derwent River Valley, with the looming presences of Mt Wellington and Mt Nelson acting as a backdrop. The harbour is the heart of the city, with excellent shopping, dining, attractions and activities all within walking distance of the harbour and the city. As just an example of some of the attractions in Hobart, there is the new Antarctic Adventure Centre, the Salamanca Markets, the Botanical Gardens, the Hobart Museum or the Old Hobart Gaol. For the foodies, there is the seafood on the jetty or you can tour the Carlton Brewery or the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. Hobart is less than four hours' drive from any other part of mainland Tasmania and makes an ideal base for exploring the state.

Richmond

When they invented the term 'picture perfect', they were thinking of Richmond. Many of the town's original buildings have been restored, giving the entire town an air of being trapped in the past. There is the Richmond Gaol, the oldest intact convict-built gaol in Australia, open to the public. Richmond is also home to Australia's oldest bridge, built by the residents of the Gaol. For children and the young at heart, don't miss The Old Hobart Model Village, Zoo Doo Wildlife Park or the Richmond Maze. Richmond is just a short drive from Hobart.

Tasman National Park

This is an incredibly diverse and scenic national park, located on the Tasman Peninsula just an hour's drive from Hobart. There are plenty of walks that will suit all visitors, which lead to majestic views of the coastline overlooking the Tasman Sea. Many of the striking rock formations along the coastline are easily accessed by car, including the Tasman Arch and The Blowhole. The park includes other such icons such s Waterfall Bay, the Remarkable Cave, the Devil's Kitchen and the Tessellated Pavement. There is no overnight accommodation available within the Tasman National Park; however the Tasman Peninsula has several types of accommodation, including caravan parks.

Port Arthur

Only one hour from Hobart, step back to the days of the convicts and visit one of the most historical sites in Tasmania. Port Arthur, located on the Tasman Peninsula, started off as a convict prison, which is now open to tourists. Visit the ruins of the Penitentiary and the Convict Church, the museum houses that reveal what life was like in the past, and the beautifully tended grounds and gardens. The Isle of the Dead cemetery is located in the harbour off Port Arthur, and between 1833 and 1877, around one thousand burials took place there. Ghost tours are available. Stay at Port Arthur Holiday Park and spend a few days exploring this great region.

New Norfolk

New Norfolk is an half hour drive west from Hobart. One of the oldest towns in Australia, New Norfolk is at the heart of the Derwent Valley and is worth a visit to see the historical buildings like the Willow Court complex and the Anglican Church of St Matthew. It has strong ties to Norfolk Island, as some of the towns' early pioneers were folk resettled from Norfolk Island in the very early years of the 19th Century. The town has some unique historical sites and buildings and some of the most beautiful countryside in Tasmania. It is the perfect base to visit the Mount Field National Park, which has a two-hour circuit walk to Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Tall Trees Circuit and Lady Barron Falls.

Huon Valley

When people refer to Tasmania as the Apple Isle, they are thinking of the Huon Valley region. By following the coast road south of Hobart, you are heading straight into the apple and cherry growing districts. In Glen Huon, you can visit the Tasmanian Appleheads and Model Village, which features doll's heads made from carved and dried apples. Just off the coast is Bruny Island, accessible by vehicular ferry, offering views of the sea, Storm Bay and the D'Entrecasteau Channel. Make sure you visit the Hartz Mountains National Park near Geeveston, a world heritage-listed park offering hiking into many various habitats. The Huon Valley provides a broad range of accommodation options.

East Coast, North of Hobart

Swansea and Coles Bay

The quaint little town of Swansea is worth investigating. The Barkmill Museum has a working steam-driven engine which processes black wattle bark for the tanning industry. More insights into local history are available at the East Coast Heritage Museum, situated on the main thoroughfare of the town. You can drive from Hobart to Swansea in less than two hours, and a further hour's drive will see you at Coles Bay and the Freycinet National Park. Freycinet National Park contains Wineglass Bay, one of the best beaches in the world. There is rock climbing, abseiling, windsurfing and bushwalking or just enjoy a stroll along the superb beaches. Birdwatchers will love this area, and there is an abundance of wildlife, especially the Tasmanian devil.

St Helens

Beautiful St Helens is situated on Georges Bay in the northeast of Tasmania and started its existence as a whaling station. When tin was discovered in the surrounding area in the 1870s, St Helens became the shipping port for the mines. The tin industry, and the Chinese tin miners, is commemorated by the Trail of the Tin Dragon. Learn more about this by visiting St Helens History Room and Visitor Information Centre. The striking Bay of Fires is just north of the town, a region where white sand and blue water contrasts to the orange-hued granite boulders scattered on the beaches. St Helens is a great base to explore this diverse area that has rainforest, mountains, dairy farms and coastlines all within driving distance. It offers a full range of accommodation options, including a caravan park.

Launceston

Nestled among the vineyards of the Tamar Valley, Launceston is rich in history and natural beauty. For the history buffs, there is a smorgasbord of places to explore: the Woolmers Estate and the National Rose Garden, Entally House, Launceston Historic Walks, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the Launceston Tramway Museum, the George Town Heritage Trail, the York Town Historic Site, Bridestowe Lavender Estate, and Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre. The Cataract Gorge Park is located only a few minutes from the city and boasts the longest single-span chairlift in Australia. Go fishing for trout in the Launceston Lakes or explore the Tamar Valley vineyards. For those who prefer more extreme activities, among the more exciting options are exploring the forest canopy using ziplines, hang gliding, rock climbing or mountain bike riding. This is the ideal city to use as a base to explore and enjoy all the region has to offer.

Ben Lomond National Park and Jacobs Ladder

Ben Lomond National Park is an outstanding alpine habitat located in Northern Tasmania, just a short drive from Launceston. For those keen on snow sports, the best time to visit the park is in winter. In summer, it is a great spot for hikers and rock climbers. Local accommodation is limited to a small camping area one kilometre inside the park boundary and several kilometres below the summit, with six unpowered sites suitable for campervans. Further in, there is a challenging drive to the alpine village called Jacobs Ladder, with numerous hairpin curves, it is suitable for experienced drivers only.

North Coast

Devonport and Latrobe

Devonport is a pretty city located on the Mersey River, and is where you will find the terminal for the Spirit of Tasmania. There is plenty to do, with the choice of visiting the Imaginarium Science Centre, the Bass Strait Maritime Museum, the Don River Railway Museum, the Tasmanian Arboretum, or the Devonport Regional Art Gallery. Latrobe is just minutes away, and is considered one of Australia's finest heritage towns, and offers a diverse range of antique and collectible stores. In either direction along the coast is superb scenery and fishing towns which makes Devonport such a central and inviting city to visit.

Burnie

Burnie is Tasmania's most westerly city and is just a 40 minute drive from Devonport; the coast road meanders through some delightful scenery. Much of the architecture of Burnie was built at the height of the Art Deco era, so a wander around the town is a must. In town, there are such attractions as the Makers' Workshop and the Cheese Shop, the Pioneer Village Museum, the Burnie Art Gallery and the Little Penguin Observation Centre. Just south of the city are the Annsleigh Gardens and Café, which is on route to Cradle Mountain. Burnie is the centre of great natural attractions such as the Guide Falls, Roundhill Lookout (especially at sunset and sunrise), Emu Valley and Emu Bay.

Stanley

This historical village is famous for being the birthplace of Joseph Lyons - The tenth Prime Minister of Australia. Just north of the town is the Highfield Historic site, containing Highfield House and the Chapel. This is the site of the first colonisation in the area, with the aim of starting a textile industry down under. Stanley sits next to the Nut State Reserve, an ancient volcanic plug that has formed a striking coastal feature. While the path to the summit of The Nut is very steep, a 15-minute return chairlift ride leads to spectacular views to and from the summit. Stanley also offers tours to see seals and penguins.

West Coast

Strahan

Strahan is a fishing village that started its existence as a port vital to the mining and logging industries. Ocean Beach is close to the township, alive with birdlife and amazing scenery; a great spot for fishing but swimming isn't recommended. You can stroll through Strahan People's Park to Hogarth Falls. Strahan is an access point to the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, which can be toured with jet boat rides and river cruises.

Queenstown

The mining town of Queenstown is a three-and-a-half hour drive from Hobart, driving along the Lyell highway. It has historical buildings that still retain much of the flavour of the 19th Century; the Empire Hotel boasts a National Trust-listed staircase made from Tasmanian Blackwood. The area around the town is a dramatic contrast to the rest of Tasmania. The Western Wilderness Railway terminates in Queenstown and you can take a tour through this western wilderness. The Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival is a biennial festival that celebrates and commemorates the history of the region.

The Midlands

Deloraine

Deloraine is at the base of the Great Western Tiers in Central Tasmania Highlands and is considered the artistic hub of northern Tasmania. The annual Tasmanian Craft Fair takes place in Deloraine, which attracts over 30,000 people annually. The focus of the displays at the Deloraine and District Folk Museum is on the horse-drawn era and the extensive gardens contain many farm implements. The location of the town, between Launceston and Devonport, makes it a great base to explore areas such as Cradle Mountain, the Great Western Tiers, and the Central Highlands.

Mole Creek and Mole Creek National Park

Mole Creek is a small town an half hour drive from Deloraine. The town is famous for its leatherwood honey production, and for its proximity to the Mole Creek Karst National Park. Visitors travel from all over the world to see the incredible cave systems in this underground national park. The King Solomons Cave is a lavish affair of ornate patterns of stalagmites and stalactites, folds and curtains of sparking calcite, while the Marakoopa Cave has the Great Cathedral chamber, the largest glow worm cave in Australia, and reflecting pools to mirror baroque shawls and draperies of stone.

Tasmanian Midlands and Lake Country

This is a less populated region of Tasmania, and consequently is less domesticated and more untamed. As the name of the region implies, this is middle of the island and an area blessed with many lakes. The Great Lake, Arthurs Lake and Bronte Lagoon have all been created or enlarged by Hydro Tasmania, and are all great spots for fishing enthusiasts. The Northern Midlands is renowned for historic villages with historic Georgian architecture. The Central Highlands landscape consists of mountain peaks rising from button grass plains, and includes the Cradle Mountain region. This heartland is environmentally one of the most diverse regions in Australia. Just a small example of the things to see is the Callington Mill, a working Georgian windmill built in 1837, situated in Oatland; and the Female Factory for woman convicts, now a museum, to be found in Ross. This is an area perfect for the adventurous; go exploring!

Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park

Cradle Mountain is one of the most spectacular locations of the world, with exhilarating, panoramic scenery and unique flora in every direction. It is only 90 minutes' drive from Burnie and is easily accessible, with camping facilities and cabins available. The Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is widely considered one of Australia's iconic wilderness experiences. There are over 20 different self-guided walking tracks around Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake, ranging from 20 minutes to nine hours, all offering breathtaking scenery. For the serious outdoor enthusiast, the Overland Trek is a six day walk that will take you into the very heart of the park.

Islands

Flinders Island

Flinders Island, in the Bass Strait, can only be reached by ferry or by plane. The weekly Tasmanian ferry leaves from Bridgeport, and booking in advance is essential. The island is teeming with birdlife, wildlife and incredible scenery and the Castle Rock walk is highly recommended. Scuba divers can visit a number of wrecks in the area, and there is fantastic fishing, camping, bike riding and bushwalking for all nature lovers, or you can go fossicking for Killiecrankie diamonds (not actually a diamond but a type of topaz). The two main towns on the island are Whitemark and Lady Barron, and the island offers a range of accommodation.

King Island

There is no ferry service to King Island, but there are daily flights from Burnie and Launceston. Bass Strait's most famous island is isolated and rich in vegetation and wildlife. It is also a foodie paradise. The King Island Grazing trails are a network of recreation and food trails covering five distinct areas around King Island, designed to allow visitors to combine the best of King Island's walks and sights with the most delicious food available. The Maritime trail around the island allows the hiker to learn more about the history of migration to the island and the stories of the local shipwrecks. There are the calcified remains of an ancient forest, up to 7000 years old, on the island. There are three towns on the island, Curry, Grassy and Naracoopa, so there is a range of accommodation available.




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