Named in The New York Times list of top “52 Places to Go in 2018” and home to just 500,000 people, the island of Tasmania is as intimate as it is beautiful. Its gorgeous capital city, Hobart, is home to one of the world’s most intriguing art galleries, while northern Launceston is one of the few cities on the planet to be wrapped around a gorge. Drive anywhere in the island state and you can go from beach-lined coasts to World Heritage-listed mountain areas in just a few hours. Along the way you’ll pass welcoming farm-gate producers, cellar doors and restaurants specialising in local produce so fresh it’s the envy of the culinary world.
Come to Tasmania, Australia’s heart-shaped island state to indulge in history, vast wilderness areas, Australia’s most spectacular mountains, dazzling beaches and the freshest food and wine imaginable.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Tasmania has four distinct seasons with the warmest months being December to March.
But if you prefer cooler temperatures and less crowds, visiting Australia’s island state in either autumn (March – May) or winter (June – August) is a great choice as it provides a pleasant ambience for exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites, sampling the best Tasmanian produce and becoming immersed in Tassie-style festival buzz.
Regardless of where you travel in Tasmania you should be prepared for sudden, temporary deterioration in the weather, especially if bushwalking. Always carry additional warm clothing, including a waterproof outer layer.
TOP 5 ATTRACTIONS
- Salamanca Market
Set among the historic Georgian sandstone buildings of Salamanca Place in Hobart, this famous market attracts thousands of locals and visitors every Saturday of the year.
Salamanca Market is one of those special places where you actually meet the people who create, make or grow what they sell. The nearly 300 stallholders include makers of hand-made Tasmanian pieces from woodwork to jewellery, fashion to fanciful glassware and ceramics. Of course, there are also fantastic fresh fruit and organic vegetables, all accompanied by buskers and music.
From the market, it’s a short walk up historic Kelly’s Steps to the Georgian cottages and early maritime village atmosphere of Battery Point. Also nearby is Hobart’s picturesque waterfront where you’ll find fishing boats berthed close to cruising yachts and the occasional square-rigger or two.
Salamanca Market is held every Saturday from 8.30 am to 3 pm – rain, hail or shine.
- Museum of Old and New Art – MONA
The Museum of Old and New Art – Mona is Australia’s largest private museum and one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world.
Described by its owner as a “subversive adult Disneyland”, the collection includes everything from ancient Egyptian mummies to some of the world’s most infamous and thought-provoking contemporary art. With around 300 art works on display, the collection takes up three floors within a subterranean architectural masterpiece and is guaranteed to impress.
Mona is open six days a week, closed Tuesdays.
- Mt Wellington
The 21-km drive to the summit passes through temperate rainforest to sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations, ending in panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula.
No other city in Australia has a vista like this one. The interpretation centre at the top protects you from the blustering winds while an open viewing platform on the western side of the car park looks out to the World Heritage Wilderness Area beyond. There are barbecues, picnic facilities and bushwalking trails for all fitness levels. Mountain activities also include trail biking and abseiling.
Park entrance fees do not apply and there are no opening or closing hours.
- Port Arthur Historic Site
The Port Arthur Historic Site is Australia’s most intact and evocative convict site and one of Australia’s great tourist attractions. Located on the Tasman Peninsula, the site has more than 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes dating from the prison’s establishment in 1830 until its closure in 1877. During this time around 12,500 convicts served sentences and for many it was a living hell.
Today, the site sits in 40 hectares of landscaped grounds and you’ll need plenty of time to fully experience all that it has to offer. The Port Arthur Historic Site is open every day of the year.
- Cataract Gorge
Cataract Gorge Reserve, known locally as the Gorge, is a unique natural formation within a two-minute drive of central Launceston – a rare natural phenomenon in any city. In an easy 15 minutes, you can walk from central Launceston along the banks of the Tamar River into the Gorge. From there, follow a pathway originally built in the 1890s along the cliff face looking down onto the South Esk River.
With a kiosk, restaurant and swimming pool, rolling lawns and a rotunda, a footbridge and a chairlift across the river, as well as peacocks and wallabies at dusk, this may be Australia’s most alluring urban reserve. And entrance is free.
- Dark MOFO
The annual winter festival hosted by Mona (Museum of the Old and New), Dark Mofo celebrates the dark through public art, music, light and noise. Highlights of this year’s event include performances by international musicians and artists; a new program Dark and Dangerous Thoughts comprising a curated showcase of literature, film and ideas; and the annual Nude Solstice Swim where hundreds of brave souls plunge into the River Derwent in their birthday suits to welcome back the return of the light after the longest night.
- Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival
Held at Ranelagh, a 30-minute scenic drive south of Hobart, this popular regional event celebrates the best of fine food, wine, arts, crafts and entertainment from the Huon Valley, D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island regions of Tasmania. In addition to some 90 stalls showcasing quality wines and produce, visitors are also encouraged to check out cafes, wineries and berry farms located along the winding Huon River and on the accompanying hills. There are also entertainment programs that cater to both young and old throughout the two-day festival.