240 km away from Australia, the wild Tasmania is an archipelago of over 300 islands, occupying a surface of 68,401 km2 . Over 40% of the island is a protected national park, home to the rarest animals, birds, insects and plants.
The population barely exceeds 500,000 inhabitants, over half of them living in Hobart. If you come from a super crowded metropolis, you will definitely be delightfully surprised by the peace and quiet of this place. People are also very friendly and talkative, very proud of their town, so don’t hesitate to approach them if you find yourself in trouble or are curious about something. Also, don’t expect very high temperatures. In the summer (December to February), the maximum temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius and the average during the rest of the year is around 16.
As for the things you should see here, the most important suggestions include Cradle Country, the Great Eastern Drive, the North West Coast, the Great Western Tiers, Heritage Highway, Huon Trail, North East Trail, Dervent Valley, Tamar Valley and the wild West Coast.
The classic Tasmania road trip circumnavigates the island via Hobart, the East Coast, Launceston and the West Coast, with a possibility of adding the Midlands and the South East to the mix, if time is on your side. You need to be prepared for wiggly roads with just two lanes and driving on the LEFT side of the road. A rental car or camper-van is the best idea for your road trip. There are no passenger trains on the island, the internal flights are quite expensive and buses are slow and infrequent. You will find car-hire companies when you arrive at the Hobart or Launceston Airport, or you could look for other offers on TripEconomy.
Spending a couple of days in the Tasmanian capital is a must do. Check out the waterfront and and Salamanca Place. Discover numerous restaurants, galleries, craft shops, visit the Salamanca Market, the oldest continually operating brewery in Australia (the Cascade Brewery), drive to the top of Mount Wellington and catch a ferry to the Museum of Old & New Art (MONA).
2. Southeast Tasmania
The peninsula is a very beautiful place, in spite of its dark history from the convict era. Take a walk by the sheer sea cliff, wild surf beaches and rampant native wildlife (like Tasmanian Devils!). Also, take your time to stop by the Port Arthur Historic Site, the “open-air museum”, the place that best reveals Tasmania’s past.
3. The West Coast and the Northwest
Plan your trip through the northwest, at Bridgewater to get a glimpse of the amazing wilderness here. The A10 highway follows the Derwent River for a while, then moves towards Tasmania’s wild West Coast, heralded by snowy peaks, mountain rivers filled with trout and the absolute solitude that spreads across miles. The only living things that could interrupt you are maybe one or tow Tasmanian tigers.
4. The East Coast
Here’s where you’ll find the best beaches in Tasmania. Check out dreamy Orfors, Swansea, Bicheno and Saint Helens and enjoy a few moments away from the everyday chaos. Try the best fresh seafood and top-notch accommodation. Visit the Frecynet National Park and the Wineglass Bay for the perfect holiday photo album.
5. Bruny Island
Less marked by the dark times, Bruny Island is a very interesting place to go. Catch a ferry from incredibly photogenic Kettering across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, a great locations for every keen photographer to capture images of the Aurora Australis. Spend a day here, enjoy the empty beaches, tall forests and gourmet delights and Australia’s best vineyards. Check out the interesting wildlife and take advantage of the relaxing moments on this peaceful island.
6. Launceston and the Midlands
Launceston is worth the struggle mostly for the domestic architecture found here, that is also amazingly well preserved. The styles vary from Victorian to Federation and Art Deco. Take a look at the ice-cold South Esk River that runs towards the sea, take a walk, do some rock climbing and maybe, in the summertime, you can have a swim.
As for the Midlands, venturing into the heart of Tasmania along the Heritage Highway is a captivating experience. Find the numerous fine eateries and superb specialty shops and get a glimpse of life in the early 1800s. A must-see is Tasmania’s largest country market held each Sunday in the delightful Evandale village. You can also check out the historic properties of Woolmers Estate and Brickendon at Longford. They have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Convict Sites and they are open to the public.
7. Bay of Fires
If you decide to pass by this place, don’t miss the Bridestowe Lavender Estate, a purple-hazed farm that’s become famous for “Bobbie Bears”, the lavender-stuffed toys that sell by the thousand.