Tasmania travel guide


Tasmania is like a Tardis. On the map it just looks like a small island, and indeed it is. Just 364km north to south, and 306km east to west. Yet Tassie will transport you to another world which feels almost lost in time. There are numerous ‘doors’ to open, with 19 national parks each offering different views and experiences. As well as many other wild places, coastal, mountainous or rainforest, to wander through and lust over.
Spend a week hiking through its heart on the Cradle Mountain Overland Track. Or bushwalking in the northernmost Narawntapu NP, where wombats and wallabies abound. You can spend weeks here and see a new view every day. Such as exploring an island off the island, of which you can take your pick. There are 334 of them. With a fascinating if fearsome history of convict settlements and colonial conflict, Tasmania has travelled through time to a place of peace. And a place where one feels total freedom.
Tasmania is...

in love with its landscapes.
Some 40% of the island is protected.
And Tassies share their love 100%.

Tasmania isn't...

just somewhere to tag onto the end of a trip to Australia. That’s like going to the UK and throwing in Ireland for 24 hours. Take your time in Tassie.

What we rate & what we don't



NW Peninsula Islands & more islands Tassie people So near, yet so far

NW Peninsula

The wild and wonderful North West is not only home to dramatic coasts overlooking the Southern Ocean but also eco eclectic beauty spots from the Tarkine Rainforest to King Island. Many people skip it out en route to Cradle Mountain – but don’t. King Island is the perfect surf ‘n turf destination. Great waves and fine food producers. And tackle The Tarkine by hiking or on a river cruise.

Islands & more islands

There are over 330 of them, some slightly developed, some divinely deserted. The east coast boasts wildlife and wilderness walking trails on Maria Island and the world’s only white wallabies on Bruny Island. Head north to Flinders or King for playing in the surf and eating the fine produce of the turf. Or to the west to melt over fairy penguins on Bonnet. Island idylls off one big island idyll. Tasmania never stops.

Tassie people

Not really like other Australians, their feeling of being linked to the land and inspired by conservation is infectious. People have a gentleness, even an eccentricity, and there is no sense of an elite because each does their bit as Tasmanian stewards. And yet, with a small population, they are not small minded; they live in such vast landscapes. Tassies look outwards - and always see the bigger picture.

So near, yet so far

Something many visitors fail to appreciate about Tasmania is what’s just 10 minutes off the main road. There are so many signposts off the highways it is hard to know which ones to pick but it's nearly always worth taking a chance. Magnificent sites such as Mount Wellington, Leven Canyon or Donaghy’s Hill Lookout over Wild Rivers NP are so accessible. You don’t have to hike for days for great wonders of the world here.


Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair NP Bay of Fires Flinders Island Wildlife

Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair National Park

One of the stop offs on the classic circuit, but this is somewhere you could spend two weeks alone. And some do, starting on its famous Overland Track that takes you through rainforest or up to peaks such as Mount Ossa at 1,167m. At 65km long, it takes six days to walk from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, with a diversion around the lake that gives you an excuse to spend another couple of days in the wilderness.

Bay of Fires

One of Tasmania’s most stunning walking trails, you can join a four day guided hike for 20km from beach to beach, beach camp to lodge. Camp, walk and swim, and if you want to rest your legs for a bit, throw in a bit of kayaking along the Ansons River. This place will set your world on fire.

Flinders Island

A very special place and a particular favourite with families, with safe, sublime beaches. As well as wildlife, hiking to the Strzelecki National Park’s peaks and the fascinating Aboriginal history and museum are all top things to do. Hop over to nearby and wholly Aboriginal Cape Barren Island to learn about their tragic indigenous history in Tasmania, and contribute to the local tourism economy.


It’s everywhere, and you don’t have to travel for miles. Tasmania does wildlife up close and personal. Such as white wallabies, wombats, duck-billed platypus, and of course the endemic and inimitable Tasmanian devil. Spot dolphins in Macquarie Harbour and, for cuteness in the extreme, head to Bonnet Island to see fairy penguins. Whales migrate along the east coast May-July and Sept-Nov.


Generic hotel chains Summer only trips Hiking without research Feeding wildlife

Generic hotel chains

Generic chain hotels are not terribly Tassie. This is the land of boutique B&Bs where wallabies wander around, log fires warm your toes and wine comes from a vineyard just up the road. There is even a B&B run by a former Ritz Hotel chef. Tasmania is that sort of place. People come here, fall in love with it and create cozy cabins or love filled lodges so that they can share the nature, food and Tasmanian stories.

Summer only trips

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can only come here in summer. Although snow hits the highlands May-Sept, cross country skiing or trekking under winter blue skies is wonderful. And coasts and lowlands are still open to hiking all year round, with mild temperatures in the east. Hobart is uber cool in winter in the cultural way, the Dark MOFO festival a very hip happening at the city’s prestigious new art gallery.

Hiking without research

The National Parks website has good information on this. Don’t treat these like walks in the park, just because it isn’t mainland Australia. You are still walking in very wild places. Don’t walk alone, wear good boots, have layers, carry safety equipment, food and water, sleeping bag, maps, and log your walk at trailheads. Always check weather conditions, and turn back if in doubt.

Feeding wildlife

Wildlife is everywhere in Tasmania. Wallabies wander up to you and ‘roos will roam around the place. And birdlife is berserk. But tourists need to leave their ‘feeding ducks in the park’ mentality at home. It is strictly against all good conservation practices to interfere with the wildlife’s natural diet. So as much as you are tempted to give some of your pie to a possum, put it away.

Food, shopping & people


Eating & drinking

Every region has something delicious in it. Bruny Island is famous for lamb. Huon Valley for fruit. King Island for cheese.
Fruit and vegetables are everywhere: farm shops, honesty stalls or pick your own. Big on apples and stoned fruit, Tasmania gives more than your five a day. With cherries on top.
Tasmanian pies are an institution. Made with pastry, they are filled with fish, meat, scallops and vegetables.
Curried scallop pies are a Tassie specialty. Just delicious.
Southern Tasmania and the Tamar Valley are famous for wine, as well as Freycinet and the Coal Valley near Hobart.
Local food is very local here. Instead of a Tassie tomato, it might be a Huon Valley tomato. Not just any old lobster but a Freycinet rock lobster, or King Island cheese.

Screen & scribe

With such extraordinary landscapes, wildlife and history, it is not surprising that Tasmania has caught the imagination of writers and filmmakers. Here are just a few to help you delve deeper:

Tasmanian Devil, A unique and threatened animal by David Owen David Pemberton (2005)
The Hunter, a novel by Julia Leigh (1999) adapted for film of the same name by Daniel Nettheim in 2011.
Tasmanian Mammals, A Field Guide by Dave Watts (1987)
In Tasmania, by Nicholas Shakespeare (2004)
For the Term of his Natural Life, by Marcus Clarke (1870)
In the shadow of the Thylacine, by Col Bailey (2013)

Gifts & shopping

Saffron and truffles are big on Tassie now, both of which make great gifts.
Leatherwood honey made from the eponymous rainforest tree is just superb.
There is fabulous woodcraft made from Huon pine, now protected, but a small number of producers have a licence to take fallen timber from rivers.
Tasmania’s merino wool is very famous. Hobart’s Salamanca market is a great place to buy gorgeous woollies.
If you need more hiking boots, buy them here. World famous Blundstones, or Blunnies for short, are from Tasmania. And the best.

Fast facts

I was so glad I left my boots at home. Bought myself a pair of real Tasmanian Blundstones when I got there. I like to think they kept me safe as I hiked their magnificent landscapes.

How much does
it cost?

Bottle of local wine: £11
Punnet of cherries at
honesty stall: £1.20
Half a dozen oysters: £2.20
National Park entry fees: £10, or
buy a NP pass for £20, valid for
two months.
Two-course pub lunch: £8.50
Arthur River Cruise: £55

A brief history of Tasmania

Tasmania’s history is a divided and dark one, but today it is a state that is united through a love for its landscapes, culture, food resources and island identity. There are three big issues that come up when people think about Tasmania’s past: the eradication of the Aboriginal people, its status as a land of convicts and colonists, and the intense destruction of its rainforest. Read more ▼
Photo credits: [Top box: NeilsPhotography] [NW Peninsula: Bryn Pinzgauer] [Islands & more islands: UPSticksNGo Crew] [Tassie people: Global Wildlife Conservations] [So near, yet so far: JJ Harrison ] [Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair National Park: Scott Cresswell] [Bay of Fires: Diego Delso] [Flinders Island: NASA] [Wildlife: Wayne McLean] [Generic hotel chains: Roderick Eime] [Summer only trips: Paris Buttfield-Addison] [Hiking without research: Leigh Blackall] [Feeding wildlife: Jupiter Firelyte] [Eating & drinking - scallop pie: amanderson2] [Screen & scribe: quattrostagioni] [Gifts & shopping - Merino wool: inger maaike] [How much - Tasmanian wine: Dominic Lockyer]
Written by Catherine Mack
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