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What to Do in Tasmania For First Timers!

What to Do in Tasmania For First Timers!

If you love the great outdoors and want somewhere a little more chilly and like New Zealand, Tasmania is the perfect holiday destination for you. Tasmania is actually an island separated by water from Australia’s mainland, 240km (150mi)  across the Bass Strait. Being separated from the mainland, mainlanders often joke that Tasmanians are odd – but I think it’s honestly because they are jealous that there are so many things to do in Tasmania, you may want to stay there!

Tasmania is a stunning place to visit with 42% of its land mass forming part of a national park. For outdoorsy types, Tasmania is a true paradise. If you are into history, Tasmania is a pretty cool place to visit too as it formed one of the first British penal colonies in the country. So if you are interested in a historical aspect of places, it has some interesting things to do and see in that regard.

But less of my rambling, let’s start planning what to do in Tasmania for your upcoming trip!

What to do in Tasmania For First Timers!

Hike through Freycinet National Park

One of the truly most beautiful places to visit in Tasmania is Freycinet National Park, along the East Coast of Tasmania. This is one of the most instagrammable areas in Tasmania as it looks like something straight out of Jurassic Park with lush green mountains meeting white sand beaches with turquoise waters – a total dream.

One of the most iconic areas in Freycinet National Park is Wineglass Bay, one of the most photographed areas in the whole of Tasmania, you can’t make a trip to Tassie without visiting wineglass. Whether you love taking photographs or you want to enjoy the great outdoors including the great hiking and swimming opportunities – there’s something for everyone here! If you want to find some Aussie wildlife you have come to a great spot as wallabies and echidnas commonly frequent the area.

If you want to see something extra pretty, don’t miss the gorgeous Hazards’ cliffs wildflowers which due to the moderate temperature in Tassie, are present all year round. The area is a hikers absolute paradise.  If you are interested in hiking in the region, here are some of the unmissable hikes to do:

  • Wineglass Bay, Isthmus and Hazards Beach Track (11km)
  • Mount Amos (4km)
  • Wineglass Bay Lookout (3km)

Things to know: Like the United States National Parks, you need to pay to enter Freycinet National Park. You can buy a year annual park pass covering all the National Parks in Tasmania for $90.00 or if you just want to enter this one it will cost $46.00. When you get inside the National Parks, there are 3 only three spots for water refills: the visitor centre, Honeymoon and Wineglass Bays.

You can camp inside the National Park or you can stay in a hotel slightly outside the National Park. We would recommend Freycinet Lodge as a good option.

How to get there: Freycinet National Park is a 2.5 drive from both Launceston and Hobart. It is highly advisable to hire a car to access the park but if you don’t have one you can also get a tour there. A full day tour from Launceston to Hobart including hikes and sightseeing in the national park,  stops for seafood, wine, and other treats at Freycinet Marine Farm and the Devils Corner Winery will cost around $180.00 pp.

Due to the high density of wildlife in the area, it is best not to drive at night if you are intending to hire a car.

Time needed: 3 nights – 1 week (if want to relax)

Freycinet National Park

Wineglass Bay from Mount Amos. Image credit: Tasmania Parks and Wildlife

Lake St Clair National Park

Another one of Tasmania’s most iconic locations and best things to do is Lake St Clair National Park. Beautiful natural landscapes make this an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Lake St Clair National Park is popular with all types of tourists but in particular hikers who come to the area to tackle the 80km Overland Track. Even if you are not a serious hiker, there are a lot of easier hikes to enjoy including where you might spot a wombat or two as you pass. If you want to have a better chance of seeing a wombat in the wild in Tasmania, hit the trails at either dawn or dusk. Ronny Creek is a good place to go in search of wombats if you are looking for a tip. You can often see them from the Ronny Creek carpark.

Things to know: Like the aforementioned park, you need to pay to enter Lake St Clair National Park. You can buy a year annual park pass covering all the National Parks in Tasmania for $90.00 or if you just want to enter this one it will cost $46.00. Picnic tables for lunch if you go for a day only are available at Waldheim, Ronny Creek & Dove lake. It is advisable to make a lunch to bring as food is expensive within the national park. If you do want food, it is available from Cradle Mountain Cafe.

You can camp inside the National Park or you can stay in a hotel slightly outside the National Park. It is $43 a night to camp inside the National Park at Wombat Campground. We would recommend Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge as a good option.

How to get there: This National Park is a 2.5 hour drive from Launceston. It is highly advisable to hire a car to access the park. Note, during winter the roads can be snowy so it is necessary to check in advance if there are any road closures. Once you are inside the National Park, there is a shuttle that runs every 15 mins from the visitor centre. This shuttle stops at both Snake Hill and Ronnys Creek (great for wombat spotting!).

Time needed: 3 nights

St Clair National Park

Mount Olympus Lake St Clair, Image credit: Tasmania Parks and Wildlife

Bay of Fires

If you have heard of anywhere in Tasmania you probably have heard of the Bay of Fires, one of Tassies most popular vacation spots filled with lots of fun adventure activities like swimming, surfing, snorkelling, hiking and swimming.

The Bay is one of the most iconic areas in not only Tasmania but the whole of Australia. Located at the northeastern coast of Tasmania from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, Captain Tobias Furneaux named the area “Bays of Fire” in 1773 when he saw fires from Aboriginal people fill the shores.

Best things to do include:

  • Binalong Bay
  • The Gardens coastal drive
  • Humbug Point Recreation Park

Things to know: The area is divided into 3 parts. If you wish to visit the  Northern area, from Ansons River to Eddystone Point, you will need a Part Pass as it is located within the Mount William National Park. You can buy a year annual park pass covering all the National Parks in Tasmania for $90.00 or if you just want to enter this one it will cost $46.00. It is possible to camp in the southern and middle sections however, camping is not permitted in the Northern area.

If you don’t want to camp, the best place to stay is the coastal town of St Helens, outside the southern entrance. It is a 10 minute drive from St Helens to Bay of Fire. We would recommend Pelicans Point Sanctuary.

How to get there: Bay of Fires is a 3 hour drive from Launceston or a 4 hour drive from Hobart. If you are coming from either of these places, it is worthwhile to stay a few nights to make the trip worthwhile.

Time needed: 2-3 nights

tourism-australia

Hobart

There are two places you are likely to begin your journey of Tasmania, one of which is Hobart. If you fly into the city of Hobart you might as well spend a night or two exploring all that the city has to offer. It may not be a city that gets international mentions but that does not mean there is not lots of fun things to do in Hobart!

Two things that you simply must do in Hobart are the Salamanca Market and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

Let’s start with the Salamanca Market, one of Australia’s most popular and largest marketplaces with over 300 stalls. What makes this market special is its beautiful location on Hobart’s waterfront.

If you are looking for an interesting Australian souvenir to bring home to a loved one, this is a perfect place to shop as it is home to some of Australia’s best upcoming artists who create handmade homeware, art and jewellery. For foodies, there is also a lot of great organic produce to try at the market.  The catch is you need to be in Hobart on a Saturday (8:30am-3pm) to enjoy this great market! Worried about parking? Don’t be. The free Salamanca shuttle drops shoppers to the market every 10 mins.

Let’s move onto MONA. If you typically don’t like museums you may still want to give this one a chance as it is not just another stale museum but a fun, creative, unique and might I say new-age experience. MONA aims get get people back into art by removing the stuffy “Art-wank”. Mona provides an interactive experience where visitors are invited to “love” or “hate” on each of the artwork. You can download an interactive app or borrow some devices at the entry. It’s free to enter if you are Tasmanian otherwise its $30 pp. If you have a car you can drive to MONA, otherwise, there is a ferry that departs the Brooke St Pier.

If you have some extra time up your sleeve, head to the top of Mount Wellington to enjoy the incredible view of Hobart against the Derwent River.

Things to know: Hobart is a great place to fly in and out of. There are a lot of cheap flights from Hobart to the rest of Australia including Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It is also a great place to get a car if you want to venture out into the Tasmanian countryside. We would recommend staying in Maylands Lodge.

Time needed: 1-2 nights

Mount Field National Park

If you haven’t got long in Tasmania and are entering in via Hobart, a stop at Mount Field National Park is always a nice idea, especially if you are a fan of waterfalls.

Mount Field National Park is home to the beautiful Russel Falls, the most popular attraction in the area which is only a short walk from the visitor centre. You might also like to check out Tall Trees walk and Lake Dobson while you are there. This National Park is rated one of Tasmania’s hidden gems as if you visit the park at night, you can see glowworms come alive.

Things to know: Like the aforementioned park, you need to pay to enter Mount Field National Park. You can buy a year annual park pass covering all the National Parks in Tasmania for $90.00 or if you just want to enter this one it will cost $46.00. As the National Park is only located 1.5 hours from Hobart, it is best to stay in Hobart and make a day trip to the Park.

Mount Field National Park

Tyenna Peak, Mount Field National Park, Image credit: Tasmanian Parks

Bruny Island

Many people rate Bruny Island as one of the most beautiful and unique things to do in Tasmania. At Bruny Island you will be met with some of the most beautiful landscapes including giant cliff-sides and incredible view points. Animal lovers will be in total heaven on this island as it is one of the best places in Tasmania to see a lot of wildlife including penguins, seals, whales (June to October) and dolphins.

One of the most iconic and most photographed viewpoints on the island is from “The Neck” where you will get 360 degree views of the island. If you want to see some penguins, visit the beach on the eastern side of the neck. Aside from hiking the Neck there are numerous other hiking opportunities on Bruny Island, one of the most popular hikes on the island is the 2 hour Fluted Cape Hike.

Believe it or not, Bruny Island is also a bit of a foodies paradise. While you are there, don’t miss a stop at the Bruny Island Cheese Company and the Get Shucked Oyster Bar.

Things to know: Many people choose to visit Bruny Island as a day trip but it also possible to spend overnight or longer on the island in one of the many accommodation choices on the island. If you have a bit of extra time, we would recommend spending a little extra time and unwinding on Bruny Island.

How to get there: You can take a vehicle ferry to Bruny Island from Kettering which is around 40 minutes drive from Hobart. If you take your vehicle on the ferry, you can drive around the island once you are there. As of 2021, a vehicle less than 6m costs $38.00 one way. You can check current ticket prices on their website. If you are not travelling with a vehicle, you can visit by an organised boat tour, which is a super fun way to visit the island.

Bruny Island

Maria Island

While we are on the topic of cool islands, you may want to add Maria Island on your list of awesome places to visit in Tasmania, a true hidden gem in Australia.

Active travellers and those who love the great outdoors are especially fond of Maria Island as it has some of the best biking and hiking trails in Tasmania, passing the incredible painted cliffs, mount maria, and fossil cliffs. Maria Island is also a great place for Australian wildlife spotting including kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. Maria Island is one of the few places where you may be able to sight a Tasmanian Devil.

Things to know: It is possible to stay on the island however, we would only recommend doing so if you don’t mind roughing it a bit. If you are up for an interesting sleep, you can stay overnight at an old convict site while you are there in basic bunkhouse-style accommodation. You can check out the old Penitentiary at Darlington here. It is definitely a once in a lifetime chance to stay in a world heritage listed convict site. Could be a fun experience if you are visiting Tasmania with kids. If youd o choose to stay overnight one the island, you need to bring food with you as there are no shops available on the island.

How to get there: The island is only accessible by ferry. It is a 30 minute ferry ride from Triabunna. You can book a spot on the ferry here. As of 2021, it costs $45 per adult return to the island. No vehicles are allowed on the island so you will be tackeling this island by foot or bike.

Maria Island cliffs

Richmond

If you are looking for a super cute place to go, only a 30 minute drive from Hobart. As it is a small town it is really easy to get around the whole town on foot which is nice.

Richmond is an interesting place to visit as its almost doesn’t feel like you are in Australia and more so somewhere like England. The town was developed as a homogeneous picture of a Georgian colonial town. If you are interested in Australia’s convict history, the prisoners built a lot of what you will see today in Richmond including the famous Richmond Bridge, the oldest bridge in Australia which dates back to 1825

If you visit the area don’t miss the Richmond Gaol, the incredible stained-glass windows at St. Luke’s Church, and the neo-Gothic St. John’s Church, the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Australia, dating back to 1837. If you are traveling to the area with kids, the Old Hobart Town model village is a fun place to go which shows what life was like in the town in the 1800s.

How to get there: As mentioned Richmond is one of the best short drives from Hobart. It is common to stop at Bonorong Wildlife Park on the way.

Time needed: Day trip or overnight from Hobart

richmond-tasmania

Image credit: Richmond Tasmania

Tasman Peninsula

If you are after incredible coastal scenery, you simply can’t miss the Tasman Peninsula – an area of Tasmania which will completely take your breath away. Known for its jaw dropping dolerite cliffs, a quirk of this area is that it forms the Southern most part of Australia and the closest spot to Antarctica.

If you are looking to spot Australian wildlife, this area is a good choice with a large variety of bird life as well as seals, dolphins, whales and the super adorable fairy penguins. Other attractions in the area include The Blowhole, Tasman Arch, Remarkable Cave, Waterfall Bay, and the Devil’s Kitchen.

If you do decide to venture out to this neck of the woods, it is highly advisable to make a stop at Port Arthur Historic Site. If you are interested in Australia’s convict history, this is a great place to go as it is the best preserved convict site in Australia. Adult tickets cost $25 and can be booked in advance on their website.

How to get there: The Tasman Peninsula can be covered in an easy day trip or overnighter from Hobart as it is only 1 hour drive away (56 kilometers east of Hobart) along the Tasman Highway (the A3), and the Arthur Highway (the A9).

Port Arthur Historic Site

Launceston

The other option for a starting point for a Tasmanian holiday is to begin your trip in Launceston – Tasmania’s other big city.

If you are a foodie, you will be in absolute heaven here as it is a hipster’s paradise filled with interesting restaurants, cafes, art studios and alternative clothing shops to enjoy.

As Tasmania is a small island it really doesn’t matter all that much if you get flights into Launceston or Hobart as everything is reachable in a few hours drive. If you like wine and want to cover the Tamar Valley wine region, Launceston is a good starting point.

Some of the best things to do in Launceston include:

  • Cataract Gorge Reserve;
  • City Park;
  • Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery;
  • Alexandra Suspension Bridge.

Other Fun Things to Do in Tasmania

These may not have made our unmissable list, but there are plenty of fun activities in Tasmania to enjoy. Some of the other fun things to do in Tasmania include:

  • The West Coast Wilderness Railway;
  • Bicheno
  • Wine Tasting in the Tamar Valley

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We hope you enjoy your trip and if you need any help planning leave us a comment below – happy to be assistance where we can 🙂