If you’re in search of a well-deserved escape this summer, you don’t have to look abroad. In fact, everything you need is right here at home – all on one little island. So hire yourself a car, and hit the road for a Tasmanian adventure.
With it’s diverse and stunning landscape, rolling white beaches and countless foodie delights, Tassie is the ultimate holiday destination. This national treasure was long something of a little known secret, but that’s all changed – and for good reason.
With Travel and Leisure magazine recently voting the Apple Isle the world’s fourth best island destination, it’s high time you found out for yourself what all the fuss is about. Discover the culinary mecca of Hobart, scale the heights of Cradle Mountain and explore the quaint seaside town of Penguin with our Top Five of Tassie:
Once you’ve picked up your rental car in Hobart, it’s time to sample the bites of some of the country’s finest bars and restaurants. Fast gaining an impressive reputation, charming Hobart is certainly giving Melbourne a run for its culinary capital status.
Housed in a 200-year-old former stables, Ethos Eat Drink showcases the very best of local, seasonal and small-batch produce and is a perfect example of the city’s exciting new dining scene. Follow up your meal with a drink in buzzing Salamanca Place’s Grape Bar and Bottleshop, the perfect spot to while away the evening over a drink or two.
A leisurely 20-minute drive from Hobart, Mount Wellington encompasses a beautiful park and wilderness experience. Home to a wide range of native plant and animal species, here you’ll find a plethora of wildlife from platypuses to pademelons (…Google them). There are many ways to enjoy the natural features of the park, including walking tracks, hikes, rock-climbing and abseiling. Walks range from leisurely strolls to tough climbs through towering forests and cascading fresh springs, so pack your hiking boots, leave the car at the mountain’s base and get exploring.
Alternatively, if hiking’s not your thing, the 21-kilometre drive to the summit ends in glorious panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula. No other city in Australia offers a vista quite like this one.
One of Australia’s oldest cities, the vibrant hub of Launceston is rich in art, culture and natural attractions. Whether it’s sampling the region’s renowned cool climate wines and local brews or perusing art galleries, museums and designer stores, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Launceston’s star attraction, however, is the rare natural phenomenon of Cataract Gorge.
A short drive from the city centre, ‘The Gorge’ as locals call it, is a scenic escape from city life. With a swimming pool, lush bushland and rolling lawns, it’s a serene spot where you can happily spend a day or two in utter relaxation. Evenings are particularly special, when wallabies and peacocks come out and wander the grasslands. Equipped with a footbridge and chairlift across the river as well as a café and kiosk, this lush urban reserve is yet another reminder of Tassie’s stunning natural beauty.
A one-and-a-half-hour drive from Devonport, lies one of Tassie’s most visited and most beautiful natural attractions. A World Heritage Wilderness Area, Cradle Mountain offers a wide range of natural delights from ancient rainforests to alpine heaths. It’s also home to the world-famous Overland Track, a six-day walk that passes through some the most breathtaking mountain terrain you’re likely to ever see and finishes at the the country’s deepest lake.
For those not so inclined to trekking, the park also offers a variety of shorter walks that range from leisurely tours around Lake St Clair to tackling the mountain’s summit. Whether you head back to Devonport for a night of comfort or camp out in the wilds of the park, the beauty of Cradle Mountain needs to be seen to believed.
5. Penguin and the Northwest Coast
Tassie’s wide-ranging appeal isn’t restricted to its stunning natural beauty and buzzing cosmopolitan cities, but also lies in its charming towns and quaint villages. Nowhere is this more evident than in Penguin, a quirky and picturesque spot with a lovely esplanade, scenic walking trails and winding coastal drives.
Located on the edge of the Bass Strait and a 20-minute drive from Burnie Wynard Airport, the town takes its name from the well established penguin colony that you’ll be lucky enough to see come ashore from September to March. These feathered friends are a celebrated part of local life, and the 10-foot tall ‘Big Penguin’ that stands proudly on the esplanade is fast becoming one of state’s most photographed attractions. Equally enjoyable is the town’s Sunday market, Tassie’s largest, that has more than 200 stalls selling culinary delights, arts and crafts and second-hand goods. The surrounding North West coast is the gateway to some of Tassie’s most beautiful scenic areas, and a drive along the coastal roads from Penguin offers sweeping ocean views, long sandy beaches and secluded picnic spots.
Whether it’s trekking through ancient forests and scaling mountains in search of breathtaking panoramic views, or spending the day museum hopping and dining on delicious local fare with oceanfront views, there’s a reason that Tassie is topping must-see lists the world over. It may not be our little secret anymore, but it certainly should be our must-do this summer.