Best Things To Do in Tasmania
Tasmania boasts several historic attractions, such as the Port Arthur Historic Site, but its unique flora and fauna make it a great destination for enjoying nature. Though you'll have 19 national parks to choose from, you won't want to miss Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair's trails (where you may spot animals like platypuses and wallabies) and Freycinet's stunning scenery. Wellington Park, the Launceston Cataract Gorge & First Basin and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, meanwhile, are great options if you're sticking to a tight budget.
Updated January 27, 2018
- #1View all Photos#1 in TasmaniaHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Occupying a peninsula just south of Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park is a prime spot for bird-watching, camping and scenic drives. The park also features white-sand beaches surrounded by pink granite peaks that are just as popular with photographers as they are with swimmers, kayakers and snorkelers. If you'd rather hike while exploring this protected area, you'll find multiple trails for short, half-day and overnight hikes on-site.
Visitors rave about this national park's scenery, adding that locales like Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach are so breathtaking that you could spend several hours admiring your surroundings. If you're short on time or new to hiking, travelers recommend trekking the Wineglass Bay Lookout path; for a more challenging hike, several suggest taking the path to Mount Amos. Reviewers also rave about the sunsets at Honeymoon Bay and Cape Tourville's lighthouse.
- #2View all Photos#2 in TasmaniaHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and GardensTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and GardensTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area, this national park comprises two regions: Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair. In the northern Cradle Mountain section, you'll find the bulk of the attraction's facilities, including a visitor center, a gift shop and multiple cabins. Cradle Mountain is also the starting point for the Overland Track, a 40-mile path that takes at least six days to complete. The southern Lake St Clair area, meanwhile, features Australia's deepest lake, plus hiking trails and picnic areas. Lake St Clair is also the ending point for the Overland Track.
Past visitors said Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park is "a definite must when visiting Tasmania." On top of jaw-dropping forest and mountain scenery, you may see wild critters like wombats, wallabies and platypuses while trekking the park's trails. If you plan on hiking the Overland Track between Oct. 1 and May 31 (peak walking season), remember to make reservations in advance. A trail fee of 160 to 200 Australian dollars (or $126.50 to $158) also applies during these months. The trail fee does not cover park entrance fees.
- #3View all PhotosfreeWellington Park#3 in TasmaniaHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Located approximately 13 miles west of Hobart, Wellington Park should be a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts staying in Hobart. This nature reserve is filled with picnic areas and forested gullies, which can be explored via a variety of trails. Hiking (or bushwalking) is the most common way to wander around this park, but for a greater thrill, visitors can get around by bike, horse or four-wheel drive vehicle. (Note: Bikes, horses and four-wheel drive vehicles can only be rented from operators outside the park.) Experienced climbers can also hike the Organ Pipes, a series of vertical rock buttresses situated on Mount Wellington.
Recent travelers highly recommend visiting Wellington Park. Many were especially impressed with the views offered at the top of Mount Wellington, though a few cautioned that the park's hikes are a bit strenuous for novice hikers. Several also said that adequate clothing and snow gear are needed in the winter and suggest checking for road closures before arriving. Road closures for the park are updated daily on the City of Hobart's website. For bikers, visitors suggest joining the Mount Wellington Descent tour offered by Under Down Under Tours, which costs 75 Australian dollars (roughly $59) per adult and AU$65 (about $51) for kids between 8 and 16. Tour rates include equipment rentals and guide services.
- #4View all Photos#4 in TasmaniaHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Staying in Launceston in northeastern Tasmania? Then you'll want to add the Launceston Cataract Gorge & First Basin to your itinerary. Situated less than 3 miles from downtown Launceston, this natural wonder is brimming with fun pursuits, from hiking trails to a swimming pool to the world's longest single-span chairlift. You'll also find a suspension bridge that links the South Esk River's banks.
Previous visitors raved about this attraction's "beautiful" views and abundant activities and amenities, adding that it's a great option for families. Must-dos include walking across the suspension bridge, watching the property's resident peacocks, having a picnic lunch and riding the chairlift (for a fee). To make the most of your time here (while saving a little money), some travelers suggest opting for a one-way chairlift ride across the gorge and walking back.
- #5View all Photos#5 in TasmaniaMuseums, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseums, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
For a dose of Australian history, make your way to the Port Arthur Historic Site. Built in 1830 as a timber station and penal settlement for Britain's criminals, the property expanded over the years to accommodate more than 3,500 convicts across nearly 250 acres. Today, it's one of 11 locales that make up the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Australian Convict Sites and welcomes visitors daily.
History buffs rave about this Port Arthur attraction, saying it's one of Australia's most well-preserved landmarks. Many also praise the site's "beautiful" location by Carnarvon Bay and recommend saving time for the property's 25-minute harbor cruise, which is included in your entrance fee. To further immerse yourself, some recommend going on an evening ghost tour.
- #6View all Photos#6 in TasmaniaHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and GardensTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and GardensTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Active travelers who want to break a sweat while taking in breathtaking bay, sea and cliff panoramas cannot miss Tasman National Park's Three Capes Track. This 28 ½-mile trail, which features a flat timber boardwalk and paved steps, making it a great option for hikers of all skill levels, starts by the Port Arthur Historic Site and takes you on a four-day, three-night hike around Port Arthur, Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy. You may even see marine mammals like seals, dolphins and whales along the way.
The track offers three cabin sites for hikers to use along their journey. You'll need to pack some camping essentials like meals, sleeping bags and insect repellent, but previous travelers were impressed with each rest stop's rustic yet clean and well-appointed cabins and bathrooms. Many also said that the trail's views are "magnificent" and the hike "exhilarating." To help you pack for your hike, several recommend using the attraction's packing list.
- #7View all Photos#7 in TasmaniaParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
When you're in need of a low-key activity after spending multiple days trekking through Tasmania's national parks or along the Three Capes Track, spend an hour or two at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Nestled within Hobart's Queens Domain neighborhood by the Derwent River, this outdoor oasis features multiple gardens – including ones that house indigenous species, herbs and cactuses – spread throughout more than 34 acres. A conservatory, a lily pond and the world's only subantarctic plant house (which mimics the cold, wet conditions plants native to the subantarctic islands thrive in) are also located on-site.
Past visitors praised this attraction's relaxed atmosphere and beautiful gardens, adding that the regional gardens (filled with plants from Tasmania, New Zealand, China and Japan) were especially impressive. However, a few who visited in winter (between June and August) felt let down by the property's lack of blooming plants. To increase your chances of seeing flowers, arrive during Australia's spring season (September through November).
- #8View all Photos#8 in TasmaniaZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Tasmania is home to some of the world's most unique wildlife, and one of the island's best places to catch a glimpse of these critters is Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated in Brighton, less than 2 miles outside the city center, Bonorong is a 24-hour facility that treats injured and orphaned animals before returning them to the wild. Some of the animals temporarily housed at the sanctuary include wombats, Tasmanian devils, quolls, koalas and emus.
According to previous visitors, Bonorong offers the "best wildlife experience," making it a must for animal lovers. Many appreciated the facility's focus on releasing their animals (when possible), as well as the 45-minute wildlife tours covered by the sanctuary's entrance fee. On these tours, travelers have the opportunity to pat and take photos with wombats and koalas and to watch guides feed Tasmanian devils.
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