Sheltered off the Southern coast of Australia is Tasmania – a vibrant island state packed with unique flora and fauna, history, and a distinctive culture. Lovingly known as “Tassie” by their mainland counterparts, the island features a rich natural ecosystem and a microcosm of charming Australian culture and hospitality. As the state is only an additional hour or two from the usual tourist hubs, a visit to Tasmania works great as a solo destination and a weekend getaway for extended holiday-goers.

Welcome to Tasmania, home to national parks, rugged mountain ranges, and its diverse culmination of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Skip ahead:
Hobart · Lake St. Clair National Park · Freycinet National Park · Port Arthur
Getting to Tasmania

Hobart: Where History Meets Modernity

Most journeys will begin in Hobart, the country’s second-oldest city after Sydney. Founded in 1804 as a British Penal colony, the city is now a rich fusion of colonial architecture and contemporary culture. First on the list after checking into your hotel, Airbnb, or even campervan site has to be Hobart Harbour. The waterfront has two docks: the Constitution Dock and the Victoria Dock. The former is adjacent to other Hobart landmarks and is primarily used as a marina for pleasurecraft and floating fish punts. Victoria Dock is a working fishing harbour used by commercial fishermen and Antarctic supply craft. While you’re here, indulge in some local fish and chips and watch over the hustle and bustle of the harbours. Those looking for proper restaurants can walk 2 minutes to Elizabeth Street Pier or Hunter Street for an excellent array of eateries.

If you continue Southward, you’ll pass the Parliament House and its gardens but more importantly, you’ll find yourself at Salamanca Place. The street is lined with Georgian-style houses which were originally used as warehouses for the port of Hobart town.  This road is now home to a couple of notable sites: Salamanca Market, Salamanca Arts Centre, and Salamanca Square. The first is one of Australia’s most beloved outdoor markets, with over 300 stall vendors and entertainers making an appearance every Saturday from 8.30 am to 3.00 pm. The Arts Centre is a gorgeous combination of various art galleries, artist studios, theatres, and shops. Lastly, Salamanca Square is a gastronomic hotspot with bakeries, bars, and restaurants.

Salamanca Place also marks your entry into Battery Point, a suburb named after its battery of guns installed in 1818 to defend the port from coastal dangers. This district is lined with charming streets, historic cottages, and historical landmarks. It’s a perfect place to walk, especially with the Battery Point Sculpture Trail, a coastal walk that brings you past views of the ocean and art installations. After a long day, make your way to the iconic Cascade Brewery for a Beer History Tour, a sampling session of the local lagers, or even both.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park: A Wilderness Escape

Nestled in the heart of Tasmania’s untamed wilderness, Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park beckons adventurers with its rugged landscapes and pristine beauty. Journeying inland to this UNESCO World Heritage-listed sanctuary, visitors are greeted by a landscape of ancient forests, shimmering lakes, and towering alpine peaks, creating an atmosphere of unparalleled serenity and awe.

For those eager to explore the park’s rough terrain, a myriad of hiking adventures await. Lace-up your boots and set off on one of the park’s numerous hiking trails, each offering a unique perspective of this wilderness wonderland. From strolls around the tranquil shores of Dove Lake to exhilarating ascents of Cradle Mountain itself, there’s a trail to suit every level of adventurer, promising unforgettable vistas and moments of pure connection with nature.

As you traverse the park’s rugged terrain, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Tasmania’s distinct wildlife, which thrives amidst the pristine wilderness. Spot iconic species such as wombats, wallabies, and the elusive Tasmanian devil as they roam freely in their natural habitat, offering glimpses into the rich biodiversity of this ancient landscape. If you haven’t gotten enough of this stunning national park, then book yourself a stay in one of the many mountain lodges near the Cradle Mountain visitor centre. It’s a great way to give yourself easy access to one of the world’s most expansive reserves but also local advice on which trails to take and which lookouts to seek.

The Coastal Charms of Freycinet National Park

Tucked away along Tasmania’s stunning east coast, Freycinet National Park welcomes you with its coastal splendour and natural wonders. As you arrive at Coles Bay, the major entrance point for the park, you’ll be greeted with a view of Honeymoon Bay, a small peninsula bay with glass-like water and a mountainous backdrop.

Freycinet National Park is much more than just a pretty environment. The park doubles as an adventure seeker’s playground. Experience providers offer an array of outdoor activities to suit every inclination. Lace up your hiking boots and traverse the park’s network of walking tracks, each leading to panoramic lookout points that offer sweeping views of the coastline and surrounding wilderness. Alternatively, glide across the tranquil waters of secluded bays in a kayak, immersing yourself in the peace of this pristine nature reserve. For a more leisurely experience, embark on a scenic cruise along the coastline, where you can marvel at the towering sea cliffs, hidden coves, and abundant marine life that call this coastal paradise home.

Prepare to be mesmerised by the ethereal beauty of Wineglass Bay, one of Australia’s most renowned beaches. With its crescent-shaped shoreline, powdery white sands, and azure waters, Wineglass Bay is a picture-perfect paradise inviting visitors to unwind, swim, snorkel, or simply bask in the serenity of nature’s embrace.

Whether you’re seeking solitude amidst the outdoor splendour or craving adventure along the rugged coastline, Freycinet National Park promises an unforgettable experience that celebrates the timeless beauty of Tasmania’s coastal treasures.

Port Arthur Historic Site: A Glimpse into Tasmania’s Past

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Tasmania’s colonial history with a visit to the Port Arthur Historic Site, a captivating journey through time that unveils the harsh realities of Australia’s penal colony beginnings.

Transporting visitors back to the 19th century, the Port Arthur Historic Site stands as a testament to Tasmania’s convict heritage. Once a formidable penal settlement, it housed some of Britain’s most hardened criminals, earning a notorious reputation as the end of the line for those condemned to a life of exile. Today, the site serves as a poignant reminder of the struggles and hardships endured by convicts and settlers alike, offering a glimpse into Tasmania’s tumultuous past.

Embark on a guided tour of the Port Arthur Historic Site to unlock its secrets and stories. Wander through the well-preserved ruins of the penitentiary, where echoes of the past reverberate through the crumbling walls. Explore the oppressive confines of the separate prison, designed to inflict solitary confinement and psychological torment upon its inmates. Then, venture to the haunting Isle of the Dead, a tranquil cemetery where over 1,000 convicts found their final resting place, each tombstone a poignant reminder of lives lost to hardship and adversity.

As night falls over Port Arthur, the atmosphere takes on an eerie, otherworldly quality, making it the perfect setting for a spine-tingling ghost tour. Join a knowledgeable guide as they lead you through the site’s darkened corridors and shadowy corners, regaling you with tales of ghostly apparitions, restless spirits, and daring escape attempts. Feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end as you listen to chilling accounts of tragedy and despair, woven into the fabric of Port Arthur’s haunted history.

Getting to Tasmania

From Jakarta, Qantas operates nine flights a week to Australia with daily flights to Sydney and three flights a week to Melbourne. Melbourne has the most connections to Tasmania, as Hobart and Launceston airports are only slightly over an hour away. There are daily flights from Sydney to these airports and smaller, less frequent flights to the state’s other regional airports. While flying may be the fastest and most convenient, travellers can get to the island by ferry; a 10-hour overnight ship takes passengers and their vehicles across the Bass Strait to Tasmania from the Port of Melbourne.

As your journey through Tasmania draws to a close, take a moment to reflect on the island’s natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Tasmania accommodates all sorts of fantastic experiences and people, and the place will leave an indelible mark on your soul. With all it has to offer, Tasmania is a destination that begs to be explored. So why wait? Start planning your Tasmanian adventure today!

Looking to maximise your comfort and convenience during your travels? We recently covered Qantas’ Domestic Business Lounge in an article here.