Last year Tasmania was the only Australian entry in Lonely Planet’s Top Ten regions to visit. Not bad for a state that’s often overlooked by travellers. Check out our itinerary for an action packed two weeks in Tasmania.
Days 1 to 4: Hobart & The South
Visit for: History, Culture, Food & Drink
Chances are you’ll arrive in Hobart, Tasmania’s waterfront capital. Base yourself here and don’t rush off to explore the island without at least a few days enjoying this hip, cosmopolitan city. While you’re here sample the range of stellar pubs and restaurants; with the best being found on Elizabeth Street.
Visit Salamanca Place and especially Salamanca Market if you happen to be in town on a Saturday. If you’re partial to a museum Hobart’s best are the world-class Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) or the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery. Battery Point is home to some historic buildings from the first European Settlement of Hobart Town , and a walking tour of the area makes for a good few hours. Round off your time in the city with a drive to the top of Mt Wellington for magnificent views across the city, or take in some walking or biking.
A short day trip away is Port Arthur; Tasmania’s answer to Alcatraz and a stark reminder of the island’s criminal past. Tour the restored sandstone structures of this 19th century prison, and if you’re brave enough join the night time ghost hunt.Near Port Arthur is the Tasman National Park; best visited on a boat tour. You might be joined by dolphins, fur seals or penguins on your journey. Either way you’re guaranteed unbeatable views of the 300 metre, rugged dolerite cliffs and striking rock formations. Look out for the Tasman Arch and the Blowhole.
Days 5 to 7: The East Coast
Visit for: Activities, Beaches, Scenery
The vibe changes from exploration to relaxation as you head north. Think of brilliant sandy beaches and picture postcard coastal towns . You’ll be spoilt for choice with places to while away the hours and unwind. Bicheno, St Helens, Orford & Swansea are all worthwhile destinations or overnight stops.
Coastal scenery on the east coast is unrivalled. An Ocean Kayak tour is easily the best way to take it all in. Freycinet National Park is the region’s main drawer, home to the unforgettable Wineglass Bay; a regular feature on lists of the World’s Best. Join the camera toting tourists and venture up to Wineglass Bay lookout to see it for yourself.
Bicheno is a must visit if you want to get up close with Tassie’s wildlife. Try a glass-bottomed boat tour, do some diving, or go on the amazingly popular penguin tours to see fairy penguins at dusk. Another option is East Coast Nature World, just North of Bicheno.
If you’re done relaxing try some of the local walking trails to attractions such as the Rocking Rock or Eddystone Point Lighthouse . Make sure you spend a day in the Bay of Fires National Park. Orange boulders and crystal clear waters make for some seriously instagramable snaps.
Days 8 to 10: The North
Visit for: Countryside, History & Nature
Rugged coastlines becomes green farmland as you head inland, halfway through your two weeks in Tasmania. The island’s second city Launceston is a great place to start your tour of the region. Also worthwhile is George Town on the North Coast, Australia’s third oldest town. Needless to say it’s packed with history.
If you’re interested in learning about the region’s glory days of gold mining head to Beaconsfield; home to the Grubb Shaft Gold & Heritage Mining Museum. Alternatively if wine is more your thing, check out the Tamar Valley Wine Route. Home to over 30 vineyards, often small family owned establishments who will be more than happy to show you around and let you sample their finest offerings.
As you head for the recommended overnight stop at Devonport an unmissable drive is the scenic route through the Mole Creek Karst National Park. One of the area’s favourite attractions are the park’s Mole Creek Caves. Marakoopa & King Solomon’s Cave are two of the most famous, and guided tours are available.
Day trip options from Devonport include the laid back beach town of Port Sorrell to the east, or the nearby Narawntapu National Park for a chance to see local wildlife in their local habitat including wombats and wallabies.
Another must do is the drive along the original highway between Devonport and Burnie. This dramatic coastal route will rival anything seen in the East.
Be sure to stop at Penguin, taking its name from the nearby rookery. If you happen to be here in the evenings head down to Penguin Point to see the real thing. Failing that you’ll have to make do with the quirky collection of penguins scattered around the attractive promenade.
Wynard makes another good base further up the coast. Popular spots along this stretch of coastline are Sister’s Beach and Boat Harbour Beach, and there’s some great walking trails in the nearby Rocky Cape National Park.
An absolute must do on your two weeks in Tasmania is a trip to Table Cape. Sitting at 180 metres high, Table Cape plateau is a magnificent natural wonder. Take a trip to the top, visit the lighthouse and drink in the views over sandy beaches and miles of the region’s tulip fields.
Days 11 to 14: The West
Visit for Nature, Wildlife, Hiking
Tasmania’s Wild West was historically the centre of the island’s mining activity. Reminders of this are evident as you ‘re faced with barren landscapes that are slowly being reclaimed by nature.
Nature is in abundance at one Tasmania’s most popular destinations; Cradle Mountain National Park. Get out on the walking trails to explore it fully, and scale Cradle Mountain itself at 1500 metres if you’re up to the challenge. On your way you’re likely to come across much of the region’s wildlife, but if that isn’t enough visit the Devils @ Cradle Sanctuary to meet the famous Tasmanian Devil.
At the heat of old mining country lies Zeehan, once a bustling town with gold and silver mines and a worthwhile overnight stop on your journey. Other possible destinations are Strahan or Queenstown. For day trip options there’s the West Coast Wilderness Railway, or a boat trip up the Gordon River.
If you enjoyed your visit to Port Arthur and want to learn more about the island’s criminal past head to Sarah Island; once the home of Tasmania’s most brutal prison.
As you head back in the direction of Hobart you’ll pass Lake Burbury, Nelson Falls & Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. All three are worthy destinations for a few hours. If you opt for the National Park the Franklin River Nature Trail is recommended.
For more history check out Hamilton or Bothwell, and end your day at picturesque New Norfolk on the banks of the Derwent River. For an unbeatable view over the town drive up to the Pulpit Rock lookout.
Before you head back to Hobart, if you fancy more walking then Mount Field National Park offers some great forest trails. Alternatively for a more leisurely final day check out the scenery around Lake Pedder before heading back to Hobart, rounding off a packed and unforgettable two weeks in Tasmania.