Australia’s only island state, Tasmania is located southeast of the mainland, separated by the Bass Strait and surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans. This island is a major tourist destination due to its diverse and spectacular scenery, unspoiled wilderness, unique wildlife, and temperate climate. Tasmanians take great pride in their island’s natural beauty. Nearly 37 percent of the state is protected in nature reserves, national parks, and World Heritage sites. Another attraction for visitors is the island’s colorful and tragic history. The indigenous Aboriginal tribes had their peaceful existence shattered in 1803 by the establishment of a harsh and brutal British penal colony which prospered under the hard labor of its convicts. The state’s wine industry started here with its first vineyard near Hobart in 1821. Twenty-seven years later, that vineyard’s white wine won an award at the Paris Exhibition. Today Tasmania’s boutique yet burgeoning wine industry boasts over 140 vineyards across the state, producing elegant and award-winning wines. www.discovertasmania.com, the official government tourism site, provides a wealth of information for visitors, and Pure Tasmania, www.puretasmania.com.au, is also another excellent site for travel information.
Fun fact: Errol Flynn is the most famous Tasmanian in history!
When calling from out of the country add 61 and drop the 0 before the 3.
There are few direct international flights available to or from Tasmania. One needs to fly into Melbourne or Sydney airports and connect to a domestic flight bound for Tasmania. It is recommended to fly into either Hobart or Launceston and depart from the other. All visitors to Australia need a visa, which is easy to get on the web.
When to Visit
Tasmania is a big destination for the mainland Australians, and their summer months of December, January and February are the busiest times. You might also want to avoid Tasmania during the prime time coinciding with school holidays. The locals are big into camping and love their national parks. School holiday dates vary from year to year but usually fall around mid-December to late January and again around Easter. Their spring and autumn months are the best time to avoid the crowds and of course autumn is harvest time for the grape growers. Tasmania is ideally suited to a self-drive trip. Plan to spend at least a week to explore the island.
Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia, next to Sydney, and the largest in Tasmania. It happens to also be the state’s capital. The city was originally founded in 1803 as a penal colony. The beautiful waterfront is also the homeport for both Australian and French Antarctic expeditions. Due to its large population it can support wonderful restaurants, shops, galleries and an active social and art scene. Check out the lively and historic Salamanca Palace with its cafés, bars and pubs. The University of Tasmania, which is the fourth oldest university in Australia, has one of their campuses here. Their School of Arts is housed in a renovated jam factory overlooking the harbor and its 12,000 enrolled students bring a youthful liveliness to the city.
Not far outside of Hobart is the historic town of Richmond. Once a military base and convict center, it is now a tourist destination known for its 19th century buildings and the famous Richmond Bridge. The bridge is the oldest road bridge in Australia and was built in 1823 by convicts stationed here. Considered one of Australia’s finest preserved Georgian villages the stone buildings now house galleries, boutiques, teashops and restaurants. The town is close to the airport and makes for a wonderful lodging alternative if one has an early morning flight.
This town is the main tourist center for the west coast region of Tasmania. There are restored pioneer buildings with shops, hotels and cafes, cute cottages, hotels and a small but lovely waterfront. Strahan is a very popular tourist spot, which is fun to visit but not worth a long stay.
Here one finds an attractive and energetic seaside town with beautiful beaches, restaurants and nearby wineries. Wonderful accommodations can be found in many of the quaint stone cottages that have been converted into B & Bs and hotels. This village, founded in 1820, is now a fishing and holiday destination, and can get quite busy and crowded during their summer months.
Come here to see Australia’s largest collection of Georgian sandstone architecture. Most of the 87 historic buildings built by convict labor are now homes to galleries, craft shops, and cafes. This is a quiet town surrounded by rich farmland. They roll up the sidewalk by 8pm so don’t expect much nightlife happening here.
Located in the heart of Tasmania’s premier sheep and wool growing area is this small town with great colonial charm and history. Stroll around the cobble-style paths to view the old sandstone architecture, have some tea at one of the cafés, and enjoy the craft shops. The much-photographed Ross Bridge is the third oldest and, considered by some, the most elegant bridge in Australia.
Here is another sweet and lively holiday spot, which happens to be the largest town on the northeast coast of Tasmania. The town started as a whaling base in the 19th century and has a long history of being an important Tasmanian fishing port. The harbor is home to the state’s largest fishing fleet. This is a great place to charter a boat and go for some big game fishing. Besides fishing, every year around June, St. Helens hosts the wonderful Suncoast Jazz Jamboree.
An attractive historic port town with at least 75 National Trust registered buildings on the main street alone. The town has rather lovely restaurants, cafes, antique shops as well as beautiful riverside walks. A wonderful place for one to stop, have a cup of tea and stroll around, all within ten minutes drive from the Devonport Airport and the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal.
This is a small fishing village with a 19th century past. The historical town is studded with quaint shops, heritage houses, and ghost tours during the summer. There is also the impressive Highfield, built in 1835. It is a rare example of domestic architecture of the Regency period of Tasmania. There are spectacular views from the house, which one can tour along with out buildings, stables, grain stores, worker’s cottages, and the chapel.
An artsy, vibrant community located in a lovely rural setting at the foot of the Great Western Tiers. This riverside village with great views is another place to explore. Take a leisurely walk to see all the Georgian and Victorian buildings, snack at one of the little eateries and checkout all the cool bohemian and crafty boutiques. Around late October or early November the town plays host to Australia’s biggest working craft fair, The Tasmanian Craft Fair, which draws over 200 exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors.
Not far from DeLoraine is this village with a shop that has some of the world’s best homemade honey ice cream. A must stop. The Honey Farm is an amazing place with over 50 different types of honey and all things related to bees or honey. You can also watch 1,000 bees working away behind a glass walled hive. They are open Sunday through Friday 9am to 5pm, closed on Saturdays.
39 Sorell Street
(03) 6363 6160
Don’t make the tourist mistake of making this city just a gateway to flying in and getting to the island’s wilderness areas. The city is worth a little time to stay and visit. This is the second largest city in Tasmania and one of Australia’s oldest. A wonderful walking city, so take a stroll around. There is much to see like the fabulous 19th century architecture, the beautiful parks, great restaurants, cafés, and the museums, or you can cruise the Tamar River.
This historic village is known for its unspoiled Georgian heritage buildings. Allow a day to wander around, especially High Street, which is considered one of the most attractive historic main streets in Australia. Their Sunday Market is very popular and quite famous. During February the village is host to Evandale Village Fair and the National Penny Farthing Championships drawing visitors from around the world. A Penny Farthing is a bicycle with a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel.