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Tasmania The wild island state

By Andrew Bain

Home to just 500,000 people, the island of Tasmania is as intimate as it is beautiful. Its gorgeous capital city, Hobart, is home to one of the world's most intriguing art galleries, while northern Launceston is one of the few cities on the planet to be wrapped around a gorge. Drive anywhere in the island state and you can go from beach-lined coasts to World Heritage-listed mountain areas in just a few hours. Along the way you'll pass welcoming farm-gate producers, cellar doors and restaurants specialising in local produce so fresh it's the envy of the culinary world.

Map of Tasmania

Explore Hobart's capital treats

Tasmania's welcoming capital city, Hobart, is pressed between a mountain and a river, and provides a diverse range of city activities and experiences. Wander among the city's beautiful sandstone colonial architecture, drive to the summit of Mount Wellington for the best of Hobart's views, and dine on Tasmania's famously fresh produce in any number of outstanding restaurants.

Visit the underground art world of MONA

Hobart's amazing, subterranean Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, is a heady combination of art and architecture. A multi-tiered labyrinth cut into sandstone cliffs in the city's northern suburbs, this world-class gallery has a collection of art designed to provoke. In addition to one-of-a-kind art, MONA is also home to a winery and brewery.

Delve into convict history

World Heritage-listed penitentiary buildings around Tasmania tell the story of almost 50 years of harsh convict life in the 19th century. Australia's most notorious convict settlement sits in the beautiful coastal setting of Port Arthur, a one hour drive east of Hobart. If you're feeling brave, stick around for the nightly ghost tour.


Marvel at Cradle Mountain

The most famous of Tasmania's multitude of mountains is Cradle Mountain, a dramatic cliff-lined peak rising from the shores of Dove Lake in the state's north-west. View it from the six-kilometre (3.7-mile) Dove Lake Circuit walking track or, if you're feeling energetic, climb to Marions Lookout for a stunning view over mountain and lake.


Wander the sands of Wineglass Bay

A short walk from the carpark at Freycinet National Park brings you to a lookout platform above the flawless white curve of Wineglass Bay on the eastern Freycinet Peninsula (a three-hour drive northeast of Hobart). From here, walk down to the beach and feel the sand between your toes. You'll probably meet a kangaroo or two on the beach, and may see dolphins playing in the water.


Be seduced by seafood

Seafood can come no fresher than this, as you take a boat from Hobart's docks for a banquet pulled straight from the ocean on a Tasmanian Seafood Seduction trip run by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. On this day-long tour towards the coast of southern Bruny Island, you'll harvest oysters straight from a farm's leases, and feast on crayfish and abalone caught by your guide. The catch is barbecued right on the boat.

Meet a devil 

Wildlife parks across Tasmania offer opportunities to see the state's emblematic Tasmanian devil. Take a night tour at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, a 30-minute drive north of Hobart, and you'll get to feed the devils in a tug-of-war game. Alternatively, join a Devil Tracker Tour at the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo on the Tasman Peninsula (about a one-hour drive southeast of Hobart) to help monitor wild populations. 

Go nuts about Stanley 

One look at Stanley, on Tasmania's northwest coast, is usually enough to inspire love at first sight. This colourful and welcoming fishing town huddles at the base of a curious rectangular hill named the Nut. It's the plug of a former volcano. You can take the walking track to the summit of the Nut, or there's a chairlift. Either way, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views across Bass Strait beaches and over the town. See seals, penguins, sea birds and other wildlife close to Stanley, or head out with Stanley Seal Cruises for a closer look. The town is also a great base for exploring the forests and coastlines further west. 

See the state's colourful side

Once a year, Tasmania's Table Cape becomes awash with colour for the Bloomin' Tulips Festival. The festival runs as part of a three-week event calendar (other notable highlights include the Bloomin' Tulips Cocktail Party and the Mayoral Ball). If you miss the festival, there is also the Bloomin' Tulips Foreshore Market, held on the first and third Sunday of each month along the East Wynyard foreshore. You'll also find stunning lavender farms in Tasmania, made famous on social media for their vibrant colours. Pop in and get a photo, ice cream or scented hand cream.

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