As we booked our tickets to Tasmania, we thought that five days would surely be plenty of time to visit most of the interesting sights – after all it’s a pretty small island. We were sorely mistaken. There are countless treks, lakes, caves and mountain ranges to explore and most of them take a day’s hike or more to get to. This blog-post, however, isn’t a full fledged guide book of Tasmania but a detailed snapshot of great places we were able to see and we think anyone planning a trip to Tazzie should check them out.
Logistics amongst other things
We landed in Hobart and decided to go clockwise around the Island. We were mostly interested in seeing Tasmania’s natural beauty and decided not to spend an extended amount of time in cities, which worked out well as both Hobart and Launceston (the 2 major cities on the Island) are relatively small and don’t take long to visit.
Renting a car is definitely the best way to travel around the island. Public transport isn’t that great and most of the exciting places are quite remote, you’d never be able to reach them without a car of your own. Most importantly, having the freedom to stop anytime you want to take in the scenery is the best part (it certainly slowed us down a bit). We’d also recommend that you plan your routes in advance as the petrol stations are quite scarce in the rural areas. We made sure we had a full tank before any long distances. In some places the nearest pump is 3 to 4 hours away.
In terms of lodging, we mostly Airbnb’d around the island and found the hosts extremely hospitable and helpful. We highly recommend this one located not too far from Cradle Mountain – it’s very well priced and the host Ann and her adorable animals were very welcoming. On the east side, we had a great experience in Doug and Lorraine’s Swansea apartment which was very spacious and beautifully decorated with Doug’s art. They were such kind hosts.
Teasers first! Here’s a short video of different locations in Tasmania which we mention in this blog post. All the clips were mostly shot with our drone (Mavic Air).
What are the best places to visit in Tasmania?
- Mount Field National Park is only an hour and a half west of Hobart and is home to a couple of beautiful waterfalls: Russell Falls and Horseshoe Falls. The drive from Hobart to get there is absolutely gorgeous, we almost wished it was longer. We parked our car at the visitor centre which has got all the information you need about all the treks you can do around the park. The walk from the car park to the falls is relatively short (around 15 to 20 minutes) and the scenery is breathtaking. The plants are bright green and the scent of the moist earth and the stream of water running along the path is delightful.
After a while, you will begin to hear the soothing sound of a cascade at which point you know that you’ve almost reached Russell Falls. The falls are beautiful, not so much because they are grand (there are much bigger water falls out there, click here for some Icelandic ones) but because they are layered in a multitude of tiers. As you climb up the viewing platforms, you get to enjoy the higher tiers of Russell Falls which are obscured from the bottom. The walk continues on further however we opted to go explore another part of the park. Around 30 mins west of the visitor centre, you will find another big car park where you can start various treks, some quite long and some very short. Time was not on our side so we opted for the 30 minute Pandani Grove Nature Walk – it was quick, beautiful and surprisingly very different in scenery from the Russell Falls trek.
- Gordon Dam is one of the tallest dams in the world (140m) and is even taller than the Harbour Bridge in Sydney which is pretty mind blowing. Walking on it is very special and makes you ponder its engineering excellence. Gordon Dam holds 30 times more water than Sydney Harbour. The magnitude of this is difficult to grasp however if you’ve been to Sydney I’m sure you would have a good idea. Apparently you can also bungee jump from the top of it – thank you but no thank you. Although I have never had a fear of heights, looking down the long wall, my knees buckled and I had to take a deep breath to ease the queasiness.
It was a beautiful experience and well worth the 2 hour drive to get to Gordon Dam from the Pandani Nature Walk car park (not to mention the 3 and a half hour drive back to our motel). The roads leading to Gordon Dam are enchanting and quite varied in scenery. We saw beautiful mountain ranges, tall tree forests, rolling hills and big lakes. There are multiple treks that one can do along the way, some of them are 2 or 3 day treks. Regrettably we were on a tight schedule and had to move on.
- The mighty and glorious Cradle Mountain was our next stop. It’s probably the most popular mountain to climb in Tasmania and understandably so. Mind you, we didn’t actually climb the mountain but we hiked along other treks in the National Park for a good 4 hours. We had originally planned an 8 hour trek however the weather gods weren’t kind that day and welcomed us with incessant rain, cold and brutal winds. We were not prepared for it and didn’t want to damage our camera and equipment so we cut it short – what a shame. We did however get to see many mesmerising sights and gorgeous autumn colours along the way.
Again, the nature was extremely varied which seems to be very common in Tasmania and very unlike mainland Australia. In my experience, you can walk for hours on end and see the same trees, bushes and colours on the mainland which can make some of the treks a bit monotonous. Tazzie had us covered though! Some parts of the hike were quite strenuous – we had to basically free climb a very steep mountain with no defined steps (all that under harsh rain and wind). I am not experienced and I struggled. I’m glad I did it though as it’s given me a boost of confidence for next time.
Finally, as you walk on the various wooden platforms along the way, there is a very good chance that you will cross paths with a wombat or two. They vagabond freely in the park and leave fresh poo for everyone to see (and smell). Unfortunately we didn’t see any mostly because we were there in the middle of the day and wombats come out at dusk or dawn. Oh well, we had our fair share of kangaroos and pademelons whilst on the road, however to avoid hitting them at night required the utmost concentration (they launch themselves in front of cars as they are attracted to the head lights).
- The Bay of Fires Conservation Area was our most memorable experience of the trip. We had the best time galavanting amongst the red rocks, trying to find the best spots to admire the expanse of the coast. The whole coastal region is known for its fiery orange granites, white sand and blue water. It’s an unforgettable sight, one that we had a hard time leaving so we stayed there until nightfall. Best decision ever! As the sun set, we got trapped in a beautiful red bubble. Left and right, above and below, the warm colours were unlike anything we’d seen. The best part was that we had the entire place to ourselves – just us two, the rocks and the orange sky. We cannot recommend this place highly enough, and might we add that you go either for the sunrise or sunset.
- About an hour and a half south of the Bay of Fires lies the entrance to Freycinet National Park, home to the most beautiful beach of the island: Wine Glass Bay Beach. Out of all the beaches I’ve seen in my life, this is definitely in the top 3 (I would throw Whitehaven Beach in first position, and Reynisfjara in second). A lot of people hike till the viewing platform, click a picture of the Bay and go back. Do not do that! Taking an extra 40 minutes to hike down to the actual beach is well worth it. The sand is so fine and gorgeous, the water is a perfect coral blue and the mountains surrounding it look magnificent. And guess what? We had the entire beach to ourselves yet again.
Let’s rewind and go over how to get to Wine Glass Bay. We wanted to get to the viewing platform at sunrise and had to leave our BnB in Swansea at around 4am to do so. We drove to the car park at the foot of the mountain and began our trek up in pitch black darkness (well, we did have our phone torch). The board said the time to get to the platform was around 40mins but we were so scared that we’d miss the sunrise that we did it in 20. We got there just in time to see the milky way slowly brushed away by the soft hue of the sun as it gave birth to a bright new day. It was spectacular.
- Devil’s Kitchen and Tasman Arch are located close to the small town of Eaglehawk Neck which is on the Port Arthur peninsula. The picture below shows the cliff edges amongst which the Devil’s Kitchen and Tasman Arch are nestled (bottom right). These magnificent rock formations are quite a sight leaving you in awe of the power with which the sea can carve the rocky earth. The pictures we took from the vintage points were not good enough to make our cut for the blog so you’ll have to go and check it out for yourself!
- We finished our adventure in Hobart which we found to be very charming. We got lucky enough to be able to go to a farmer’s market that had a fantastic array of local fresh and healthy products: from Kombucha to fermented condiments to fresh mustards and olive oils – we wanted to bring everything back to Sydney. Next, we headed to the famous Mount Wellington for sunset to have one last panoramic view of the city. It’s a half an hour drive away from Hobart’s city centre and the road literally brings you right at the top of the mountain. The view from the summit is beautiful, especially if you go at dusk or dawn and it gives you a great sense of Hobart’s layout. I would however suggest that you wear many layers of clothing and socks as it is freezing cold up there and the wind doesn’t spare you (unless you go in the heat of summer of course).
- Lastly, we want to recommend you go to the art museum of Mona in Hobart. Not only is it an architectural wonder but the art displays are interactive and very original. There’s even a man made pooping machine which poops everyday (sounds gross but it’s actually fascinating to watch). We don’t want to ruin the experience by posting pictures of the actual displays so we uploaded some of the interiors and corridors as a teaser.
Final thoughts on Tasmania…
Like most small islands, Tasmania is very luscious and diverse. You will find beautiful white sand beaches, high mountain ranges, dense forests, bushy areas, huge lakes etc… There’s something for everybody! The island welcomed us with very kind people, breath taking scenery and beautiful food. We came back home feeling gratitude and satisfaction from what was an unforgettable trip.
If you have any questions or queries about Tasmania, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us and we’ll try to help as much as we can.