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- Wondering what the top places visit in Tasmania are?
- And whether you should spend your time on the East or the West Coast?
I feel you.
I’m currently planning my own trip to Tasmania, and there are so many incredible places to visit! But because there are so many attractions, it can be quite overwhelming. 🤯
To make things easy for you, I have spent DAYS narrowing down the top places to visit for adventure seekers. Especially for those who love the outdoors and intend to road trip around this gorgeous state.
One thing that I can reassure you is that no matter which coast you choose, you’re going to LOVE Tasmania. 😍
If you’d lie a quick summary of the East vs West Coast of Tasmania, ensure to grab your FREE chapter of our Tasmania Travel Guide.
In this chapter, you’ll gain insight into the East and West of Tasmania, and which is likely to be the best for you based on your interests. So take advantage of that freebie; it’s simply a small gift from me to you.
An Overview to Travelling in Tasmania
Tasmania, or “Tassie” as many call it, boasts some of the most scenic and best places to visit in Australia.
No matter where you go, its rich culture and history, diverse and ancient landscapes, stunning coastlines and plethora of outdoor activities will make for one exciting adventure.
With more than 40% of the state covered in UNESCO world heritage protected wilderness, national parks and reserves, Tasmania has become famous as a walker’s paradise and one of the last temperate wilderness areas on Earth.
In total, Tasmania has 19 national parks, all encompassing a diverse range of habitats and ecosystems. These parks have become a refuge for unique plants and animals – some of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
It is one of those places that no matter where you go, it maintains that “off the beaten track” feel, with access to numerous free and low cost campsites.
If you’re an adventure nut like me, you’ll have a ton of opportunity to get your adrenals pumping.
You can go mountain biking 🚲, off-road driving 🚙, wildlife spotting 🐨, hiking through lush forests and alpine planes 🥾, caving, golf, kayaking, white water rafting, sailing, surfing 🏄🏻♀️ and scuba diving.
The list goes on.
If you’re a foodie or wine connoisseur, indulging in Tasmania’s wine and local produce districts is a must do! Especially if you love cheese, seafood and cool climate wines.
No matter where you visit in Tasmania, you’re bound to have an epic adventure. So, let’s head outdoors and take a trip through this glorious island state.
Here are some of my greatest tips on the top places to visit in good ol Tassie.
- How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Tasmania? (An Easy Guide for First-Timers)
- Tasmania Road Trip: What to See in Tasmania in 10 Days (Easy Self-Drive Itinerary)
The East vs. West Coast – Which is Best to Visit?
Choosing which coast to visit in Tasmania is probably the hardest decision you’ll have to make.
The answer really depends on the amount of time you’re planning to spend in Tasmania, as well as your interests.
Both coasts have a lot to offer travellers and great coastline scenery to admire.
If you can extend your trip to include both coasts, then you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds. If you do only have a short period of time, and must choose between the two, then the following sections may help you to make your decision.
The West Coast of Tasmania
If you love hiking, mountainous landscapes, temperate rainforests, waterfalls or just want to get away from people and have a nature detox (yep,we’ve all been there), the west coast may be best for you.
The west coast of Tasmania has a different character to the east, made up mostly of protected national parks and rugged terrain including:
- Cradle Mountain
- Lake St. Claire National Park and
- Franklin-Gordon National Park.
However, excluding Strahan, the towns are less catered for tourists. Queenstown, Rosebury and Zeehan for example, are still mining towns. For some, this can present its own charm, but for others, they may find it a touch boring.
The weather in the West also tends to be wetter than the East, because it comes in from the west ocean.
The East Coast of Tasmania
If you’re more of a beach goer, social butterfly, history buff or want to specifically visit Hobart or Launceston, the East coast may be more your cup of tea. If you’re wanting a good dose of nature, there are also many national parks along the East coast to enjoy.
For locals in Tassie, the east coast is often the preferred beach/summer holiday destination. This can make it busier during Summer and warm times of the year (ie. Christmas & Jan).
The weather on the east coast is usually drier and warmer than the west. But, don’t expect anything like Sydney or Queensland temperatures.
Despite the warmer temperatures, the water still remains pretty cold to swim in, especially if planning to go to the beach.
If you’re not a big swimmer, don’t worry.
There are many incredible coast line drives that you can enjoy without even touching the water. Especially along the Tasman peninsula and Port Arthur – which I’ll touch on a bit later.
Top Places to Visit on the East Coast
(From Bottom to Top)
If you’re wondering where the top places to visit in Tasmania’s East coast, here’s a fantastic list of places to add to your bucket list.
I have grouped them based on location, so that you can more easily plan your road trip.
We’re going to start from the South tip of Tasmania (Hobart & surrounds) and work our way up to the North. We’ll then continue the journey into the West coast.
Hobart (& Surrounds)
Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, was once a sleepy rural town with a turbulent convict history. Nowadays, Hobart is becoming a hub for cutting edge culture and adventure.
Did you know? Hobart was founded in 1804 as a penal colony. This makes Hobart Australia’s second oldest capital city, after Sydney.
In simple terms, a penal colony is a distant or overseas settlement that is established for punishing criminals. Usually by a means of forced labour or isolation from society.
Although it sounds terrible, and yes it was, this history has created some of the most incredible historical and culturally significant places to visit in Tasmania.
When in Hobart, here are some of the top things to do:
1) Battery Point
Battery Point is a charming suburb located a 10 minute walk south of the Hobart city centre and waterfront.
Once a poor man’s village, Battery Point has transformed into a fashionable suburb with:
- Old world charm
- Premium real estate
- Rustic brick and timber buildings
- Vegan cafes
- Tea and smoothie houses
- Artisan bakeries
- Gift shops and
- Old world cottages freshly renovated into guest houses
It’s best known for its narrow laneways, colonial-era weatherboard cottages, quaint streets and rich stories of Hobart’s historic past.
Definitely a great place to explore on foot!
To get to Battery Point, simply climb up the colonial era Kelly’s Steps from Salamanca Place. Also ensure to walk along it’s main street – Hampden road.
2) Salamanca Market
The Salamanca market is a fantastic place to explore, especially if you’re a shopper or foodie. It has over 230 stalls from artisans, designers and local producers as well as galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes.
It’s central location at Salamanca Place, means that it is only a short stroll from the city centre. This area is also renowned for its restored Georgian sandstone warehouses which were built by convicts between 1835 to 1860.
The Salamanca market is free and open weekly, from 8:30am-3pm on Saturday.
3) Hobart Convict Penitentiary
Visiting the Hobart Convict Penitentiary will provide you with a glimpse into the city’s brutal convict history, With a large 1830’s building serving as a chapel, jail and court for male convicts. There is also an execution yard and gallows on site.
After the transportation of convicts stopped, the grounds were used as Hobart’s Old Gaol (in 1857) and then a Supreme Court. These days, it is mainly used as a site for day tours.
4) Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG)
Located on Hobart’s historic waterfront, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is the second oldest museum in Australia. It’s also free to enter!
Within the museum, you can join a free guided tour or browse through the galleries at your leisure. Either way, you’ll have the chance to marvel at its rich blend of permanent collections, special displays and temporary exhibitions.
5) MONA Art Gallery
Have some spare time whilst staying in Hobart?
Why not take a high-speed catamaran ferry across to one of Australia’s largest private art museums.
Now don’t be fooled, the MONA Art Gallery is NOT your traditional art museum. It has 3 different levels of underground galleries and a range of controversial and unusual artwork on display.
There are also 99 steps to climb up to the gallery on arrival. Not exactly wheelchair, pram or scooter friendly…
You’ll also have the chance to indulge at the nearby wineries, brewery, bars, restaurants, library, cinema, accommodation pavilions, a cemetery and even a tennis court. Who would have thought…
Entry into the gallery isn’t free though – it’s around $27. But totally worth it for the unique experience.
The ferries to MONA Art Gallery depart frequently from Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier and take around twenty-five minutes one way.
6) Tahune Forest Airwalk
If you’d like to immerse yourself into Tassie’s stunning natural wilderness, then why not schedule some time to visit the Tahune Forest Airwalk. Here you’ll get to enjoy spectacular views whilst walking 50m above the riverbank.
The airwalk costs $29 for adults. At the same location, you can also enjoy nature walks, hang gliding and kayaking.
7) Mount Wellington / Kunanyi
Another top place to visit in Tasmania is Mount Wellington (also known by some as Kunanyi).
At Mount Wellington, you can hike or drive up the main road to the Pinnacle to see breathtaking views of Hobart, Derwent Valley and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
I’ve heard that this view is even more spectacular at night.
Mount Wellington is also a popular destination for mountain biking and rock climbing. Also ensure to find the Organ Pipes (a dolerite cliff) which is an incredible sight to see.
See the Southern Aurora Australis (The Southern Lights)
So, I imagine that you’ve heard of the Northern Lights?
You know, the colourful waves of light people travel thousands of miles to see in places like Norway, Iceland, Finland, etc?
Yeah well, it turns out that we have our own “southern” version of the lights in Australia too!
If this is a must-do for you when travelling around Tasmania, I suggest that you visit during the seasons of July – August. This is the best time to see and photograph this spectacular sight as the sky is at its darkest.
Some of the most popular locations to get a look at the Southern Aurora Australis include:
- The South Arm Peninsula (as it offers great reflection of the lights off the water)
- Rosny Hill (just outside of Hobart)
- Dodges Ferry
- Seven Mile
- Cockle Creek
Seriously, who named these places tough? TINDER Box…COCK-le Creek. Really? Talk about dodgy names…
Oh wait, they’ve even addressed that with – “Dodges” Creek.
Any who, if you’d like to plan your trip to experience the Southern Lights, you can read more about it here.
Sled Dog Adventures Tasmania
Ever dreamt of being pulled along on a sled behind a beautiful team of huskies? I know I have!
Similar, to the Northern Lights, I thought that dog-sledding was something you could only do in the Northern Hemisphere. But, as it turns out, you can try “dry” dog sledding right here in Tasmania, and it’s only a 55 minutes drive from Hobart.
How incredible is that!
Sled Dog Adventures Tasmania offer unique dryland dog sledding tours for people of all ages and abilities.
No snow required – just a great sense of adventure with man’s best friend.
What I like about this place is that many of their huskies have either been rescued or privately re-homed with them. They are passionate about giving huskies a forever home where they can do what they love.
If you’d like to try a sled dog tour, ensure to visit during the off season (from May to September). This is the only time that they run the tours because the conditions are cool enough for the dogs to run.
If travelling to Tasmania outside of this time, dog kennel tours are available instead (from October to April).
If you love dogs, the outdoors and adventure in general then this experience is for you.
If you’re an animal lover, ensure to organise a trip out to Bruny Island. There, you’re likely to see seals, dolphins, penguins and even whales!
You can also make your way to Truganini Lookout, which is a popular place to admire the stunning narrow isthmus of sand.
If you want the convenience of having someone else organise your transfers, opt to experience Bruny Island as part of a day tour.
Here are some great options to check out below.:
Located approx 25 kms northeast of Hobart lies the historical town of Richmond.
Richmond is another top place to visit in Tasmania because it presents the most complete and homogeneous picture of a Georgian colonial town.
It was founded soon after the landing of the first settlers in Risdon Cove in 1803, and was later developed into a commercial grain-growing district. At one point, it was also an important military post.
Similar to Hobart, many of Richmond’s buildings were built by inmates from the town’s penal colony. The same goes for the famous 1825 bridge – Richmond Bridge.
Not the most original name, but Richmond Bridge does deserve some attention. It is afterall, the oldest bridge in Australia.
Around this town you can also visit:
- St. Luke’s Anglican Church with its beautifully stained-glass windows
- St. John’s neo-Gothic Church – the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Australia, dating back from 1837-59.
- Richmond Goal
- Heritage buildings on Bridge Street
- The Old Hobart Town Model Village (Australia’s only historical miniature model village which represents the life and history of Hobart in the 1820’s)
Port Arthur (& Surrounds)
Want more tips on where to visit in Tasmania? Port Arthur is a definite must-do.
About a 60-90 minute drive southeast of Hobart, Port Arthur is another historic convict/penal settlement. It provides travellers with a great insight into Tasmania’s turbulent, and at times brutal, past.
With more than 30 historic buildings and ruins to explore over 100 acres, you’ll definitely want to allow a minimum 3-4 hours, or even stay overnight in the town.
Your site entry ticket is valid for two consecutive days and includes:
- An introductory guided tour
- A harbour cruise
- Access to the Port Arthur Gallery
- Entry to the house museums and the gardens.
Many of the ruins in Port Arthur are a part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property.
There are also many great tours and activities that you can do. I’ve included some of them below for you to check out.
Eaglehawk Neck & The Tessellated Pavement
On your way through to Port Arthur, you will likely cross through Eaglehawk Neck. BEFORE YOU DO, there’s a hidden gem that you must visit nearby. It’s called the Tessellated Pavement.
Many travellers miss seeing this on their way into Port Arthur, because they don’t know it exists, but it’s worth the detour.
Found in only a few places on Earth, Tasmania is home to one of the best examples of this unique geological wonder!
Created entirely by nature, the Tessellated Pavement is an impressive rock formation & sightseeing spot where coastal erosion has created striking patterns in the earth.
The siltstone rocks are believed to have been formed around 300 million years ago due to the movement of the Earth.
So, a pretty unique place to visit in Tasmania.
The Three Capes Track
If you’re feeling adventurous or need a cleanse, Port Arthur is also the starting point of the legendary 48km Three Capes Track. This walking trail will take you from Port Arthur to Cape Raoul, Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy.
It usually takes 4 days / 3 nights to complete, so is not for the faint hearted. However, it is designed to be an achievable experience for most ages and fitness levels. Overnight you’ll stay in warm, comfortable and eco-friendly cabins.
For more information or to book your tour, check out the Three Capes Track website.
Tasman National Park
If you decide to do the Three Capes Walk, you will be spending a lot of your time in the stunning Tasman National Park.
Within this National Park you will see incredible natural sites including:
- Towering dolerite cliffs that rise 300 meters from the sea
- Islands shimmering offshore
- Waterfalls that tumble their way into the ocean
- Contorted rock formations as a result of strong wind and water forces
- The Remarkable Cave
- Waterfall Bay and
- The Devil’s Kitchen
If you’re not keen on doing the 4 day trail (Yep, I feel ya!), you can simply drive to one of the lookouts or explore the many walking trails from Fortescue Campground.
There are a ton of lookouts that you can drive to (Eg. Cliffs Lookout Point, Tasmans Arch, Blow Hole, Fossil Bay Lookout) and shorter tracks available that take you into the Tasman National Park, especially the popular Cape Pillar Track.
If you’re into adventure sports, you may also be able to try rock climbing and hang-gliding within the park.
The UNESCO Coal Mines Historic Site
After you’ve spent some time exploring Port Arthur, take a 25-30 minute drive north-west to visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Coal Mines Historic Site.
This was Tasmania’s first operational mine and was running for over 40 years.
It was developed to reduce the colony’s dependence on imported coal from New South Wales and also known as a place of great punishment for the “worst” convicts from Port Arthur.
Once on site, you’ll be able to browse leisurely through the coal mines on foot and also visit the museum.
Entry is free and it can be a great idea to time your visit around lunchtime because there are picnic and toilet facilities available.
If you’re feeling courageous, you can also join an evening lantern-lit “ghost tour” of the ruins. Given the history of the mines, I’m sure it’ll get the goosebumps BUMPING.
- There are signs and displays on site to guide and educate you about the mines. However, if travelling through Port Arthur first, you can pick up printed guides of the Coal Mines from the Visitor Centre at the Port Arthur Historic Site.
If you enjoy geology, trekking off the beaten track or seeing things you’ve never seen before, Maria Island is worth a trip.
It is a haven for natural wildlife sanctuary, with some of the most incredible biking and hiking trails for adventure enthusiasts. The geology of Maria Island is also unique because it contains features from many geological ages.
The colourful Painted cliffs and Fossil Cliff for example, are believed to have been formed millions of years ago.
The Fossil cliffs provide some of the most prolific and best-preserved fossils you will see in Tasmania, if not in the world.
Even if you’re not into geology or fossils, it’s pretty awesome to be able to say that you walked over a cliff made up of ancient shells from millions of years ago.
On the island, you’ll also get to witness an array of wildlife including kangaroos, pademelons (small wallaby-looking marsupial), potoroos, wombats, geese, wallabies and the world famous Tasmanian devil.
To get to Maria island, all you need to do is take a 45-minute ferry ride from Triabunna (off the east coast).
- There are no shops or vehicles on the island, so ensure to pack and carry everything you need with you.
- The painted cliff is only exposed for two hours before and after low tide. Therefore, you’ll also need low tide to coincide with the afternoon sun when the cliffs dazzle at their most brilliant. Given the turbulent weather, this can be tricky because there’s usually only 10 good days a month that showcase the cliff at its best.
The Spring Bay Clay Target Club is located at Twamley Farm and offers clay target shooting experiences for novices through to experienced shooters. All under the guidance of highly experienced champion shooters.
You can also stay in their cosy accommodation including the converted 1840’s sandstone stables, the farm pod or glamping tents.
There are also many other activities to enjoy on site including:
- Walking tracks
- Mountain biking
- Cooking and
- Learning about the farm’s history and buildings
Freycinet National Park
Heading further north, we have another top place to visit in Tasmania – Freycinet National Park.
Not only is Freycinet National Park world heritage-listed, but it is also one of the oldest and most beautiful nature reserves in Australia.
Within the park there are numerous hiking trails that you can enjoy that wind their way through secluded bushland, bays and lookouts.
One of the most famous attractions for travellers here is the picturesque Wineglass Bay. With it’s perfect curve of white sand and turquoise waters, Wineglass Bay has been voted as one of the top beaches in Australia.
Ensure to head to the Wineglass Bay lookout where you’ll get some fabulous instagram snaps, followed by a short 20-minute walk to the southern end of Wineglass Bay.
From here you can witness stunning views of The Hazards – three pink granite cliff faces that rise steeply out from the sea. Such a magnificent site!
In addition to hiking, there are many other adventure activities you can try including kayaking, river cruises, paintball, camping, and even scenic flights.
Here are some great options to check out below:
Scuba Diving in Bicheno
If you’re into scuba diving, there are some great dive sites off Bicheno, a small fishing village located on the east coast of Tasmania.
Bicheno has even been labelled as having some of the best diving in Australia! Woah…
A lot of the best dive sites do go to a depth of up to 40 metres. This means that you’ll need to be an advanced diver or have a deep diver certification to do those sites.
Some of the most popular dive sites from Bicheno include the:
- Governor’s Island Marine Reserve
- Magic Garden
- Golden Bommies
- Hedge Hog
- Paradise Reef
- Mr Whippy
- Castle and
- Hairy Wall
If you’re not an advanced diver yet, don’t worry. There are some shallower dive site options that you can try.
When scuba diving off the coast of Tasmania, it is common to see:
- Kelp forests
- Sea caves
- Deep walls
- Huge schools of butterfly perch
- Weedy sea dragons
- The rare Tasmanian handfish
- Jewel anemones
- Bright yellow zoanthids
- Sea stars and
- a variety of colourful sponges
And if you’re lucky…
- Seals and
One thing that I can promise you…the water will be very cold!
Water temperatures average around 15°C in the summer months (From Jan-March), and drop to 11°C in the winter months (From June-Sept). Therefore, a 7mm thick diving suit is usually recommended for comfort.
If you want to save time and cut straight through to Bicheno from Launceston, my fellow adventure nut, Trav (@trav_street), recommends driving through Ben Lombard National Park and the incredible zip-zag mountain road, Jacob’s Ladder.
This road is a bit out of the way, but can offer a unique experience and stunning scenery if you’re willing to take the drive.
St Helens Mountain Bike Trail
Located in the largest town on Tasmania’s east coast, the St Helens Mountain Bike Trails contains some of the most scenic mountain biking trails in the world.
Where else can you end your ride at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – the Bay of Fires?
Whether you’d like to shred some serious downhill tracks or enjoy a relaxing cross-country ride, the St Helens Mountain Bike Trails have experiences for everyone.
The two most popular trails are the:
- Bay of Fires Trail
- The Stacked Loops
The Bay of Fires trail is an adventure like no other.
Starting high up in sub-alpine terrain, you’ll make your way through stunning mountain ranges and coastline, with spectacular views of the Bay of Fires. You then finish the ride with a final descent into the pure white sands of Swimcart Beach.
If in need of a break from the trails, there are many things to see and enjoy within St Helens itself.
The Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires, located just north of Binalong Bay on the east coast, draws a lot of special attention from tourists… and for good reason.
With colourful orange-red rocks dotting the shoreline (due to a unique moss), it is truly an impressive sight to see with your own eyes – especially at sunset!
Like me, you may be thinking that the name “Bay of Fires” stems from these orange-red rocks. But, I have since learned that this was not the case. The name was actually bestowed by a ship captain after witnessing clusters of fires from Aboriginal people living on the beaches during that time.
Therefore this place also has strong Aboriginal significance too.
Little Blue Lake
Only meters off the B82 between Gladstone and Derby, Little Blue Lake is definitely an epic place to visit in Tasmania!
Little Blue Lake is a natural phenomenon believed to be a result of the pioneering mining days of South Mount Cameron and surrounding areas. Originally a mine hole, the lake reflects a radiant aqua blue colour due to the minerals in its base.
Although locals often go there to water ski, swimming in the lake is not recommended because of the high mineral content in the water.
If you’re wanting to get some stunning Insta shots, this is the place to go!
The Floating Sauna – Lake Derby
Located in the north-east, the Floating Sauna is Australia’s ONLY floating wood-fired sauna. It is located right near one of Tasmania’s world-class mountain biking towns, Derby.
Here, biking enthusiasts come to explore the 100 km’s of Blue Derby Mountain bike trails during the day, and relax their muscles in the floating sauna at night.
The floating sauna is becoming one of the top places to visit in Tasmania. And I must say, this is one activity that I am SUPER EXCITED to try when I finally get over to Tasmania.
Being a sauna junkie, I’d LOVE nothing more than to cosy up in a traditional Finnish wood-fired sauna. Especially, after zipping around the surrounding parks on a mountain bike.
But not only that, the sauna is located on one of the most beautiful natural lakes of Tasmania, Lake Derby.
Talk about the perfect plunge pool…
The floating sauna seats up to ten people and is open for both public and private bookings. To secure a spot in the sauna, ensure to book your desired session here.
Shared sauna bookings start at $45. Private bookings are much dearer at $225.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate
About a 2.5 hour drive east of the Bay of Fires is the Bridestowe Lavender Estate.
It’s a great place to enjoy a short stop on your way to Launceston (about a 50 minute drive away) and is the largest lavender farm in the Southern Hemisphere.
How crazy is that!
Although Bridestowe Estate can be visited all year round, it is particularly famous in December – January when the lavender fields are in full bloom.
In addition to the lavender fields, you can also explore the ornamental gardens, farm, native bushland, cafe, the distillery and gift shop. All while having the stunning Mount Arthur in the backdrop.
They even have picnic tables on site for you to enjoy.
Whilst at the shop, why not pamper yourself with some lavender oil? Or even their lavender ice cream delicacy? I’d definitely be up for that!
Hollybank Wilderness Adventures
As you get closer to Launceston, Hollybank Wilderness Adventures are another great thing to do in Tasmania, particularly for families and outdoor adventure junkies.
20 minutes out from Launceston, you can try a variety of adventure activities including:
- Zip lining
- A treetop ropes climbing course
- A segway tour
- Mountain biking
The zip line tour can be done in 2.5 hours and is a great way to gain a bird’s-eye view of Tasmania’s beautiful forests. Prices range between $90 for kids to $125 for adults.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a session in the treetops on their very own treetop adventure ropes course!
Within the ropes course, there are 70 challenges to tackle. These include wooden bridges, nets, tunnels, tight ropes and more across 7 colour coded levels. Did someone say fun?
If you’re afraid of heights, you can opt to do the segway tour through the forest or go mountain biking instead.
The segway tour goes for over an hour and costs around $100, which I personally think is quite pricey. Especially given you can go mountain biking for 2-4 hours and only pay $30 – $60.
I know which one I’d choose…
If you’re road tripping across the state, or simply an adventure junkie like me, this can be a great place to stretch out your legs and get the heart pumping before you enter Launceston.
Launceston (& Surrounds)
Although a slightly slower vibe to Hobart, Launceston is a lovely riverside city in northern Tasmania, Australia. It’s most known for its panoramic views, walking trails, sculpted gardens and chairlift over Cataract Gorge.
Here are a few top things to do in Tasmania from Launceston.
1) Book a Cruise Along Cataract Gorge
Only a short 15-minute stroll from Launceston’s city center, the wild and romantic Cataract Gorge is a stunning place to visit during your trip to Tasmania.
Cataract Gorge is a deep chasm that was carved over many centuries by the South Esk River. It offers travellers a beautiful place to walk, relax, swim and take in stunning views of the river.
You can even jump aboard the world’s longest single-span chairlift (how cool is that!), relax at the nearby cafe, dine at the restaurant, say hello to the resident peacocks and wallabies or even take a serene cruise down the river.
Definitely a spot to add to your destination list. Here are some cool things you can do at Cataract Gorge:
2) Penny Royal Adventures
Penny Royal Adventures is located right near Cataract Gorge and aims to provide an accurate depiction of Van Diemen’s Land in the 19th century.
In case you don’t know, “Van Diemen’s Land” was a British crown colony on the island of Tasmania during European exploration.
This experience is great for travellers of all ages and is free entry (always a bonus!).
On site, you can enjoy a history-themed boat ride or if you’re feeling more adventurous, a zip line, cliff jump or cliff walk.
3) Charlie’s Dessert House
Did you know that Tasmania has its own dessert house? Yep, and it legitimately only serves desserts, 12 hours a day!
Well, I guess we know where my first stop will be in Launceston!
If you’re into sweets and chocolate, pop into Charlie’s Dessert House for a treat.
4) Visit the Swiss Village of Grindelwald
This Swiss-themed village is a little tucked away gem. It feels like a mini Swiss settlement right in the middle of Tasmania and has a cool range of activities for travellers to enjoy.
In Grindelwald you can:
- Shop within the arcade, clothes shops and many gift stores
- Relax in one of the local cafes
- Test your skills at the 18-hole mini-golf course, or play a round on the ten-hole public golf course
- Hire a paddle boat or go canoeing on the lake
For travellers who appreciate european old-style architecture, this is definitely a place to visit in Tasmania.
5) Wine and Dine in the Tamar Valley Wine Region
Love to get your wine on? Me too!
For many, Tamar Valley is the ‘gateway’ to the Tasmanian wine region, with serene landscapes and various award winning wineries to choose from.
Best known for its cool climate wines, including pinot noir and sparkling, your taste buds will not be left disappointed after doing a tour through the Tamar Valley.
Oh, and it’s only about a 30 minute drive from the city centre. It’d be rude not to go….
Some great wineries to check out include:
- Swinging Gate Vineyard
- Goaty Hill Wines
- Josef Chromy Wines
- Tamar Ridge
- Holm Oak Vineyards
- Iron Pot Bay Vineyard
You can read more about each of these wineries here.
6) Visit the Historical Town of Evandale
If you like history and old style architecture, take a short 15-20 minute drive to the town of Evandale.
Here you’ll find some super cute heritage buildings, including the picturesque Clarendon House (one of Australia’s grandest houses).
Top Places to Visit on the West Coast
(From Top to Bottom)
Although many tourists favour the east coast of Tasmania for their travel escapades, the west still has a lot to offer.
When travelling through the west, you’ll get to explore various stunning national parks, rainforests, mountains, sand dunes, waterfalls and even learn more about Tasmania’s rich history.
Highfield Historic Site
The Highfield Historic Site is located at the very north-east tip of Tasmania.
It has a really interesting history behind it and portrays a historically accurate vision of what a gentleman’s home would have looked like in the 1830’s.
The home sits upon a hillside overlooking the acres of farmland as well as incredible views of Stanley, the Nut and the Bass Strait.
Although the house is still being restored, it’s a really interesting place to visit with an elegant design, convict barracks, barns, stables and a chapel on site.
You can also explore the large ornamental gardens and surroundings.
The Highfield Historic Site is open everyday from 9:30am – 4:30pm daily (between the months of September to May) or Monday-Friday (between the months of June to August) with a small entry fee of $12.
The historic village of Stanley is nestled at the base of a cool natural phenomenon called the Nut. It is believed to be all that remains of an ancient volcanic plug.
One of the most popular things to do here is to climb to the summit of The Nut.
To do this, you can either take the moderate 1 hour walking track, or ride up on the chairlift. Once at the top, you’ll be able to see spectacular views of Bass Strait and Stanley.
Stanley is also a popular place for tourists to use as a base while they explore the nearby forests and coastlines.
Rocky Cape National Park
As you head down from Stanley, ensure drive through Rocky Cape National Park and make time to hike to Anniversary Bay.
The Rocky Cape area contains many great things to see and do including:
- Tasmanian Aboriginal sites, dating back thousands of years
- Vast cave middens, rock pools and rock shelters
- Various coastal walks and hikes leading to sea caves and secluded beaches with banksia-dotted hillsides and sweeping views of Bass Strait
The Anniversary Bay Circuit is a 6.6 kilometer loop trail near Sisters Beach and is less known to travellers.
According to my new friend and landscape photographer, Brad (@brad_tapp_) it’s like it’s own little slice of paradise!
Table Cape Tulip Farm
If you plan to travel to Tasmania in Spring, ensure to time your visit to the Table Cape Tulip Farm.
During October, the tulips are in bloom and you can also enjoy free entry to the “Bloomin’ Tulips Festival”.
The “Bloomin’ Tulips Festival” is an annual one-day event that is set in the beautiful Gutteridge Gardens on the banks of the Inglis River.
At the festival there is a lot of great entertainment, food and beverage stalls, activities for kids, rides and a firework show at around 9 pm.
It’s the perfect place to take colourful photos and enjoy the positive vibes of the locals form the town of Wynyard.
Wings Wildlife Park
Wings Wildlife Park is a multi-award winning family owned business and displays the largest collection of Tasmanian wildlife in Australia.
Most of the native animals at Wing’s Wildlife Park have been rescued following an injury and are released back into their natural habitats once rehabilitated. Animals unable to be released are kept in their care for the remainder of their lives.
At Wings Wildlife Park you’ll get the chance to see:
- Tasmanian “Tassie” Devils
- Wedge-tail eagles
- and much more.
If you’re an animal lover or are travelling with kids, this wildlife park is definitely worth a visit.
Gunns Plains Caves
Just a 10-minute drive down the road from Wings Wildlife Park is the stunning Gunns Plains Caves. If planning to visit the Wings Wildlife Park, you should aim to tick this attraction off your list too.
Located 30 metres from the main car park, you’ll start your descent down 54 concrete steps into the cave entrance. The tour into the cave is 275 metres long and goes for around an hour.
Discovered in 1906, the Gunns Plains Caves are believed to have been formed by an underground stream that caused lofty chambers within the cave.
With magnificent calcite shawls and flowstone formations, it’s a cool adventure activity to do while exploring the west coast of Tasmania.
Mole Creek Karst National Park
Sure, it may be a bit out of the way. BUT, Mole Creek Karst National Park is a location not to be missed when exploring Tassie’s scenic west coast.
Mole Creek Karst National Park features an extensive landscape of:
- Limestone Caves
- Streams and
Visitors can explore two very different cave systems, offering contrasting underground environments.
Marakoopa Cave, for example, is home to a starry display of glow worms, streams and a huge cavern known as the Great Cathedral. It is known for its incredible acoustics and the ability to echo sounds with perfect clarity.
Whereas, King Solomons Cave is more compact and dry with striking formations including impressive shawls, stalactites and stalagmites.
If you’ve never ventured into an underground cave before, this could be the perfect adventure activity to add to your bucket list.
The Tarkine Rainforest
The Tarkine Rainforest occupies a huge area of temperate rainforest on Tasmania’s west coast.
Although not technically considered a “national park”, the area boasts stunning natural scenery including sand dunes and coastal heathland.
The Tarkine Rainforest has strong ties to the local Aboriginal people with sites of great archeological significance including:
- Shell middens
- Hut depression sites
- Artifacts and
- Historical rock engravings
The wildlife here is also very rich and abundant – including platypus, echidnas, wombats, gliders, bandicoots, possums, the spotted-tailed quoll, eastern quoll AND the famous Tasmanian Devil.
If you’re a hiking nut, this could be a great untouched place to explore.
Corinna Wilderness Experience
Set in the pristine Tarkine temperate rainforest, Corinna is a former mining village full of rich history.
It offers travellers a stunning location to stay with:
- A range of accommodation options
- Eco retreats that overlook the Tarkine Rainforest
- Renovated miners cottages
- An old pub
- Access to majestic rivers, remote rainforest wilderness and the wild Southern Ocean
- Fine hospitality and food
- Access to numerous walks trails including the Huon Pine Walk, the Savage River Walk, the Whyte River Walk or climb Mount Donaldson
Corinna is also known for one of the most iconic treats in Tasmanian tourism – a journey on the river cruiser (Arcadia II) from Corinna to Pieman Heads.
You can even hire a kayak for a more intimate experience exploring Corinna and its surrounds in your own time.
Thanks so much to Liam from (@thistwamleytravels) for recommending!
One of the top places to visit in Tasmania is of course, Cradle Mountain. Probably the most known tourist attraction of Tasmania.
Interestingly, Cradle Mountain is not just a mountain – it’s actually a MASSIVE national park. It ranges all the way from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair National Park.
Depending on the season, within this national park you can expect to see:
- Glacier-carved crags (steep rugged cliffs)
- Glittering lakes
- Beech tree forests
- Alpine habitats and
- The stunning, 1,616-meter-high Mount Ossa (the highest point on the island),
You can also drive to Devil’s Gullett, which includes an easy 20-minute (return) boardwalk walk from the car park to a spectacular gorge lookout.
This landscape has been evolving for around 200 million years and features dramatic views into a steep, narrow glacial gorge formed by vertical dolerite cliffs 220m high.
Some other awesome hiking tracks include:
- The Lake Dove Walk (best known for its views of Cradle Mountain)
- The Weindorfer Walk (a 6km trail circuit through dense forests)
- The famous 80km Overland Track (which runs south from Cradle Valley to Lake St. Clair)
You can also enjoy stunning views of the highlands from the summit of Cradle Mountain.
Although the trek to the summit is manageable for most “fit” people, there’s a steep incline towards the top and some rocky boulders that you’ll want to be prepared to scramble over.
Lake St. Clair National Park
Lake St. Clair is actually the deepest freshwater lake in Australia at 167 m deep. It is also very old, having been created by glaciers over two million years ago!
These days, the lake is best known as a relaxing retreat for adventure activities including:
- Hiking and
- Just getting up close with mother nature
The Lake St Clair National Park provides a great diversity of different walks through the stunning forests. From 45 minute strolls to larger and more demanding overnight bushwalks, depending on your interests and fitness levels.
Located on the west coast, Strahan is a harbourside village with a dark and fascinating convict past. It also sits right on the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Stopping in Strahan is definitely worth your while, with easy access to the shores of Macquarie Harbour, Trial Harbour, the Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Henty Dunes, as well as various shops and eateries in the main town.
You can also enjoy various boat cruises into the temperate rainforests of the Gordon River.
I’ll talk about some of these locations in more detail below.
According to Steven, a fellow adventurer (@the_shape_of_nature), Strahan and its surrounding areas, has an incredible and often confronting convict history.
Sarah Island, for example, was once a notorious convict prison and is a powerful reminder of the brutal treatment experiences by many of Tasmania’s convicts.
Here you can gain insight into their stories and how they toughed it out in Tassie’s wild west.
The nearby villages of Zeehan and Queenstown may also be worth a stop. Like Strahan, they also offer some unique history and various dirt road tracks to explore.
The Henty Dunes
Another epic place to visit in Tasmania is the Henty Dunes.
The Henty Dunes contain a series of giant sand dunes that reach heights up to 30m and extend 15 kms along the west coast.
There, you can enjoy a picnic and an easy 1.5 hour return walk through the dunes to Ocean Beach, Tasmania’s longest beach!
For those seeking more of an adrenaline rush, toboggans are available to hire within the town of Strahan. Therefore, you can toboggan down the dunes to your heart’s content.
One thing to remember: Walking up and down the dunes can be tiring and there are no water or toilet facilities on site. My advice – bring plenty of water and prepare yourself appropriately!
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
If you’re into white water rafting or hiking, this spectacular national park is definitely a great place to visit.
The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is considered the eye of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and includes the impressive 1,443-meter rocky peak of Frenchmans Cap – a popular destination for hikers.
Considered one of the top outdoor activities in Australia, white water rafting on the turbulent Franklin River is a very popular attraction for adventure travellers.
If white water rafting isn’t your thing, you can opt to soak in the scenery by car and drive to the many lookouts. Or, you can enjoy a relaxing riverboat cruise from the village of Strahan.
Mount Field National Park
If driving through the west coast of Tasmania, Mount Field National Park is one epic place to visit! And, it’s only a short 1-hour drive from Hobart.
Being one of Tasmania’s oldest and most accessible national parks, there are many nature walks for travellers of all fitness levels to enjoy.
In Winter (and possibly Autumn), you can also enjoy downhill skiing near Lake Dobson.
The most visited site within Mount Field National Park is the three-tiered Russell Falls.
The falls are an easy 20-minute walk from the main visitor centre which contains loads of walking info & maps, a shop, a camping & BBQ area, a playground and a bistro.
Other popular hikes include:
- Lake Dobson and
- The Tall Trees Walk (30 minutes)
On the Tall Trees Walk, you’ll get to witness the world’s tallest flowering plant – the Giant Swamp Gum, which can reach heights of 30 metres!
After something a bit more unique? Make sure to head back to the Falls at night and turn off your flashlight.
Because you’ll get to observe thousands of glow worms lighting up the nearby trees, which makes for a magical experience.
Given not many tourists know about this yet, it’s a simple way to add something special to your trip.
Maydena Bike Park
The Maydena Bike Park is a year round mountain bike and adventure park, located in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley.
It is actually Australia’s biggest gravity-based bike park (with 820m vertical elevation) and is therefore a popular attraction for experienced mountain bike riders and beginners seeking an adrenaline hit.
With 73+ individual trails including family-friendly rides, wilderness trails and epic pro trails with a strong gravity focus, this is a cool place to visit in Tasmania.
The park also offers a commercial uplift shuttle service, which conveniently transports riders and their bikes to the top of the mountain.
On site, there is also a free access skills park, two cafes, a bike store, hire shop and a range of tours.
Explore the Gordon Dam, in Strathgordon
Abseiling is another adventurous activity that you can enjoy on the west coast of Tasmania.
The Gordon Dam in Strathgordon is a popular place to go abseiling, and has even been listed as one of the top 10 adrenaline activities in the world today.
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- How to Get Around Tasmania Without a Car | Our Top 5 Cheap & Simple Ideas!
- How to Get Around Tasmania | Top 10 Tips for All Travel Budgets
- How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Tasmania? (An Easy Guide for First-Timers)
Adventure Travel in Tasmania is VAST.
With so many cool outdoorsy and cultural things to do all around the state, you’re going to have a ball travelling around Tasmania.
If you didn’t have any idea before reading this post, I hope that you now have a greater insight into some top places to visit in Tasmania.
Regardless of whether you choose to explore the east or west coast of Tasmania, I can reassure you that you’re going to have an incredible trip.
If I’ve missed any other must-see destinations in Tasmania, please let me know. I did very thorough research to create this article, but I’m always interested to learn of other “stand out” attractions.
You can also get a copy of our FREE Tasmania 10-Day Self-Drive Itinerary by entering your details below.
Have a great trip!