Hobart, Launceston & Tasmania
Discover Tasmania, Australia’s southernmost state and a place that boasts what is arguably a world of its own. Whether it be exploring the contrasting colonial and modern atmosphere of Hobart or taking in all of the surrounding rainforest’s natural beauty, there’s so much about Tasmania that will leave you wanting more.
Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, is an incredible display of contrast between historical architecture and modern vibrancy. Take some time to tour the city and explore all of the subtleties that make this place so special. It’s also a must that you visit both Salamanca Place and Constitution Bay.
For a more full on look into Tasmania’s history, you should head on down to Port Arthur, located just 100 Km from Hobart. Port Arthur was the site of one of Australia’s highest security convict prisons, where between 1830 and 1853, around 12,500 convicts passed through.
But if nature is more your thing, then don’t worry there are plenty of other options when touring Tasmania. Some of the best spots you should check out are Russell Falls, St. Helens, Launceston, Tamar Valley, Cataract Gorge, Bay of Fires and many, many more.
Find out more about these exciting destinations below.
Hobart combines the best of both worlds; a city steeped in history that co-exists along a vibrant modern city. No Tasmania holiday is complete without a visit to Tasmania's capital city and its surrounds. Don’t miss a visit to Salamanca Place, the hub of local arts and crafts. Here you'll find a range of shops, restaurants and the popular Salamanca Market that’s open every Saturday. Adjacent to this is Constitution Bay, which offers amazing views for diners, a docking area for boats and the local fish market.
One of Australia's iconic convict prisons is Port Arthur, located 100km from Hobart. The site along the Tasman Peninsular was penned as the maximum security penal settlement from 1830 to 1853 where during this time, around 12,500 convicts passed through this prison. Built from handmade bricks from 1830, Port Arthur today is a combination or ruins and well preserved buildings.
On your tour of this historic site, take a fascinating guided walk around the prison, cruise the Isle of the dead and for those who have the spirit of adventure or nerves of steel can experience the lantern lit Ghost tour of Port Arthur.
One of the most photographed falls in Tasmania is Russell Falls in Mt. Field National Park. It was declared Tassie’s first nature reserve in 1885. The path to the three-tiered falls is surrounded by tall timbers and lush vegetation.
Tasmania's natural beauty comes alive on the east coast region that offers stunning views from cliff tops, beautiful white sandy beaches and pristine wilderness. The largest populated town on east coast of Tasmania is seaside town St. Helens. Known as the game fishing capital of Tasmania, it also attracts divers who explore its underwater caves. While the sealing and whaling business dominated this area during European settlement, St. Helens now relies on the fishing and the tourism industry for its main source of income.
Located in the north of Tasmania, Launceston is Tasmania's second largest city after Hobart. It’s one of the oldest cities in Australia, dating back to 1806, and when you tour this city you’ll view the many historical Edwardian buildings still standing today that co-exists with modern architecture.
Not as well-known as Australia’s other wine producing regions, Tasmania's premier wine region comprises 20 vineyards lining the Tamar River. On your visit, you’ll observe the orchards, pastures, forests and lavender fields that make up the Tamar Valley. It’s here that you'll have an opportunity for some wine tasting at Josef Chromy Wines or the boutique winery, Velo.
You’ll be surprised to see a natural wonder so close to Launceston, but just two minutes out of the centre of the city centre is Cataract Gorge or ‘the Gorge’ as the locals like to call it. Discovered in 1804, Cataract Gorge offers serenity from everyday life with its abundance of ferns, exotic plants and bird life. You can marvel at this natural formation as you walk across the suspension bridge, built back in 1840. You may also see Duck Reach Power Station (now an interpretive centre) which was commissioned in 1893 and was used to light up Launceston at the time.
In north west Tasmania you'll discover the town of Stanley, named after Lord Stanley who was a British Prime Minister. Today, it’s a major fishing port but it’s probable better known for its famous landmark, the Nut. You can't miss this when you’re in the town as it stands 143 metres high and you're likely to see it from a distance. The Nut is an old volcanic plug (a volcanic landform created when lava hardens within a vent on an active volcano to become basalt rock). It has a flat top and you can take a chairlift or walk the path to the top for spectacular views over Bass Strait.
Stanley was also once the headquarters for Van Dieman's Land Company, an establishment designed to oversee the production of merino wool and grazing. Nearby is Highfield Historic site. You’ll see the homestead that still stands today, which was built for the land council, including the worker's cottages and livestock barns.
Cradle Mountain was listed as a heritage site in 1982 due to its natural, cultural and wilderness qualities and you won’t be disappointed when you visit this unique region. Rising 1545 metres above sea level, Cradle Mountain is situated within Lake St. Clair National Park that covers 1260 square kilometres that is made up of gorges, lakes, peaks, moors and lush flora. In addition, there are 25 major peaks that surround Lake St Clair, Australia's deepest freshwater lake.
Continue your wilderness experience with a cruise on the Gordon River that winds itself around Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, surrounded by Huon pines on either side. Your cruise will take you through Hell's Gate, the passageway between two rocks that will lead you into the Southern Ocean. Disembark at Heritage Landing for a rainforest experience and see the 2000 year old Huon pine.
The pristine wilderness of Tasmania is what draws in visitors and Freycinet National Park is just that. It is on every visitor's must see list, which is why you'll explore this beautiful part of the region, a two and half hour drive from Hobart. Named after one of the Freycinet brothers who worked as senior officers on French Explorer Nicholas Baudin in the 1800s, it attracted sealers and whalers from Europe with whale oil exported to Britain. In later years, sheep and grazing took place and tin mining. These days, when you travel along the east coast you'll see rising from the waters are pink granite mountains surrounding secluded bays and white sandy beaches. Ideal for bird watchers, you may get the opportunity to see white-bellied-sea-eagles while you're there. You will enjoy a guided walk and admire the views of the most scenic coastline.
Bay of Fires didn’t get its name from the orange lichen granite rocks but was given it by Captain Tobias Furneux (accompanied Captain Cook on his second voyage to Australia) in 1773 after noticing several fires along the coastline, not realising that the fires were lit by Aboriginal tribes who settled in this remote area. Situated in Mt William National Park, Bay of Fires lies between Eddystone Point and Binalong Bay, where you’ll enter to admire the spectacular views from this vantage point.
Similar to Freycinet National Park, isolated coves, white sandy beaches make up this Tassie gem that stretches for 29 kilometres with the largest population of eastern grey kangaroos. While the locals would like to keep this to themselves, you’ll be able to experience the Bay of Fires on your tour and see for yourself why they would want to keep it quiet.