A Spontaneous Adventure in Tasmania
I like to think that the best adventures always start off without a plan.
Tasmania or “Tassie” is an island located south of Melbourne, off Australia’s south coast. It’s an island with wild and beautiful landscapes and 515,000 people call this place home. It’s Australia’s smallest state, and you can fly into Hobart or Launceston.
Things to do in Tasmania.
My friend Gen and I booked tickets from Brisbane to Tasmania two days before the trip. We both wanted to see somewhere new, get lost in nature, and since we were already in Australia, it felt like the right place to go. During Autumn, temperatures start to drop the further South you go in Australia, so we knew we had to bundle up. We rented a car and with only four full days to see the island we knew we would make the best of it wherever we ended up.
If you fly into Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, spend some time on the harbor eating Bruny Island oysters and checking out all fishing boats, restaurants and shops on the waterfront. If your visit includes a Saturday, make your way to the Salamanca Market to check out the locally made products. Have a coffee, shop for clothes or try some free gin tastings or fudge samples. The market has a lot of character, and it gets busy. You can easily spend a few hours here getting to know each vendor.
If it’s a clear day, jump in your rental car and head up to the summit of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. With an elevation of 1,271 meters, you’ll get a great view of Hobart and the ocean. There are also several walking trails and lookouts.
FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK
For locals, it may seem a bit ambitious (some might even say it’s crazy) to drive to Freycinet National Park for the day. But if you don’t have much time, it’s definitely worth the trip. (It’s about a 2.5 hours drive from Hobart to Freycinet one way.)
The east coast of Tasmania is a beautiful scenic route, and in Autumn, it’s lovely to see all the leaves changing colors. We stopped in the town of Swansea to get a few snacks for a picnic on the beach. The family we stayed with recommended Friendly beaches, which is part of the National Park and a great place to walk around and stretch your legs after a long drive.
The road to the beach isn’t paved, but once you get to the beach, it’s as pristine as it gets.
If you keep heading south, you’ll end up near Coles Bay and Wineglass Bay. The walk to the Wineglass Bay lookout takes less than 40 minutes, but you can adventure on a long journey down to the beach if you have time. The lookout is pretty popular, but in my experience, Tasmania isn’t one of those overcrowded places with tourists everywhere, (at least in Autumn.)
You can pull up to Honeymoon Bay and climb on the hard granite rock for a different perspective of the bay before you make your way to the Cape Tourville Lighthouse. It’s about a 20-minute track around the lighthouse with spectacular views of the coast. Once you’re done taking pictures, and enjoying the view, check out Sleepy Bay, which is another short walk to the beach.
MOUNT FIELD NATIONAL PARK
Just an hour drive from Hobart, Russell Falls is easy to get to and the first of many waterfalls you’ll see at Mount Field National Park. Once you park at the Visitor Center, you won’t have to walk far to see the waterfalls. You can choose to keep going (and I suggest you do) to check out Horseshoe Falls. Slow down to hear the birds chirping as you walk past giant Eucalyptus trees on the Tall Trees Walk.
Lady Barron Falls is a bit further from the first two waterfalls, but worth the view.
A second visitor section, 15 km further up the mountain, takes you to Lake Dobson and the longer day walks.
MONA – MUSEUM OF OLD AND NEW ART
It’s almost better to go into MONA not knowing what to expect when you walk into the museum. The $28 AUD ticket gives you access to the three floors filled with Old and New Art and random pieces that will leave you asking “what did I just see?” There is a great element of surprise and several interactive installations like the one where you can throw glass bottles against a wall. Take a break at the café, have a drink at the bar or explore some of the outdoor art.
Getting here: You can drive to the museum or take a ferry.
Bruny Island is an island off the Southeast Coast of Tasmania. To get here, you can travel via ferry with your car or take a tour bus. From Kettering, it’s a quick 15-minute ride to North Bruny Island. The island is made up of North and South island separated by “The Neck,” a narrow isthmus. Drive to South Bruny National Park on South Island to Cape Bruny Lighthouse for some breathtaking views.
Come to Bruny Island with an appetite!
– Bruny Island Cheese Co. – If you love beer and cheese, (and you know I do) you’ll want to make a quick stop here. Try Tasmanian made beer tastings for only $12 AUD.
– Bruny Island Premium Wines – This is Australia’s most Southern winery. Wine Tastings are $5 AUD, and you can have lunch overlooking the vineyards.
Tasmania is one of those places that just keeps getting better and better the more you see. You’ll quickly realize that four days isn’t really enough, and you’ll want to stay a little longer the next time you visit.
(We stayed with a beautiful family in Hobart that we met on Couchsurfing. Thank you to the Prichard family for welcoming us into your home and for all the recommendations. Our visit to Tassie was truly better because of you guys!)
Next on the Tassie bucket list – Cradle Mountain!
Have you been to Tasmania? What’s on your can’t miss travel list?
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