best places to visit in tasmania

Best places to visit in Tasmania

Discover the breathtaking natural beauty of Tasmania, from its cities and historic towns to its wonderful national parks.

There’s a wealth of things to see and do for every kind of traveller during a visit to Tasmania.

Take your pick from activities such as spectacular scenic walks, outdoor adventures and cruises, visiting islands that are home to endangered species, or stop off at some of the many places of historic interest.

It may be Australia’s smallest state, but Tasmania certainly matches its mainland cousins with the range of sights and experiences it has to offer.

1. Hobart

Australia’s southernmost capital is a charming city worthy of a few days visit. Roaming its streets you’ll discover historic sites, stunning harbour views and colonial-era buildings.

Mount Wellington provides a beautiful backdrop to a city full of boutique galleries and cafes.

  • Best for: Historic sites, scenery.
  • How to get there: Flying to Hobart from Sydney takes 2 hours, and 1 hour and 15 minutes from Melbourne. You can also take a ferry from Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania which takes 9 hours and 30 minutes. If you are already in Tasmania, there are buses to Hobart from many locations throughout the state.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Stroll through Salamanca Place and shop at the markets, step back in time at Battery Point, visit the Museum of Old and New Art, have a drink at one of Australia’s oldest breweries, and unwind in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
  • How long do I need? 1 to 3 days.
  • Recommended tour: On a 3-hour Hobart City Tour you’ll get to experience all the must-see sights in the city, including Battery Point and Salamanca Place, as well as learn about their history.

2. Coles Bay

The village of Coles Bay sits on Tasmania’s east coast and acts as a gateway to Freycinet National Park. The area also offers unbeatable views across the crystal-clear waters of Oyster Bay and the pink granite mountains that surround it.

This is the perfect getaway location for relaxing and getting back to nature.

  • Best for: Relaxing holiday, nature, scenery, water activities.
  • How to get there: Driving from Hobart takes 2 hours 30 minutes. Buses are available from Hobart, Launceston and Devonport. East coast self-guided cycling trails are also available.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Visit the beaches, get on the water in a kayak, go on an ATV adventure, sail across the bay and explore the walking trails.
  • How long do I need? 1 to 3 days.
  • Recommended tour: Hop on a guided kayak tour for the best views of Coles Bay and beyond from the water.

3. Freycinet National Park

Freycinet National Park is abundant with scenic views overlooking the Tasman Sea, which sits along Tasmania’s east coast. It features the pink granite peaks of the Hazards range, white-sand beaches and secluded coves.

The park’s most famous lookout is over Wineglass Bay, and is one of the state’s most photographed views.

  • Best for: Scenery, nature, outdoor lovers.
  • How to get there: Driving from Hobart takes 2 hours 30 minutes. Buses are available from Hobart, Launceston and Devonport. You can also access the area on an east coast self-guided cycling trail.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Take in the sites from Wineglass Bay, hike around the area, explore the park by kayak, capture the Hazards on camera at sunrise or sunset and spend some time on the secluded beaches.
  • How long do I need? 1 to 3 days, or combine with Coles Bay for a longer visit.
  • Recommended tour: On a Wineglass Bay and Freycinet Bushwalking tour you’ll be able to see all of the beauty of this national park while being guided through the trails to stunning sights.

4. Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is the sixth-highest mountain in Tasmania and is situated in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. It contains ancient forests as well as glacial lakes, and is the starting point for the famous Overland Track.

This section of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is a paradise for outdoor lovers.

  • Best for: Active travellers, nature, scenery.
  • How to get there: Cradle Mountain is a 4-hour drive from Hobart, 2 hours from Launceston or 1 hour 30 minutes from Devonport. Buses are available from Hobart to Lake St Clair while direct buses are available from Queenstown, Devonport and Launceston.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Complete the Overland Track, get the best views on a scenic flight, try canyoning, see Dove Lake on the Dove Lake circuit and walk to Marion’s Lookout.
  • How long do I need? 1 to 3 days.
  • Recommended tour: A Cradle Mountain National Park Day Tour from Launceston will provide you with plenty of photo opportunities for forests, waterfalls and lakes.

5. Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington is a 20-minute drive from Hobart CBD and is part of the Wellington Mountain Range. It towers above the city, providing optimal views as well as wilderness trails to explore.

Even on a warm, sunny day in the city, it’s still possible to find snow when you reach the mountain top.

  • Best for: Nature, scenery, outdoor lovers.
  • How to get there: Mount Wellington is a 38-minute drive from Hobart. Buses run from Franklin Square in Hobart CBD to the town of Fern Tree at the base of the mountain.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Take it slow with some bushwalking, get active and cycle around the tracks, take a 4WD tour, practise rock climbing if you’re an experienced climber, and snap some pictures at the summit.
  • How long do I need? Half to 1 day.
  • Recommended tour: Travel to the summit on a Mount Wellington Tour from Hobart to enjoy wonderful scenery with a guide who will provide commentary about the area.

6. Bay of Fires

Situated along the north-eastern coast of Tasmania, the Bay of Fires is wedged between Binalong Bay and Eddystone Point. This conservation area is best known for its crystal-clear waters and beautiful white-sand beaches.

The bay was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux who sailed past the area in 1773 and spotted fires being burned by Aborigines.

  • Best for: Scenery, water activities.
  • How to get there: Bay of Fires is a 4-hour drive from Hobart, 2 hours 30 minutes from Coles Bay or 3 hours from Launceston.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Relax on the beach, visit Eddystone Point Lighthouse, give surfing a go, have a snorkel and go for a swim.
  • How long do I need? Half a day.
  • Recommended tour: On a Bay of Fires Day Trip from Launceston you’ll see the area’s bright orange rocks up close, and enjoy views of Weldborough Pass and Fingal Valley.

7. Bruny Island

Just off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania lies Bruny Island with its rugged sea cliffs, sea caves, fur seals, fairy penguins and abundant bird life. The island is also home to many endangered plant and animal species.

You can explore the island on foot or take a boat and cruise around its towering cliffs.

  • Best for: Scenery, nature lovers, wildlife.
  • How to get there: Bruny Island is an hour's drive from Hobart, which consists of a 40 minute drive and a 20 minute ferry from Kettering to the north of the island. From there it takes a further hour to drive to the south of the island.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Visit Cape Bruny Lighthouse, take in the views rom the Neck Lookout, check out South Bruny National Park, take a wilderness cruise and enjoy the local food and scenery.
  • How long do I need? 1 to 3 days.
  • Recommended tour: A Full-Day Bruny Island Tour from Hobart covers all the best sights, and includes a 3-hour cruise for scenic views, spotting fur seals and picture-perfect photo opportunities.

8. Port Arthur

Port Arthur is a historic village on the edge of the Tasman Peninsula. Once a 19th century penal settlement, it is now an open air museum where you can explore the ruins of the penitentiary, and of the Convict Church, which was built by prisoners.

Port Arthur may have a rough past, but today it’s a place of fascinating history and natural beauty.

  • Best for: Historic sites.
  • How to get there: Driving from Hobart takes 1 hour 30 minutes, or you can take a bus.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Explore Port Arthur Historic Site, take a ghost tour, check out Remarkable Cave, visit a lavender farm and stop by the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo.
  • How long do I need? Half to 2 days.
  • Recommended tour: On a Port Arthur Tour from Hobart you’ll learn about the local history, take a cruise on Carnarvon Bay, and be guided around the grounds.

9. Richmond

Richmond is a small historic town 25 kilometres from Hobart, situated in the centre of the Coal River Valley wine region. It’s the perfect spot to roam around for a few hours along the river and check out some historic buildings.

Richmond’s bridge and Roman Catholic church are said to be the oldest in Australia.

  • Best for: Historic sites.
  • How to get there: Richmond is a 30-minute drive from Hobart or 40 minutes by bus.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Visit the oldest gaol in Australia, taste wine at one of the four wineries, check out the Old Hobart Town model village, stop by Richmond Bridge and roam through town.
  • How long do I need? Half a day.
  • Recommended tour: A Richmond Historic Afternoon Tour from Hobart takes you to the best historic sites and prime photo spots.

10. Strahan

Strahan is a harbourside village with a convict past, situated on Tasmania’s west coast. It is nestled along the Macquarie Harbour and is the launching pad for discovering the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, which is a World Heritage listed site.

In the village you’ll find artisan handicrafts and eateries serving local produce, and nearby you can explore massive sand dunes, forests and beaches.

  • Best for: Scenery, wilderness.
  • How to get there: Driving takes 4 hours 30 minutes from Hobart, 3 hours 30 minutes from Launceston, or 3 hours from Devonport.
  • Top 5 things to see and do: Hop on the West Coast Wilderness Railway, join a cruise along the Gordon River, do the Foreshore Walk, visit the giant Henty Dunes and cruise to Bonnet Island to see the penguins.
  • How long do I need? 2 to 3 days.
  • Recommended tour: On a Gordon River Cruise from Strahan you’ll get to appreciate the incredible beauty of Tasmania’s wilderness.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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