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Tasmania: Wilderness Rife with History

Tasmania, Australia’s island state, offers a mix of historic and natural attractions. Wilderness that qualifies as the country’s last frontier, stunning white beaches interrupted only by fiery boulders and expansive stretches of temperate rainforest are only some of the things to tick off your bucket list.

The state also harbours the country’s oldest European settlements and is rich in Aboriginal heritage. Tasmania’s towns and cities are mostly set along the coast, so the maritime influence can be felt as you wander through Hobart’s heritage-lined streets or stop in one of the island’s smaller settlements. Shipwreck stories, fresh seafood and bustling ports are always on the menu.

Holiday homes in Tasmania vary extensively, from sleek rentals in Hobart’s trendy neighbourhoods to cottages in tiny bayside villages.

Hobart: Capital of Tasmania

Hobart is a culture hub. At the city’s heart is Salamanca Place, surrounded by traditional sandstone buildings that were warehouses in the mid-nineteenth century. The warehouses have now been converted into happening cafes, restaurants and boutiques but often retain their original facade. On Saturdays, Salamanca Square plays host to a market with 300+ stalls.

For glimpses into Hobart’s past as a prime port city, stroll along the waterfront. Do as the locals and grab some fish and chips along Victoria Dock. If you’re interested in the visual arts, head to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery or the Narryna Heritage Museum for extensive collections of Tasmanian works. Alternately, visit the Theatre Royal, the oldest theatre in Australia, built in 1834.

Outdoors enthusiasts will also find their own in Hobart. For some fresh air close to the city, spend the day at Mount Wellington. This mountain, seemingly watching over Hobart, has a variety of walking paths, including a challenging track to the peak.

Tasmania’s East Coast

Tasmania’s East Coast is home to the world-renown Bay of Fires, a top ten holiday destination as listed by Lonely Planet. This coastline boasts endless white sandy beaches fronting crystal waters. The East Coast is favoured by snorkelers and divers. Boulders seemingly sprout out of the sand, covered in orange reddish lichen - thus giving the Bay of Fires its name.

Active holidaymakers can choose from 5 national parks for hiking and bushwalking. Birdwatchers flock to Humbug Point Heathlands. If you visit Mount William National Park, take part in a number of heritage walks to find out about the area’s natural and human history.

The East Coast has two main settlements: the towns of Bicheno and St Helens. Stop here for freshly caught seafood and to watch the hustle and bustle of life in active fishing ports.

Launceston and the North

Launceston is Tasmania’s sole inland town. There are many parks and green areas, including a botanic garden with a monkey enclosure. As one of the oldest towns in Australia, you will be able to join a number of walking tours through its historic streets.

To stretch your legs some more, make your way to Cataract Gorge, a scenic spot only minutes from the town centre. Stroll along the trails and snap shots of the gorge, or swim in the natural pool at its base. Cataract Gorge also offers a free public pool and plenty of space for picnics.

Beyond Launceston, the Tamar Valley’s wineries and breweries beckon.

Tasmania’s West Coast and North West

The West Coast is known for its wilderness, from mountain ridges to age old forests, sand dunes and glistening lakes. For a taste of what is often referred to as “Australia’s last frontier”, go for a drive along Lyell Highway’s 60 km stretch from Derwent Bridge to Lake Burbury. Along the way, there will be ample opportunities to get out of the car for scenic lookouts and walking tracks.

The hub of the North West is Devonport, where visitors have easy access to both mountain and coastal scenery. Trek up Cradle Mountain or stroll on coastal trails to discover Aboriginal Rock carvings. Further inland, the Tarkine Forest Reserve is the biggest temperate rainforest in Australia.

While you’re on the West Coast, discover Tasmania’s mining and convict heritage in the towns of Strahan, Queenstown, and many smaller settlements. Delve into maritime history as you make your way through the North West’s picturesque coastal villages.

Tasmania’s Islands

Off the North West Coast, Kings Island harbours two well-known waterfront golf courses. There are numerous hike and walk options on the island, shipwrecks offshore and an iconic lighthouse. Kings Island is the place to go for surfers in Tasmania. Visitors can also sample local produce and dairy at the island’s farms.

Flinders Island, off the North East Coast, is Tasmania’s ultimate destination to escape it all. Wander along untouched beaches or venture into Strzelecki National Park to see its pink and grey granite mountains up close. Flinders is one of 52 islands. You can learn more about the archipelago at the Furneaux Museum.

Getting to and around Tasmania

Travellers to Tasmania have several options. Fly into Hobart International Airport or take the daily cruise linking Melbourne to Devonport in just 9 hours. Once in Tasmania, the easiest way to get around is by car, especially if you wish to visit multiple destinations in a single trip.