An island at the edge of the world, Tasmania is like nowhere else on the planet. In just one day wake to the cleanest air in the world; hear stories of convicts at world heritage convict sites; cruise past soaring sea cliffs; sip whisky at a cellar door; and retire to a paddock-to-plate dinner. Here folk wade knee-deep in salty waters, plucking and shucking oysters, while others down theirs in swanky waterfront bars. Tasmania breeds fiercely proud, creative islanders. Some crafting artisan cheeses others cultivating head-turning museums. It’s little wonder many consider it one of the most desirable places on earth.
Cruise the Gordon
Wild doesn’t have to mean crazy, wind-in-your-hair madness. A cruise down the Gordon River often rewards with mirror-calm reflections of World Heritage Area rainforest. You’ll journey across Macquarie Harbour (six times the size of Sydney Harbour) through Hells Gates, aptly named by convicts on their way to Sarah Island. Gordon River Cruises and World Heritage Cruises can take you down this ancient waterway.
Surrounded by stunning natural wilderness, Launceston sits snugly at the junction of three rivers in the heart of Northern Tasmania. Its historic streets, scenic parks and elegant Georgian and Victorian architecture give Australia's third-oldest city its wonderful old-world charm. Launceston is home to the multi award winning Harvest Launceston Community Farmers' Market, Australia’s largest regional museum (QVMAG), the historic James Boag's Brewery and the spectacular Cataract Gorge. Savour gourmet local food and produce, cool-climate wines, micro-craft beer and cider and small-batch whiskey or gin at Launceston’s craft and speciality bars.
Over 170 kilometres of winding roads make up the Tamar Valley Wine Route. But it’s not just enviable cool-climate wine territory and cellar doors that you’ll come across. You’ll find hazelnuts, lush orchards, pastures and a world-class fave not to miss- Jansz Tasmania- the type of sparkling that has put Pipers River Valley on the world map. Refuel with a delicious tasting plate of local cheese, charcuterie and seafood at Moore’s Hill Vineyard. There’s also craft beer, cider, coffee and whisky all served in a uber comfy and arty setting.
Located in temperate rainforest in north-eastern Tasmania, the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails encompass some of the most stunning landscapes in the state. The main trail head, located in Derby, provides easy access to cafes, parking, public toilets, showers and a bike wash facility. The completed 80km network incorporates the iconic Blue Tier and Weldborough. It’s possible to link back to Derby in an all-day 40km adventure.
Wineglass Bay Sail and Walk
This multi-day journey is a luxury sail and walk with a difference. Your home for the entire trip is the 23-metre ketch Lady Eugenie, and when you’re not being served a three-course meal on deck, you’re dining bare-foot at a linen-shrouded table topped with fresh seafood and Tassie sparkling on Schouten Island beach. With wind in your sails, your water bound adventure runs between Wineglass Bay and Maria Island and as far down as the Tasman Peninsula on the six-day sail.
Bay of Fires
A Lonely Planet fave, the guidebook named this region the hottest travel destination in the world a while back. This wandering ribbon of coastline continues to dazzle visitors with its blindingly white sands. Amble beaches scattered with orange-lichen boulders or take the guided four-day Bay of Fires Walk if you’re keen to see the sunset with your toes in a foot spa. Either way, the Bay of Fires region will always be a hot destination.
Mona, Museum of Old and New Art
The Museum of Old and New Art houses an extraordinary collection of art and antiquities. Built into a sandstone cliff face, with three levels of subterranean art space, make sure you allow plenty of time to explore. Catch the Mona Roma ferry from Hobart to Mona with a Posh Pit Pass and relax in the exclusive lounge while enjoying complimentary canapes and a Moo Brew, or two. Flash your pass once more for a private introduction to Moorilla with tastings in the Barrel Room. Posh as.
Salamanca Place is lined with a long row of 1830s Georgian sandstone warehouses that once stored whale oil, wool, grain, apples and imported goods from around the world. Wander beneath the stone arches and you’ll find craft and design shops, jewellers, coffee shops, restaurants and fashionable boutiques. While Salamanca Market, a collaboration of artisans, musicians and producers is held every Saturday, something can be found in Salamanca’s alleyways every day of the week.
Port Arthur Historic Site
Step into the past at the World Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site. Take a guided tour to discover Australia’s intriguing convict history and learn of Port Arthur’s story and the hardships faced at the inescapable prison at the ‘end of the earth’. Come nightfall, grab a lantern and walk the grounds – this time in the dark. There’s more than one ghostly tale trapped within these historic walls.
Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed
Along the trail leading to the Tasman Peninsula is Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed. Perched on a hill, not only can you see the ocean where your oysters are grown from your table, but also the vines responsible for your glass of cool climate wine. It’s paddock to plate dining at its best. Park yourself on the open deck and fresh mussels and abalone can be swiftly delivered.
Bruny Island offers white sandy beaches, wildlife and frequent foodie stops. Even a short visit offers plenty to see and do – scenic drives, walks, historic sites, lighthouses and a thrilling eco cruise. Meet friendly furry locals including fur seals, penguins and rare white wallabies. Bruny Island is known for its delicious bounty of local produce and wine. Taste fresh local seafood, sample Tasmania’s whiskies, nibble handmade fudge and chocolates, pick ripe berries, and taste handcrafted artisan cheeses.
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys
Rug up for a thrilling three-hour wilderness cruise along the rugged south east coast of the Tasman Peninsula. Cruise inside sea caves and under some of the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. The peninsula’s wild coastline is home to hundreds of barking seals, dolphins that leap at the bow, and migrating whales and seabirds.
Photo credit: Michael Walters Photography