Travel Guide: Tasmania is the Quintessential Australian Destination

Want to experience the beauty of Australia without the crowds of tourists? Look no further than the small island state of Tasmania! This picturesque state is often overlooked by travellers when booking an Australian holiday. However, for those looking for an off the beaten path vacation, Tasmania should not be missed. Tasmania is definitely one of Australia’s most unique regions, yet it still has the quintessential Australian essence that all travellers look for. With an idyllic sprawling coastline, scenic mountains and lively cities, it has all you could want and more. This blog will explore Australia’s best hidden gem, and prove why it is the perfect Australian experience. 

About Tasmania

Tasmania is one of Australia’s six states and the country’s only island state. It marks the southernmost point of the country, located just 240 kilometers south of the mainland. Interestingly, the mainland of Tasmania is the world’s 26th largest island with an area of over 90,000 square kilometers. Despite its relatively large land size, it does not have a large population, with just over 500,000 residents. However, what Tasmanians lack in numbers, they more than make up for in personality. Residents of Tasmania are known for being incredibly friendly and welcoming people. All visitors will find themselves having a warm reception from laidback locals, who enjoy the slowed down, island pace of life. 

Landscape

Due to Tasmania’s vast and scenic terrain, there are plenty of natural wonders to take in. The island’s relief is considered to be mountainous, much to the delight of many visitors and locals. Throughout the entire island, you will find a great variance in topography and elevation. At the highest point, the towering Mount Ossa stands an impressive 1,617 metres above ground. Other great mountains, cliffs and ridges are staggered throughout the northwest region. Contrastingly, the landscape varies more towards the southern region. There, you will find expansive plains and valleys more inland, and gorgeous beaches and coves at the coastline. 

The towering mountains and clear lakes in the Tasmanian wilderness.
The rugged beauty of the Tasmanian landscape. Image by Audley Travel

This vast, breathtaking terrain boasts an impressive protected natural land. A staggering 20% of the state is World Heritage listed land, noted for its biological significance and extreme natural beauty. Additionally, as a result of its sparse population, high natural protection and distance from other land masses, Tasmania has the cleanest air quality in the world. The incredible air quality, measured by the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station, contributes to the incredible, outdoorsy perfection that is the island of Tasmania. 

Plant and animal life

Tasmania is home to many unique species of plant and animal life. With a great variance in landscape and habitats, a plethora of species are able to thrive in the environment. Here, you will find a variety of plant and animal life that is seen in abundance across all of Australia. In addition, there are also some species of both plants and animals that are specially native to Tasmania. The mixture of both Australian and specifically Tasmanian-native species makes this island a great option for any plant and animal enthusiast. 

The vegetation in Tasmania is incredibly unique and aesthetically pleasing. It ranges from temperate forests, eucalyptus forests and savanna woodlands. Among these different ecosystems are some very interesting species. These include the ancient Huon Pine, which is the slowest growing and longest living plant in the world. This stunning tree can live an astounding 3,000 years.  Additionally, the Tasmanian-native deciduous beech (otherwise known as fagus) is another great example of the state’s unique vegetation. This tree demonstrates the change of season in the fall, by turning from green, to gold, to a vibrant red during the fall season. 

A Tasmanian devil baring its teeth in its natural habitat.
The famous Tasmanian devil. Image by The Telegraph

In addition to the incredible plant life, Tasmania’s animal life is something that is integral to any vacation ‘under down under’. Here, you will find a wide array of classic Australian mammals, such as wombats, wallabies and penguins. Also, the marine animals, including dolphins and humpback whales, are a breathtaking sight to take in. However, when many think of Tasmanian animals, one stands above the rest. The infamous Tasmanian devil, popularized by its appearance in The Loony Tunes, is easily the region’s most famous animal. It earns its name of ‘devil’ as the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, with the appearance of a small bear with strong teeth and a poor temperament. Although, unfortunately, the population of Tasmanian devils is dwindling, they can still be found roaming Tasmania today. 

When is the best time to visit?

As Tasmania is Australia’s most southern point, it’s climate is much different than the average Australian state. It is not the typical warm Australian beach oasis year round, and it experiences a more dramatic range of seasons than the majority of the country. Depending on what you are looking to experience on your vacation in Tasmania, there are certain times in the year that are more ideal to visit. 

The summer months, December to February, bring more of the typical warm weather you can expect in Australia. However, it is a much more moderate heat, with daily highs of around 20 degrees celsius. This makes Tasmania ideal for anyone who is more adverse to the extreme heat typically seen on the mainland. For those looking to experience the typical Australian surf culture, fun outdoor events and overall pleasant weather, the summer is the best time to go. Furthermore, the iconic Tasmanian lavender fields are in bloom in the summer months, making this a perfect time to experience the vibrant purple fields. . 

The vibrant Southern Lights against the night's sky in Tasmania, Australia.
The vibrant colours of the Southern Lights, best seen in Tasmania. Image by Travel2Next

Alternatively, the winter months, June to August, experience more extreme cold that is unlike other Australian states. Cold fronts from Antarctica can often reach the island, which can bring with it the chance of snowfall. The cold weather and snow can truly enhance the stark beauty of this state. During the winter, mountain peaks can be seen capped with snow and hiking trails take on the tranquility of a winter wonderland. In addition, the winter months mark the best time to see Australia’s true hidden wonder: the Southern Lights. Like its more famous counterpart of the northern lights, this natural phenomenon comes alive in areas of low light pollution that are close to the magnetic poles. Thus, Tasmania is one of the best locations to witness the stunning display of vibrant colours against the night sky.

Places to See 

There is much more to Tasmania than its iconic wildlife, friendly locals and pleasant weather. Tasmania has a great range of charming coastal towns and bustling cities with an exciting culture. Also, it has a range of scenic natural attractions that are essential for any trip around the state. Most importantly, these incredible cities and attractions do not have the crowds of tourists often seen in other Australian points of interest. This gives each stop a more local, intimate feel that allows tourists to more properly explore and appreciate the area. 

Hobart

Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania, is the perfect starting destination for your vacation. This city truly has it all: an amazing food scene, picturesque piers, scenic views and quiet parks. The first stop on this city tour is the stunning Mount Wellington. This towering mountain has many great trails and lookouts that offer unparalleled views of the city and the expansive Tasman Sea. Next, all foodies will delight in the plethora of incredible eateries along Elizabeth St. Here, you will find a range of international cuisine, Australian favourites and local seafood. Additionally, to experience the true culture of the city, the Hobart waterfront at Battery Point is something that must be experienced. Take in the weekend market, which runs every Saturday, with local vendors lined up along the historic streets. This will immerse visitors in the laidback, coastal culture of the state. 

The picturesque pier in the downtown of Hobart, Tasmania
The quaint pier and surrounding mountains in Hobart, Tasmania. Image by Aussie Specialist Program

Freycinet National Park 

This spectacular national park is one of Tasmania’s top destinations. Freycinet National Park, located on the east coast of Tasmania, has some of the most incredible views in Australia. Complete with granite peaked mountains, flawless white sand beaches, turquoise waters and trails that connect all of the breathtaking views, this park is a must for any traveller. Two of the most iconic scenes from this sprawling national park are Wineglass Bay and the Hazards mountain range. A tough, yet rewarding, hike takes visitors to the top of a towering peak of Mount Amos of the Hazards Mountains. This peak overlooks the circular shaped Wineglass Bay, which is enclosed by the rest of the lush forested mountain range, completing the appearance of a wine glass filled with perfect water. With such incredible views from this point, it is the most photographed point in Tasmania. 

The turquoise water, circular beach and surrounding mountain range of Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park, Australia
Wineglass Bay and the Hazards mountain range in Freycinet National Park. Image by Bunnik Tours.

Bay of Fires

This natural attraction has an otherworldly feel to it. The Bay of Fires is a 50 kilometer stretch of coastline, from Binalong Bay to Eddies Point, along the scenic Tasmanian East Coast. It is known for its lengthy, pristine beaches and clear blue waters, contrasted by the distinctive orange-tinged boulders lining the beaches. Here, you can explore the sprawling coastline with guided or solo walking tours. In addition to the natural attraction itself, be sure to stop by some of Tasmania’s premier beach towns for the perfect holiday feel. Bicheno and Swansea are the quintessential, quiet beach towns that are beloved in Australia. Both have exquisite beaches, quaint seaside restaurants and historic downtowns that make for an incredible day of exploration. 

The orange-tinged boulders constrasted against the blue waters in the stunning Bay of Fires
The distinctive orange boulders dotting the shoreline of the Bay of Fires. Image by Windows 10

Launceston

The city of Launceston is another example of the charming, lively cities across Tasmania. Located inland in the northeast region of the state, this bustling city has a great combination of historic streets and buildings with a new-age flair. Throughout its bustling downtown streets, visitors will find a plethora of cute bistros, excellent nightlife options and fun breweries that will add some excitement to the city experience. In addition to the city itself, the region it resides in is perfect for any nature lover. Nestled within the endless farmlands and vast valleys of Tasmania’s northern region, there is much to explore in the surrounding area. In particular, the outskirts of Launceston is the ideal location for wine lovers. The plentiful vineyards along the Tamar Valley Wine Trail are the perfect taste of Europe within the tranquil valleys of Tasmania.  

Downtown Launceston, Tasmania along the calm Tamar River.
The city of Launceston in northeast Tasmania. Image by Jetstar

Cradle Mountain 

Cradle Mountain is the jewel of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Within the rugged wilderness, the mountain stands tall above the dense, ancient forest. This alpine area is truly unique in Australia. Here, you can hike along the numerous trails surrounding the towering mountain to take in its stark beauty. Among the most scenic routes is the Dove Lake Route. This trail takes hikers past some of the most awe-inspiring scenes, from glacial lakes and scenic grasslands, to the ancient rainforest and breathtaking mountain lookouts. In addition, Cradle Mountain is the best demonstration of the change of seasons in Tasmania. With the summer presenting great viewing options for Tasmanian wildlife, the fall showcasing the tremendous changing leaves and the winter providing snow-capped mountains and Southern Lights viewing opportunities, this park truly has it all. 

The Southern Lights lighting up the sky above Cradle Mountain in Tasmania
The optimal Southern Lights viewpoint at Cradle Mountain. Image by Australian Geographic

Tasmania- The remarkably unique Australian destination 

With quieter tourist destinations, dramatic landscapes, charming locals and exciting cities, Tasmania is a true vacation from the mainland of Australia. However, it still provides all the necessities of a stereotypical Australian destination: beach towns, laidback culture and captivating scenery. It is evident that, despite being an overlooked Australian state, Tasmania should be at the top of any Australian bucket list. 

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