Tasmania Island

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Tasmania Island

Tasmania (map) is Australia’s largest offshore island, and the smallest state in Australia by both size and by population.  It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland. You’ll find the inhabitants notably more polite, friendly and helpful than in big cities on the mainland such as MelbourneSydney and Brisbane.

Tasmania has some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery not just in Australia but also the world. Over 45 percent of Tasmania is protected in national parks so you can’t make a visit here without checking at least a couple of national parks out. The UNESCO World Heritage site Tasmanian Wilderness covers about a quarter of Tasmania.

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Cities and townships:

  • Hobart (map) – the state capital and largest city located in the south of the island.
  • Bicheno (map) – beach town on the east coast.
  • Burnie (map) – the fourth largest city in Tasmania.
  • Devonport (map) – home to the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, third largest city.
  • Huonville (map) – gateway to southern Tasmania.
  • Launceston (map) – the second largest city.
  • Queenstown (map) – historic mining town on the west coast.
  • Richmond (map) – home to many old buildings dating back to the 19th century as well as the oldest bridge in use in Australia.
  • Strahan (map) – one of the most isolated (and beautiful) parts of Australia and the largest centre in western Tasmania.

National parks:

Bushwalking can be a truly breathtaking experience in Tasmania, but be sure to obtain the right gear, local advice and maps. Always sign the logbook at the beginning and end of each walk. Be aware that mobile coverage is limited in wilderness areas. The main dangers of bushwalking are getting lost and/or suffering from hypothermia. Tasmania’s weather is notoriously changeable.

To enter any national park in Tasmania, you’ll need to have a valid parks pass to enter the park, which can be found here > Parks Tasmania website. There are numerous passes available, depending on your needs.

+ COMPLETE GUIDE TO TASMANIA’S STUNNING HIKING TRAILS (theupsider.com.au) • Tasmanian Walking Company • Tasmania Trail Hiking

Tasmania is the centre of Australia’s craft whisky industry, and there are numerous distilleries throughout the state. Due to the similarity of Tasmania’s climate to that of Scotland, Tasmanian whiskies are primarily based on Scotch whiskies. Two of Tasmania’s most important distilleries are Sullivans Cove in Cambridge, and Lark in Hobart, both of which have won prestigious international awards.

Mount Wellington (map) is a large mountain that rises above Tasmania’s capital city. Visitors can drive to the top, where a viewing lookout is located, and well maintained walking tracks are located in the foothills.

Bay of Fires (map) is one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist destinations, located between Eddystone Point (map) and Binalong Bay (map). Bay of Fires has beautiful blue water, red rocks, and sandy white beaches. Enter through Binalong Bay which is 10 minutes from St Helens. This area offers a wide range of activities including camping, boating, bird watching, fishing, swimming, surfing, and walking along the coastline.

Cataract Gorge (map) is a unique, natural formation within a two-minute drive from central Launceston known to locals as The Gorge. The Cataract Gorge Reserve is one of Australia’s most fascinating urban parks.

Port Arthur (map) is the best preserved convict site in Australia. Many years ago, this site was a key role in the colonial system of convict discipline.

Salamanca Place in Sullivans Cove (map), is Hobart’s favourite hang out. Salamanca is lined with a long row of sandstone buildings built in the 1830s. You can wander under the heavy stone arches to find craft and design shops, jewellers, coffee shops, restaurants, bookshops, fashion boutiques, and the Salamanca Arts Centre and artists’ galleries.

The Nut (map) is located at the historic village of Stanley, in far north-west Tasmania. The Nut, a sheer-sided bluff is all that remains of an ancient volcanic plug. A walking track climbs to the summit of The Nut, or you can take the chairlift, with spectacular views across Bass Strait beaches and over the town. There is accommodation and an excellent campground in Stanley, and the town is a good base for exploring the forests and coastlines further west.

Tasmania typically has more rainy days than anywhere else in Australia, with “four seasons in a day” being often the norm. The South West and West Coast (map) in particular receive a great amount of rainfall – so much of it that it is considered uninhabitable. Tasmania has a cool temperate climate, comparable of that of Europe and/or North America, around the climate between the US/Canada border.

  • Spring > September to November, with frequent snowfalls.
  • Summer > December to February. It has about 15 hours of daylight from 05:30AM-9PM.
  • Autumn > March to May. Changeable weather.
  • Winter > June to August. High areas receive a good amount of snowfall.

Public transport

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Driving is the most convenient way to get around. Cars can be brought into Tasmania from Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry, or hired upon arrival through the major operators such as Redspot Sixt, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty and Avis. Car rentals typically do not permit taking the car on the ferry crossing.

In most parks, there are generally very few roads, but some national parks may not have any roads to begin with. Even if the park has roads, it’s mostly just one C class road, and they are often not paved. However, on the other hand, most parks generally have a good walking trails that allow you to get around the park very easily, although it is somewhat a trek at times.

 BUS >   Buses can be an option if time is on your side. Planning is advised since services can be infrequent. Redline TasmaniaTassielink are the main long distance bus companies, with population centres serviced by Metro Tasmania for Burnie, Hobart and Launceston and Merseylink that provide services to Devonport and Latrobe. If you are not in a major town (e.g. Hobart, Launceston) bus services can be infrequent, expensive and hard to rely on.

 RAIL >   There are no public train services. West Coast Wilderness Railway is a tourist train which runs between Strahan and Queenstown on the West Coast. The trip takes about 3 hours with lunch included.

 AIRPORTS >   Tasmania’s main air carriers are Jetstar and Virgin AustraliaQantas and Rex Airlines.

 FERRY >   There is only one ferry route, which are the two Spirit of Tasmania Ferries from Station Pier in Port Melbourne (map) in Melbourne and arrive at Devonport (map). There is no ferry service between New Zealand and Tasmania (or indeed anywhere else in Australia).

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