Top 10 Things to Do in Tasmania
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Tasmania is a wild island south of mainland Australia teaming with fascinating history, scenic wilderness, and culinary gems. Once known for its tragic past as the remote island to where Australia’s convicts were exiled, Tasmania is now one of the best frontiers for adventure and boutique tours in Australia. The island is vast and the sights are immense, so plan your trip wisely with this guide of the best things to do in Tasmania.
1. Drive to the summit of Mount Wellington
A trip up to this iconic lookout is one of the best ways to start a trip when you visit Tasmania. The scenic drive leads to unobstructed views overlooking all of Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city. The distinctive cliffs of Mount Wellington, called the Organ Pipes, are the most famous feature, visible from the city.
- Location: Hobart
- Best time to visit: Sunrise or sunset provides unrivaled views
- Tip: The summit is often cold and windy so bring proper attire. In addition to the open viewing platform, a glassed-in observation shelter is open seasonally for particularly chilly days.
2. Appreciate unusual artworks at MONA
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart is a must-visit to experience some really unique pieces of art, including sculpture and installations. This unique museum has become one of the most popular attractions in Tasmania and its large private collection contains some of the world’s most controversial pieces of art from antiquity through modern times.
- Location: Hobart
- Best time to visit: 10am to 5pm daily, except Tuesdays
- Tip: The museum is an exciting venue for special exhibitions, weekly events and seasonal festivals. The exhibition schedule is available online at the museum’s official website. There is also a winery, restaurant and hotel on the premises.
3. Wander around scenic lake St. Clair
Breathe in the fresh air rolling off of Australia’s deepest lake and surround yourself with the pristine natural wilderness of this Tasmania World Heritage Area. From leisurely strolls to challenging bush-walks, several options for breathtaking exploration around this glacial lake are available.
- Location: Central Highlands
- Best time to visit: November to March
- Tip: Eager trekkers can try their hand at completing the famous 6-day Overland Track, starting at Cradle Mountain and ending at Lake St. Clair.
4. Kayak the Tarkine
Home to Australia’s largest remaining area of coastal temperate rainforest, the Tarkine Forest Reserve is one of the best places to visit in Tasmania for outdoor adventures. While it would take an extended trip to see it all, paddling down the Pieman River is a great way to spend the day. Hire a kayak or canoe for a few hours (or full-day for the more adventurous) and explore the river. Hikes are also available throughout the area, from short walks along the river to more challenging routes through the forest.
- Location: North West tip of Tasmania
- Best time to visit: November to February
- Tip: The Tarkine area also contains impressive sand dunes, rocky beaches, and vast grasslands to enjoy if you find yourself with more time to explore.
5. Hike up Cradle Mountain
Of all Tasmania’s points of interest, Cradle Mountain National Park is definitely a must-see. Several walks of varying difficulty are available in this World Heritage Area. But by far, the most iconic trail up Cradle Mountain is reserved for the somewhat experienced. The trail is 6.4 km (one-way) and includes a 600-meter climb through Alpine forest and stone towers, which leads to the spectacular Cradle Plateau overlooking Dove Lake.
- Location: Central Highlands
- Best time to visit: October to April
- Tip: Keep a lookout for wombats, wallabies, echidnas, platypus, and the famous Tasmanian devils all along your journey.
6. Savor Australia’s award winning cheese
It’s not just about what to see in Tasmania, it’s about what to eat too! Cheese lovers delight at the expansive offerings of cheese producers dotted across this island. With so many dairy farms, the number of cheeses that have received national and global recognition is simply impressive. You won’t find just one cheese either—it’s not uncommon to sample 15 varieties in one sitting!
Sample the finest artisan cheeses in one of Tasmania’s numerous cheeseries including Bruny Island Cheese Company, Pyengana Dairy Company, King Island Dairy or Wicked Cheese Company.
- Location: You can find cheeseries located in Pyengana, Richmond, Elizabeth Town or Bruny Island.
- Best time to visit: Year-round, during business hours (typically 10am–5pm)
- Tip: Pair your cheese tasting with a tour at any of the nearby wineries.
7. Bask in the colors and waters of the Bay of Fires
Out of the many impressive things to see in Tasmania, the Bay of Fires takes the cake as a slice of paradise. White-sand beaches and clear waters contrast with the granite boulders covered in orange lichen lining the coast. One of the best hikes you can take in Australia, it’s an inviting spot for a midday swim or a golden-hour photography session.
- Location: Binalong Bay on the east coast
- Best time to visit: Peak season is November to March, but autumn (March–June) is also enjoyable with fewer crowds
- Tip: Bring your snorkel gear and keep a lookout for seahorses and sponge gardens. Obtain a recreational sea fishing license online and you can even hunt for rock lobsters and abalone.
8. Look out over Wineglass Bay
Wineglass Bay is a hallmark attraction in Tasmania. This unforgettable spot in Freycinet National Park has incomparable scenic views of the wild coastline. There’s a reason it has become one of Tasmania’s most photographed places! A definite plus is the potential to witness migrating whales.
- Location: Coles Bay on the east coast
- Best time to visit: December to March for warmer weather; May to November for whale-watching
- Tip: Though the panoramic vistas from the ridge are quite exquisite, consider a scenic flight for a Birdseye view of the idyllic turquoise waters and crescent bay.
9. Cruise through Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Relax and be wowed by the wilderness of the majestic Gordon River. Part of the South West Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, this is a truly special place to visit for its remoteness and natural wonder. Cruising offers one of the most accessible options for reaching this uninhabited region. Along the way, pass through the unspoiled rainforest on the Nelson Falls Nature Trail and stop for a walk among the historic Huon pine.
- Location: Cruises depart from Strahan on the west coast
- Best time to visit: Between October and April; morning and afternoon tours are available.
- Tip: Strahan serves as an excellent base for water-based adventuring. Thrill-seekers can extend the day with optional white-water rafting, kayaking, and fishing tours.
10. Visit the Port Arthur Historic Site
Finishing the list of top 10 things to do in Tasmania, don’t forget to get a glimpse into the island’s infamous penal history by walking the grounds of the Port Arthur Historic Site. With the best-preserved history of places to visit in Tasmania, this World Heritage-listed site of the former prison is immense and leaves a big impression.
- Location: Port Arthur
- Best time to visit: Year-round, 9 am – 6:30 pm
- Tip: For an alternate view, boat around the area and make sure to visit the Isle of the Dead.
If you’re unsure of what to do in Tasmania, rest assured there are attractions and activities for all types of travelers. From historic sites and culinary delights to scenic vistas and thrilling adventures, this list of things to do in Tasmania should help you get started in planning your journey to Australia’s wild island.