Top 10 experiences in Tasmania
The Lonely Planet Guide recently commented on Tasmania's 'regional beauty', 'uniqueness' and 'spectacular stretches' of coastline (Tasmania has a coastline longer than that of the State of New South Wales)
Here are ten Tasmanian attractions which are easily accessible and fascinating to visit while you are in Tasmania. Sure, you step back in time a little when you cross Bass Strait, but as you adjust to the pace of life, you begin to appreciate the fine foods and wines, put the crowds behind you and experience our hospitality, maybe you'll become as enchanted as we are after a lifetime of living in Tasmania. KM
MONA - The Museum of Old & New Art
The publicity surrounding the opening of David Walsh's pet project, MONA in January 2011 extended around the world and the unique characteristics of the location, buildings and exhibits has continued to please tens of thousands of visitors every month making it the most visited single attraction in Tasmania. MONA has encouraged people to visit Hobart, who would ordinarily never have contemplated it. Fortunately the exotic island we live on has just enough other businesses which meet the expectations of the art loving MONA crowds. Tasmanian restaurants and other service providers have risen to the challenge, providing a new and higher standard of service than ever before. We hope you'll find that MONA is more than enough reason to check out Hobart.
Hobart Yachts - Get out on the River; out on the Sea!
Tasmania has a long standing and rich Maritime History and there are a number of ways you can enjoy it. You can do a quick jaunt in a seaplane or take a fast ferry to Mona. On the other hand you can have an overnight sailing experience in a yacht which has topped the charts in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and earned its place in Australian sailing history. 61 feet of luxury awaits, as does exceptional hosting, great food and wine and all you need to do is make the time. Custom cruises to a variety of exotic locations including Freycinet and Port Davey. Travel quickly by the power of the wind; in comfort and style. See www.hobartyachts.com.au or call Mark on 0438 399 477
Visit the Port Arthur Historic Site
The decayed penal facility at Port Arthur lives through the stories of convict hardship told by the guides who escort reverential groups through the ruins and across the extensive lawns. It is a shrine of remembrance for Australians – right up there with Gallipoli, and closer to home. The Great Shame of our ancestors having been transported by the motherland has been replaced by national pride that we have survived, and survived well – well enough to thrash them at cricket, and just about anything else you might care to mention.
Walk in Cradle Mountain National Park
The two-hour amble around Dove Lake will be sufficient, for the passer-by, to appreciate the rugged beauty of Cradle Mountain and the National Park. Venture a little further afield and you will experience what, apart from earliest European settlement history, makes Tasmania so unique and appealing. Yes, there are little-walked beaches on the east coast and rivers tumbling down to the west coast, but in its heart Tasmania has a wilderness, barely touched, soothing to the soul, and designated as a World Heritage Area. There is no higher accolade. And the iconic peaks of Cradle Mountain are the diadem in this crown.
Visit the Freycinet Peninsula and Wineglass Bay
The Freycinet Peninsula is a hook of land, ridged by granite mountains, about midway up the east coast of Tasmania. It makes a sheltered playground for swimming and kayaking in the bay on the landward side, while on the exposed seaward side is the much-photographed crescent of Wineglass Bay, best viewed after a short sharp climb to the lookout. It’s a prime summer-holiday destination for the natives, and attracts many out-of-state visitors too, so expect to share the walks and beaches with others.
Take a Gordon River cruise from Strahan
The weather patterns that affect Tasmania are generated in open ocean way to the west of the island. Clouds rush onto the mountains of the west coast and are pushed upwards to discharge their load on that side of the central highland ridge. Rainfall here is measured in metres rather than inches per annum. Much is collected in lakes and dams and a goodly quantity snakes its way down the course of the Gordon River to find outlet in the vast natural haven of Macquarie Harbour. Take a cruise from Strahan and marvel at the overgrowth of temperate rainforest mirrored in the gentle river flow.
Visit the Tahune Forest Airwalk
Forestry Tasmania has critics but this state-government department has done much to improve its public image by building the nearly 600metre-long walkway through the treetops at Tahune, on the edge of the South West Wilderness. The climax of the walk is a cantilever, 48 metres above the ground, with a dramatic view of forested mountains beyond the confluence of the Huon and Picton Rivers. Half of Tasmania is locked-up with forests of eucalypts and hardwood trees, perhaps the most endearing quality of the island experience, and the opportunity to explore not only the floor but the canopy is best undertaken at the Tahune Forest Airwalk.
See the view from the summit of Mt Wellington
It’s a winding narrow road to the 1270-metre summit of Mt Wellington and when you emerge from the forest that covers the slopes above Hobart, into the landscape of scrub and boulders that are battered by winds and winter snow, you are rewarded with a 360-degree panorama that takes in the city, the Derwent River, Tasman Peninsula and distant hazy peaks. It’s a real bird’s-eye view, perhaps a bit disengaged, but ideal for getting geographically oriented. If the day is not too chilly you will remember the sights with fondness.
Visit Cataract Gorge in Launceston
You would want to reach Cataract Gorge Reserve by walking from the city centre of Launceston, firstly because it is an easy, level twenty-minute stroll and, more importantly, because it cements in your mind how attached this natural stealaway is to the urban sprawl. Follow the Tamar River bank to Kings Bridge, where the South Esk River meets, and wander along the well-trodden pathway under the cliffs to First Basin, the ferntree glades and gardens, the picnic areas and swimming pool, the cafe and an overhead chairlift ride. There is also wildlife in abundance.
Stroll around Sullivans Cove and Salamanca Markets
This is a mecca for tourists and locals alike. The working docks at Sullivans Cove, where ships come and go to Antarctica, and fishing boats, millionaire yachts and tall-masted wooden vessels provide colour and movement, are the foreground for sandstone-fronted colonial warehouses that have been transformed into art and craft centres, coffee shops and eateries. Saturday morning is the ideal time to visit. Then the Salamanca Markets are in full swing and you can make your contribution to the Tasmanian economy.
Fly to Melaleuca in the South West Wilderness
The Southwest National Park is not accessible by road. It is the largest protected reserve in Tasmania, covering 20 percent of the island, and it has been designated a World Heritage Area. Take a charter flight from Hobart Airport, round the wave-lashed cliffs of South Cape and land at Melaleuca. You get sweeping views of Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey before bouncing to a halt on a dirt runway. Believe it or not there are a couple of people living in tin shacks and ekeing out an existence at Melaleuca. They have for company the Orange Bellied Parrots and the hardy through-walkers hiking this remote wilderness. The weather is as bleak as the surroundings but, whatever they are escaping, and there is plenty in the world to wish behind you, they surely find satisfaction in the silence, the water, the button-grass plains and the jagged mountains. And you will too, even if for but a few hours.
Tour through the Central Highlands
In the heart of the Central Highlands of Tasmania is Great Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in Australia, sadly, after many long years of drought, at a fraction of its capacity but still, nevertheless, impressive. This is trout fishing country. It is also where Hydro Tasmania has many of its storage dams and infrastructure for generating hydro-electric power. Farmlands here are marginal at best but the rocky plateau, dotted with sheep, reminds one immediately of the Scottish Highlands, doubtless a factor that attracted migrants from that part of the world. They brought the game of golf with them and gave their towns names like Ross and Campbelltown. After the forests, the lush green meadows of the north coast, the sandy beaches and the mountain peaks, I would be surprised if you did not find that the Central Highlands add something rich to the diversified flavour of Tasmania.