The 12 most popular tourist attractions in Tasmania
For those who haven’t visited Australia’s smallest state, Tasmania, or “Tassie,” seems shrouded in mystique. Perhaps it is the state’s expansive location about 300 km south of the Australian mainland across the turbulent Bass Strait. Maybe it’s the vast expanse of windswept wilderness–almost half of Tasmania’s land is in national parks and World Heritage with sparkling alpine lakes, wild rivers, and misty peaks. Perhaps it’s the strange wildlife, from the real life Tasmanian devils to the extinct tilacin, the Tasmanian tiger. Or is it the history of haunting convicts and beautifully preserved heritage towns that seem frozen in time? Today, this mystique attracts more and more travelers who discover the island’s many jewels.
In keeping with the heart-like pattern, Tasmania also delights visitors with its world-class cuisine. Glorious creamy cheeses, fresh fruit and juicy seafood are just some of the mouthwatering local dishes.
See also: Where to Stay in Tasmania
1 Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
In the north of the Tasmanian Desert World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park is the crown jewel of the state’s many natural wonders. Glacial cliffs, sparkling lakes, beech forests, alpine heathlands and jagged dolerite peaks, including 1616m Mount Ossa (the highest point on the island) are among the most spectacular features. Hiking here is legendary. Favorite day hikes include the Dove Lake Walk , with magnificent views of Cradle Mountain (1,545 m) and the Windhofer Walk , through 6 km through dense forests.
The northern part of Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park is particularly beautiful. From the top of Cradle Mountain here visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the central highlands. The famous 80km Overland Track runs south from Cradle Valley to stunning Lake St. Clair , the deepest lake in Australia.
Official website: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=3297
Accommodations: Where to stay near Cradle Mountain
2 Port Arthur Historic Site
Port Arthur Historic Monument
Despite (or perhaps because of) its notorious past, the old convention village of Port Arthur, about an hour southeast of Hobart, has become one of Australia’s most visited tourist attractions. The ruins are part of Attractions Australia , Here, in 1830, Governor Sir George Arthur established a brutal penal settlement in which convicts were forced to use coal mines and fallen timber. Despite a devastating fire in 1897, the remains of many buildings remain, including a watchtower, a church, a model prison, and a hospital. Visitors can t
aknow the fascinating documents and relics of the penal settlement in the museum, visit the nearby historic coal mine museum, or join an evening illuminated “ghost tour” of the ruins. After touring Port Arthur, drive along the coast to explore the soaring sea cliffs and sheltered coves of the spectacular Tasman Peninsula.
Address: 6973 Arthur Hwy, Port Arthur
Official website: http://portarthur.org.au/
Accommodations: Where to stay near Port Arthur Historic Site
3 Freycinet National Park
Freycinet National Park
The World Heritage-listed Freycinet National Park on Tasmania’s relatively sunny east coast is one of Australia’s oldest reserves and one of its most beautiful. The star of this picturesque peninsula is the perfect curve of powdery white sand and azure sea in Vineyard Bay, one of the park’s most photographed features. The review includes the best views. The southern part of Vineyard Bay is a 20-minute walk from the hotel and offers great views of the dangers , three stunning pink granite cliffs overlooking the sea. The peaks are best photographed at sunrise and sunset, when their color deepens in golden light. Throughout the park, hiking trails wind through pristine bush to secluded coves and lookouts, and fantasy birds–black cockatoos, cockabarras and seabirds–are just some of the resident species. At the entrance to Freycinet National Park, the small beach resort of Coles Bay is a good base for walking and climbing in the surrounding hills. Visitors can explore the entire region on the East Coast scenic drive.
Official website: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=3363
4 Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the spectacular Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park has become a symbol of one of the most famous victories in Australian history. In the 1970s and ’80s, this majestic mountainous region of primeval rainforest, steep gorges and wild rivers was the subject of fierce debate over the Franklin River Dam proposal. Opponents of the scheme, with their battle cry of “No dams!” were victorious, and the wild beauty of the Franklin River and its adjacent wilderness remains. Today, the national park is the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness , which also includes the rocky 1,443-meter French Cap Peak , Its aboriginal sites testify to a rich indigenous heritage stretching back more than 36,000 years. Whitewater rafting enthusiasts come here to tackle the rushing Franklin River, while hikers enjoy a short hike. A highlight is the Donaghys Lookout Walk , Visitors can also explore the park by car on the Lyell Highway. Even better, hop on a river cruise from the west coast village of Streichen .
5 Tasman National Park.
Tasman National Park.
On the lakeside Tasman Peninsula, 56 km east of Hobart, Tasman National Park protects some of Australia’s most spectacular coastal scenery. The towering dolerite cliffs plunge 300 meters to the sea, islands shimmer just offshore, waterfalls tumble toward the sea, and distorted rock formations testify to the relentless forces of wind and water. the Breath and the Tasman Arch are two of the park’s most famous features. Other top sites include Wonderful Cave , Waterfall , and Devil’s Kitchen, a collapsed rock arch. Wildlife also rates a top billing here. In addition to many species of rare birds, the area is home to Australian seals, dolphins, whales, fairy penguins and possums. Visitors can explore some of the main attractions by car, hike the cliff trails, or hop on a boat to see the cliffs from sea level or cast a line – fishing can be great here. At the southern end of the park, climbers are splitting dolerite cliffs, and Pirate’s Bay is popular for hang gliding. Nearby is World Heritage-listed Port Arthur, one of Australia’s sharpest historical sites.
Official site: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=3868
6 Kunani (Mount Wellington)
Kunani (Mount Wellington)
Climbing to the west of Hobart, the comforting presence of 1270m of Kunani (Mount Wellington) is a constant reminder of the untouched wilderness that lies on the doorstep of this waterfront capital. Visitors can follow the winding, mountainous road for 21 km to Pinnacle, often sprinkled with snow, which offers spectacular views of Hobart, the Derwent Valley and the D’Entrecasto Canal. At the top, curbs lead to panoramic vantage points, and a pavilion displays old photographs of Hobart and Mount Wellington. The mountain is a popular spot for biking and hiking through temperate rainforests, while the distinctive Organic Pipes , a dolerite cliff, is famous for excellent rock climbing. Those riding to the summit should dress warmly, as the weather here is notoriously fickle.
Hours of operation: High level observation cover from 8:00 to 20:00 (summer), 8:00 to 16:30 (winter)
Official website: http://www.wellingtonpark.org.au/
7 Cataract Gorge.
A river walk just 15 minutes from downtown Launceston, the wild and romantic Cataract Gorge is a deep chasm carved over many centuries on the south side of the Esk River. Sedimentary hiking paths, first built in the 1890s, cut along the cliff on both sides of the gorge, offering beautiful views of the river far below. The less adventurous can hop aboard the world’s longest single-span chairlift, while Kings Bridge as well as Gorge Restaurant also provide great views. On the south side, guests can relax in the café and swim in the swimming pool. At Cliff Point on the north side, lies a beautiful Victorian garden teeming with ferns, crucified peacocks and wallabies. River cruises offer another perspective on this popular attraction. http://www.launcestoncataractgorge.com.au/
8 Salamanca Place
Salamanca Place denisbin / photo modified
Salamanca Place, with its lovingly restored sandstone buildings, is the tourist hub at the center of Hobart’s historic waterfront. Built by prisoners between 1835 and 1860, these beautiful Georgian buildings were once warehouses along the commercial center of old Hobart. Today they house art galleries, cafes, restaurants and stores. Visitors can dine outdoors along this cobblestone strip; store for antiques and souvenirs; or visit galleries, performing arts venues, and ateliers at the Salamanca Arts Center , Every Saturday, tourists and locals alike visit the Salamanca Markets where more than 300 vendors sell everything from handmade jewelry and wood products to fresh produce. Nearby Constitution Dock is a favorite place to buy fresh seafood and the terminus of Sydney’s iconic Hobart Raceway. From Salamanca Place, sightseers can walk down Kelly Steps to Battery Point , a picturesque seaside suburb with heritage homes. Next to Salamanca Place, Parliament House is open to the public when Parliament is in session.
Official website: http://www.salamanca.com.au/
9 Mount Field National Park
Mount Field National Park
Mount Field is one of Australia’s oldest national parks, with magnificent rainforests, high marsh gums, alpine wetlands and stunning waterfalls. Beautiful hiking trails wind through the park, which is often sprinkled with snow in the high swamps through the summer. The short Russell Falls Nature Walk for these three-stage cascades is suitable even for wheelchair users. Attractions can also Lake Dobson , and experienced bushwalkers have a choice of more challenging trails. Mount Field National Park is also a popular place for cross-country skiing in the winter. In the fall, the park is ablaze with yellow, orange and red tree leaves. The last Tasmanian tiger was captured in this area in 1930.
10 Bruny Island.
About 55 minutes from Hobart by car and ferry, Bruny Island is a popular day trip for foodies and nature lovers.The island is across the D’Entrecasteaux Canal from the seaside town of Kettering. It is famous for its delightful gastronomic delights, such as handmade chocolates, local berries, artisan cheeses and juicy oysters, which visitors can sample on island tasting tours. South Bruny National Park, at the southern tip of the island, offers beautiful coastal scenery with soaring green sea cliffs, sheltered beaches and challenging surf breaks. Visitors can explore the park on an eco-cruise or hike the many nature trails. Wildlife abounds. Fur seals and fairy penguins swim in the sea, while wombats, wallabies and echidnas are some of the most charismatic land animals. Built by prisoners between 1836 and 1838, Cape Bruny Lighthouse offers a beautiful view of the raging Southern Ocean.
11 Mona’s Museum and Gallery
Rob Taylor’s Mona Museum and Gallery / photo modified
Sharp and controversial, the MONA (Museum of New Art) in Hobart has made a splash on the Australian art scene since it opened in 2011. Its Tasmanian owner David Walsh described the thought-provoking collection of art and antiques as “a subversive adult Disneyland. After entering the museum’s ground-level lobby, art lovers descend a spiral staircase into an underground gallery, where exhibits range from Sidney Nolan’s Snake to an Egyptian sarcophagus to a machine that turns food into brown sludge. Portable touch-screen devices provide commentary on the works. There are also entertainment venues, a fancy restaurant, a library, a movie theater and pavilions for accommodations. The most popular way to travel around MONA is the 30-minute ferry ride on the Derwent River, which drops visitors on the museum steps.
Hours of operation: Wed. Wed. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Tues.
Admission: Adults $20, concession $15, under 18 and Tasmanians free
Address: 655 Main Rd, Berrydale, Hobart
Official website: http://www.mona.net.au/
On Tasmania’s northwest coast the nut is a 143-metre-high volcanic probe that looms over the picturesque town of Stanley , Matthew Flinders, who viewed it in 1798, thought it resembled a Christmas cake with steep rounded sides and a flat top. Visitors can hike up the steep path to the summit, which takes about 15 minutes, or hop on the chairlift for fantastic photo opportunities. At the summit, trails of varying lengths lead visitors through fern-fringed forests and scenic lookouts with 360-degree views of the winding shoreline, quaint Stanley Village and surrounding farmland. Look for padmelons and wallabies along the trails, and bring a jacket, as the summit can be quite windy.
Where to stay in Tasmania for sightseeing
We recommend these great hotels in Tasmania’s top tourist spots:
Saffire Freycinet: luxury eco-hotel, Freycinet Peninsula, spectacular views, floor-to-ceiling glass.
Review: Tasman National Park (Australia, Tasmania) – The beauty of Tasmania in detail*.
I visited TASMAN NATIONAL PARK with Tours Tasmania on a tour from Hobart to the old town of Port Arthur, this park was one of the first stops on the way to the former Tasmanian prison.
We spent probably about an hour (or a little more) here; we walked one hiking trail, explored a few lookouts and got to know a few of the “sights” of the park; in this review I would like to share my impressions of visiting Tasman National Park – hopefully it impresses some of you, after which you will start planning a trip to the island of Tasmania.
Tasman National Park is not far from Port Arthur. It takes about an hour and a half to get here from Hobart, and a lot longer from Launceston because Tasman National Park is on the other side of the island (I wouldn’t recommend driving from Launceston or Devonport, but from Hobart!).
How to get here?
There are two options. Either with your car (which you rented, for example), or with a tour. The thing is that public transport does not go here. If you go to Tasman National Park by car, the park has a parking lot, but keep in mind that if you plan to explore the hiking trails, you then have to go back for your car). No one will magically drive it to you.) My point is that the distances here are decent.
Our first stop in Tasman National Park was Waterfall Bay, as you can see in the pictures above and below. Waterfall Bay greeted us with colorful informational signs, which I personally really appreciate and respect because they are informative and allow you to get to know the park up close and from a slightly different angle. Everything you need to know about Waterfall Bay is on this information sign.
What did I mean when I indicated just above that we visited several “attractions” in Tasman National Park?
All Australian national parks are “arranged” on the same principle. Here is a park – a huge green area with insanely beautiful nature. There are several parking lots at different entrances to the park. There are several hiking trails that take park visitors from the parking lot to some incredible beauty – a beach, a bay, a gorge, etc. All the attractions in the park are natural, there is nothing man-made here (and that’s happiness!). Therefore, this review is exclusively photos of nature.
What makes Waterfall Bay stand out? It’s the largest series of sea caves in Australia. Read about the marine world of Tasmania and Tasman National Park – if you’re at all interested in such topics, I think you’ll be very surprised how many amazing things conceals such a small piece of water!
I can tell you right away that the park is very clean, neat and tidy. The trails are scrubbed, quite spacious and comfortable. There were other people in Tasman National Park (besides us), I saw a few groups of Asian tourists, but almost all of the groups met me at Devil’s Kitchen – which is probably the main natural attraction that people go to this national park for. But more about that below.
Sea cliffs and monumental rock formations are what Tasman National Park has to offer. If that’s not an area of interest to you, it’s not worth coming to the park at all.
Before we move on to the other viewpoints, I would like to make one small observation.
In the first picture in this review you see the beach. We stopped by this beach, but it was not our main stop. Why did I decide to add a picture of the beach to this review? The place is called Eaglehawk Neck. It was on this beach where several scenes of the famous movie Lion were filmed, which was enjoyed by a huge number of viewers (except me).) Anyway, if you’re a Lion fan, come to Tasmania!
So you are traveling to some very famous places!
Okay, let’s move on:
All of the lookouts here are not spontaneous, but “formalized,” meaning there is a fence that will not let you onto the cliffs (so you don’t fall down). The park takes care of your safety as much as it can, but please, dear tourists, be prudent in any case! Here is another viewing platform in the next picture:
I would say that the Tasman National Park viewpoints that we visited are not the coolest, because even though they are formalized, designated as sites, and even though there are information signs, but still – there are many viewpoints in Australia that are much more interesting (viewing angle is wider, more signs, near the site there is something interesting to entertain tourists).
But of course, I just can’t swear off Tasman National Park because it’s amazing nature. And there are no questions and no objections here.
As for the wildlife, alas, no animals in Tasman National Park I have not met or seen, although we were told that high up in the trees it is possible to spot a koala, but – alas, I did not. If you find yourself here, look up anyway – what if?
Tasman National Park is said to have penguins, dolphins, you can see whales from here, and in addition to them, you can see wedge-tailed eagles and sea eagles. All in all, nature lovers, come visit!
Since you are in a national park, you have to follow their rules, which are not much different from other Australian parks. What are the main points? You can’t smoke, drink alcohol, or leave trash behind. Of course, no hunting – and camping, in my opinion, is also forbidden, i.e. book a motel room, not a square meter in the park.
Before visiting Tasman National Park, I had been to Cradle Mountain National Park (driving there from Launceston). I had someone ask me a couple of times where I liked it best, which park. Personally, I liked Cradle Mountain better – the wombats there, the bombastic mountains there, the snow there, the incredible lookouts. Tasman National Park is the water, it’s the coast, it’s the underwater world (which is not as easy to see as the wombats). It’s beautiful everywhere, but I would go to Cradle Mountain again, and Tasman National Park is probably enough once.
The following pictures are the last lookout we came across on the trail, after which we went looking for Devils Kitchen, the park’s main attraction.
Another informational sign – also colorful, juicy, beautiful, I love it!
Devils Kitchen is also an observation deck. It has a stunning view of the rocky slope and, as usual, the ocean. You can look at Devils Kitchen from different angles, which I highly recommend you do, because the site opens up from a completely different angle when you just walk around it.
If you try to explain what Devils Kitchen is to someone who is not familiar with geography, it is a deep trench without an arch, which, like Tasmans Arch (another national park attraction), was created by the Tasman Sea.
Signposts will tell you which way to look for nature attractions – and how long it will take to reach them.
Some more photos from Devils Kitchen:
After that, the Tasmans Arch is also worth a look. It is, as the name makes clear, an arch, but the arch was not man-made, but by nature, by the sea. There used to be a sea cave here, but now only this arch remains:
I don’t want to go into geographical details and retell the common knowledge (how it all came to be, how many years it took, etc.), so I’ll just show you some pictures and tell you that our nature is beautiful!
Even though I personally liked Cradle Mountain a little better, I would still recommend Tasman National Park to all tourists to the island of Tasmania. It’s a completely different experience (different from both New South Wales and Queensland), not too time-consuming, and a lot of fun.
A visit to Tasman National Park should be combined with a visit to the city of Port Arthur, because they are neighbors. It makes no sense to miss the park or the city. Both are worth a visit!
To all fans of the movie Lion, I wish you a wonderful trip to Tasmania! To all non-fans, actually, too. Just a few more pictures and I’ll call it a day.