Tasmania, or as the locals affectionately call it, Tassie, is the 26th largest island in the world and Australia’s island state. Located 150 mi south of the mainland, it has another 335 surrounding islands and all make up the state of Tasmania. The rest of the islands are all very small; some you wouldn’t even be able to set both feet on it and collectively only make up around 5% of the entire state with the main island filling up the rest. I think it will be easier if we stick mostly to the main island and leave all the others alone, except one, so here are the best places to visit in Tasmania.
The only way to get to Tasmania is to fly to the capital, Hobart, and then navigate your way from there. Around 45% of the entire 240,000 island people live in this city, with the rest scattered throughout. If you thought that flying to mainland Australia was long, wait till you go to Tasmania. Some of the flights take almost 90 hours and have three stopovers! Neil Armstrong had flown faster to the moon in 1969. It all depends on your budget and two stopovers will take around 40 hours, but will be more expensive. Direct flights will take around 29 hours if you can find one and you might have to sell your mother-in-law with all of her jewellery in order to pay for the ticket. My suggestion would be to visit Tasmania only if you can get top dollar for your mother-in-law.
Once you’ve landed at Hobart International Airport and collected your luggage, you should call your travel insurer to let them know that you would need three months in a rehabilitation centre to learn to walk again and straighten your spine. Hire cars are available at all airports throughout the world and unless you snuck your Ford Kia aboard in your carry-on, you will probably need one. If you can afford a limo with driver for the duration of your stay, call me and I’ll come running. Just call me way in advance, because I’ll probably need three months to recuperate in that same centre as you.
Where to sleep
Once you have taken care of all the annoying things, it’s time to find a place to stay, which shouldn’t be a problem. As with all cities throughout the world, Hobart will have more than enough accommodation for you and your family. I found the perfect place for you; it’s right on the pier and it’s very reasonably priced and the rooms are amazing.
Prices start from around £170 or $215 per night for a single room apartment, which consists of an open plan living and dining area, bathroom, kitchen and upstairs bedroom and suitable for two people. If you are a family of four or five people, you can spring for the Family Executive Apartment with two bedrooms, living and dining area and two bathrooms for only £290 or $335 per night. That really is not a lot, considering the views that come with the apartments and the best part is that they always seemed to have a special going, which means that you could probably get a cheaper rate than what I had just told you about. Full prices and bookings can be viewed here.
Hike to the top of Mount Wellington
For the lazier tourist like me, you can drive all the way to the top of the mountain and then climb the last few rocks to the highest point or you can hike all the way to the top. The mountain is easily accessible since Hobart sits at the foothills. It’s not that high; it only rises 4,170 ft above sea level, but is mostly covered in snow throughout the year, even in the summer time. They have a saying in Hobart, ‘If you can’t see the top, then you can’t see the bottom.’ Which means that visibility can be very bad and if you are unable to see the top from the bottom, there is no point going up there, because you won’t be able to enjoy the magnificent view it has to offer. On a particularly bad day, you can’t even see your shoes. We’ll I can’t, because I’m 6 ft 2 in, but my better half is only around three feet and wears a size 9, so she’ll be able to see the hair on her Hobbit feet.
Enjoy breath-taking views
Not many mountains throughout the world offer a walkway to the summit, so when you get a chance to do it, don’t hesitate. Pinnacle Road is the start and halfway to the top you’ll reach a little village called Fern Tree, where you can rest and have a BBQ or a well-deserved drink. The BBQ is a gas grill, but there are sections that allow open fire if you were packing. Once you finished drinking and eating, you can use the toilets available to make sure that you are ready for the rest of the way. They don’t allow number one along the route and don’t let me catch you attempting a number two, unless you have one of those poop bags for walking dogs in a public place. The pinnacle or Lookout is at the summit and have various lookout points and walkways, to make it easy for you and the price to enjoy this picturesque view will be just your sweat.
Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour
This is one of the best ways to explore a city, especially if you are on a tight schedule. A tour like this will take you to all or most of the big touristy spots and you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the surroundings, hop off when you want to and back on again when you so choose. Day tickets are available, but I would suggest getting a 48-hour ticket at a heavily discounted price. At £22 or $25 per ticket for the two days, you will get to enjoy all of the 20 stops and attractions that the city has to offer, without having to rush too much to see them all. Book your tickets here.
The driver will provide you with complimentary earphones, which will provide commentary in various languages, just no Klingon, and some of the sites will include the following:
- Maritime Museum of Tasmania – Tasmania’s associations with anything see or boat related.
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery – 400,000 visitors each year say that you can’t go wrong.
- Cascades Female Factory – No, they don’t make nude girls there; it’s a former workhouse for female convicts.
- Hobart Convict Penitentiary – Used to be a chapel, jail, court and execution yard for male convicts. If you go at night, you can still see dead men walking.
- Wrest Point Casino – In case you came with too much money and want to give some away.
- The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens – Your 48-hour ticket is suddenly not enough. You will need an entire day just for the gardens alone; they are breath-taking.
- Salamanca Place – Warehouse sandstone buildings converted into restaurants, galleries, shops and offices and each Saturday a tourist mecca; The Salamanca Market, which is a major attraction for tourists.
- Hobart Aquatic Centre – Once you’ve done all the other attractions, you can go for a dip in the swimming pool to cool down. Remember what I said about peeing in the water…… don’t.
Visit Bruny Island
What would you get if you put amazing scenery, cheap food, a bit of gambling and animals together and you mix it with enough booze to climb the stairway to heaven? No, not a bachelor’s party with strippers in Las Vegas, but it will get you an awesome day with your family on Bruny Island; located just a stone’s throw from the main island, this 140 sq mi island is home to an abundance of wild life, picturesque viewpoints and hidden water holes where you can go for a dip. But the weather would need to be good otherwise you’ll wish that you had stayed in bed. Luckily that doesn’t happen very often, but you would need to check the forecast before you go.
What to expect
Costing just around £120 or $158 for anyone over the age of four years old (younger can go for free), this full day, 10-hour trip will include the following:
- You will be picked up by the tour operator at a few points scattered throughout Hobart, like Hobart Showground, Post Office, Cathedral and the Information Centre. Just make sure that you get into your ride and not someone waiting to take you to the Museum of Art…… Yawn.
- The ferry will then take you to the furthest point on the island away from Hobart. I guess this means that you would then make your way back and have a shorter ferry ride home at the end of the day. Sounds good to me, especially if you were to hang your head over the railings as the day’s wine exits your body.
- First stop will be the Cape Bruny Lighthouse. They will charge you just £8 or $10, so go nuts and enjoy the views when you climb to the top. Built in 1838, it was the forth lighthouse built in the entire country.
- The chatty tour operator will then drag you to The Neck; a lookout with 360-degree-views of the island and sees.
- Next stop will be The Berry Farm where you can sample the season’s berries or lick a lolly (ice cream).
- You’ll then make your way to Bruny Island Premium Wines, where you get to sample some of the island’s wines and buy whatever you want. This stop should really have been the first stop on the itinerary. Imagine the day you will have…
Last, but not least
- Your last stop will be the oyster bar. I think it’s a good idea to fill up on booze and then suck down a bunch of slimy oysters. You might have to ride back on the bus roof since food and drink will be shooting out from both ends.
- You will then be dropped off at the same place where you were picked up and then you will be your better half’s problem.
On your trip you are bound to see many animals and birds. The endangered forty-spotted pardalote is one of the most endangered species in the world and if you are lucky, the tour operator might point one out. The White Wallaby lives in the forest, but do make its way out into the open areas from time to time, so keep your eyes open. They have a genetic mutation that gives them the white fur and they are not endangered due to the fact that there are no predators on the island. They were allowed to grow freely, but the white skin is sensitive to the sun, so unfortunately high rates of skin cancer are found among the population. Book your tour tickets here.
Catch a cricket match at The Blundstone Arena
Imagine 16,000 people, all just want to have fun and enjoy one of Australia’s favourite past times. This is also my favourite sport and have been following it since I was four years old and also played it till I moved to England at the age of 24. Being part of a match while Australia, one of the best teams in the world, take on another country on the biggest stage in cricket, is something to see in person, even if you don’t like cricket. Now I know that I’m going to get a lot of people hot under the collar, but I don’t like football and never have. Cricket is called The Gentleman’s Game for a reason. Even if your team lost at the end of the day, you will still enjoy a beer with the opposition without wanting to rip off their heads.
Don’t forget the suncream
You get to enjoy good food, good drink and an unbelievable atmosphere for the entire day and if you are lucky, you get to see around three balls bowled out in the middle. Prices for tickets range quite a bit. If an international game is played, the prices will be more expensive than a county game, but no less exciting, especially if you watch a T20 game. Consisting of just 20 overs per side, this match provides some of the most action seen in cricket and for the die hard cricket fans like me, a five-day test match is about as good as it gets.
We did it folks. We had made our way clear cross an entire continent. Our journey had started in Western Australia and we had made our way from left to right and top to bottom and finally reached the end. Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne all have so much to do that I’m going to do separate posts just for them, so our fun is not over yet.
Safe travels as always and please share this page with everyone that you know, even your fifth grade teacher. It will show them that you care.
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