Taking the family overseas and not leaving Australia is a possibility when you head to Tasmania. If your family loves adventure, wildlife, amazing food and scenery – then add this trip to your bucket list.
With over 2000 kilometres of walking tracks, and over 200 national parks, it’s certainly the place to visit if your family loves to explore the wilderness and get amongst all the hiking and mountain biking trails on offer. You can fly into Hobart or Launceston, or drive over on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry. The ferry is much more expensive than flying, but you can avoid car rental costs. The break even point for bringing your own car on the ferry is about 10 days of touring. Less than that and it’s cheaper to fly and rent a car.
Once you arrive, there is plenty to do – here are my top nine must do’s when visiting.
It’s likely you’ll land in Hobart for your trip. Try and arrive on a Friday, so you can go visit Salamanca Markets on Saturday morning. Here you will find lots of local produce and unique gifts to take home. After spending the morning there, we headed up to Mount Wellington for a birds eye view of the city. There are lots of hiking tracks here, so if you like hiking it‘s a quick way to wear the kids out. The Sphinx Rock is the easiest at only 2.8 kilometres and a cliff lookout. Then head down to Fern Tree Tavern for a cheese platter and cheeky afternoon drink.
This pretty little Island is a short 30 minute drive to Kettering then a 20 minute ferry to Bruny Island. Pack a picnic lunch and head straight to Adventure Bay to try and catch the white wallabies in the morning. Hint: go down Hayes Road as they are often down there. You can then check out Captain Cook’s landing place, followed by the most southern raspberry farm in the world – Bruny Island Raspberry Farm for some scones and jam.
Afterwards, head to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse for a bit of whale spotting and a picnic lunch. Other spots to check out are the Cloudy Bay public toilets, deemed to have the best view out of any loo in Australia! The Neck also offers a great little walk, with views of Adventure Bay and an opportunity to see Fairy Penguins at the change of light.
There are lots of hikes and other great food places to check out, like Get Shucked for incredible oysters, The House Of Whisky, Bruny Island Cheese + Beer Co, Bruny Island Honey, Bruny Island Premium Wines, and the Bruny Island Chocolate Company – just to name a few.
Port Arthur Historic site is an open air museum where you get an opportunity to explore various historic houses and hospitals. It is one of the most eye-opening historic sites in Tasmania and totally worth visiting if you enjoy history and tales of hardship.
We then visited the Port Arthur Lavender Farm for a lavender latte and ice cream. You can also check out the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo and take the Tasman Island Cruise. On your trip back to Hobart, at certain times of year near Taroona Beach, you may be met with a bioluminescent sea, the Aurora Australis, and a striking view of the Milky Way!
If you’re up for a drive then head to Cockle Creek – the most southern point of Australia. The South Coast Track, one of Tasmania’s great bushwalks begins (or ends) here.
On the cliffs of South Cape, you are the southern most people in Australia, and are closer to Antarctica. If it’s winter, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of migrating whales. On your way back to Dover, you can stop at Hastings Caves and Hot Springs. There is also the opportunity for a cave tour, and a few local walking tracks.
- Mole Creek and Cradle Mountain
Staying at Cradle Mountain is an option if you see yourself doing multiple days of hiking. Since the weather can be quite temperamental there, we decided to stay at Mole Creek, which is more affordable and only a one and a half hour drive.
On day one we enjoyed Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary. There you can see Tasmanian devils, wombats, kangaroo’s, quolls and so much more. It was a great place to learn about the wildlife, and their incredible work with endangered animals. We also checked out Mole Creek Caves with Great Cathedral and Glow Worm tours. When all the lights go out, it’s the darkest place you’ll ever be in.
This is a very cool place. Some of the best hikes in the world can be done here. We had a lovely day and managed to fit in three hikes with wildlife and spectacular views. When you arrive at the main visitor centre, you’ll need to pay a park entry fee, however we recommend purchasing an all park pass if you plan on visiting Bruny Island and other national parks.
There are plenty of short and long hikes for all fitness levels (the Overlander hike is 6 days!). Just ensure you are well prepared for all weather conditions and have lots of layers. Returning from a very cold and wet day of hiking, it was amazing to get back to Blackwood cottages and have a warm fire.
After being in the city, and then the mountains, it was time to check out the amazing beaches on offer. We visited the Blow Hole, Wineglass Bay, Coles Bay, and the Lighthouse in South Bicheno – this is a very beautiful part of the world with lots of hiking opportunities. If you are brave, jump in for a swim. The Airbnb we stayed at was fantastic, suitable for kids with river and ocean views. The Tasman Holiday Park at St Helens is also great for families.
- Bay of Fires
Bay of Fires is named as one of the top regions in the world by Lonely Planet. The Gardens and Taylors Beach are great for a picnic stop, and the kids will love running along the white sand beach. After lunch, jump in the car and head to the Pub In The Paddock which is one of the oldest pubs in Tasmania (established in 1880!). We also recommend checking out the Pyengana Cheese Factory. The St Columba Waterfall is here too – one of Tasmania’s highest multi-tier falls.
Enjoy a game of mini golf, go fishing, kayaking or paintballing. St Helens is renowned for its 42 kilometre mountain biking trail that’s suitable for beginners and pros.
Tasmania is a very special place, and I have no doubt that you will thoroughly enjoy it as a family.