Saturday, 30 November 2019

My Tasmanian travel guide

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from friends who are visiting Tasmania is "what are your must-see places in Tasmania?". While I try to point them to the best towns, sights, cafes and restaurants, my thoughts can be quite scattered, so I wanted to put my top tips into one central blog post. I have written travel guides for Hobart and Launceston in the past, however I wanted to condense all of the best of Tassie into one spot. Hopefully the below tips will be useful to anyone visiting Tasmania, or who have friends or family visiting and would like a local's tips on what to do and see.


Hobart and surrounds


Hobart is certainly the most popular spot for tourists to visit, particularly around this time of year with the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the Taste of Tasmania approaching.

If you are looking for somewhere to eat, my favourite cafes and restaurants are:

In terms of the best sights to see and things to do in Hobart and surrounds, my recommendations are:
  • Drive up Mt Wellington for incredible views over the city
  • Explore Mt Wellington on foot via one of the many hiking tracks available on the mountain
  • Visit MONA if you are looking for some interesting modern art (and take the MONA Roma ferry for the more scenic route, as opposed to driving there)
  • Stroll through the Salamanca Markets on a Saturday morning
  • Check out the Farm Gate Markets on a Sunday morning for some of Tasmania's best fresh produce from local farmers
  • Drive to Kettering and hop on the car ferry to visit Bruny Island 
  • Set aside a morning or afternoon to drive to Port Arthur to learn about Hobart's convict history
  • Go berry picking at Sorell Fruit Farm
  • Take a drive to Huonville for some cider tasting and lunch at Willie Smith's Apple Shed 
  • Spend an afternoon visiting some of Hobart's best wineries (including Frogmore Creek, Stefano Lubiana and Derwent Estate)

Launceston and surrounds


While it has been three years since I lived in Launceston, I still miss many of the cafes and restaurants in this town. My favourites include:

Some of the best things to do and sights to see in Launceston and the surrounding areas include the following:
  • Visit the Harvest Farmers' Markets on a Saturday morning
  • Explore Cataract Gorge and the surrounding walking trails
  • Visit Josef Chromy Wines and enjoy a long lunch and an afternoon of wine tasting
  • Take a drive along the Tamar Highway to some of the amazing wineries including Pipers Brook and Tamar Ridge Vineyards
  • If you're feeling adventurous, spend a day hiking up Mt Arthur 
  • If visiting in the winter, drive to Ben Lomond National Park for a day of skiing

The north-west coast


My favourite cafes and restaurants to visit on the north-west coast include:
  • The Chapel - the best cafe on the north-west coast by far - the friendly service, paired with the excellent coffee and delicious food, makes this a must-visit spot
  • Bayviews Restaurant and Bar - one of Burnie's nicest up-market restaurants, with beautiful water views and delicious meals
  • Palate Food and Drink - another great restaurant in Burnie for fresh, local food and wine
  • Fish Frenzy - the best place for fish and chips by the beach in Burnie
  • Mrs Jones - an excellent restaurant in Devonport for beachside dining

Some of the must-see places on the north-west coast include the following:
  • Drive to Boat Harbour Beach to see one of Tassie's most pristine beaches
  • Drive to Stanley (about an hour's drive from Burnie) and walk up The Nut to see stunning views across the ocean and the magical north-west coast
  • Take a day trip to Cradle Mountain, which is only an hour and a half from Burnie, to see the stunning snow-capped mountain and explore some incredible day hikes 
  • Visit Anvers Chocolate, Ashgrove Cheese, The Cherry Shed and Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm for some delicious treats

The east coast


Some of the best spots to explore on the east coast include:
  • Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay - one of the most iconic spots in Tasmania, a walk up to the lookout at Wineglass Bay is a must-do
  • Coles Bay - a little less busy than Wineglass Bay, Coles Bay is another wonderful spot to see some of Tasmania's best beaches
  • The Bay of Fires - if you drive a bit further north along the east coast, The Bay of Fires provides stunning views of the iconic red rocks that line Tasmania's east coast
  • Bicheno - a cute beachside town on the lower east coast (make sure you stop by Little Bay Patisserie for a coffee and slice of chocolate caramel tart)
  • Binalong Bay - just north of the town of St Helens, Binnalong Bay is another gorgeous spot to see some of Tasmania's most stunning beach landscapes

The south-west and central Tasmania


While I haven't spent a huge amount of time in the south-west of Tasmania or central Tasmania, I have done a small amount of exploring in these areas, and the highlights include:
  • Strathgordon - a small town in the south-west on the edge of Lake Pedder; if you aren't camping, the most convenient place to stay is Pedder Wilderness Lodge
  • Gordon Dam - this impressive structure is the tallest dam in Tasmania (and the fifth-tallest in Australia) at 140m tall, and is definitely worth seeing (and walking across, if you are not too scared of heights)
  • Mt Sprent - for a great day hike with incredible views across the South West National Park, I'd recommend embarking upon this mountain - while it is a 6-7 hour arduous return hike, the views are definitely worth it (just make sure you take plenty of food and water for sustenance)
  • Pumphouse Point - if you are looking for a beautiful spot for a weekend away in central Tasmania, I'd recommend booking in for a few days at Pumphouse Point (it is particularly beautiful on a snowy winter's weekend)


Hopefully the above tips give you some ideas on where to eat, drink and visit if you are planning a trip to Tasmania in the future. This state is truly a beautiful place, and there are so many incredible things to see and do here, that I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

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