In 2015, Tasmania opened the second stage of Australia’s premier coastal bushwalking experience, the Three Capes Track. This stage will take in some of the stunning sea cliffs of the Tasman National Park.
Foreign visitors per year: 1 million
Main town: Hobart
Major industries: forestry, mining, agriculture, tourism
Unit of currency: Australian dollar (A$)
Cost index: entry to MONA A$20 (US$18.75), cheese plate at Jam Packed Cafe at Henry Jones Art Hotel A$16 (US$15), Bronze Pass for Port Arthur Historic Site A$35 (US$32.80), Attic Room at the Islington Hotel, Hobart A$395 (US$370)
Why go ASAP?
Wild and dramatic, cultured and quirky, isolated yet accessible – Australia’s island state, nestled comfortably at the southeastern base of Australia, is intrinsic to the nation’s story. Van Diemen’s Land (as Tasmania was christened by white settlers) was home to some of the first convict ships to land in Australia, and the tragic, harrowing and haunting tales of those arrivals permeate the state. The Port Arthur Historic Site, a former penal colony, serves as a beautiful and disquieting reminder of the region’s brutal past.
However, modern Tasmania has emancipated itself from wallowing in the past and adopted a fresh, hip and inclusive attitude sparked by the brilliant revival of its now super-cool waterfront capital, Hobart, and the development of an eclectic year-long events calendar.
Offering some of Australia’s most diverse, remote and wild outdoor experiences, Tasmania abounds in natural splendour. Whether it’s exploring the quiet, eerie grandeur of Cradle Mountain, bravely traversing the mighty Franklin River – home to the state’s dark forested heart, or stumbling upon the breathtaking beaches that make up the Bay of Fires, the state contains a lifetime’s worth of adventures.
In 2015, Tasmania opened the second stage of Australia’s premier coastal bushwalking experience, the Three Capes Track. This stage will link Denman’s Cove, opposite Port Arthur, with Cape Huay, via 35km of redeveloped walking track which take in some of the stunning sea cliffs of the Tasman National Park, where white-breasted sea eagles soar above the ocean. One of the largest projects of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world, once the third stage is completed the track will offer walkers a multiday bushwalking and boating experience which can be taken independently or with a guided tour operator.
Mona foma (festival of music and art) kicks off Tasmania’s event calendar in style every January, when an Eminent Artist in Residence joins former Violent Femmes bassist, Brian Ritchie, in delivering Australia’s most eclectic cultural festival.
Brightening the darker winter months from April to August, the Lumina Festival umbrellas over 100 cultural, food and wine events.
Hungry? Hit Hobart’s waterfront across New Year’s Eve week for the Taste Festival and sample the Apple Isle’s best seafood, wine and cheese.
From around 29 December the sleek vessels competing in the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race start arriving into Hobart’s Salamanca Wharf.
The diversity of offerings from Tasmania’s plate may require multiple helpings. Descend the spiraled staircase of Hobart’s uber-trendy subterranean MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) located in the belly of the Moorilla Winery to discover the treasures within.
Explore one of the world’s most significant temperate rainforests on a multiday trek through the Tarkine Wilderness. Watch sea birds take flight as you sea-kayak at dusk in Coles Bay (bordering popular Freycinet National Park).
You can’t escape it – the debate over logging and the economy it supports versus the conservation and preservation of the pristine Tasmanian wilderness is a hot topic on the island. Everyone you talk to will have a strong and passionate opinion on the subject.
The Tassie food scene is a gourmet’s paradise, best exemplified by the diversity of produce found in the wilds of Bruny Island. The isolation and stunning coastal scenery of this island in the state’s southeast make it the perfect escape from the rat race, but it’s the artisanal produce that can be sourced here that elevates it to must-go. Whether it’s getting a frisky fill of oysters at Get Shucked Oyster Farm, downing a few glasses of pinot noir at Australia’s most southern winery, or gorging on freshly picked berries from the local berry farm, there’s no better place to taste Tassie on a plate.
Most bizarre sight:
The gothic grandeur of Australia’s oldest continually functioning brewery, the Cascade Brewery in South Hobart, never fails to draw a gasp on first sight. Ominously stretching towards the sky, it’s a structure that suggests the setting of a terrifying horror film rather than the reality, the Willy Wonka-esque home of one of Australia’s favourite adult brews.