7 reasons why Tasmania is a great choice for your next summer holiday.
Tasmania, Australia’s island state, is a great destination for a summer holiday. You will find that Tasmania supplies its best in a neat package, where all attractions are within a drive of only a few hours. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you can see it all in only a few days – Tassie has a lot to offer to the touring traveller.
Tasmania is a place to suit travellers of all ages and abilities and there is plenty of interest for all. Here are 7 reasons why it is such a good choice.
Spring through to autumn is a great time to visit Tasmania. The daily temperature might be hot in summer, but heatwaves don’t last long, so there are many comfortable days at this time. No need to be concerned about the blistering heat of central Australia or the horrendous humidity of the wet season in the Top End here.
Yes it does rain in Tasmania, and quite often on the west coast, but there are many fine sunny days too.
The history of Tasmania can be found both in cities, such as Hobart, and at sites that were once penal settlements.
Hobart, which retains much of its historic charm, features many buildings from the 1830s, including the Customs House (now Tasmania’s parliament house) built in 1835 and a hotel (also known as the Customs House) built in 1844, which is situated handily for those wishing to celebrate their success in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Today in Hobart, few high rise buildings have been allowed to spoil the natural beauty of its setting located between the Derwent River and Mt Wellington, which makes a fine backdrop to the river and the city.
There are many sites that reflect a convict past in Tasmania, such as Richmond Bridge, only 25 kilometres from Hobart. Convicts hauled the sandstone from the quarry and constructed the bridge after the foundation stone was laid in December 1823. The bridge was opened to traffic in 1825 and is still in use today. In 2005, the bridge was added to the Australian National Heritage List.
The most well-known of Tasmania’s penal settlements is the World Heritage listed, Port Arthur Historic Site, where there are many structures still standing. Included among the buildings in this large park are the church at the top of the hill, the barracks building that housed the convicts and the hospital building and gaol.
Port Arthur is on the Tasman Peninsula where there are many natural features along the coastline of interest to travellers too, which leads onto my next reason for visiting Tasmania for your summer holiday – the natural features and scenery.
2. Natural features, scenery and beauty
Whether it is beaches, coastlines, mountains, forests or national parks, Tasmania has it all somewhere on the island.
The Tasman Peninsula features a rugged coastline, formed by the action of the Tasman Sea. Near the narrow neck of land joining the peninsula are the rocky features of the Blowhole, Tasman Arch and the Devil’s Kitchen. Closer to Port Arthur, Remarkable Cave can be explored when the water level is low.
In the north, Cradle Mountain supplies a perfect backdrop to Dove Lake and the other glacial lakes of the area. Forming the northern end of the wild Cradle Mountain-Lake Sinclair National Park, Cradle Mountain’s landscape also features ancient rainforest, alpine heathlands, buttongrass and stands of deciduous beech trees.
Cradle Mountain is the starting point for the famous 6-day Overland Track that crosses the mountain terrain and finishes on the shores of Lake Sinclair.
Freycinet National Park is on the east coast where fringing peaks surround bays of white sand beaches. The highlight here is Wineglass Bay, which is accessible from a climb to the lookout and then down onto the beach.
Interesting caves can be explored at Mole Creek Karst National Park in the north and at the dolomite Hastings Caves in the south, where a dip in the Thermal Springs Pool is located nearby.
There are many waterfalls in Tasmania, but the most popular of these is Russell Falls in Mt Field National Park. The walk to the falls passes through forests of tall trees and giant tree ferns. Fringed by rainforest tall trees, the water cascades down several levels in a stunning display.
3. Four-wheel driving
A variety of terrain is available for some 4 wheel driving experiences. One of the best leads to the beautiful Montezuma Falls. Located near Zeehan, the narrow access track follows the route of a former 2 foot-gauge tramway, that was used for mining purposes in the area. The narrow track weaves through fern-lined cuttings and rainforest trees and sometimes over tramway sleepers that still remain.
Montezuma Falls are one of the highest in Tasmania and are accessed from the 4-wheel drive track by a swing bridge over the river gorge below.
The north west coasts are home to some beautiful beaches and in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Reserve these can be driven on. When conditions are favourable, the beaches provide some wonderful driving experiences, but care must be taken when crossing the rivers or when the perch lakes drain to the sea.
There are plenty of opportunities to go fishing along Tasmania’s wild coastline and in inland rivers. From rocky shores, to peaceful lakes, to boats, fishing experiences here offer a good return for fisher people.
For those who are looking for a more active holiday, there are plenty of opportunities to explore on foot. Parks and Wildlife Service has produced a booklet of 60 Great Short Walks, available from most visitor information centres, or downloadable from the website at http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=1315 as a PDF. There is even an app available now from the iTunes store. Great Short Walks cover a full range of abilities and ages, from easy to more challenging, long or short, and a range of environments from seaside to mountain.
Then there are the longer, multiday walks, such as the Overland Track and the Three Capes Track.
Tasmania is full of surprises, including the wildlife.
There is plenty of wildlife to be seen in Tasmania and you don’t need to do multiday bushwalks to see it. Due to the island’s isolation from the mainland, species that are struggling to survive or have gone extinct on the mainland can still be found in Tasmania.
This is true of Tassie’s iconic species the Tasmanian Devil. The Devil is the largest surviving carnivorous marsupial, a hunter and scavenger with powerful jaws and teeth that enable it to devour all its prey, including bones and fur.
Although many of the Devils have been wiped out by the Facial Tumour Disease, they may be spotted at night in coastal heath, forest and woodland of northern, eastern and central Tasmania. They are also popular in wildlife parks.
Bennetts Wallabies and Pademelons are both abundant and widespread and can often be spotted during the day or at dusk in many national parks.
Eastern Quoll is an opportunistic carnivore, taking small mammals such as rabbits, mice and rats as well as invertebrates. Smaller than the Tasmanian Devil, it is widespread and locally common, but mostly nocturnal.
Other mammals to keep an eye out for are brushtail possums, ringtail possums and wombats.
Hobart is the capital of Tasmania and the second oldest capital in Australia after Sydney. Hobart offers a blend of heritage, scenery and culture, nicely mixing a modern lifestyle of galleries, theatres and restaurants within the elegant sandstone buildings of the 1830s. Mt Wellingrton offers superb views over Hobart and the Derwent River.
Launceston in the central north is Tasmania’s second major city. The region features city and country charm, including old towns, culture, food and wine and beautiful scenic highlights.
Cataract Gorge, right on Launceston’s doorstep offers walking tracks, swimming pool, the world’s longest single span chairlift, kiosk and restaurant, a suspension bridge, wildlife and lookouts with spectacular views.
There is much to see and do in Tasmania, so why not choose it for your next summer holiday. And if you’re not convinced, why not purchase a copy of our DVD Tasmania: the Devil’s Playground. You will find many of the best spots and things to see and do there. And this DVD has the added bonus of being on special right now.