Once a state for convict transportation, there’s now little trace of Tasmania being the tragic tale it once was. On the contrary, with its stunning natural beauty and rich culture, it’s a place on many bucket lists! Here are some reasons for our mania over Tasmania!
1. The insur-mount-able view at Cradle Mountain
Magnificent and stunning, Cradle Mountain peers at its reflection in the glacially-formed Dove Lake, as if aware that it’s one of Tasmania’s most precious natural treasures. Although a favourite with tourists, Cradle Mountain remains tranquil – and its abundance in vegetation could make other mountains green with envy!
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Located within Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, there are a good range of long and short walks surrounding the mountain. The Enchanted Walk, for example, is a half -hour walk and leads you to cascading waterfalls, pools, and rainforests. Serious hikers should have a go at the world-renowned Overland Track, which covers 65 kilometres of ground and takes 6 days to explore!
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Address: Cradle Mountain TAS 7306, Australia
2. You’ll step up your fitness game at The Neck at Bruny Island
A short ferry ride from mainland Tasmania will take you to Bruny, an island about half the size of Singapore. The Neck is a piece of land connecting the northern and southern Bruny, and walking all the way up will lead you to a panoramic view of the entire island!
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And just like a neck, you’ll be able to hold your head up high when you tell your friends you climbed a total of 279 steps!
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Address: North Bruny TAS 7150, Australia
3. Bridestowe Lavender Estate will help you stop and smell the flowers
Take a field trip down to Bridestowe Estate’s lavender fields if you’ll be in Tasmania during January or February, when the flowers are in full bloom! Walk into a sea of purple that runs over 200 kilometres of land. Lavender helps you relax, but you’ll not only smell the flowers – Bridestowe grows the only kind that’s suitable for cooking, so you’ll be able to taste them too!
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If only it were possible to take the entire farm back home to calm our nerves in the hectic city, but the closest way to do so is to purchase the farm’s pure lavender products, which include Bobbie the Bear, an adorable teddy bear that also doubles as a lavender heat pack!
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4. You can be the angel to Tasmanian Devils at Cradle Mountain
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These critters may look harmless and cuter than the Warner Brothers cartoon character, but their bark (or screech) is just as bad as their bite! In fact, convicts exiled to the island once thought these tiny screaming creatures were tortured souls!
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Of late, these little devils have been plagued by a mysterious disease called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), and a sanctuary has been set up by the Devils@Cradle group for visitors to get close to the devils and be educated about their situation.
5. The West Coast Wilderness Railway will keep you on track with nature
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Go loco as you chug-chug in the sweeping views of Tasmania, venturing by the gorge-ous King River Gorge into a breathtaking rainforest on a whistling steam locomotive train!
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Imagine the Hogwarts Express crossing over to the National Geographic channel, and if you book the Queenstown Explorer tour which takes you to an old mining town, the History Channel too!
6. You can look at waters that literally “dazzle”
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No, this isn’t a scene from Avatar! Phytoplankton have made their way to the shores of Tasmania, creating this neon phenomenon known as Sea Sparkles, or bioluminescence.
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The best time to look for them are on nights when the weather has been calm and sunny after a downpour in the day, and although these organisms can be found anywhere in Tasmania, your best bet would be to head to the southern coasts. Let your night be lit!
7. The Bay of Fires will ignite your wanderlust
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You may associate its name with its orange lichen-covered boulders, and we’re not smoking you, but that’s not how the Bay of Fires got its name! It was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux (incidentally, his last name sounds a little like “Furnace” too), who spotted several Aboriginal fires lined along the coast.
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With the cool blue sea hugging a cluster of vibrant granite rocks, here’s where fire meets water. And you’d be surprised that the white sand in the quiet beaches along the bay is far from charred by the fiery presence of the boulders! Haven’t warmed up to the idea of visiting the area yet? In 2009, Lonely Planet named it the hottest travel destination of the world!
Address: The Gardens TAS 7216, Australia
8. Wineglass Bay will quench your thirst for the wilderness
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Located in Freycinet National Park is Wineglass Bay, which resembles the shape of a goblet. Known as one of the best beaches in the world, Wineglass Bay’s beauty is anything but watered down, and you’ll be staring out at the turquoise Tasman Sea with diluted dilated eyes.
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Featuring a scenic background of pink granite peaks from the Hazard mountains and water as blue as the sky, you’ll certainly feel like your glass is always half full when you’re here!
9. You’ll light up if you catch The Southern Lights
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Who doesn’t want to catch Mother Nature’s most colourful lightshow? Although a non-ticketed event, it’s challenging to get a viewing of this display, but Tasmania is a hotspot for the Southern Lights! The lights prefer showing up at beaches and at still, shallow bays, which Tasmania has plenty of.
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Unlike the Northern Lights, the Southern Lights are in view throughout the year all over Tasmania, though you’re most likely to see them in September. Zoom in to places with little light pollution like Dodges Ferry and Cockle Creek, because the au naturale Southern Lights can’t stand man-made lights – they’re a little fake.
[P.S. Is it your dream to chase the lights? Catch the magnificent Aurora Australis at these 5 spots!]
10. Row, row, row your boat rapidly down the stream at Franklin River
Get your heart racing against the picturesque backdrop of the idyllic Franklin River! Rescued from destruction due to protests in 1984, there can’t be a better way to get to know the untouched Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park than to raft through its limestone cliffs, pools and unreachable rainforests! Franklin River is the only major wild river in Tasmania, and you’ll have a splash of a time getting through grade 3 to 6 rapids!
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Just in case you aren’t wild for rapids, but your heart beats rapidly for the wild-erness, the Franklin River Nature Trail makes for a very casual walk. Strolling past ethereal trees and the Franklin River and Surprise River will take you just 30 minutes!
Address: Lyell Hwy, Franklin- Gordon TAS 7001, Australia
11. At the prison ruins of Port Arthur, you’ll want to extend your time learning about Australian history
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Before it became a dream holiday destination, Australia was a nightmarish final destination for prisoners. Almost half of those prisoners were transported to Tasmania, and the most “difficult” ones were sent to Port Arthur. Now an open-air museum, what’s left of Port Arthur are the haunting relics of its past. If you’re able to withstand the eeriness of this place, you can opt for a ghost tour, which is known to be one of the spookiest out there!
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It takes much grid to explore the ruins at night, so if you’re not up for it, head over to the instaworthy Tessellated Pavement instead! The grids you see here aren’t manmade – they were rocks that had been flattened and eroded by sea water!
12. The Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) will draw you in
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One of Tasmania’s must-see places, the MONA Museum doesn’t just put up paintings and force you to think them through, it’s known for its quirky artwork that are sometimes interactive as well. And by quirky, we mean along the lines of a “Fat Porsche” display to make a point about consumerism!
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13. Speaking of art, the surreal Painted Cliffs at Maria Island are looking for a curator
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The patterns on these sandstone cliffs were “hand-painted” by the trickling of groundwater, which eventually stained them, but left them looking pretty as a picture! A favourite spot among photographers, the Painted Cliffs are also the perfect place to visit for a thought-provoking brush with nature!
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Address: Maria Island, Australia
14. Lights will guide you home at Mount Wellington’s observation deck
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If the elusive Aurora Australis and Sea Sparkles are a no-show, an easier but rewarding alternative are the impressive lights of Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart, which you can view at Mount Wellington’s observation deck! While you’ll just be admiring the lights of one city, it’ll feel as if you’re at the top of the world.
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Address: Mount Wellington, Wellington Park TAS 7054, Australia
15. The Three Capes Track will actually make you want to take a hike
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Recently introduced in 2015, the new kid on the walk block, the Three Capes Track, is one of Australia’s hottest attractions! The trail runs on an 82-kilometre track, and if you’re one for glamping (glamorous camping – camping without in-tents-sive camping gear), you can fall asleep in well-supplied huts and make dinner with cooking facilities that aren’t made of wooden logs.
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Rest in comfort without compromising the most important part of any hiking trip – the view! The eye-popping views on the Three Capes Track are the best part, and you won’t get the disappointment you get from cliffhangers.
16. Sightseeing at the 1800’s town of Evandale will be revolution-ary
Now you can add time-travel to your bucket list too! Evandale is a National Trust classified Georgian village with well-kept heritage buildings that’ll let you have a glimpse of life in the 1800’s. The village’s only clear sign of activity would come from the Evandale Market, where stalls display local crafts, produce and used books on Sunday mornings.
Walk to Clarendon House (sorry, no horse carriages!) to see one of the most remarkable Georgian houses in Australia. Besides its manicured garden, you’ll also be able to explore the well-fashioned rooms of this colonial house, which was built in 1836 by a wealthy merchant.
Address: Evandale, Tasmania 7212, Australia
Charming visitors in with its jaw-dropping scenery and otherworldly tranquillity, Tasmania has undoubtedly walked out of its longstanding sentence as an island with a brutal rep. It’s transformed down-under into a world-topper, becoming the only Australian destination to make it on Lonely Planet’s ‘Top 10 Regions to Visit’ list in 2015!