Last Updated on July 9, 2020

This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclosure for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Are you planning a trip to the beautiful island of Tasmania? With fantastic scenery, beautiful beaches, a huge wilderness to explore and delicious food and wine Tasmania has loads to offer visitors.

Tasmania is the world’s 26th largest island and has over 2000 km of walking tracks and 18 national parks. In fact over 20% of the island is designated as a world heritage area.

Having recently returned from a 2 week road trip around the island I thought I would share some of our recommendations and tips we learnt along the way. These are my top 10 tips to make the most of your Tasmania trip.

10 Essential Tasmania Trip Tips

1. Planning your Itinerary

The first thing I would say when organising your Tasmania itinerary is not to try to cram too much in.  Although the island is small and the drives are relatively short especially if you are used to driving in mainland Australia it is still better to travel slowly and enjoy the sights.

Also decide what your main interests are – markets, food and drink, hiking, nature, history and plan around that. For example the famous Salamanca markets in Hobart are only on Saturday mornings.

View of Hobart and Salamanca Market

2. Tips for driving around Tasmania

Tasmania was made for road trips with some absolutely fantastic self-drive itineraries including the Great Eastern Drive a 180 km stretch along the eastern coast.

If you are flying into Tasmania rather than taking the ferry from Melbourne organise to pick up your hire car from the airport and you are all set!

We hired our car through Hertz and found the prices competitive and we were very happy with the service we received.

My top driving tips for Tasmania

  1. Drive on the left (obvious for Australians but not for visitors from countries who drive on the right!)
  2. Don’t race around the island – stop off and enjoy the sights along the way.
  3. Check you have enough petrol to get you to your destination (and where there are petrol stations on route) – there can be some distances between petrol stations.
  4. Be careful of the wildlife on the roads. I have never seen so many dead animals on the roads as I did in Tasmania (pademelons, echidnas, possums and even a Tasmanian Devil). If there is a live echidna on the road and if it is safe to do so drive round it as many cars are low enough to clip them.
  5. If you are hiring a car check if you want to go to Bruny Island as some of the rental companies do not allow it.
  6. If you are visiting in winter ice and snow may make driving more difficult particularly if you are not used to it. Some areas such as Cradle Mountain can be cut off due to the weather so do consider this when making plans to visit in winter.

Roadkill Recipes Book

Learn more – A complete road trip itinerary for Tasmania

3. Don’t spend too much time in the main cities of Hobart and Launceston

I would include a short stay in Hobart if markets and/or art interests you otherwise I would skip it (and Launceston) and head out to see what makes Tasmania so special.

There are many small towns that are definitely worth more of your time including the following:

Richmond – walk over the oldest stone span bridge in Australia

Coles Bay – the main entrance point to Freycinet National Park.

Port Arthur – the location of the first penal colony established in Australia.

Binalong Bay – located at the southern point of the Bay of Fires

Strahan – small port and fishing village on the west coast

Penguin – take a photo with the big thing (and yes its a penguin!)

Evandale – very picturesque  and one of the best preserved historical towns in Australia

We also had great fun ticking off the towns named after places in England – we found Derby, Sheffield and Melton Mowbray to be rather more attractive then their namesakes!!

Views of Tasmania - beaches, sea, port arthur and the hazards

4. Take time to smell the…lavender in January and tulips in October

In the summer months head to Bridestowe Lavender Farm and enjoy the vision of fields of purple and of course the scent of the lavender.

In October head to the the Table Cape Tulip Farm for fields of brightly coloured tulips. Tulip growing is so successful in the volcanic rich soils of north west Tasmania that bulbs are exported to Holland!

During the three-week annual Bloomin’ Tulips Festival thousands descend on the coastal town of Wynyard to enjoy the flowers and activities which culminate in Festival Day.

Tulip and Lavender fields in Tasmania

5. Sample some of the best food and drink available in Australia

Tasmania has the best food and drink we have had since we moved to Australia.

If you are in Tasmania during the right seasons you can find cherries, apples, apricots, potatoes and other fruit and vegetables for sale by the side of the road.

In some instances you help yourself and put money in a box. How refreshing that there are still places in the world where this works and though I am sure some people take advantage the fact that this trust system is used suggestions that the majority don’t.

Take the Cradle to Coast tasting trail in Tasmania’s north and north-west and feast on raspberries, cheeses, cherries, walnuts,chocolate, honey. olives, oysters and of course world class wines and cider.

The Tamar Valley 60 kms north of Launceston boasts of numerous wineries offering wine tasting and superb views.

The largest cherries and our welcome food pack featuring Tasmanian produce from Peppers Cradle Mountain
The biggest cherries in the world? And our welcome hamper from Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge with local Tasmanian produce

6. Don’t miss the native Tasmanian wildlife

Tasmania has an abundance of wildlife and you can expect to see lots of is when you are traveling round the island.

As in mainland Australia most of the mammals on Tasmania are marsupials (pouched mammals) though the monotremes (egg laying mammals) of echidna and platypus can also be seen on the island.

The Tasmanian wilderness has protected numerous species which can no longer be found on mainland Australia.

Tasmanian Devils

See them at – Tasmania Devil Unzoo

[email protected] on Cradle Mountain

Wombats

See them at – Cradle Mountain- Lake St Clair National Park (they emerge from their burrows in the early evening.

Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge – wandering the grounds and even the car park! Narawntapu National Park

Tasmanian Pademelon

See them everywhere!

Spotted tail Quoll and Eastern Quoll

See them at – [email protected] on Cradle Mountain,

Mt Field National Park 

Thylacnine or Tasmanian Tiger

See them at – Good question! Officially declared extinct in 1986. It took only 183 years after the arrival of European settlers to wipe out the entire population.

Short-beaked Echidna

See them everywhere! We spotted echidna at the Bay of Fires, Freycinet National Park and on Cradle Mountain.

Platypus

See them at – Lakes of the Central Highlands, rivers and streams on south, south-west and north-west coasts. (You can also find platypus in Queensland at Broken River)

Geeveston Circuit Platypus walk.

Cradle Mountain – Dove Lake.

Whales 

Humpback whales can be seen on the East Coast between May- July and September – November as they travel to and from the warmer waters of Queensland to give birth. There are many whale watching tours available.

Southern right whales from June to late October when many give birth in Tasmanian waters.

Fairy penguins

See them at – Penguin (obviously!) Bicheno and Bruny Island

Learn more – Guide to Tasmanian animals and where to find them

A wombat and a Tasmanian devil

Test yourself with my Australian animals quiz – “Do you know your quokka from your quoll?”

7. Take a hike!

If you enjoy hiking then Tasmania will be the perfect destination. With walking tracks totalling 2000 km your main issue will be deciding which ones to do!

Top hikes include the Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Circuit in Freycinet National Park, hikes in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the Wukalina Walk (a Tasmanian Aboriginal owned and operated walk in the Bay of Fires Region), the Three Capes Walk on the Tasman Peninsula and the Tasmanian Trail (the only long distance – 480 km – multi use trail in Tasmania.

If a shorter walk is more your thing try the Enchanted Walk on Cradle Mountain.

Tasmania Trip - various walking trails including the Tasmanian Trail

8. Pack carefully!

Tasmania has a climate of four seasons and can be bitterly cold during the winter months.

Even in summer the weather can change very quickly. For example the week before we arrived Cradle Mountain was averaging around 13 degrees during the day. The week we were there temperatures were in the late 20’s!

It is worth taking clothes that can be layered to keep you warm but then removed as the temperature changes.

Winter in Tasmania - a man in the snow and summer at Cradle Mountain

9. Read about Tasmania

Tasmania has an interesting and troubled history. There are a selection of books worth reading before you go (pus some recommended guidebooks)

10. Book some tours before you go

If there are specific things you want to do I would recommend booking tours before you go. Trips can be fully booked very quickly especially during the summer months.

Tasmania is growing in popularity with international visitors due to its inclusion on many top destination lists in recent years.

These are some tours through Get Your Guide that are worth considering when you visit Tasmania.

Bruny Island

Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise

Bruny Island: Full-Day Food, Lighthouse & Sightseeing Tour

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay Cruise with Lunch from Coles Bay

Wineglass Bay & Maria Island Scenic Flight Experience

Hobart

Hobart City Sightseeing Tour including MONA Ticket

Hobart: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

Additional information when planning your Tasmania trip

Accommodation options in Tasmania

There are multitude of accommodation options in Tasmania. We mixed luxury accommodation (Cradle Mountain and Freycinet) with more budget friendly stays Airbnb’s etc) in other places.

I book my hotel accommodation through booking.com as they offer free cancellation on many of their hotels and their range of available accommodation options is excellent. Click here for hotel options in Tasmania.

You could also choose to hire a camper van and tour Tasmania that way. Alternatively airbnb’s are also a popular option for visitors.

Check out the different airbnb options available in Tasmania or take a look at my top picks below.

Enjoy your trip to Tasmania

With fabulous scenery, natural landscapes, beautiful beaches, markets, fantastic food and wine, unique native animals, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, hiking trails and a cosmopolitan capital city home to one of the most famous art museums in the world Tasmania really does have it all!

If you are planning a visit to the “Apple Isle” you are sure to have the trip of a lifetime!

Related reading about Australia

This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclosure for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.