Tourist Attractions in the North
Cradle Mountain is Tasmania’s most famous peak. It is the fifth highest in the state and stands above the tranquil Dove Lake. You can tackle a visit to Cradle Mountain in a day or stretch it out over a week.
Arrive at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, and book the shuttle bus; cars aren’t allowed into the grounds.
Dove Lake is the most accessible walk; this 6km trek around the lake will take 2-3 hours to complete.
Cradle Mountain is also a great place to enjoy the snow. There is a substantial amount of snowfall during Winter, and with the great selection of walks, it’s accessible to most.
Our Tip: You will need a Park Pass to visit. We recommend purchasing your park pass ahead of time. You can buy one at The Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre, but there can be a wait.
The Cataract Gorge is a gorgeous basin located fifteen minutes from Launceston, featuring the world’s longest single-span chairlift. There are walking tracks, a cafe, swimming pool and toilet facilities.
Settler William Collins first discovered the Cataract Gorge in 1804. He wrote, “The beauty of the scene is probably not surpassed in the world”. The Cataract Gorge is easily accessible via car.
Derby’s Floating Sauna
Derby is home to Australia’s first (and currently only) floating sauna. Derby is an old tin mining town once the richest of its kind. Today, it’s loved for Blue Derby, a world-class hub of mountain bike trails.
On the edge of Briseis Waterhole is the traditional Finnish wood-fired sauna. Detox the body and plunge into the frigid lake, like the Scandanavians.
The floating sauna can be shared with others or booked privately.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate
Tasmania’s passion for lavender began at Bridestowe Lavender Estate.
In 1921 London perfumer CK Denny migrated to Tasmania with his family, bringing a packet of lavender seeds from the southern French Alps.
Tasmania had a similar climate to Provence, making it ideal conditions to grow lavender. Today, the Bridestowe Lavender Estate welcomes over 50,000 people a year.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate is a fourty-five minute drive from Launceston and covers 260 acres; it is the world’s largest privately-owned lavender farm. The iconic curved rows are unique to Bridstowe, the were implemented to better capture and manage rainfall.
They are open to the public to wander through the fields, take photos, and even enjoy a picnic. There is also a cafe on-site that serves signature lavender-infused ice cream.
Fun Fact: Entry is free during the off-season. There will be a small entry fee during peak season, from December to January.
The Nut was a volcano about 25-70 million years ago; now, it’s a tourist destination. Climbing The Nut takes twenty minutes as you ascend 152 metres to the summit.
Alternatively, you can buy a ticket to the chairlift and relax as you float to the top.
Low Head Penguin Tours
Low Head Penguin Tours offers an intimate penguin experience. On this paid tour, you will have access to a beach generally closed to the public. Over an hour, you’ll watch the little penguins pluck up the courage to leave the ocean and return to shore.
There’s a good chance you’ll come within metres of the little guys. Low Head is located along the Tamar River and is home to several other historic attractions.
James Boag Brewery
In 1853 James Boag arrived in Australia from Scotland with his wife and four kids in tow. Three months later, they moved to Tasmania. In 1883 James Boag took over the Esk Brewery, and it became known as Boags Brewery.
You can visit the James Boag Brewery Experience in Launceston, enjoy a guided tour of the brewery and finish with a tasting paddle.
Fun Fact: As of 2010, James Boag produces over 76,000,000 litres of beer annually.
The Tasmanian Arboretum is a 66-hectare botanic garden and the best location in Australia to see a wild platypus; platypus appearances are reliably witnessed in the Founder’s Lake. There are also eighty different bird species. You can spend several hours wandering the grounds, even longer, if you utilise their barbeques for lunch. The Tasmanian Arboretum is a not-for-profit and relies heavily on the help of volunteers.
Tazmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot is one of the largest maze complexes in the world; it is a fantastic experience for children and adults alike.
Tazmazia features four botanical mazes planted in viburnum and Chinese honeysuckle. The other mazes include the balancing maze and the yellow brick maze. The Village of Lower Crackpot is a quirky model village built to 1/5 scale.
Tazmazia also has a working lavender farm, with the beautiful Mt Roland as a backdrop.
Beaconsfield Mining & Heritage Centre
Beaconsfield is most known for the mine rescue of 2006. A minor earthquake triggered rockfall, killing one miner and trapping two others, Brant Webb and Todd Russell. The whole world watched on as a dangerous rescue mission commenced. Both miners emerged six days later.
The Beaconsfield Mining & Heritage Centre tells the story of the mine rescue and several other exhibitions.
Tourist Attractions near Hobart
Three Capes Track
The Three Capes Track is a four-day coastal hike spanning 48kms. You’ll start at the Port Arthur Historic Site before catching a ferry to the start of the trek – you may need to wade onto the shore during high tide.
Cabins are provided along the way and are architecturally designed to showcase your natural surroundings. Four days might seem intimidating; however, the Three Capes Track is intended to be accessible for most ages and abilities.
MONA, where do I start? Maybe Tasmania’s most prolific attraction. David Walsh, a multi-millionaire gambler, created the Museum of Old and New Art to (in his words) ‘bang above [his] weight’. MONA showcases Walsh’s $100 million private art collection and hosts some quirky events.
The building design is incredible; it is etched into the side of a cliff on the River Derwent.
MONA has several restaurants, a bar and a hotel. It is a wacky experience. Entry is free to Tasmanian residents, and there is a small cost for inter-staters/foreigners.
My Tip: Catch the twenty-five-minute ferry from Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier. The ferry will take you straight to MONA; there will be ninety-nine steps to climb on arrival.
Cascade is the oldest operating brewery in Australia and produces Tasmania’s most popular beer, Cascade Draught. Just a ten-minute drive out of Hobart, Cascade Brewery offers several experiences for beer lovers.
Take a guided tour, learn about their brewing process, visit previously unseen areas, and then finish with a beer paddle. You can also stroll the lush gardens and settle in at Cascade Brewery Bar.
Cascade is easily accessible by bus from the city centre. Take the 446 from near the waterfront, and there’s a stop at the brewery.
Fun Fact: Cascade limits the production of its beer and sells it mainly in Tasmania. They use excess production to brew for other brands.
Mount Wellington looms 1,271 metres (4169 feet) above Hobart. The mountain provides a jaw-dropping lookout accessible by car and several bushwalks, including The Organ Pipes.
These column-shaped cliffs were formed in the Jurassic period when Tasmania was separating from Antarctica. Mount Wellington is also one of the best (and easiest) places to enjoy the snow.
Mount Wellington is only a half-hour drive from Hobart, and you can often see the snow-capped peaks from within the city. You can also check the snow-cam for a better idea of the conditions. Or take the dedicated bus that takes you straight there.
Pinnacle Road will take you to the peak; it is a windy but safe overall, and it’s accessible by caravans and motorhomes.
There is no need for a Parks Pass, and entry is always free.
My Tip: Sometimes after heavy snowfall there can be road closures. Check the status of Pinnacle Road here. The tourist bus will still operate in snowy conditions.
Salamanca Market is Tasmania’s most well-known marketplace, operating for over fifty years. You’ll find local produce, coffee and artisan products at over two hundred stalls. Held every Saturday morning, it’s a bustling atmosphere.
Salamanca is near Princes Wharf and easily accessible from the city centre on foot. It’s also close to Battery Point.
Our Tip: Some stallholders may put their prices up to account for the market fees. In select cases, it may be better to order directly from their store online, or in person.
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is the second oldest museum in Australia. TMAG aims to preserve Tasmanian culture as a combined museum, art gallery, and herbarium.
One exhibition showcases a stuffed Thylacine – the now extinct marsupial, the Tasmanian Tiger. TMAG is accessible to all ages and offers free guided tours.
Iron Pot Lighthouse Cruise
The Iron Pot Lighthouse is the oldest original lighthouse in Australia. It sits alone on Betsy island, its sharp corners contrasting the surrounding rocks.
The Iron Pot Lighthouse Cruise will take you to Betsy Island and then along the isolated coast. Over the two-and-a-half-hour cruise, you’ll see hundreds of seabirds and maybe even a dolphin.
The cruise departs from Constitution Dock on Hobart’s waterfront. Along the way, you’ll pass the historic Battery Point and the Shot Tower.
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are the second oldest botanical gardens – the Sydney Botanic Gardens were founded two years earlier.
Popular features are the conservatory (built with sandstone walls), the Lily Pond and the Anniversary Arch.
Access to the gardens is free; however, you can book a fifty-minute guided tour. There’s also the Succulent Restaurant, showcasing Tasmanian wine.
Port Arthur Historical Site
Port Arthur is a town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula. The settlement began in 1830 and was the destination for convicts deemed the most hardened of British criminals. The remnants of the prison are a popular tourist attraction.
An entry ticket includes a guided tour as well as a harbour cruise. Additional tours include a lantern-lit ghost tour and the Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour, showcasing the final resting place for over 1000 convicts.
The Neck is a narrow strip of land connecting north and south Bruny Island. Climb the 279 steps to the Neck Lookout and witness the two bodies of water kept apart. Boardwalks and viewing platforms allow you to observe the wildlife, including penguins who return to their burrows at dusk.
Helpful Tip: To access Bruny Island via car, you’ll need to catch the ferry from Kettering or take a guided tour.
This tiled rock formation is a peculiar natural phenomenon. On the journey to Port Arthur, the Tessellated Pavement is a flat bed of stone engraved with straight intersecting lines. It has formed organically over time through a process called ‘jointing.’
Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum
Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum is a replica of the wooden huts built in Cape Denison, East Antarctica. These huts were used from 1911 to 1914 by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Douglas Mawson.
Heritage carpenters took hundreds of photos of the original hut. It was reconstructed faithfully and erected in Hobart, just 200 metres from the water where Mawson’s original expedition departed.
The replica museum is open to the public. It is near the waterfront, a five-minute walk from the CBD and close to Salamanca Market.
Tourist Attractions in the West
Gordon River Cruise
The Gordon River Cruise departs from Strahan and takes you to Hell’s Gates – the narrow entrance into the Southern Ocean – and Sarah Island – a nineteenth-century penal colony.
You’ll learn the area’s history while enjoying drinks and food from the bar. It’s a six-hour cruise and one of the most popular ways to take in the west coast’s raw beauty.
Wall in the Wilderness
The Wall in the Wilderness is an art project to commemorate those who shaped Tasmania’s central highlands. The huon pine slab stands three metres high and one hundred metres long, carved by sculptor Greg Duncan.
Engraved into the wood are timber harvesters, miners and hydro workers. The wall is open to tourists but take note! Photos are not allowed.