Soon after arriving in Australia I did what all broke backpackers do, and immediately took a short term temp contract in what quickly became the worst job I have ever had in my life. The only thing that got me through were great coworkers, cheap and plentiful wine at the bar next door to the office, and planning my great three month expedition around Australia. Now while I can’t say I have checked absolutely everything off my life (there are still a few places, like Cooper Pedy, which I didn’t make it to on my last trip), I did manage to visit all states and territories, and all major cities, while travelling around Australia by a variety of overland means — except Tasmania.
Going to Tasmania has remained high on my life, but always manages to get pushed back in favour of flight deals to exotic Asian or Pacific locations. Its been 4 years since my epic Australian adventure, and I still have not been to Tasmania.
In fact, I did plan to spend the Christmas long weekend there just last year, but an unexpected change in flight time (which the lovely airline who I will not name did not email me about) saw that trip fall through at the very last minute.
It looks like I will have another chance let to visit Tasmania, although still for just a weekend. I will be heading there for one weekend in July to get cozy in some luxury cottages near Cradle Mountain, hike during the day, and sit by the fire with a glass of red wine by night. But it’s still only just for a weekend…
So now I am planning what to do with my next Christmas break (I’ll have two weeks). Right now it’s a toss up between one or two weeks Cruisin’ Tasmania in a campervan, or heading off to one or two distant Pacific Islands. I’ll keep you posted on that…
But with that in mind, here are some of the things on the top of my Tasmania list. Readers from Tasmania, or those who have visited, I invite you please to critique my list and let me know some other great places in the comments.
1 – MONA and Hobart
There are lots of reasons to visit Hobart. Food and wine being a big reason. But the main draw for me is actually MONA – the museum of old and new art. This eccentric private collection features over 300 works of art, ranging from Egyptian mummies, to some of the most controversial contemporary art of the time. From what I hear, you almost need several visits to be able to take in everything on offer.
2 – Tasman National Park
The Tasman National Park is not too far from the UNESCO listed Port Arthur Sites (number 4 on my life), making it easy to tick off these two items without too much driving. The park is situated on the rugged Tasman Peninsula and contains a spectacular coastal environment including soaring 300 metre high dolerite sea cliffs.
The park features many beautiful vistas and rock formations which are accessible by car, a bunch of great day walks, and even a few multi day walks for the more adventurous.
3 – Freycinet National Park
Plenty of walking tracks, pink mountains, and one of Australia’s best beaches makes this one an easy item on my must do list. I would appreciate any suggestions on good hikes to do in the region (with a toddler)!
4 – The UNESCO World Heritage Convict Sites
I’ve always been interested in visiting UNESCO world heritage sites, and Tasmania has quite a few. Australia’s convict past is common knowledge, and out of the 11 convict sites on the UNESCO world heritage list in Australia, 5 of those are in Tasmania.
The Tasmanian sites are Port Arthur Historic Site and the Coal Mines Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula; the Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart; Darlington Probation Station on Maria Island; and Woolmers and Brickendon Estates near Longford.
Now, as much as I love history, there is probably a limit to how many convict sites I can see before I start to feel like I’ve seen them all, so from what I have read, I think my top 2 would have to be the Port Arthus Historic site and the Coal Mines Historic Site. I have chosen these two as they seem to be the largest and most accessible. They also have the most preserved structures from the time. The Coal Mines Site is also supposed to be home to several good and scenic walking tracks around the site, which almost appeals to me as well.
5 – Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires, on the north east coast, is named after the colour of the type of lichen which grows on the rocks. From the photos I have seen, the natural beauty of this place alone is more than enough to make me want to visit.