Tasmania is known for having an abundance of wildlife, breathtaking scenery and a warm sense of community. Visitors often arrive for the calm, relaxed lifestyle and the unspoilt natural beauty of the island. The adventure begins with tickets for the Spirit of Tasmania ferry on the mainland. Here are some travels tips to visit Tasmania.
The Ferry Ride
The journey from the mainland to Devonport takes 11 to 12 hours. If traveling by day, taking in the view helps pass the time. The ship also offers various amenities in the way of restaurants and deck bars. Pick up a souvenir or last minute personals at the gift shop. If unsure about what to see once docking, visit the tourism information center and plan an itinerary. There is live entertainment in the main bar and a gaming lounge for guests willing to challenge their luck. The ship's cinema presents the latest movies throughout the day. The last showing is 10:00 P.M. If sailing at night, enjoy the city skyline while sipping on a cocktail. Cabins and recliners are available day or night.
After arriving at the Devonport ferry terminal, go to the visitor centre and rent a car. The facility deals with a number of car hire agencies, which means guests have a large selection of vehicles from which to choose. The website carhiredevonportferry.net.au contains a full list of the agencies at the ferry terminal. Get in the car, pick and choose stopping points among the many famous communities along the coast.
Located approximately 99 kilometres southeast of Devonport, Launceston is the oldest city in Australia and Tasmania’s second largest. The metropolis features amazing Victorian architecture and quaint boutique shops. Perhaps visit the Josef Chromy vineyard and sample some of the island's finest wines, or take the tour of the historic Boag's Brewery. The spectacular Cataract Gorge lies just minutes from the city centre. Pathways meander around the gorge and provide the perfect perspective for taking photographs. The Mt. William National Park and the Bay of Fires is another scenic location that appeals to adventurous hikers. From December to January, the Bridestowe Lavender Estate is well worth the stop to witness the 265 acres of flowering, fragrant lavender fields and gardens.
Drive onward to Freycinet National Park and see the array of native animals that include possums, wallabies and Tasmanian devils. Swansea is home to colonies of muttonbirds and adorable little penguins. From the shore, visitors are often treated to the sight of dolphins, seals and whales. Heading southward along the coast, the journey continues to the Port Arthur Historic Site, which is considered the most popular attraction in Australia. Fascinating tours of the 100-acre plus facility are available day and night. Though brutal during the years of operation, the infamous history of the location includes the bizarre 1996 massacre.
If lucky enough to visit on a Saturday morning, the Salamanca Market offers a wide selection of fresh produce along with a menagerie of trinkets. Tour the Cascade Brewery and learn how ale is made. Drive to the top of Mt. Wellington, walk around and enjoy the view. Take the ferry to the controversial Museum of Old and New Art, which is popularly known as MONA . Art lovers might also tour the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Salamanca Art Centre. Make a point of stopping to eat at the Franklin Bar and Restaurant. Indulge in a meal of fresh seafood. The wine list features vintages native to Australia and imported from France and Italy. The venue also has beers from Tasmania and other worldly locations.
The Huon Valley
About 1.5 hours south of Hobart lies the scenic valley and the chance to stroll across the Tahune Forest Airwalk . High among the treetops, 40 metres above the ground, the cantilevered bridge cuts through the trees offering a memorable experience. Not far away are the Hasting Caves, which are hidden 40 metres below the surface. After touring the caves, stroll over to the thermal springs that stay a balmy 28 degrees. The location beckons visitors to dive in and relax in the soothing waters.
Driving northward back toward Launceston, many venture westward to the Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park . The rugged landscape features everything from U-shaped valleys and glacial lakes to waterfalls and dolomite formations. Within the park are numerous hiking trails that vary in length and intensity. The most famous of all is the Overland Track. The six-day hike travels through the heart of the mountain terrain. From the park, visitors have the choice of returning to Launceston or Devonport, turning in the rental vehicle and taking the three and a half hour flight back to Melbourne.