Travel to Tasmania, Australia

We’ve all heard of Tasmania, and yet it remains one of Australia’s least-visited states. This is a mistake! Over the years its reputation has deservedly grown, but it’s still possible to experience its beautiful views, flourishing natural habitats, and indigenous historical sites without hordes of tourists alongside you.

Perhaps it’s Tasmania’s location as an island off the south coast of mainland Australia that means many visitors don’t make the trip, or maybe its lack of famous sights. Instead, Tasmania is rugged and untamed. Don’t miss out on the likes of the Bay of Fires, one of the most beautiful coastal hikes in the world and a great spot for scuba diving, picture-postcard Wineglass Bay with its pristine beach, and Port Arthur, which offers a fascinating insight into Tasmania’s convict history. Holding it all together is capital city Hobart, famed for its sweeping mountain views, world class coffee, and a growing art scene. Why had you already heard of Tasmania? The Tasmanian Devil, of course! There are numerous places here to see these fascinating marsupials in the flesh. They’re a bit different to the Looney Tunes version, but don’t hold that against them. If you want to see a side of Australia that many travellers miss, make sure you don’t overlook Tasmania.

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The fastest way to reach Tasmania is to fly from mainland Australia. Many arrive in Melbourne on the south coast and then hop across. Most will land in capital city Hobart, but you can also fly into Launceston and other destinations. You can also reach Tasmania by sea by boarding the Spirit of Tasmania in Melbourne. This takes between 9 to 11 hours.

Hobart has plenty of trendy galleries and cafes that hip young things shouldn’t miss. Outside of the city you should prepare to be active. The vivid orange rocks and untouched beaches of the Bay of Fires is unmissable, and Three Capes Track offers a spectacular hike around the Tasman Peninsula. If you’re confident in your fitness you can tackle Cradle Mountain, a tough hike rewarded with beautiful views across Saint Clair National Park. A day at Port Arthur, a World Heritage Site, is a superlative look at Tasmania’s past as a convict colony, and a sightseeing cruise around scarcely-populated Bruny Island offers a terrific look at local wildlife.

If you’re not Australian, you will need a visa to visit. There are a few available depending on what you're planning to do doing during your visit. If you’re visiting as a tourist, you need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). This costs around £15. If you’re planning to stick around for a while and earn some money, you must apply for an Australian Working Holiday Visa. These must be arranged well before you’re due to travel, as they can't be acquired once you're in the country.

Unlike much of mainland Australia, Tasmania isn’t ludicrously hot at any time of year unless a heatwave hits, and it frequently rains. In fact, it’s not that different from the UK! This means what you need to pack will depend on the time of year. Visit in summer and you can pack t-shirts and perhaps a light raincoat. Travel in winter and you’ll need something warmer and a little more water resistant. Whatever the time of year, bring good walking shoes or hiking boots to make the most of all the amazing walks.

Tasmania is a destination best enjoyed at a leisurely place, hanging out in Hobart or enjoying the scenery. So, if you were driving every day with regular stops, ticking off all the hotspots, you could probably see most of it in two or three weeks. If you’re not in a hurry, make that at least a month. There’s no need to tear through it all like the Tasmanian Devil.

Although Tasmania isn’t as big as the mainland Australian states, you’re probably going to need some wheels to get around. Hiring a car and driving yourself is not as intimidating here as doing so in the Outback. If you travel to Tasmania by ferry you can bring a car with you. Guided tours are also a good option, as well as tourist buses in some areas of the island.

Tasmania is brilliant for anybody interested in Australia’s idiosyncratic wildlife. Including Tasmanian devils! These carnivorous marsupials are native to nowhere else on the planet, so there’s something special about seeing them in their natural habitat (or, realistically, in a sanctuary). Narawntapu National Park to the north is great for wildlife spotting, particularly wombats, and if you head to the lakes of the Central Highlands you have a good chance of spotting a platypus.

We generally recommend heading there for Australian summer (December to February) to take advantage of warmer temperatures and lower chance of rain. This is ideal for seeing the coastline and many of the other walks. That said, snow in winter (June to August) makes sights like Mount Wellington just that little bit magical. Travelling in spring or autumn means things will be altogether less predictable.

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