Tasmanian Travel Guide
Most travellers head to Hobart and use this beautiful city as their base for day trips to Port Arthur, Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park, the Bay of Fires and Bruny Island. The art lovers also leave time to visit the world renowned MONA (Museum of New and Old Art), and for markets then don’t miss Salamanca Markets on Saturdays. Cradle Mountain is very popular with hikers and can be visited in a day from Launceston or as part of a multi day tours from Hobart. Wherever you travel in Tasmania, their amazing food and wine is an important part of the islands charm. Don’t leave without trying the beautiful seafood, wonderful meat and all the fruit and vegetables you can imagine. The next hardest decision you will have to make is, which of the truly first class wines to accompany them!
Temperatures and rainfall varies considerably across Tasmania. Always be prepared for sudden weather changes and carry additional layers and rain shells. The West Coast of Tasmania experiences three to four times the precipitation below.
Summer (Dec – Feb): Min 9°C Max 24°C
Avg monthly rainfall 48mm Avg rain days per month 6
Autumn (Mar – May): Min 6°C Max 22°C
Avg monthly rainfall 47mm Avg rain days per month 7
Winter (Jun – Aug): Min 4°C Max 14°C
Avg monthly rainfall 53mm Avg rain days per month 8
Spring (Sep – Nov): Min 7°C Max 18°C
Avg monthly rainfall 56mm Avg rain days per month 9
Weather data for Hobart
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Tasmania Public Transport
The primary public transport option is Bus and Coach services. The major Cities and towns have a effective bus networks and coaches connect between most locations and even some of the popular walks and destinations.
Metro Buses service the major cities of Hobart, Launceston and Burnie. The services are city based and do not offer transfers between cities, see Tassielink. (http://www.metrotas.com.au/)
The Metro bus system uses either buy on board paper tickets or a Greencard. Greencards can be purchased and topped up online, using the App, at Metro Depots or selected agents. (http://www.metrotas.com.au/fares/greencard/)
Tassielink Transit offers a regional coach services connecting major locations throughtout Tasmania. The service connects with some of the popular walks, and it is recommended to book in advance. (http://www.tassielink.com.au/index.htm)
Taxis are a convenient method for point to point travel in Tasmania. Throughout Australia dialling 13CABS (132227) will put you in touch with the nearest Taxi service. Taxis can also be pre-booked. It is recommended to obtain a quote for using Taxi’s for long distance travel.
Tasmania is serviced by most major car rental companies, of course if you are going there for the views would you rather be staring over a steering wheel or enjoying the view out the window as a guide does all the driving? (https://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/)
The Metro App allows you to pre-plan your trip, view schedules and top up your Greencard. If you are planning on using the Metro App makes life easy. (http://www.metrotas.com.au/communication/apps/)
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Tasmanian Major Events
Hobart- Salamanca Markets
Every Saturday Morning
The markets take place every Saturday morning from 8.00am to 3.00pm at Salamanca. There are hundreeds stalls selling everything from beautiful produce, flowers, to arts & crafts.
More information Salamanca Markets
Mona Festival of Music & Art
13th to 20th January, 2019
This is Tasmania’s largest contemporary music festival but it is so much more, with a wide range of arts represented. Dance, Theatre, Performing Art and New media all come on stage to join local and international musicians. The first 7 days is focused in Launceston and the next week at MONA in Hobart
More information: MOFO
Sheffield – Steamfest
9th to 11th March, 2019
Celebrating everything Steam powered, from Traction engines to Trains with vintage vehicle displays and old farm machinery. While you are in Sheffield make sure you allow some time to see why it is called the Town of Murals.
Supercars – TyrePower Tasmania Supersprint
6th to 8th April 2019
Raced around the Symmons Plains raceway just ten minutes south of Perth, Tasmania, the track challenges drivers with its long straights and tight hairpin bends. Most visitors stay at Launceston 25 minutes north and make the 30 klm each day to the track.
Targa Tasmania – The Ultimate Tarmac Rally
29th April to 4th May, 2019
Targa Tasmania is the world’s largest and longest (2000 klm) tarmac rally and draws competitors and spectators from all over the world. Vehicles range from modern purpose built race cars to vintage machines.
More information:Targa Tasmania
14th -23rd June, 2019
Fight off the darkness and welcome in the light in this Winter festival. A celebration of ancient and contemporary mythologies around winter, with large scale public art, theatre and food. There will be plenty of interactive art, lots of light and noise and as always a dark side, which in the past has included an early morning nude swim in the Derwent river, not for the faint hearted.
More information:Dark MOFO
Launceston – The Royal Launceston Show
10th October, 2019
This is primarily an agricultural event, held at Invesresk, focusing on the primary industries of the area with livestock displays, equestrian events and wood chopping. The show runs from Wednesday to Saturday with the public holiday on the Thursday.
More information:The Royal Launceston Show
Hobart – Royal Hobart Show
25th October 2019
This is the biggest agricultural show in Tasmania and has a strong focus on domestic and farm animals, as well as historic equipment and vehicle displays. For those less excited by static displays there is the sideshow and fireworks.
More information:Royal Hobart Show
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race – Constitution Dock
26th -28th December 2018
Join the celebrations at Constitution dock as the fleet arrives from Sydney. The fastest yachts can be expected to complete the course, with favourable weather conditions, in around 2 days. There is normally a constant stream of finishers making their way down the Derwent River through to New Year.
More information:Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Hobart – Taste of Tasmania
28th December, 2018 -3rd January, 2019
This week long free festival celebrates the food and wine specialties of Tasmania. Whether it be wine, boutique breweries, Tasmanian produce or specialty foods you will find them all in the heart of Hobart. The festival also includes family entertainment, art and music.
More information The Taste of Tasmania
Getting to Tasmania
Launceston Airport (LST) is Tasmania’s second busiest airport with domestic connections to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. There are no regular, scheduled international flights. The airport is situated approximately 15 kilometres from the CBD. (http://www.launcestonairport.com.au/)
Airport Shuttle Bus
Shuttle buses met each flight and offer drop offs to most city accommodation places, the Casino and University. There is no requirement to book the service from the airport although it is required to book a pick up from your accommodation at least two hours, preferably 24 hours, prior to your pick up time. (http://www.airporterlaunceston.com.au/)
This is a convenient way to get to and from the airport directly connecting with your destination. The Taxi rank is located at the front of the terminal. Pre-booked taxis are advised if you have special needs. In most parts of Australia dialing 131008 will put you in touch with the local taxi service. (www.taxicombined.com.au). You can also book a taxi using the Smart Hail taxi app. (http://smarthail.com/ )
As an alternate to a taxi a pre-booked limousine service is available and will normal meet passengers in the baggage collection area.
Most of the major car rental companies have outlets located at Launceston Airport. (https://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/) There are rental car counters in the arrivals area of the terminal.
The main short term parking station is located directly opposite the terminal. There is a long term car part at either end of the terminal as well as an undercover area. (http://www.launcestonairport.com.au/calculator)
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There is a regular ferry service connecting the Apple Isle with the mainland. Ferries run between Melbourne and Devonport daily and takes approximately 10 & 1/2 hours not allowing for loading and unloading times. The service runs predominantly at night with a daytime service during peak periods. There is a range of travel options, and it advisable to book ahead. (https://www.spiritoftasmania.com.au/)
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Hobart offers a variety of tours & activities, culture and heritage. It is a wonderful city to walk around and the architecture reflects it earliest days. Wherever you go Mt Wellington will be keeping on eye on you, it offers a great backdrop. Salamanca Place is one of Hobart’s favourite places to hangout, great restaurants, galleries and pubs. It is a row of wonderfully restored Georgian Style Warehouses. Many great finds are just waiting for you! This is the location for the Saturday morning markets, so if you are in Hobart on a Saturday then you must visit the markets. Hobart sits on the sea and there is a lot happening around Constitution Dock and also Victoria Dock.
The new number 1 attraction is MONA, Museum of Old & New Art just a short boat trip away. You cruise to the gallery which adds to the experience. It is an amazing gallery, unique and way too hard to explain but be sure to visit it. The grounds are really nice and they have a great restaurant as well. MONA is a destination in itself.
Time to go just a little further afield and visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. You will learn all about the Tassie Devils, their threats and what is being done to protect them. You will also see koalas and wombats and learn how they are related, who would have thought this possible!
Another great area to visit is Mt Field National Park where you find the beautiful Russell Falls and it is the home of the Tall Trees ( Swamp Gums 80 metres tall). Nearby is the summit of Mt Wellington where the views over Hobart are spectacular, and if you are up for it the Mountain Bike ride down breath taking.
There is still a lot more to Hobart so be sure to leave enough time to see it all.
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Port Arthur is a 90 minute drive from Hobart, with most tours stopping off at historic Richmond on the way. The convict era was from 1830 to 1877, a dark period in Australia’s history. Port Arthur went on to have many other lives. You will get to learn all this when you take a tour. There are over 30 buildings, ruins, and restored period homes set in 40 hectares of grounds. The size and beauty of the grounds and gardens surprise people, myself included. When the history becomes a little overwhelming for you then it is time to wander the gardens and choose a good tree to rest under. Port Arthur became World Heritage Listed in 2010.
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Freycinet National Park is where you will find beautiful Wineglass Bay which is rarely out of “Top Ten Beaches in the World” list. One can certainly understand why it gets the vote. The bay has formed in the eroded areas between ‘The Hazards’ and Mt Graham.
“The Hazards” red and pink granite mountains rise out of the sea and look spectacular , especially in the morning or late evening light.
The walk up to the lookout captures the bay so perfectly. Another option is to walk down to the beach and have a swim in the rich turquoise waters of the bay. Make sure you allow some time to observe the wildlife or go bird spotting.
Bruny Island not only has beautiful scenery it also produces amazing food. Whether you discover Bruny Island by land or by sea you will be amazed by the power of nature at every turn.
From the sea you will see the rugged coastline which has Australia’s highest sea cliffs, spot dolphins, fur seals and migrating humpback whales (seasonal). Lets not forget to look up and see the sea birds against the blue sky. There are eco-boat tours which get you very close to the action and the pristine water.
If a mini coach tour is what you had in mind you will also see this unspoiled beauty and wildlife. Your bonus will be stopping to try the exceptional local food. I can still taste the oysters and salmon coming straight from the sea to my mouth! I guess you can’t call it “paddock to plate” but we can call it “sea to plate”. It is not only seafood, but cheeses, berries, chocolates, whiskey and wine (Australia’s most southerly vineyard).
On the island hopefully you will see an Albino Bennett’s Wallaby, only found here, sandy beaches, Cape Bruny Lighthouse, farmlands, sheltered bays, bush tracks and more. Be sure to include Bruny Island when planning your trip to Tasmania.
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Cradle Mountain is located in the North West Region, in Lake St Clair National Park, 2 hours from Launceston. The scenery is breathtaking, another area of Tasmania’s magnificent wilderness. This area has waterfalls, lakes, wildlife, flora & fauna and spectacular views. Have I already mentioned the beauty of the area?
There are lovely little towns and Sheffield is no exception. The history of Cradle Mountain is depicted on the walls of the town. If you are a keen photographer you will have lots to capture here, a little change from what nature offers you.
The walks are plentiful and are suited for all levels. The hardest part will be deciding which one you want to explore. The area changes with the seasons.