Tasmania or Tassie (as the Aussies call it) is an absolute must visit if you’re traveling around Australia. It’s often overlooked as people prioritize other destinations in Australia instead. For this reason, Tassie remains relatively undeveloped and untouched, often seen as rustic and perhaps even a little backwater. Even many Australians themselves have not visited it yet.
Tasmania is one of the southernmost places in the world. Next stop Antarctica. With only a population of 530,000 people, this remote island under Down Under is not at all touristy and quite off the beaten path.
I decided to visit Tasmania since I wanted to explore someplace a little different. I even passed up going to Sydney, Great Barrier Reef, and the Outback to come here instead. So let me share with you the 6 reasons why Tasmania should be a must-visit destination on your next trip to Oz.
1. Unspoiled Rugged Nature
My first impression of Tassie was simply WOW! It is absolutely stunningly beautiful! For a small island, there’s such a diverse range of scenery due to the microclimates. If you love nature as I do, then you’ll enjoy all the picturesque landscapes and outdoorsy activities that Tassie has to offer.
Most of the island is protected as National Parks or World Heritage Sites. There’s plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, and multi-day treks on the Overland Track or Three Capes Track for example. Even if you prefer less strenuous activities, minimal effort is needed to be rewarded with jaw-dropping views.
From white sandy beaches along the East coast at the Bay of Fires and Wineglass Bay at Freycinet National Park…
To unique coastal views at Maria Island, Bruny Island, or Tasman Peninsula…
To the high mountaintops of Cradle Mountain or Mount Wellington…
To giant sand dunes at Henty Dunes…
To calm serene lake scenes at Lake St Clair or Dove Lake…
To flowing rivers at Cataract River Gorge or Franklin-Gordon Wild River National Park…
To the tall trees in Mt Field National Park or Tarkine Rainforest…
And gushing waterfalls like Montezuma Falls (Tasmania’s highest waterfall at 360 feet) or Russell Falls…
There’s at least one thing that everyone can find to enjoy. If these photos aren’t enough to make you want to visit Tasmania, I have plenty more. I seriously took a bazillion photos of all the stunning landscapes. These are just a handful of some of the amazing views. I will have to do a future photo essay blog post on all of the beautiful natural sights.
With microclimates comes slightly unpredictable weather. I thought the weather was extremely erratic but it added a bit of fun to one’s day since you were bound to experience all 4 seasons in one day. It could be extremely sunny and warm one minute, and next minute, it’s drizzling, cloudy, and cold. Just have patience and whatever you’re experiencing will soon pass. Additionally, there’s hardly any pollution in Tasmania. It boasts some of the purest air and cleanest water to be found on the planet.
2. Unique Wildlife
Since Tasmania is isolated from Australia and the rest of the planet, many plants and animals have run wild here and are not found anywhere else in the world. The most famous is, of course, the Tasmanian Devil. However, the animal looks nothing like the whirlwind Looney Tunes cartoon image from our childhood memories.
I also saw wild wombats, wallabies, and echidnas
Huon pine is the oldest living tree in Australia and one of the oldest living organisms on Earth. Timber wood from this tree is very special due to its high oil content, making it waterproof, unlikely to
3. Delicious Locally Grown Food
As a foodie, Tasmania did not disappoint when it came to stuffing my face with delicious food. Almost all of the food is locally grown and sourced. As an island, it is no surprise that Tasmania exports a lot of seafood especially abalone and salmon
Tasmania is also the only place in Australia where you can order and eat wallaby. Wallaby is a shorter and stouter version of a kangaroo that you’ll find everywhere in Australia. It tasted like a delicious beef steak!
You can also go wine tasting in the Tamar Valley. And Bruny Island is definitely not to be missed since it is home to many farms. You can find farms specializing in oysters (Get Shucked), cheese, chocolate, and Manuka Honey with its special medicinal (apparently anti-cancer) healing properties.
Visit Australia’s oldest operating brewery, Cascade Brewery, in the capital of Hobart.
The Taste of Tasmania is a renowned food and wine festival that runs between Christmas and the New Year in conjunction with the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race if you want to time your visit accordingly.
4. British Colonial History
I was surprised to learn that many of Australia’s oldest structures were found in Tasmania such as the oldest bridge, which was constructed using convict labor.
As a former British penal colony, you learn about all the horrors of how convicted criminals were treated at Port Arthur. Walking around the ruins transports you back in time and really gives you a feel for what prisoner life was like.
5. Thought-Provoking Art
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart is home to a very interesting eclectic art collection. Some people may find some pieces to be weird and even shocking. The museum building is a work of art itself. It’s basically a cave carved into the sandstone by the waterfront. There’s hidden nooks and crannies for all the exhibits. Some exhibits are immersive and interactive. When I went, there were all these light installations that played with your sense of perception. You definitely need to take the time to explore and also check out the winery and brewery located nearby too.
The museum has a very playful vibe which gives off an impression that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. For example, you can take a ferry from downtown Hobart to the museum and sit on sheep (not real!) during your ride. As the ferry approaches the museum, it’s an impressive view with the mountains as the backdrop and you know instantly that your visit will be
I was also pleasantly surprised by the museum’s technology-driven touring experience. There are no placards or signs posted anywhere to describe the art pieces. You actually have to use the iPod provided to learn and read (or listen) about the artists and their art pieces.
MONA FOMA and Dark MOFO are annual music and arts festivals held in the summer and wintertime, drawing visitors from all over the world and starting to put Hobart on the must-visit destination map. I’ve heard they’re worth checking out if you are visiting during that time. Similar to the museum, the festivals have a history of pushing the envelope and challenging the norms with its acts.
The Salamanca Market in Hobart is not to be missed on Saturdays. Save all your souvenir shopping to do at this huge outdoor market that hosts over 300 stalls. You can pretty much find everything here – all locally made products too. There’s artwork, jewelry, bath and body products, clothing, timber (including huon pine) and leather goods, ceramics, and glasswork. It’s a good mix of crafts and food to keep you energized. Unlike some markets where you constantly see the same things over and over, every vendor here sold different items.
These are the main reasons to visit Tasmania and they’re only the tip of the iceberg. I definitely wish I had more time to explore even more of the island. I would happily go back again to bask in all of its natural glory!