Tasmania Travel Guide

Tasmania is a fun place to travel. It's right on our doorstep but it feels like overseas. Every time we go, we discover even more things to do and when it comes to visiting, it's just about at the pinnacle of excellence, for any destination in Australia. It's got something for everyone, it's easy to get around and the food, places to stay and things to do are exceptional. There are of course a few handy things to know about it before you travel. This is a little guide we've prepared for you, which might help you work out what to do.  

A few facts about Tasmania:

  • It's the size of Switzerland. 
  • It takes about 6 hours to drive from Hobart to the far northwest corner. 
  • You can fly in and out of airports in the north (Launceston) and south (Hobart). 
  • It has one of the highest tourism return visitation rates of any state in Australia. 

Published by Simon Mustoe

Duration of stay

Because of its proximity to mainland Australia, we're fortunate to be able to drop into Tasmania, whenever we like. So it's not necessary to do the whole island state in one go. If you do want a trip that takes in much of what it has to offer, 8-9 days is a reasonable start ... and you'll still be wanting more when you leave.

Otherwise, weekend or long-weekend breaks, 4 days, a week or longer ... there's always a rich diversity of things to do. 

Getting around

Like all of Australia, the most convenient way to get around is to drive yourself. 

There are bus trips every day but these are confined to the top tourist attractions. Small group tours are do-able if you've got the budget (see costs section, below) but the vast majority of visitors drive themselves.  

The roads are good and travel distances aren't particularly long. We often recommend a few days north and south, meaning a 4-hour or so trip on one day. It's pretty special though. You can either take the highway or go over the mountains. Whichever you do, the scenery is delightful and there are plenty of places to stop along the way. 

We've made a list of some of the things that you can do in Tasmania. The survey we have attached, which this month includes a prize to win a weekend trip, asks about this range of activities. If you fill that in, we can come back to you with some ideas and maybe even help you organise your trip*.

*A question we often get asked - how do you get paid for this and does it cost us more? No, we are part of the travel trade, our specialists get paid in a similar way to how the supermarket gets paid when you buy groceries. We don't create 'organised' tours, we book the experiences and make sure you know how to get around. The freedom to explore is still yours. 

The ability to tailor any trip to interests

Because of Tasmania's shape and relatively small size (e.g. compared to WA, Qld and Victoria) it's quite decentralised, which makes for a diversity of good day trips, as you can get to a lot of the state very conveniently.

It's also a very eclectic travel destination, so it has something for everyone. It's exciting for our travel specialists to develop guests itineraries - particularly when we know the experience-owners so well and they are run by lovely, dedicated and genuine enthusiasts.    

So if you have a 7-day trip, you can for example, slot in 5 day-trips. Likewise, a weekend, you can do one or two things well. Or, if you're looking for something more extended, you can do things like spend a few days on walking tours. There are also a range of unusual accommodation places, though these are often more luxurious, there's everything from the Art Hotel to log cabins and glamping.

Here we've made a list of just some of the things you can do.

  • Kayaking inland waterways in remote world heritage areas
  • White-water rafting on wild rivers
  • Glamping and walking in the Tarkine wilderness
  • Walking along the summit of the highest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere
  • Cycling tours exploring the city and surrounds
  • Modern art stays and museums
  • Seeing and photographing endemic birds and native mammals
  • Fly fishing on remote wilderness lakes
  • Scenic flights over mountains to take boat trips on isolated, pristine waterways
  • Meet the makers whisky, wine or cider tours
  • Sailing the D'Entrecasteaux onboard Sydney to Hobart fleet yachts
  • Discovering traditional wooden ship-building and local produce
  • Gourmet food and wine tours 
  • Exploring caves and short walks in national parks
  • Learning about convict history and heritage
  • Unusually-located, luxury accommodation stays

If you complete a travel profile (here) and fill in you details, we'd be delighted to come back to you with some suggestions.

Drive times, location of places to eat, seasonality and current wildlife activity ... these are all things we advise about. It's most important to us, that you get the trip you want (especially where wildlife is concerned) and that there is a good balance of travel, experience and relaxation. Without these insights, it would be all too easy to create an itinerary that's all driving or no relaxation!    

How long before should I book?

The more we arrange travel for people, the more we find we have to advise on early bookings.

We're a huge country used to having it all to ourselves but that's changing. We're still relatively low infrastructure. So for instance, there may only be one or two reliable places to stay in a given region. There are more travellers in the world than ever before. Australia is a nation of 27 million people and there are only 500,000 people in Tasmania but 1 million people visit each year. 

There are accommodation places that book out very far in advance. The more unusual it is, the more likely it is to need early reservations. 

We always recommend booking a few months in advance, at least, to avoid unfortunate missed opportunities. There are also various events on throughout the year. The Australian Wooden Boat Festival, for instance, attracts 200,000 people. Most of Hobart is already fully booked for those 4 days.  

What does it cost?

We've reviewed dozens of travel packages all over Australia and come up with this as a rule of thumb when staying in a range of moderate to premium accommodation. 

PRICE, estimated per person per day, twin-share

AVERAGE (range)             TOUR TYPE

$280     (205 - 340)          Self-drive

$440     (322 - 537)          Small group touring

$710     (460 - 890)          Fully escorted 

We've just completed a self-drive 8-day package for guests coming from America and this cost at the upper end of the self-drive option but includes a night in the Henry Jones Art Hotel and a day flight and tour to Melaleuca. If you stay longer in one place and do fewer experiences, then the cost per day comes down. Often for us, it's a simple matter of making sure our guests stay in the right place - that makes all the difference. For instance, on Bruny Island, you can stay in a fantastic wildlife retreat and be a short distance from a place where, seasonally, you can watch native wildlife and penguins, by just driving out after an affordable dinner of local produce.  For families or larger groups, the price usually comes down of course, as there are more people sharing the fixed cost and children's prices apply to most experiences. 

Some examples of trips

Below are some varieties of trips we have created previously but this is only tip of the iceberg.  

Wildiaries • September 2016