|Sitting just 240 kilometres south-east of mainland Australia, Tasmania has long had the nickname Apple Isle due to the large amount of fruit grown there. In Tasmania, you are never far from water and mountains - it has more than 1,000 mountain peaks. More than 40 per cent of the island is protected as national parks and reserves, which are home to some of the world’s rarest animals.
|Travel Guides to the Regions of Tasmania
Hobart: The southern-most and second oldest state capital, Hobart is an historic port situated in a picturesque natural setting beside the deep Derwent River estuary and in the shadow of the mass of Mount Wellington. Hobart has retained its links with its maritime past by retaining its Georgian colonial stone buildings and fishermen's wharves that are lined with sandstone warehouses.
King Island: A large island off the north-west corner of Tasmania which lies in Bass Strait in the path of the Roaring Forties, the ever-present westerlies that circle the world's southern latitudes. Its regular rainfall, clean air and year-long green pastures are ideal for raising sheep, quality beef and dairy cows, and as a result, the island is famous for its produce. Lightly populated, it's the ideal destination for anyone wishing to 'get away from it all' while remaining remarkably close to 'it all'.
Great Western Tiers & Cradle Mountain: a short drive from Tasmania's northern regional cities, the Great Western Tiers are the front door to Tasmania's most well known peak - Cradle Mountain - and form part of the rugged highlands that dominate central Tasmania. Mountains, caves, waterfalls and lakes are among the spectacular natural wonders which conjure up mystical moods. It is a spiritual place and a region of rare and diverse beauty.
Tasman Peninsula: The remains of a drowned mountain range and one of the most accessible of Tasmania's stunning stretches of coastline, the peninsula is a place of great natural beauty with sheer cliff faces, natural arches and ocean vistas stretching to the horizon towards Antarctica. The peninsula is also home to some of Australia's most significant historical convict sites, including the Port Arthur Penal Settlement and the convict coal mines on Norfolk Bay.
Tamar Valley: A picture of old world charm and rural tranquillity, the broad estuary of the Tamar River was the gateway to Tasmania's fertile north for the early European settlers. Today, traditional apple orchards have been joined by thriving boutique vineyards and a variety of fruit farms. At the head of the valley is Launceston, Tasmania's second city and commercial centre for Tasmania's inland north.
Bruny Island: A place that gave shelter to seafarers of days gone by like Abel Tasman, James Cook and William Bligh, Bruny Island still retains much of its wilderness charm. The island has an abundance of indigenous birdlife, marsupials and marine life. Whales, seals, dolphins, penguins, sea lions, sea eagles, albatrosses, cormorants, gannets can be seen in their natural environments. Its game reserves, rainforests, breathtaking coastline and abundance of boating and fishing locations make it one of the most popular destinations for day trips from Hobart.
Macquarie Harbour: situated right in the heart of Tasmania's Heritage Listed South West Wilderness region, Macquarie Harbour's tranquil waters are surrounded by a rugged coastline, mountain ranges, fast flowing rivers, steep gorges, rainforest wilderness and ghost towns. The town of Strahan, situated on Macquarie Harbour, is the starting point for Gordon River cruises and air tours over the South West Wilderness.
Freycinet Peninsula: There are few places in Australia where you can you find pink granite mountains rising straight from the sea to form a magnificent sheltered waterway like those at this stunning location. The village of Coles Bay sits at the foot of the granite mountains known as the Hazards and on the edge of the world-renowned Freycinet National Park. Within the park is Wineglass Bay, one of Tasmania's most photographed localities that has been acclaimed as being one of the top ten beaches in the world.
Huon Valley: A popular day trip destination from Hobart where the Huon River winds its way through orchards, wineries, lush green pastures, set against age old forests of Huon Pine that cling to the side of rugged glaciated mountains. Agricultural and fishing villages dot the landscape alongside the road which terminates at the most southerly point in Australia that is accessible by car.
Because it is an island, Tasmania is the only state of Australia that cannot be reached by road, unless of course you take the car ferry from Melbourne to the north coastal Tasmanian port of Devonport. This is a popular option for mainlanders as one needs a motor vehicle when touring Tasmania as public transport options are limited.
Sea: Tasmania is linked by sea to the mainland via the car and passenger ferries Spirit of Tasmania I and II, which ply the waters of Bass Strait every night (duration: 10hrs 30 minutes), and during daylight hours in the summer months. Getting on and off with a car is an easy, painless experience; the only delay is likely to be going through the quarantine check at Devonport which is slow in peak periods. Once that is behind you, there's something magic about heading along the coastal road to Devonport to Burnie just after sunrise with the road to yourself, with cows grazing on the lush green grass beside the shoreline.
Air: Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and King Island are all gateways for domestic air traffic from the mainland to Tasmania. The majority of flights are from Melbourne and Sydney and go to Launceston or Hobart. The latter is still classified as an International Airport with full customs and immigration facilities, but the airport has not had a regular scheduled international passenger service since the 1990s (from Christchurch, New Zealand). Qantas, Virgin Blue, Jetstar, Tasair, REx and Tiger Airways provided regular services to the mainland. Tasair caters also for internal air travel, with daily scheduled flights connecting Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, Devonport, King Island and Flinders Island.
- Melbourne to Hobart: 1 hr. 15 minutes
- Melbourne to Launceston: 1 hr. 10 minutes
- Melbourne to King Island: 55 minutes
- Melbourne to Burnie: 1 hr. 10 minutes
- Sydney to Hobart: 1 hr. 55 minutes
- Sydney to Launceston: no direct flights
- Devonport to King Island: 1 hr. 20 minutes
- Burnie to King Island: 50 minutes
- Hobart to Devonport: 35 minutes
Road (coach): Numerous operators provide coach services around Tasmania, linking the cities and regional centres.
Road (private motor vehicle): Tasmania's towns and cities are linked by a network of well signposted, well maintained sealed highways and major roads which allow for easy travel between localities. The major routes through regional Tasmania are -
- Bass Highway - Burnie to Devonport and Launceston
- Brooker Highway - Hobart to New Norfolk
- Midlands Highway - New Norfolk to Launceston
- Tasman Highway - Hobart to Launceston via east coast
- Lyell Highway - Hobart to Queenstown
- Marlborough Highway - Bronte to Deloraine via The Great Lake
In Tasmania, the speed limit on the open road is generally 110 kilometres per hour. In Tasmania, a driver’s licence from your home country or another Australian state will usually suffice for up to three months, as long as it has photo identification and it’s for the same class of vehicle you intend to drive. If you’re staying more than three months, you’ll need to get a Tasmanian drivers licence.
|Useful information for visitors
Australians in general dress casually, except for formal functions and venues. As Tasmania has a cooler climate and, in places, more rainfall that the mainland states, a jacket or warmer clothing is recommended and in winter is essential, particularly during the winter months or if visiting coastal or mountainous regions. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended whenever bushwalking activities are planned. If you visit Tasmania in the cooler months, it's best to wear clothing you can layer because even the winter sun can be quite warm.
Banks in Tasmania are generally open:
9.30 am - 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday
9.30 am - 5.00 pm on Fridays.
Shop trading hours
Mondays to Wednesdays, Fridays, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Thursdays, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Saturdays, 9:00 am - 12 noon.
Shops in larger towns and cities often open beyond these hours on Saturdays (to 5:00 pm) and Sundays (10:00 am - 4:00 pm), but small town stick strictly to the above hours. This can include cafes and take-away food suppliers.
|The Best Times to Visit Tasmania
More than anywhere else in Australia, Tasmania enjoys four seasons, each with its own unique pleasures and appeal.
Summer (December, January, February) is festival time Festivale in Launceston, Taste of Tasmania, in Hobart, and small local fairs.
Autumn (March, April, May) is a mellow season with calm, sunny days, and the best time to sample some of the best, fresh Tasmanian produce at events like the Taste of the Huon and Agfest, or join in the excitement of Targa Tasmania or the biennial cultural celebration 10 Days on the Island.
Winter (June, July, August) is the time to relax indoors by a log fire, or head out for an invigorating walk and then sit down to a delicious Tasmanian meal. You can join with the locals at the Longest Night Film Festival and Antarctica Mid-Winter Festival in June and be warmed by serenading voices at Hobart’s Festival of the Voices, or indulge at the Chocolate Winterfest, in Latrobe, in July.
Spring (September, October, November) is the season of cool, fresh and green countryside, the sweet scent of gardens in bloom and the bite of fish on a lure. Blooming Tasmania begins with tulip festivals in the north and south and continues through until May.
Tasmania has four distinct seasons. The warmest months are December, January, February and March. Autumn has still sunny days and riotous colours as 200 year-old oaks, elms, birches and our own native beech, turn from gold to red in preparation for winter. Winter runs from May through August. However, because we sit in the Southern Ocean, the world's weather engine, and our climate can vary greatly - on any given day.
The average maximum daily summer temperatures sit between 17 and 23 degrees Celsius (62 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit) and winter daily between 3 and 11 degrees Celsius (37 and 51 degrees Fahrenheit). Our location below the 40th parallel means our summer evenings have long languid twilights.
Rainfall varies dramatically across the Island. Hobart, with an average of 626 millimetres (24 inches) is Australia's second-driest capital city (after Adelaide). While on the west coast an annual average of 2,400 mm (95 inches) ensures the rainforest thrives.
The minimal artificial light in Tasmania's night sky means it is an exceptional location for viewing one of the wonders of the cosmos, the magnificent Aurora Australis.