State of Tasmania

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 rarest animals in the world.

Guide to Tasmania

Top destinations

Capital City: 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.
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  • Huon Valley
    A fruit growing district in Hobart, the valley incorporates busy towns and sleepy villages, serene boutique farms and World Heritage Wilderness areas, all accessed by roads that wind through a world of beautiful valleys and waterways. Bruny Island lies across the still waters of D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
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    • Tasman Peninsula
      One of the most accessible and stunning stretches of Tasmania 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. Australia’s largest collection of convict era relics have been preserved at the notorious Port Arthur Penal Settlement.
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      • West Coast Wilderness
        A world Heritage Area boasting a rugged coast, serene natural harbours, densely forested mountain ranges, fast flowing rivers, steep gorges, rainforest wilderness and ghost towns. Major attractions include the Franklin and Gordon Rivers which flow into Macquarie Harbour.
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        • Launceston and Tamar Valley
          Home to Launceston, Tasmania’s second largest city. Tamar Valley is the second most important fruit growing district in the state, with award winning wineries and many orchards that offer door sales of their produce.
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          • Stanley and the Cradle Coast
            A quaint town, nestled at the foot of Circular Head, which is the core or volcanic plug of an extinct volcano. The Nut at Circular Head rises 152 metres above sea level, dominating the coastal plain. Stanley is just one of many reasons for visiting the scenic north-west corner of Tasmania.
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            • Cradle Mountain
              Australia’s most recognisable mountain peak, the familiar jagged contours of Cradle Mountain epitomise the feel of a wild landscape, while abundant wildlife, icy streams, alpine heathlands, colourful deciduous beech and ancient pines reflected in still glacial lakes entice many visitors to stay and explore.
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              • Freycinet Peninsula
                Jutting out between The Tasman Sea and Great Oyster Bay on Tasmania’s east coast, the Freycinet Peninsula is a rugged and beautiful stretch of land, noted for its white-sand beaches, secluded coves, panoramic vistas, rocky cliffs and excellent bushwalks. The park is famous for Wineglass Bay, just one of its many white sandy beaches.

Getting There

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.

By sea
Tasmania is linked by sea to the mainland view 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. The Spirit of Tasmania operates daily from Station Pier, Melbourne to Devonport in Tasmania, running overnight, with additional trips in daylight hours during peak travel periods (mainly Summer); duration approx. 12 hours. The drive from Devonport to Hobart is 285 km (allow 4 hours).

By 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. Much of the air traffic into Tasmania is through Hobart International Airport. In addition to domestic and general aviation operations, Hobart Airport, located 17 km from the city on a plain between Frederick Henry Bay and Barilla Bay, provides the only international gateway to the island. Hobart is one of the few cities in Australia to enjoy curfew-free air services. Launceston Airport is also widely used, particularly for travellers from the mainland seeking access to the north of the state.. The main routes followed are:

Hobart to/from:

Sydney 1 hour 55 min.
Melbourne 1 hour 15 min.
Brisbane (direct – limited flights per day) 2 hours 35 min.
Brisbane (via Sydney or Melbourne) 4 hours 10 min.
Perth (via Melbourne) 4 hours 15 min.
Adelaide (via Melbourne) 2 hours 35 min.
Darwin (via Melbourne or Sydney) 7 hours 15 min.

Launceston to/from:

Sydney (via Melbourne) 3 hours 5 min.
Melbourne 1 hour 35 min.
Flinders Island (Sharp Airlines) 35 min.
King Island (Sharp Airlines) 1 hour 35 min.

Burnie to/from:

Melbourne (Regional Express) 1 hour 15 min.

King Island to/from:

Sydney (via Melbourne) 3 hours 5 min.
Launceston (Sharp Airlines) 1 hour 35 min.
Wynyard (Sharp Airlines) 45 minutes
Melbourne (Regional Express) 55 minutes

Flinders Island to/from:

Melbourne (Sharp Airlines) 1 hour 5 min.
Launceston (Sharp Airlines) 35 minutes

Getting Around

By Coach
A number of coach operators provide coach transport services and organised tours from Hobart.

Self drive
Driving a motor vehicle is the easiest way to get around Tasmania and its surrounding area, particularly for visitors. You can hire a car in all the major cities and towns of Tasmania, or you can bring your own car to Tasmania via the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne. The ferry’s only port of call in Tasmania is Devonport, a city in the state’s north on the shores of Bass Strait. Hobart is 285 km or just under 4 hours drive south from the Devonport ferry terminal.

There are few parts of the state of interest to visitors that can’t be reached in motoring comfort, although lesser roads, whilst sealed, do tend to be narrow.

In Tasmania, the speed limit on the open road is generally 110 kilometres per hour, with 50 or 60 kph in built up areas. 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 is for the same class of vehicle you intend to drive. If yor’re staying more than three months, you will need to get a Tasmanian drivers licence.

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