Ah, Tasmania – once wrapped in sleepy little packaging, the previously forgotten State just south of the Bass Strait is now on every Aussie travellers bucket list! For an economy mostly operating on experiential pursuits, it’s little wonder Tasmania is the weekender of choice for pleasure-seeking travellers from the north. Sure, there’s the requisite (and still beautiful) tourist stops such as Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay and Mount Wellington, but if you dig a little deeper, Tasmania’s layers slowly peel away to uncover some truly amazing gourmet feasts, fine wine, unique stays and eclectic experiences. From farm-to-table, biodynamic eateries to left-of-centre architecture, Tassie is a dynamic culinary and cultural surprise package!
Tasmania Travel Guide: My Favourite Things To See and Do
Sleep in a Converted Hydro-Electrical Facility
Perched on the deepest lake in the Southern Hemisphere and surrounded by some of the most dramatic natural landscape our planet has to offer, lies Pumphouse Point, an industrial water-power relic reborn as a designer wilderness retreat. Explore the myrtle forests or hike the nearby Overland trails, pack a gourmet picnic lunch and float the day away in a canoe or just settle in with a good book by the fireplace.
Take a Day to Experience The Museum of Old and New Art
The quirky, privately held art collection belonging to infamous gambler, David Walsh, needs no introduction, and if you haven’t been to visit yet you’d better get on your bike (or the camouflage MoNA Ferry, as it were) and do so.
Highlights of the subversive Disneyland include the Cloaca No. 5, 2006 (also fondly known as the poo room) by artist Wim Delvoye, which is fairly self-explanatory but just in case you’re still perplexed: the laboratory-like room is a series of giant test-tube instillations representing the human digestive system from the first sweet swallow to the last trip to the toilet. Needless to say it doesn’t smell so good.
Perhaps what is most intriguing about MONA, and indeed it’s equally curious owner, is the way Picassos are chucked next to nobodies and timeless Egyptian artefacts are shoved next to stuffed owls. It’s this sort of middle-finger revolution against Art Wank that makes MONA either irresistible or irritating… or both.
Wander The Salamanca Markets On A Saturday
On Saturday morning, Salamanca Place, situated along the banks of the Derwent River, comes alive with market stalls, buskers and of-course, camera wielding tourists eager to capture the perfect shot. It is here you can wander the 300 plus stalls and pick up everything from seafood to flowers to beautifully handmade jewellery and everything in between. Starting with breakfast at Zum Cafe, one can spend hours trawling Salamanca Markets for locally made trinkets and gourmet treats.
Stay on an Island All To Yourself
Just off the southern coast of Tasmania, about 2km North of Bruny Island, lies Satellite Island — a small, windswept patch of rugged beauty in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Guests must hire out the entire island- which means they have exclusive access to the wonders it has to offer (with a caretaker nearby to help should it be required). And wonders, there are many! Choose to sleep in a luxurious three-bedroom summer house, a designer converted boathouse where you can wake up to the sea just centimetres away, or even a fully kitted out glamping tent overlooking the cliffs.
The island pantry is fully-stocked for a gourmet feast and there’s a never-ending supply of wild Tasmanian oysters off the jetty — considered to be some of the best in the world – ready to be shucked and splashed with lemon! There’s even an organic herb and vegetable garden and orchard, and chickens to provide those just-laid eggs for breakfast. The island itself is the last stop before Antarctica, and its sunsets demand an audience. Absolute bliss.
Spot Seals, Dolphins and Whales on A Freycinet National Park Boat Tour
Discover a coast dotted with sparkling white sand beaches only accessible by water or a full day bushwalking. Explore the inner passage of remote Schouten Island, home to tiny penguins and seals sunbathing on the rocky outcrops, before heading into the Tasman Sea towards the stunning Wineglass Bay. Look out for various hidden sea caves, blowholes and waterfalls among the sheer granite cliffs and of course, the many dolphins playing in the water throughout the trip!
Get Your Instagram On at Captains Rest in Strahan
This quirky little “artsy shack” located in the quaint village of Strahan, has managed to unequivocally capture the social-media zeitgeist of a generation. It’s not hard to see why, the thoughtfully decorated tiny home just steps from the Gordon River, comes complete with a jetty, canoe and a bunch of clucky ducks, affectionately known as “The Girls”. Captains Rest is lovingly filled with trinkets and oddities that surprise and delight. The village of Strahan, once a bustling Port on Tassie’s East Coast, is worth getting to know – boat cruises provide an unforgettable journey through World Heritage Wilderness into the pristine temperate rainforests of the Gordon River and Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
The window-sill overlooking the jetty just might be the most instagrammed airbnb shot in Tassie.
Fly to Bruny Island on a Vintage Seaplane
Above and Beyond Seaplane Tours take you up, up and away to nearby Bruny Island from the Hobart Harbour for a scrumptious beach picnic. The lovingly restored de Havilland Beaver amphibious plane, can also be booked for private tours to more far-flung places like Freycinet National Park or the Derwent Valley for some frolics in the field and wine-tasting.
Book a Gourmet Cooking Experience at The Agrarian Kitchen
The day begins with a small group of wannabe cooks donning gumboots foraging for fruits and vegetables, and ends with a gourmet seasonal feast prepared and shared by the group. The head chef at this Tassie culinary institution is on hand to lead the way and answer any questions.
Visit Off-Grid King Island
Fancy a spot of Golf, anyone? Well, this tiny island in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania has two of the best “Links” courses in the world! But don’t worry, if you’re not that keen on putting then visiting simply to chill out and admire the views from the sauna at Porky’s Beach Retreat should be more than enough to get you there.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Tasmania Travel Guide!