Tasmania for First-timers
Two hours southwest of Launceston, Cradle Mountain National Park attracts nature lovers from all corners of the globe.
While there are enough things to see, do and taste to keep you occupied for days on end, there are a number of standout sights and experiences that must make your to-do list.
Read about them in our first-timers’ guide to Tasmania.
What to See and Do
Bay of Fires
Located in Tasmania’s northeastern corner, the magnificent and unspoiled Bay of Fires presents a magical and awe-inspiring landscape of stunning contrasts. Blue seas splash at immaculate white-sand beaches fringed by burnt orange boulders and green bush lands.
The Freycinet Peninsula
Equal distance between Launceston and Hobart, on Tasmania’s east coast, the Freycinet Peninsula showcases some of the world’s most pristine coastline – in particular Wineglass Bay – and an abundance of fascinating flora and fauna.
Two hours southwest of Launceston, Cradle Mountain National Park attracts nature lovers from all corners of the globe. One of Tasmania’s most well-known tourist destinations, Cradle Mountain is an iconic and ancient World Heritage Listed environment, home to grand alpine peaks and serene lakes.
Just 10-minute walk from Launceston CBD, sheer cliffs line the South Esk River and water cascades over rocks into the blue pools of Cataract Gorge. Nature at its best, Cataract Gorge is a majestic destination that truly showcases the beauty of Tasmania’s wilderness.
Home to South Bruny National Park, Bruny Island provides the ultimate Tasmanian wilderness experience. There are bushwalks and eco-cruises to enlist on; and fur seals, fairy penguins and white wallaby to witness first hand.
Located an hour and a half southeast of Hobart, former convict settlement, Port Arthur is one of Australia's most significant heritage areas. Today, the World Heritage Listed site, proudly displays historical attractions like a convict penitentiary, church and hospital.
The historic sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place and Salamanca Square are Hobart’s favourite cultural haunts; boasting galleries, retailers, restaurants, cafés and bars galore.
Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
Since opening in 2011 MONA has become one of Tasmania's top tourist attractions. The privately-owned museum showcases an art collection valued at more than $100 million, mixing controversial pieces with antiquities, rare coins and large-scale artworks.
Renowned for its deep and dark convict past, Launceston is thought to be one of the most haunted cities in the world. Ghosts are said to roam the streets, buildings, and churches, and can be ‘experienced’ on local ghost tours.
Where to Eat and Drink
Follow the yellow and blue signs throughout Australia’s “coolest” wine trail, The Tamar Valley Wine Route (20 minutes north of Launceston) where 32 cool climate wineries can be found. Or drive 15 minutes east of Hobart’s city centre to experience the cellar doors and wineries of the Coal River Valley wine region, home to the famous Meadowbank Estate.
Indulge in the ultimate beer lover experience with a tour of James Boag’s historic brewery in Launceston. Or enlist on a tour of Australia's oldest brewery, Cascade Brewery Co in Hobart, and learn a about what brewers call 'The Feel".
Meet the state’s farmers and providores and sample their renowned harvests and products at Tasmania’s premier food market, Farm Gate Market,held in Hobart on the corner of Elizabeth and Melville Streets every Sunday. Or celebrate Tasmania’s love of food and wine production at Harvest Launceston; a vibrant weekly food fare held on Cimitiere Street, every Saturday morning.
Tasmania’s cool clean waters grow sensational seafood, in particularly Atlantic salmon, oysters, abalone, mussels, scallops, crayfish, snapper, and flathead. Taste state’s best seafood with a visit to the Bicheno area, located just north of the Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania’s east coast.
Where to Shop
Salamanca Markets is considered a Hobart institution, and is one of the state’s foremost tourism drawcards—attracting thousands of shoppers looking for unique buys. In the north, the Launceston Esk and Lilydale Village Markets are also popular, home to variety of stalls selling collectables, novelties and crafts.
Lined with retailers and boutiques Hobart’s premier entertainment hub, Salamanca Place is a must-visit destination for shoppers. A multitude of shopping arcades featuring high street labels can be found around Elizabeth Street in the CBD. While fashionable boutiques and designers dot the seaside suburb of Sandy Bay. Most of Launceston’s shopping opportunities are focused downtown, around Brisbane, York, Charles and George streets, where major department stores, national fashion retailers and specialty boutiques abound.
Just outside Launceston’s city limits, Tamar Valley provides unique shopping opportunities; boasting a treasure trove of retail indulgences including hand-made wares, boutique designs and antiques from yesteryear.
Where to Stay
Located in the heart of the city, Australia’s first dedicated art hotel, The Henry Jones Art Hotel gives unique insight into Hobart’s culture, and provides guests with convenient access to the city’s top drawcards. Stay at The Henry Jones Art Hotel with a great deal from Agoda.
Located on the waterfront – where the North and South Esk River meet to become the Tamar River – Peppers Seaport Hotel platforms Launceston’s unique lifestyle, just five minutes’ walk from the city centre. Stay at Peppers Seaport Hotel with a great deal from Agoda.
How to Get There
- Virgin Australia operates flights to Hobart daily, direct from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and flights to Launceston daily, direct from Sydney and Melbourne
- Make planning your first trip to Tasmania easy, our partner, Virgin Australia Holidays offers great Hobart holiday packages and Launceston holiday packages, which include flights, accommodation and more.