Visiting Tasmania: A First Timer’s Guide

Since it’s not part of mainland Australia, many people tend to skip Tasmania during their travels. However, there is so much to love about this island state. Here is the ultimate first timer’s guide to Tasmania.
Guide to Tasmania. Photo: Donovan Simpkin | Unsplash

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Diverse landscapes and untouched beauty are how you can describe Australia’s only island state, Tasmania. 

Located at the southeastern bottom corner of Australia, you can find Tasmania, an island boasting rugged mountains and beautiful beaches.

So, if it’s your first time visiting Tasmania, this guide has everything you need to know for an unforgettable trip. 

How to Get to Tasmania

Beautiful Tasmania Landscapes. Photo: Nico Smit | Unsplash

There are two ways you can reach Tasmania from mainland Australia.

By plane

The two largest’s cities in Tasmania, Hobart and Launceston, are serviced by regular passenger flights from the mainland. 

The flight time from Melbourne is 45-minutes, 90-minutes from Sydney and just under three hours from Brisbane. 

Australia’s major airlines offer flights to Hobart and Launceston from other Australian and international cities. 

By boat

The Spirit of Tasmania car and passenger ferry offers regular services across the Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport. 

The ferry journey takes between nine and 11 hours. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Tasmania? 

Tasmania is Great Any Time of Year. Photo: Sylvia Yang | Unsplash

Summer (December to February) 

During summer, the cities and towns in Tasmania are buzzing with people as it’s the peak tourist and festival season. 

However, summer is the best time to escape the crowds and head to the wilderness for hiking, mountain biking and white-water rafting. 

Winter (June to August) 

Tasmania in winter is very underrated. Since Tasmania is near the South Pole, the winter weather is freezing, but the lack of tourists makes up for it. 

Winter is the best time to go hiking in Tasmania, as you will probably be the only one on the trails. However, the weather can be unpredictable, so use caution before hiking.

Tasmania also experiences snow in winter, which is a beautiful sight and can make your trip there much more special. 

Shoulder Seasons

Spring and autumn are also great times to visit Tasmania as there are fewer crowds, and accommodation and airfares tend to be cheaper. 

There are also a few wine and food festivals during these seasons. Hiking is also relatively good, but the odd snowfall or windstorm can still happen. 

Related: Here are the best times to visit Australia.

Best Areas to Stay in Tasmania

Places to Stay in Tasmania. Photo: Spencer Chow | Unsplash

For your first time in Tasmania, two of the best areas to stay include Hobart and Launceston.


As the capital of Tasmania, Hobart is the most developed and populated city in the state. 

Home to Salamanca Place (restaurants, cafes and bars) and with many attractions to choose from, Hobart has everything you need for the perfect base. 

In Hobart, you can expect a range of accommodations, including hotels to B&Bs by the waterfront. 


Launceston sits on the other side of Tasmania from Hobart and is a charming historic city. 

There are plenty of accommodations to choose from in Launceston, from hotels and motels to guest houses and B&Bs. 

What to See and do in Tasmania

Things to do in Tasmania. Photo: Stephen Mabbs | Unsplash

Because there are so many fantastic things to see and do in Tasmania, you probably won’t tick them all off in one trip.

So, if it’s your first time in Tasmania, here are the places you must visit. 

Bay of Fires 

Bay of Fires. Photo: Leigh | Unsplash

Located in the northeastern corner, the Bay of Fires is probably the most famous attraction in Tasmania. 

As mentioned earlier, the landscapes in Tasmania are diverse, and the Bay of Fires is a testament to that. Stretching 50kms along the coastline and boasting clear blue seas, glistening white beaches and orange lichen-cloaked boulders, the Bay of Fires is a must-see. 

Related: Here are the top beaches in Australia.

The Freycinet Peninsula 

Wineglass Bay. Photo: Lochlainn Riordan | Unsplash

Located on the east coast, the Freycinet Peninsula boasts some of the world’s most pristine coastline. Wineglass Bay is one of the most popular spots on the peninsula, home to azure blue water surrounded by lush forest. 

The Freycinet Peninsula is also one of the best places to go hiking in Tasmania. 

Cradle Mountain 

Cradle Mountain. Photo: Laura Smetsers | Unsplash

You can find Cradle Mountain National Park two hours southwest of Launceston. 

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain is an iconic and ancient World Heritage-listed site, home to alpine peaks and lakes. 

There is plenty to do in the national park, such as hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, kayaking and more. 

Bruny Island

Bruny Island. Photo: Tamara Thurman | Unsplash

Found off the southeastern coast, Bruny Island provides the ultimate Tasmanian wilderness experience.

There are plenty of outdoor activities to experience, such as hiking and seeing fur seals, penguins and white wallabies. If you love exploring the outdoors, Bruny Island is a must. 

Port Arthur

Port Arthur. Photo: keith davey | Unsplash

Port Arthur is a former 19th-century convict settlement, one of the country’s most significant heritage areas. 

Today, Port Arthur is an open-air museum. Ruins include the convict penitentiary and the remaining shell of the Convict Church, built by inmates. If you’re a history buff, you can’t miss this attraction in Tasmania. 

Salamanca Place 

Salamanca Place. Photo: Nico Smit | Unsplash

Located in the centre of Hobart, Salamanca Place and Salamanca Square boast galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars. 

As one of the most famous precincts in Tasmania, Salamanca Place is worth a visit, especially for dinner and a drink. 

Ghost Tours

Launceston. Photo: Zachary Ferguson | Unsplash

If you love visiting haunted places and going on ghost tours, you have to jump on one in Launceston. 

Renowned for its dark convict past, Launceston is considered one of the world’s most haunted cities. Ghost tours take you around the city to see and experience the ghosts that are said to roam the streets. 

Final Thoughts

Tasmania Wilderness. Photo: Natallia Safonava | Unsplash

Since Tasmania isn’t on mainland Australia, many people tend to skip it when travelling around the country.

However, the island state is so naturally diverse and boasts breathtaking beaches, mountains and lakes, making it a must-see destination.

From seeing the blue waters at the Bay of Fires to the views within Cradle Mountain National Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Tasmania.

If you’re planning your first trip to Tasmania soon, be sure to tick off some of the places on this list. 


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