Tasmania Travel Guide

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Hobart - Tasmania's capital, second in age only to Sydney, is an appealing place worth visiting for a couple of days. Hobart's main features are its wonderful harbour and the colonial cottages that line the narrow lanes of Battery Point. Hobart's harbour is the city's focal point, attracting yachts from all over the world. Down by the waterfront, picturesque Salamanca Place offers galleries, pubs, cafes, and an excellent market on Saturdays. Hobart, the most southerly Australian state capital, is closer to the Antarctic coast than it is to Perth in Western Australia, and has long been regarded by navigators, whalers, and explorers as the gateway to the south.

Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair National Park - The national park and World Heritage area, that includes both Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair, is one of the most spectacular regions in Australia and, after Hobart and Port Arthur, the most visited place in Tasmania. The 1,545m mountain dominates the north part of the island, and the long, deep lake is to its south. Between them lie more steep slopes, button grass plains, majestic alpine forests, dozens of lakes filled with trout, and several rivers. Mount Ossa, in the center of the park, is Tasmania's highest point at 1,617m. The Overland Track links Cradle Mountain with Lake St. Clair, and is the best known of Australia's walking trails. Another option in the area is a visit to the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, a high alpine area with spectacular granite walls, small lakes, and old-growth forest.

Queenstown - This area is worth a visit, but not for normal reasons. Its infamous "lunar landscape" is chilling evidence of the devastation that single-minded commercial exploitation can wreak in such a sensitive environment. Approaching the town from Strahan, visitors are confronted by the hideously ugly Mount Lyell Copper Mine. Queenstown has been a mining centre since 1883, when gold was discovered at Mount Lyell, and it looks like a typical mining town, with its wide streets, two-storey hotels and identical, pokey tin-roofed weatherboard houses. Underground tours of the Mount Lyell Mine run daily at 10am, 1pm and 7pm. Next door to the mine is the Parks and Wildlife Service office, the base for the Franklin Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, and the place to pick up the department's rafting and bushwalking guidelines. While in town, visitors could also check out the old photographic displays in the Galley Museum, housed in the old Imperial Hotel. There is a chair lift just outside town on the Lyell Highway, to help visitors get an even better view of those frightening hills.

Beaches

Tasmania Beaches - The island is circled with excellent beaches, from the still waters and white sands of Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park on the east coast, to the treacherous windswept swell of the west coast near Strahan.

Outdoors

Mt Field National Park - This area was declared a national park in 1916, and was one of the first national parks in Australia. The park is well known for its spectacular mountain scenery, alpine moorland, dense rainforest, lakes, abundant wildlife and spectacular waterfalls. The major attraction for most people is in the valley close to the park entrance, the magnificent 40m Russell Falls. These are an easy 15-minute walk from the car park. In summer rangers guide nightly walks to the falls, where visitors will see glow worms. There are magnificent walks on the plateau on top of the range, but be prepared for wet or cold weather. In winter there is snow on the park's highest peaks, and a low-key ski resort of club huts and rope tows has grown up around Mt Mawson. There is a campground just inside the park entrance and cabins on the plateau, as well as a hostel and a few hotels near the park. Buses run between Hobart and Mt Field, but they are a little sporadic.

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens - Established in 1818, these gardens are known for English-style plant and tree layouts, including a great conifer collection, a superb Japanese garden, and colorful seasonal blooming plants. The peaceful atmosphere is disturbed somewhat by a nearby busy road. A restaurant provides lunch and teas. To walk here from the city center, partly along a pleasant country lane known as Soldier's Walk, takes around 40 minutes.

Freycinet National Park - Visitors who only has time to visit one place in Tasmania, should make sure it is this park. The Freycinet Peninsula hangs down off the eastern coast of Tasmania. It is a place of craggy pink granite peaks, spectacular white beaches, wetlands, heath lands, coastal dunes, and dry eucalyptus forests. This is the place to come to spot sea eagles, wallabies, seals, pods of dolphins, and humpback and southern right whales during their migration to and from the warmer waters of northern New South Wales from May through August. The township of Coles Bay is the main staging post, and there are many bushwalks in the area.

Moving around

Renting a car is a pretty good idea in Tasmania, particularly if you only have a short time in the state, as public transport can be a bit infrequent. There are heaps of rental firms in Hobart, so you should not have much trouble getting a decent deal. If you are coming over from the mainland, you can bring your own car on the ferry which travels between Melbourne and Devonport in Tasmania's north. Tasmania is one of the few places in the world where hitching is a plausible option. If you want to hitch a lift out of Hobart, catch a bus north to Bridgewater or east to Sorell for starters.

The regional airline Tasair flies to some settlements in Tasmania. Par Avion concentrates on the southwest World Heritage areas of the state and also operates wonderful sightseeing tours. Statewide coach services are provided by Tasmanian Redline Coaches and Tassielink. Associated with Tassielink are Tigerline Coaches, which offers a series of coach tours to major places of interest. Hobart Coaches runs trips around the Hobart area.

National festival and holidays

The Hobart Summer Festival - The New Year arrival of the yachts, competing in the Sydney to Hobart, and Melbourne to Hobart yacht races, is the apex of this festival. It is held each year from 27 December to 9 January. There is lots of waterfront fun, including 'The Taste' food and wine festival, also on offer.

The Royal Hobart Regatta - The largest boating carnival in the southern hemisphere, is held in February each year.

The Falls Festival - Held 30 December to 1 January, this festival offers great Australian and international bands, at beautiful Marion Bay.

Useful Tasmania Links

Tasmania's all-inclusive attractions pass
Tasmania's all-inclusive attractions pass offers free entry to over 60 great attractions in Tasmania for a single price. Visit Tahune Forest Airwalk, Gordon River Cruises, Port Arthur Historic Site, Huon River Jet Boat, national parks, cruises, sightseeing tours, galleries, wildlife parks and so much more. Visit as few as two Tasmania attractions per day and start to save. Includes a free guidebook highlighting all the attractions in Tasmania on offer.

Mole Creek Tasmania
Comprehensive information about holidays and attractions in and around Mole Creek, Tasmania.

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