Home of the famous devil
Due to its isolation from the mainland, Tasmania’s native flora and fauna has largely maintained its survival. Endangered birds, animals and marine life surround Tasmania’s pure land and waters, adding to the natural charm of this island home. With 33 native terrestrial and 41 marine mammals in Tasmania, you’ll be sure to easily come across impressive wildlife and their history, from delicate sea dragons in the east coast
to the little pygmy possum in the drier island forests.
Tasmania's wildlife wonderland
Tasmania’s bird life is quite aptly, something you will not see anywhere else in the world. With 12 species specific to Tasmanian shores as well as a range of sub species endemics, bird watching is a popular tourist activity for both locals and tourists who wish to get a glimpse of the Tasmanian native hen or the orange bellied parrot, one of the world’s most endangered species. The South West National Park is one of the state’s areas plentiful in bird life, with Bruny
or Maria Island
off Tasmania’s east coast a popular home for the 40 spotted pardalote.
By sea, Tasmania’s marine life ranges from southern right whales passing through the east coast to sea dragons and giant kelp forests, drifting around the ocean waters. During the winter time, see the humpback whales pass by on their way back to the Antarctic or watch the fur seals off Bruny Island, the Tasman Peninsula and even around the Constitution Dock of Hobart. Fairy penguins are also often spotted along the River Derwent and along the Bass Strait
coast, where seahorses, pipefish and cuttlefish reside.
Back on land, the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park
is home to some of the devilishly charming creatures, where you can catch as they feed, play and entertain. Tasmanian Devils are an endangered species, now only found on the island itself. Famous for snarling, aggressive behaviour, these creatures are not to be approached too closely, unless you’re willing to go home a finger or two short. Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park is also home to the likes of falcons, wallabies, quolls and rare hawks, where you can observe free flight presentations and feed them by hand.
For more Australian animal information, read up on wildlife in Queensland here
Take a dip with the famous forest kelps
Home to some of the worlds best temperate waters both clear and charming, diving is an ideal activity to undertake in Tasmania, described as having some of the most enchanting waters in Australia.
Where can I dive and snorkel in Australia?
To the east of Bicheno
, Governor Island encompasses the rock formations, ‘hairy wall’ and ‘the castle’, both of which are home to an array of Australian wildlife including fur seals, penguins and seagulls. The waters at Governor Island are cold and clear, with underwater corals encompassing an array of bright colours. When diving around Governor Island, particularly within the area of the Canyon, expect to be surrounded by a garden of sponges, butterfly perch and huge rock lobsters. To the east, a diving spot called Bird Rock encompasses grand caverns and swimming spots, where seahorses, boar fish and marble fish are abundant in the water.
Even within the busy centre of Hobart, diving remains a popular activity to discover the secrets of the Bass Strait
. Kianinny Bay is best explored during high tide, a 17 metre sandy shore with big boulders. Teeming with aquatic life such as sharks, puffer fish and bull rays, ensure you dive when the weather is good to avoid poor underwater visibility. To see Tasmania’s famous forest kelps, the best place to go is Tathra Pinnacle. With two distinctive pinnacles, this site is also home many varied schools of fish, seahorses and octopuses.
For diving amongst reefs as well as wreckage, head to Wynyard, one of Australia’s most popular diving destinations. Situated in Tasmania’s North West, Wynyard
is accessible by boat and remains a mecca for those looking to explore amongst the remains of the SS Southern Cross while being surrounded by sea stars, blue coloured leather jackets, yellow goatfish and draughtboard sharks.
For information on diving and snorkeling in Western Australia, see
Tackle the Tasmanian snowy slopes
Another addition to Tasmania’s already brimming natural entertainment schedule, snowfalls are prominent in the state, making it an ideal winter time destination for skiing and post ski relaxation in the surrounding lodges. Tasmania’s central highlands and mountainous areas of the island are more prone to heavier snowfalls, with areas near sea level rarely seen with settling snow. With three main skiing destinations, Tasmania offers wintertime entertainment like no other, full of slopes, sliding and snowballs.
Where can I go skiing in Tasmania?
Ben Lomond, south of Launceston
is the ideal destination for cross country and downhill skiing and Tasmania’s premier destination for snow activities. Complete with ski resort, mountain views stretching to the ocean and snow making machines when nature needs a kick start, this destination thrives during wintertime, with an array of downhill slopes, cross country tracks and snow play areas for children.
North West of Hobart, Mount Mawson is another downhill skiing destination, with fairly consistent snowfalls during the winter months. Downhill skiing runs from beginners to advanced skiers are available at Mount Mawson, along with an extensive cross country area.
When Tasmania gets a good snowfall, cross country skiing can also be undertaken at Cradle Mountain
, one of the state’s most scenic locations. Adorned with extensive cross country terrain, Cradle Mountain has no chair lifts, facilities or surrounding resort type accommodation, so make sure to undertake prior preparation.
Cod, carp and catfish
The Goulburn River Basin and its tributaries off the area of Seymour
are abundant with trout, with redfin and Murray cod commonly caught in the downstream waters of Seymour. The waters of Goulburn River are also home to a number of carp and yabbies, with Victoria’s main river, the Yarra holding a diverse selection of fish species, from southern black bream in the lower reaches and Macquarie perch, brown trout and Murray cod in the upper region. These fish are not for keeping or eating however, due to being contaminated with heavy metals including arsenic.
For fish fit for a meal, Victoria has several other rivers, lakes and oceans just waiting for you to throw a line in.
Where are some of Victoria's fishing hotspots?
holds an assortment of productive fishing grounds, particularly around the areas of Port Phillip and Westernport, where whiting, school shark, salmon and elephant fish are abundant in the waters.
For some great saltwater fishing, take your line along the Great Ocean Road
, where you can catch snapper, tuna and kingfish. Lorne and Apollo Bay are great destinations for pier fishing, with river fishing popular in the Gellibrand River and Aire River.
For freshwater fishing, head to the Grampians
, home to a third of all Victoria’s lakes and rivers. The Wimmera River, situated below Elmhurst has a healthy population of golden and silver perch, catfish, cod and carp and is the only area in Victoria where you can legally catch and keep two catfish over 30 centimeters.
Read up on where to fish in New South Wales, here
Have a chuckle in Australia's humour hub
Renowned for having a good sense of humour, Victoria is home to the annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival, alongside some of Australia’s best comedy clubs. Pull up a chair and get ready for a night of big laughs in the city considered as the home of comedy in Australia.
Where are some of the best comedy clubs in Victoria?
Situated in North Melbourne
, The Comics Lounge is Australia’s only 6 nights a week live comedy venue, playing host to some of the funniest comedians from TV and radio. From stand up to sketch, The Comics Lounge has a variety of shows available, regularly featuring well known comedians from Jimeoin to Dave Hughes. Similarly, The Last Laugh Comedy club is a well renowned venue for great comic acts, with a regularly changing lineup, including many international stars.
To get your weekly dose of laughs, the Spleen Bar
also offers comedy every Monday night, featuring both old and new acts, from up and comers to the established stylings of comedians such as Wil Anderson and Tom Gleeson.
Additionally, there are several other comedy bars and clubs throughout the whole of Victoria that offer weekly laughs from professionals to amateurs, depending on your location, with Melbourne being home to more than your stomach can handle for one night.
Find out more about comedy in Australia here
Tours by torchlight
One of Australia’s most culturally significant areas is that of Port Arthur
, a small Tasmanian town with big history. Located south east of Hobart, Port Arthur was originally the destination for British and Irish convicts, with some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system. In more recent times, Port Arthur was also the setting for one of the worst mass murders in post colonial Australian history. A town brimming with history, Port Arthur is one of Tasmania’s premier tourist destinations, a site to visit if you dare.
What is at Port Arthur?
The largest of the settlement buildings is that of the penitentiary
, where convicts were forbidden to talk to or look at one another. Constructed in 1843, the penitentiary housed 480 convicts, complete with chapel
, workshops, food hall and library.
Point Puer Boy’s Prison, where three thousand boys were sent between 1834 and 1849. The first reformatory built exclusively for juvenile male convicts, this prison was renowned for its ruling of harsh discipline and stern punishments. The Isle of the Dead
Cemetery is located in the harbour off Port Arthur, the burial site for around one thousand civilians and convicts.
However, no trip to Port Arthur is complete without a night time ghost tour. Join a lantern lit walking tour and discover Port Arthur’s eerie ambiance while cloaked guides recount real people’s stories of reported sightings and unexplained occurrences.
For more information on Tasmania's history, click here
Uncover Tasmania's backyard beauty
With forty percent of Tasmania protected in national parks and reserves, you’re guaranteed to never be too far from nature’s beautiful backyard. Tasmania has 19 national parks, of which 17 are accessible. Park passes are required for visiting and exploring the grounds, with all proceeds funded back into Tasmania’s national park conservation and protection.
Where are Tasmania's national parks?
For an incredible national park to spend a couple of hours sight seeing, the Walls of Jerusalem National Park is situated next to Cradle Mountain- Lake St Clair National Park
, full of jurassic mountain peaks, contrasting green plant life and clear, still lakes. One of the most impressive features in this park is the chamber created by the West Wall, Mount Ophel, Zion Hill and the Temple. The park and some of its features are named after the city of Jerusalem due to similarity in their physical appearance.
Beat known for two richly decorated limestone caves, Mole Creek Karst National Park
is situated in the central north of Tasmania, a unique national park full of stalagmites, streams and a delightful display of glow worms. Made up of 300 caves and sinkholes, Mole Creek Karst National Park also has a number of underground streams and springs to explore and is the only national park in the state created specifically in order to protect the karst stone formations. Mole Creek has two main cave systems – Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves – the former holding the largest public glow worm display in Australia.
For a national park with attitude, the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park challenges you to a white water rafting adventure, situated in the state's southwest
For more information on Australia's national park adventures, click here
Uncrowded, unspoilt and ever changing
Tasmania is an ideal destination to explore by bicycle, riding through diverse terrain, going for an easy cruise on a food, wine and heritage tour or challenging yourself on a steep mountain descent. Summer is the best time to get cycling in Tasmania, as the cooler months are often wet and windy, with snow closing up some of the mountain tracks. For a state so small, Tasmania’s cycling tracks are in plentiful supply so get on your bike and discover something new.
Where are some cycling and mountain biking trails around Tasmania?
The east coast is one of Tasmania’s most popular cycling destinations, particularly if new to the activity. With generally flat terrain, mild conditions and short cycling times between towns, the east coast takes you alongside the Tasmanian beaches where you can go between seaside towns in the sunshine, discovering the state’s natural rejuvenating magic. For a week long trip, why not go from Launceston to Hobart over a distance of 430 kilometres. Weaving directly around the east coast, this trip takes you through some of Tasmania’s most popular destinations such as Bicheno, Port Arthur and St Helens
, where additionally you can extend your trip with a detour to Maria Island.
For a challenge, Tasmania’s west coast is full of steep mountainous terrain, wild weather conditions and a largely unpredictable climate. No easy task, tackling the west coast requires some degree of experience and fitness, but never the less you will be rewarded with some of Australia’s most breathtaking scenery, seldom seen by majority of the population. Hobart to Launceston via the west coast takes you to the idyllic regions of Cradle Mountain
, past the coastal town of Strahan, to the state’s highest waterfall, Montezuma Falls as well as a Tasmanian natural icon, Lake St Clair. The Tasmanian west coast is fundamentally untouched and untamed, making for a remote yet reinvigorating ride.
For an enjoyable day trip, why not head to Flinders
or King Island, hire a bicycle and go around the sealed and dirt roads, exploring the hidden gems of Tasmania’s getaway islands.
An underwater wonderland
If you want to point and laugh at some of the largest Australian marine creatures without getting your hand bitten off, a trip to the aquarium is in order. Aquariums allow you to view the wonders of the Australian ocean without the fear of being in the water with an unknown creature. A fun family activity, Australian aquariums showcase a variety of marine life, with each state showing their unique coastlines in which they populate.
Where are some of Australia's best aquariums?
Sydney Aquarium is one of the largest in the world and one of Sydney’s premier tourist destinations. Featuring over 12,000 animals from 650 species, Sydney Aquarium is home to a range of water loving creatures, from turtles and stingrays to platypuses and sharks. If you’re looking to get up and close, but not in a ‘snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef’ way, Underwater world in Queensland’s Mooloolaba comes complete with options to swim with the seals, dive with the sharks or to play it safe with the sea stars at the touch pools. However, it’s not only the east coast that holds a wide range of aquatic attractions.
Trek your way across the Apple Isle
Well renowned for its natural beauty and plethora of outdoor activities for its size, Tasmania’s bushwalking tracks are the best way to see the best of the land on foot, with 20% of the land area protected. For such a small place, Tasmania has an impressive 2,000 kilometers of world class walking tracks to choose from. With so many natural and accessible sights within easy reach, it's time to don your hiking boots and discover the wonders that wait.
Where are some of the best bushwalking and hiking tracks in Tasmania?
Covering 65 kilometers of land, the Tasmanian Overland Track weaves its way through the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Internationally recognized as one of the world’s great wilderness walks, this trail runs from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, through diverse terrain encompassing rocky mountains, rapidly running rivers and tranquil rainforests. Normally undertaken from north to south, the Tasmanian Overland track takes six days to complete, with several alternative side tracks to discover along the way.
The south west region of Tasmania, acclaimed for its remote wilderness offers some of the state’s most challenging treks, so if you’re up for a test, this is your destination. The Frenchman’s Cap is a track leading to the summit of Tasmania’s most prominent peak in the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. More arduous than any other walk, the Frenchman’s Cap takes approximately two days, full of steep inclines and rewarding views.
In one of the most inaccessible wilderness areas of the world, the South Coast Track is one of the most popular hikes in the region, between Melaleuca in the south west and Cockle Creek in the south. 84 kilometers in length, the South Coast Track’s sheer remoteness makes it renowned for being one of the last remaining great wilderness walks in the world, passing through bridgeless streams, sandy hills and a plethora of mud. If you’re looking for a challenge, this Tasmanian track is the one to tackle, dramatically descending from alpine to rainforest.
Find out about bushwalking and hiking around South Australia