Child’s play! Family-friendly Tasmania

It's well known: Tasmania is bathed in incredible natural beauty.

Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Andrew McIntosh, Ocean Photography

Exploring Tasmania's great outdoors with kids is the perfect recipe for creating treasured holiday memories, Leah Smileski writes.

Bay of Fires is just one of many family-friendly attractions in Tasmania.

Credit: Lisa Kuilenburg

Tasmania boasts some of the most beautiful, untouched wilderness areas in Australia. Coupled with a plethora of amazing wildlife, Tasmania's great outdoors allow for an experience that the whole family will remember.

With such a diversity of things to see, I don't think there was a single day where the kids were not excited about what would unfold each day.

Here are my favourite child-friendly Tasmanian experiences.

Colour-fest: Autumn is a particularly good time to visit Tasmania.

Cataract Gorge, Launceston

Roughly 2km from central Launceston, Cataract Gorge features spectacular views as well as the world’s longest single-span chairlift. Walking around each basin of water is quite breathtaking, and you’re almost certain to see a wallaby or two.

There are several walks into the gorge, and the ‘Cataract Walk’ that follows the gorge along its northern cliffs is the easiest for families with young children.

Awe-inspiring Cataract Gorge is conveniently only minutes from Launceston's heart.

Credit: iSky Aerial Photography

We spent half a day exploring Cataract Gorge by foot before hopping on a Tamar River Cruise to catch a unique perspective of the gorge.

The Tamar River is Australia's longest navigable estuarine river, and the cruise provides an opportunity to view the rich diversity of life along its shores. As we cruised into Cataract Gorge we caught sight of a seal sunbathing on the rocks!

If you’re heading to Cataract Gorge on your Tassie trip in warmer months, pack your swimmers and take advantage of the free swimming pool.

Book now: BIG4 Launceston Holiday Park or BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday and Native Wildlife Park.

Have a dip in the free swimming pool if visiting Cataract Gorge in warmer months.

Credit: Pete Harmsen

Cradle Mountain

This icon can be found in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and takes about 2.5 hours to reach from Launceston, or one hour from Ulverstone. Arriving early will ensure you miss the crowds and can easily find a spot on the shuttle buses that take visitors up from the information centre at regular intervals.

Arrive early to Cradle Mountain to avoid the crowds.

Credit: Paul Fleming

Australia’s premier alpine walk, the Overland Track, may be a little beyond what the average family traveller is happy to add to their itinerary: It’s at least 65km in length!

However, the Dove Lake circuit is a ‘lazier’ 5.7 km and takes about two hours. If that’s still too far for the kids, walk to the boat house, roughly 500m from the shuttle bus drop-off point.

Book now: BIG4 Ulverstone Holiday Park.

You don't have to trek for days to glimpse excellent views of this Tassie icon.

Credit: Tourism Tasmania

The Nut, Stanley

Stanley is a small town on the northwest coast of Tasmania. It is a captivating spot often said to be on the edge of the world. While the historic little township appeals, Stanley is best known for The Nut – the remnants of an ancient volcanic plug that is now a sheer-sided bluff. It’s well worth a look.

The Nut makes for a cracking photo.

Credit: Andrew Bertuleit

Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay

You’ve seen the images of glorious Wineglass Bay and want to experience it for yourself? Be prepared for a big walk. The lookout takes around 1.5 hours to reach and is a steep uphill climb with rough bush steps and hazardous cliffs.

While we love a good hike, we had driven from Launceston and decided to enjoy a few of the beaches around Coles Bay instead.

Wineglass Bay offers plenty of rewards but for families there are easier paths to take within the national park.

We spent a few hours exploring Honeymoon Bay and Coles Bay to the delight of the kids who loved spotting fish in the clear water, gathering shells, and frolicking in the amazing turquoise waters. Bliss!

Book now: BIG4 Iluka on Freycinet Holiday Park.

Honeymoon Bay is ridiculously easy to reach from the nearby car park, and yet provides a breathtaking outlook.

Credit: Lisa Kuilenburg

Bay of Fires, near St Helens

Situated on the northeastern coast of Tasmania, the Bay of Fires is a 50km stretch of coastline renowned for its boulders covered with orange lichen, which almost glow in contrast to the white sandy beach that surrounds them. The kids will love the clear turquoise water where they may spot sea dragons. Don’t forget your camera!

Book now: BIG4 St Helens Holiday Park.

Those colourful rocks of Bay of Fires always impress.

Credit: Lisa Kuilenburg

Mt Wellington (Kunanyi), Hobart

Towering over Hobart, Mt Wellington – or Kunanyi as it's known to the indigenous people of Tasmania – is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the area. Often with a sprinkling of snow, it provides the best natural view over the city and beyond.

Mt Wellington is a superb backdrop for the capital, Hobart.

Credit: Stuart Gibson

Visitors can drive all the way to the summit where there is a platform that provides a safe vantage point for families to view the city. The most amazing sight is the organ pipes, a cliff of dolerite columns.

Plan your visit carefully. We didn’t check the forecast before we ascended the mountain and lost our view when low clouds covered the mountain…but we did get to taste them!

Book now: BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park.

The dolerite columns of Mt Wellington are just as impressive as the view from up here.

Tessellated Pavement, Tasman Peninsula

If you are heading to Port Arthur to explore this former penal settlement, detour to the Tessellated Pavement. You only need to park the car and take a short walk before encountering this geological marvel.

Even with small children, navigating the stairs down to the Tessellated Pavement shouldn't be too difficult.

Standing on the actual rocks will provide you with the best view of the site, and the kids will love finding crabs between the crevices.

Book now: BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park or NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park.

The Tessellated Pavement is a funky creation and easy to reach.

Credit: Kathryn Leahy

Caves, various locations

Tasmania has several large caves, including Hastings Cave and Mole Creek Caves. We have visited quite a few caves across the years as a family and have learned that no two are the same.

Mole Creek, an hour from Launceston, is home to the incredible Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves. Here you will find the largest glowworm display in Australia, as well as underground rivers and reflection pools. It’s truly incredible.

No two caves are the same: Mole Creek Caves.

Credit: Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman

Hastings Cave, in southern Tasmania, was the first cave we ever visited. Along with being the largest developed cave in Australia, it is also one of the rarest having formed by a single dolomite.

Hastings Cave is a rare gem.

Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

Cape Pillar, Tasman Peninsula

Rising 300m from the ocean, Cape Pillar is an extraordinary site offering a breathtaking coastal dolerite landscape – the highest vertical sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere. While they can be viewed from the blade and chasm lookouts, these take a few days’ walk.

If travelling with kids, I suggest looking into cruise options, with regular tours available. You are likely to spot an albatross, dolphins and seals along the way.

Book now: BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park or NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park.


This article first appeared at www.outandaboutwithkids.com.au

It will take you a few days of foot slogging to capture views of Cape Pillar like this, so for easier photo ops join a cruise.

Credit: Jesse Desjardins

Have you unearthed Tasmania on a family holiday? What were your highlights? We’d love your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.

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