DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

Experience Tasmania: 13 thrilling Apple Isle activities

Bay of Fires is among Tassie's immense treasure. Credit: Flow Mountain Bike.

It’s no stretch to label Tasmania as one of the most incredible places on earth.

Its scenery is simply gobsmacking, its history so often tangible and vivid, and there are experiences on offer that are unique and unforgettable.

In fact, there is so much gold crammed into the Apple Isle that we can’t possibly highlight it all.

However, this line-up will give you a taste of what to expect, including several Tasmanian bucket-list experiences.

The view from the summit of kunanyi/Mt Wellington typifies the splendour of Tasmania. Credit: Jason Charles Hill.

1. Be dazzled by wondrous Freycinet National Park

The colourful, craggy peaks of the iconic Hazards mountain range set the tone for the scenic delights that erupt from this enchanting national park. Wineglass Bay is the headline act, and this glorious white sand wonder makes for a spectacular sight up close or afar from an easier-to-reach clifftop lookout.

Also within Freycinet, expect to encounter huge boulders, sparkling coastal views, native animals, and other gorgeous secluded beaches like Honeymoon Bay.

Nearby park: BIG4 Iluka on Freycinet Holiday Park.

Freycinet National Park bursts with beauty. Credit: Luke Tscharke.

2. Explore the many sides of engrossing Tamar Valley

The Tamar Valley is highly regarded for its delicious food and wine: Boutique cellar doors and gourmet and farm produce outlets are largely sprinkled either side of its scenic river. But that’s just a piece of the story.

You’ll also be introduced to history-rich villages, striking beaches, nature trails and lookouts, and fascinating attractions. Among them are Seahorse World and Platypus House at Beauty Point and the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre. It includes an exhibition detailing the 2006 miners’ rescue that made international headlines.

Nearby parks: BIG4 Kelso Sands Holiday and Native Wildlife Park or BIG4 Launceston Holiday Park.

Sure, the wine is great. But the Tamar Valley is about so much more. Credit Tourism Tasmania/Rob Burnett.

3. Unearth weird and wonderful Mona

This is far from your average gallery. The Museum of Old and New Art is among Hobart’s best attractions, offering a mammoth private art collection that is equal parts quirky and thought-provoking, sometimes immersive, and certainly captivating. Adding to the appeal are a restaurant, bars, a café, and winery.

The most fun way to reach Mona is via the ferry service operated by the museum. Consistent with the quirkiness of Mona, it can be an experience in itself as it snakes its way along the Derwent River.

Nearby park: BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park.

Mona: quirky, creative, and a must-do. Credit: Jesse Hunniford.

4. Delve into iconic Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park

As home to Tasmania’s best-known natural feature, Cradle Mountain, this attraction commands attention. In reality, this imposing peak is just one highlight of a star-studded national park, which forms part of the massive Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Eye-popping scenery abounds: Glacial lakes, rainforest, adorable wildlife, and those famous rugged peaks among more. Alongside lengthy treks are several shorter walks, and the richly rewarding Dove Lake Loop Track is a solid day-trip pick. A visit here is absolutely one of the best things to do in Tasmania.

Nearby park: BIG4 Ulverstone Holiday Park.

Worth the hype: Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park.

5. Take awesome snaps within the Bay of Fires Conservation Area

While this surely ranks as one of Tasmania’s most photographed attractions – who can really measure these things? – the ability to nail your own award-winning pic in these parts is still up for grabs.

The blend of sparkling white sand beaches, vivid blue waters, and orange lichen-covered granite rocks create the perfect Instagram photos. And it all stretches for roughly 50km from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, so there’s ample room to play with.

Nearby park: BIG4 St Helens Holiday Park.

A 50km stretch and countless photo ops no matter the season. Credit: Paul Fleming.

6. Be wowed at Leven Canyon Reserve

Tasmania teems with underrated attractions, and the centrepiece of this reserve is among them. Leven Canyon is a magnificent 250m-deep limestone ravine that has a flowing river at its base, and it all makes for a jaw-dropping sight.

Various walking tracks feature dedicated lookouts that display this immense natural beauty, and a handful of the paths are only mildly challenging for most. The reserve is roughly an hour’s drive south of Ulverstone.

Nearby park: BIG4 Ulverstone Holiday Park.

Photos don't do justice to the incredible outlooks on offer at Leven Canyon Reserve. Credit: S. Group.

7. Soak up the festive vibe at Taste of Tasmania in Hobart

There’s a distinct liveliness to Hobart in summer. And that vibrancy is best captured at Taste of Tasmania, regarded as Australia’s biggest and longest-running food and wine festival. This much-anticipated annual event takes advantage of a prime waterfront location, Princes Wharf, to dish up a feast of gourmet offerings alongside live music, family-friendly entertainment and activities, and much more.

While it’s free entry, reserved seating is available to purchase for waterfront spots and the festival’s popular New Year’s Eve celebration is a ticketed event. Taste is held in late December until early January.

Nearby park: BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park.

Bring your appetite to the buzzing Taste of Tasmania event. Credit: Natasha Mulhall.

8. Enjoy the immense appeal of Cataract Gorge Reserve

Not only is this a majestic area but it’s reached with absolute ease. While perched just minutes from the CBD – and even closer from your BIG4 accommodation – the reserve offers a wilderness escape that feels far removed from city life.

This is one of the best family activities in Tasmania thanks to its plethora of diverse attractions, including walking paths that straddle Cataract Gorge and afford beautiful views, a swimming pool, chairlift rides, rolling lawns well-suited to picnics, gorgeous gardens, and more.

Nearby park: BIG4 Launceston Holiday Park.

Just gorgeous: Cataract Gorge Reserve. Credit: Jarrad Seng.

Step back in time at Port Arthur Historic Site

Part of a World Heritage property, Port Arthur is lauded as one of the most intact convict settlements in the world. And its condition, authenticity, and largely untouched surrounds easily allow visitors to journey back in time and better understand its historical significance.

A standard entry ticket includes an introductory tour that is well worth joining and brings many of the site’s colourful stories to life. It also includes a harbour cruise that incorporates a slice of the peninsula’s stunning surrounds. More on that at no.13.

Nearby parks: NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park or BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park.

Authentic, untouched: Port Arthur Historic Site. Credit: Alastair Bett.

10. Be dazzled along a west coast cruise

One of the most scenically rewarding things to do in Tasmania would have to be a boat cruise within Tasmania’s rugged west coast. A popular and regular option departs from Strahan and is littered with highlights.

Heading out into massive Macquarie Harbour, cruises incorporate notorious Hells Gates at the harbour’s mouth and include a stop at the fascinating former penal colony on Sarah Island.

From there, glide along the Gordon River and witness expansive temperate rainforest of the World Heritage area that provides just a glimpse into the ruggedness and isolation of this bewitching area.

Nearby park: BIG4 Strahan Holiday Retreat.

Tasmania's west coast is simply stunning. Credit: Paul Fleming.

11. Take in sensational views atop kunanyi/Mt Wellington

While this towering backdrop to the Tasmanian capital isn’t the prettiest of mountains from afar, the same can’t be said for the views it exposes from its summit. On a clear day, soak up a sensational selection of scenery that includes Hobart’s CBD, the Derwent River and its various bays, as well as Bruny Island, the Tasman Peninsula, and more.

The feeling of calmness and serenity is hugely appealing, too, which all helps to rank this among the top free things to do in Hobart. Big tip: Pack an extra layer or two of clothing prior to visiting.

Nearby park: BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park.

Oh those views. Credit: Luke Tscharke.

12. Witness the epic Bicheno Blowhole

There’s something truly intriguing about blowholes, and this one is a beauty. The ever-occurring water show makes for epic photos if your timing is right, and particularly when the swell is up, and the ocean is at its angriest. The appeal is amplified by the beautiful beach and its collection of orange lichen-covered rocks.

Better still, the blowhole is remarkably easy to reach within this enticing seaside fishing village, located on the state’s east coast.

Thar she blows: Bicheno Blowhole. Credit Tourism Tasmania.

13. Be dazzled by the Tasman Peninsula’s soaring sea stacks

At the bottom of treasure-laden Tasman Peninsula, just offshore from Tasman National Park, is a collection of sky-piercing sea stacks. These astonishing dolerite creations reach heights of up to 300m, giving them the honour of the southern hemisphere’s highest sea cliffs.

While the location might seem inaccessible, some of these stacks are reached on daily boat cruises that depart near Port Arthur and encompass plenty more awe-inspiring scenery. The cruises also provide a feeling of remoteness that is almost unworldly like. This is one special experience.

Nearby parks: NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park or BIG4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park.

The Candlestick is among the peninsula's spectacular sea stacks. Credit: Jason Charles Hill.

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