The Top Ten Tasmania Tourist Destinations

Hobart

The capital of Tasmania, a stunning city steeped in Heritage and presided over by the awesome Mt Wellington. Hobart located where the Derwent River flows into the sea, a beautiful and natural location that gives the city a very aquatic feel. On a visit here be sure to give the markets at Salamanca Place a look, and other popular tourist atractions are the Old Hobart Gaol and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Hobart is the finish point for the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race, a race which marks the start of the Hobart Summer Festival- a festive time to visit.

Launceston

Tasmania's second oldest city is in the north east of the island state, where the Tamar and South Esk Rivers meet. It has the whole of the Tamar Valley at its doorstep, waiting to be explored. Cataract Gorge is just a few minutes from the city, and is great for a boat cruise or bushwalk. The famous Boag's Brewery is in Launceston as well, tours of which are very popular, as are tours of the Queen Victoria Museum. The Tamar Valley is renowned for its sparkling wines and pinoits, so hop into your hire car and visit some of the cellar doors in the region.

Port Arthur

Located on the Tasman Peninsula, this is a modest village in dramatically beautiful surrounds, and is best known for the Port Arthur Historic Site. Initially being a penal settlement, it has a long history and a rich heritage that is preserved in this site. The original old buildings such as the prison and the church stand in pristine gardens. In the evening time ghost tours are particularly popular, as are cruises to the Isle of the Dead. The surrounding coastline is rugged, with crashing waves and rocky cliff faces.

Huon Valley

The Huon Valley is just over half an hour from Tasmania but its like stepping into another world. Tall timber forests and apple orchards dominate the lush landscapes, and interesting small towns like Huonville and Geeveston provide quiet bases from which to explore the Valley. The Tahuna Forest Reserve deserves a visit, and while there go on the Tahuna Airwalk, a platform that takes you high through the forest. The Hastings Caves are also a spectacular spot.

Cradle Mountain/ Lake St Clair Park

This world heritage park is undoubtedly the most beautiful natural region in Tasmania. This is the place where you come to appreciate nature, and there are plenty of camping grounds and cabins to base yourself in. Bushwalking is very popular, with many varying trails, The most famous is the Overland Track, which covers over 80km through the park. Another worthy activity is to climb Mt Ossa, the highest mountain in Tasmania. The Mersey River flows through the park, and has some amazing waterfalls, including the Harnett Falls.

Coles Bay

On the east coast, Coles Bay is a popular tourist spot at the entrance to the Freycinet Peninsula. It has stunning ocean views, and is a popular place to base oneself when exploring the region. The picture perfect Wineglass Bay is nearby, as are all the hills, bluffs and lookouts in the Freycinet National Park. Slightly north lies the fishing town of Bicheno, where scuba diving and snorkelling are popular. Outdoor activities in general are popular here, so come prepared to go kayaking, fishing and hiking!

New Norfolk

This historic town is rich in heritage and lies on the banks of the wide and smooth Derwent River. Just half an hour from Hobart, its the perfect place to indulge in the serene goodness of nature. The Derwent flows through a large wetlands, so there is plenty of wildlife, and nearby is the Mt Field National Park where you can visit Russell Falls, Lady Barron Falls and Horseshoe Falls. If you have always wanted to try your hand at fly fishing, then visit the salmon Ponds- the oldest trout hatchery in the southern hemisphere and home to the Tasmanian Angling Hall of Fame.

Strahan

The west coast of Tassy is an isolated and rugged place- there is only one settlement on its entire length, and that settlement is Strahan. Located on the Macquarie Harbour, it is surrounded by tall Huon forest, the large Gordon and King Rivers, and miles of windy, deserted beaches. Its not your average seaside resort, its a place to base yourself for a holiday that appreciates the raw beauty of nature. A journey on the old West Coast Wilderness Railway will let you appreciate it further, as will cruises on the rivers and in the Harbour. A visit to Ocean Beach is essential as well.

St. Helens

Located in the north east, this fishing village sits on the shores of St Georges Bay. It is most famous for the St Helens Classic, a deep sea fishing competition that takes place every year. The scenery of the area is popular amongst bushwalkers, especially along the headland known as St Helens Point, which is mostly public conservation area. to the north of Stanley lies the popular Bay of Fires, just past the town of Binalong Bay, and beyond that is the Mt William National Park. Theres lots to see and do in St Helens!

Stanley

The north west of Tasmania has often been overlooked by tourists, but picturesque towns like Stanley are slowly becoming more talked about as people become aware of the attractions of the region. Nearby is the Rocky Cape National Park, which has a plethora of coral reefs popular amongst scuba divers. For incredible views climb 'The Nut', a domed monolith that rises above the town. Many bird species have taken up residence on its rocky sides, so expect some company on your walks around it! There is also a seaquarium in town that the kids will love.

Gavin Wyatt

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