Traveling way Down Under
December 16, 2012 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Travel tips for Tasmania?

This coming February I'm traveling from Canada to Australia to visit an old friend who lives in Melbourne.
We're planning to spend a week or so on a road trip around Tasmania. My friend has been to Tasmania before so will generally know her way around. So far, we've decided to fly to Hobart and pick up a rental car at the airport rather than take the ferry.
Any suggestions as to places to see, stay and eat would be greatly appreciated.
As for us, we're well into middle age (if not on the brink of geezerhood) but still able to get around and always on the lookout for a bargain.
Cottages or such with separate bedrooms would be of particular interest (we both snore like banshees).
posted by islander to Travel & Transportation around Australia (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Around Hobart:
Salamanca Markets at the waterfront each Saturday
Museum of Old and New Art - haven't been, but heard it's good
Local factories with tours - Cadbury for chocolate (factory outlet at site!) and Cascade for booze (ditto!)
- Huon Valley, including a rainforest treetop walk at Tahune
- Wineglass Bay has a good day-hike
- ferry to Bruny Island, again great food - dairy, cheeses; lots of stonefruit and berries around
- Port Arthur (historic site - penal colony and massacre site, sad place). Nearby cute animals with kangaroo feeding and Tassie devils.
posted by quercus23 at 1:34 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tasmania is cool, so different from the rest of Australia. Hobart is a nice enough town, a bit unimpressive. Port Arthur is worth a visit.

What I'm really here to say is plan your trip around a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Railway. It's this crazy, beautiful restored steam train on the west coas that runs from Strahant to Queenstown. Absolutely amazing restoration project and beautiful scenery. Queenstown is a shithole strip mine (although interesting for that). Strahan is a charming coastal town with no real purpose now but good B&Bs, restaurants, and other tourist infrastructure. There's a lot of rain forest in the area; in addition to the train you can also see the forests by boat and, I imagine, by a hike. Really beautiful part of Tasmania, highly recommended.
posted by Nelson at 1:42 PM on December 16, 2012

Strahan is a must, allow a few days there for the railway, Sarah Island and the river cruise, and the west coast generally. We have done a couple of tours of Tassie with a car club, each about two weeks - I would not want to do it in less time.
posted by GeeEmm at 1:45 PM on December 16, 2012

In case you'd like further recommendations or discussion, I can't recommend Thorn Tree enough.
posted by mykescipark at 1:48 PM on December 16, 2012

Sorry, that is a poor link, try a better link for Strahan.
posted by GeeEmm at 1:56 PM on December 16, 2012

Do not miss the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. You can feed kangaroos, and see lots of other rescued animals. If you see a guide giving a tour, jump into it; they're very good, and sometimes you can pet other animals that they're holding. But you definitely want to bring home to Canada photos of you feeding kangaroos.

And yes, the Salamanca Market is excellent.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:06 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks all!
I love both steam engines and trains so the Strahan-Queenstown railway trip will definitely be on the itinerary.
Hobart and the Salamanca markets look great and we'd already talked about going to Bruny Island.
Looks like lots of good advice on Thorn Tree too.
And who could resist meeting some Aussie critters?
Cheers, mates.
posted by islander at 7:30 PM on December 16, 2012

The things I really enjoyed in Tasmania -

Strathlynn restaurant at the Ninth Island Winery (but unfortunately now only does functions), but the wine is still good,

Strahan pub which heavily features local produce (and of course there is local beer and wine), but is still just a good local pub,

Staying at the Island View Spa Cottage which does have separate bedrooms, great 180 degree views with a fireplace and spa on the deck,

House of Anvers chocolate,

and driving through the beautiful forests.
posted by AnnaRat at 12:33 AM on December 17, 2012

Cradle Mountain is pretty.
posted by goodnight at 1:44 AM on December 17, 2012

MONA is awesome. Prepare to spend an entire day there. Even my non-art-loving partner enjoyed it.

Richmond is a beautiful little Georgian town about half an hour's drive from Hobart. Nothing particular to see there but it's gorgeous, some of the buildings date from the 1820s and it's full of antiques, crafts and local produce.

Port Arthur is haunting and unique. It is quite a drive from Hobart - be prepared to spend the day. Don't miss the Isle of the Dead and the guided tour there.

I have to second the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Even seeing the total wreck mining has made of the rivers and of the Queenstown surrounds is amazing in its own way. The Gordon River cruise is also something special. Both these are stunningly beautiful journeys.
posted by andraste at 3:21 AM on December 17, 2012

One other tip on the West Coast Wilderness railway; when I went a few years ago the first class ticket was like 20% more expensive and 100% more awesome. Worth it. More comfortable car, fancy cheese and wine service, etc.
posted by Nelson at 8:47 AM on December 17, 2012

I know this is an old thread, but for anyone coming back to look:

- If you can, drive around Tassie - it's the sort of place that is really worth it. Depending on the time you have you can go for several days, and I'd recommend the east coast and through Cradle Mountain and then following the A10 down to Hobart is gorgeous. At Cradle Mountain we stayed at Lemonthyme Lodge, which we loved.

- I second Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and also Trowunna Wildlife Park near Mole Creek. At the latter my husband and I got there around 9 or 10am, and were allowed to hold one of their resident wombats, Maggie! There was no cost or fuss, and they said they only allow it if the wombat is in the right mood, but she fell asleep in our arms which was really amazing.

- House of Anvers, again, is great, especially if you've caught the Spirit of Tasmania and gotten off at Devonport really early (and I recommend the Spirit, too, if you don't get seasick)

- If you want lovely views of Hobart, I suggest going up Mount Nelson (it's an easy drive, not really a mountain) or heading up into the suburb of North Hobart and looking around the gorgeous houses. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's quite a lovely area and you can look out across the city. If you're not fit, though, take a car as some streets are reeeeeally steep!

- The Tahuna Airwalk (as mentioned) is also awesome - I suggest going beyond just the plain airwalk and also visiting the swinging bridges (I'm afraid of heights and had no trouble with them). Just be careful all your pockets are closed - my husband lost the car keys and we got stuck up there after 5pm with no reception, no staff, and only managed to call a towtruck because, luckily, there was a cabin for a forest worker unlocked that we broke in to! (We left a note apologising, though, and didn't touch anything but the phone)

- The tessellated pavement at Eaglehawk Neck. Most people see the dog line there, but my grandma had a holiday house and we'd walk down to the beach and see the "pavement" (it's actually naturally occurring rock) and it was always gorgeous. I don't know if it's in any tourist brochures, but just stop in at the local milk bar or shop and they can direct you - I think it's at the north end of the beach.
posted by aletheianink at 10:44 PM on September 27, 2013

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