And boy, if this is your first time exploring this Australian state; you’re in for a real treat.
We actually spent 5 months backpacking Tasmania. It wasn’t planned, we just fell in love with the island – fast!
From long-distance trekking and gorgeous beaches, to platypus sightings and a hidden gem of a cafe. We’ve got all traveller types covered for having fun.
After staying at the one and only 5 star hostel Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse, it only seemed right to create this list. Now all your planning can be done with this one guide.
Check out: all 34 best hostels in Australia
Are you ready?
Here’s your quick overview, and then let’s jump straight in:
- Complete list of things to do in Tasmania
- Handy map + itinerary
- Getting around Tasmania
- Seasonal work + working hostel
- Where to stay
- More guides for Australia
(Last updated in April, 2020)
Full list of Fun Things to do in Tasmania
This is the ultimate insider guide with local tips and top tourist attractions to get your adventure-buds tingling.
We’ve included the top tourist attractions (they are popular for a reason), plus firsthand tips, tricks and hidden gems. Because you’re worth it.
Have a sneaky peak at our other Australian handy guides:
Let’s jump straight in!
1. Climb Cradle Mountain and beyond
Alright then hiking enthusiasts, no doubt you’ve heard of Cradle Mountain. This stands to be the most iconic mountain on the island because of its jagged peaks and stunning location – Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
It’s certainly worth a visit, even if you don’t intend on climbing to the top! The views around it are breathtaking.
And that’s not all; there are SO many walking opportunities in Tassie. Our guess is it’s the main reason people visit.
From gentle day walks to epic multi-day hikes, here is a list of the must-do walks on the island:
- Overland Track – 4-7 day hike which includes Cradle Mountain
2. South Coast Track – a wilderness track that covers 85km
3. Freycinet National Park – swim at Wineglass Bay and marvel at The Hazards
4. Frenchman’s Cap – prominent peak in the Wild West Coast region
5. Walls of Jerusalem – a multi-day hiking area with opportunities to set up a ‘base camp’
6. Three Capes Track – coastline track with very fancy huts along the way
We highly recommend checking out TasTrails for a comprehensive list all walks across the island. Including easy, medium and hard walks from 20-minutes to several days.
2. Step into the Bizarre World of MONA
If you’re a lover of contemporary art, or anything a little bit weird, you’re going to love MONA museum in Hobart.
Trust us when we say this isn’t your usual boring museum that kills your soul. We’re not museum people and we absolutely loved it here!
The exhibitions are always changing. Many of them provoke deeper thinking and some just have you questioning “what’s this all about?”
There is even one guy that has sold his tattooed skin to the museum. Until he dies, he sits for hours at a time meditating whilst showing off his body art. Mmm hmm.
3. Spend too much money at the Salamanca Market
Looking for fun things to do in Hobart?
Salamanca Market is not known as one of Australia’s largest and most vibrant outdoor markets for nothing, you know.
It has been going since 1972, offering up everything you can imagine, from locally grown produce and fresh food, to unique crafts and buskers worth listening to.
Every Saturday between 08:30am and 3pm you’ll find more than 300 stalls ready for business.
To top it off, it’s located close to Hobart’s picturesque waterfront, Salamanca Place.
4. Visit a hidden gem: Alchemy Cafe
Granted; there are plenty of cafes in Tasmania. So why are we only listing one of them?
Because when you come across a hidden gem on your travels, it would be rude not to share it with fellow travellers that love to get away from the tourist scene!
Alchemy Cafe is located in a charming little place called Forth, on the tourist route to Cradle Mountain.
Get ready for…
“…a paleo friendly, vegan friendly and allergy friendly, licensed cafe with delicious foods that promote wellness!”
“With a children’s playroom, an upbeat vibe, cozy woodfire, sunny and fresh courtyard, live music events, dessert nights and showcasing local artists and creators, Alchemy Cafe is one to put on your map!”
5. Stand on orange rocks at Bay of Fires
Head to the east coast of Tasmania and stumble across whites sand beaches, crystal blue water and orange-hued granite rocks. It’s quite a sight.
The Bay of Fires stretches for over 50 kilometres from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point.
Top tip: spend a night or two at the free camping areas just north of Binalong bay. In nearby St Helens there are public showers and laundry. You’re welcome.
6. Cruise along Cataract Gorge in Launceston
Literally alongside the second largest city in Tasmania is the fantastic Cataract Gorge.
It’s such a beautiful area that can be explored on foot or by boat. It’s even possible to drive right up to the main area where there is a cafe, outdoor swimming pool and kids play area.
There’s a cute chairlift taking you over the gorge, plus short walks up and down the valley. The water is chilly but certainly worth a dip!
We’d say this is the #1 choice when it comes to things to do in Launceston.
7. Self-therapize yourself in a natural Thermal Spring
Just 90-minutes south of Hobart there is Hastings Thermal Springs + Caves.
There are some pretty impressive cave systems in Tasmania, and this stands to be one of the best and most popular. Most likely because after your visit to the caves, you can enjoy the naturally occurring warmth of the hot springs.
It’s a tepid 28 degrees with a cooling outdoor temperature. See you there!
8. Peer across the waters to Antarctica
Well, you won’t be able to actually see Antartica if you visit Cockle Creek, but you will in fact be standing at the southernmost point of Australia. And nothing stands in the way of you and Antartica from here!
Just a 2-hour drive from Hobart, Cockle Creek really does feel like the end of the world. Yet there is surprisingly a lot to discover here.
The camping area is free and peaceful. The beaches are empty of people, and there is a cool area dedicated to the bay’s whaling history. And of course; there are some great walking opportunities!
9. Walk amongst giants in the Tarkine Forest
Over in the north-west there is a huge temperate rainforest, sand dunes and coastal heathland with strong links to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
Seriously, this area should be on everyone’s list of places to explore.
You’ll feel as though you’ve been taken back in time to when dinosaurs ruled the world.
The area is home to the world’s only known Blackwood sinkhole. There’s an adventure company that boasts a 110-m slide, and there’s opportunity for kayaking, camping and walking among evidence of Aboriginal communities.
Here’s a secret: near Arthur River there is a beach that is home to fantastic Aboriginal rock carvings. Speak with the staff at the nearby Visitor Information Centre to find out more.
10. Go in search of Platypus
Tasmania stands to be one of the best places to catch a sighting of the bizarre, yet cute platypus.
But you have to be willing to put in the time and patience!
We got super lucky and spotted a Platypus in the most unexpected places; in a small canal in a place called Penguin.
Top tip: head out around dawn or dusk and choose a spot to sit and watch quietly from the waters edge.
Here is a list of areas on the island that are known to be home to platypus:
- Liffey Falls area
2. Latrobe (Bells Parade & Warrewee Forest)
3. Geevestone Circuit Platypus walk
4. Dove Lake (Cradle Mountain National Park)
5. Strahan @ botanical creek platypus stream
11. Hop across to Bruny Island
The marvels of Bruny can be enjoyed in a day trip from Hobart, or you might prefer to stay on the island for 2-3 days to fully immerse in the landscape.
Either way, you can’t miss out on what’s called ‘The Neck’ – the isthmus of land that connects the north and south parts of the island.
One of the coolest ways to explore Bruny Island is by taking a wilderness cruise.
12. Explore nature on a National Park Island
Leave your ordinary world behind and step foot on the stunningly wild Maria Island.
As the entire island is a National Park, you can expect no shops, no fancy hotels and limited places to charge your phones. Sounds great, right?
It’s likely you’ll bump into the local residents: wallabies, wombats, kangaroos and birds. They thrive here!
And don’t miss out on the famous painted cliffs. Make sure you pack your swimsuit and explore the surrounding ‘no fishing’ zones and marine reserves.
13. Have a Remarkable time at a Cave
Ok, that was our attempt at word play, did you get it? Moving swiftly on…
Remarkable Cave is a real place, honestly! We went there, so we know.
This is a great option for families or those that begrudge having to walk too far. An impressive cave opening awaits you not too far from the carpark.
Why not go nuts and also visit King Solomon Cave. This system is in the beautiful area of Mole Creek, not too far from Cradle Mountain and the Great Lakes.
14. Sit for hours at Wineglass Bay
Wineglass Bay is easily the most beautiful place in Tasmania. Before you can disagree, you have to see it for yourself!
Honestly, it’s one of those places you just wouldn’t expect to find in a place like Tasmania. It has more of a Mediterranean or Thailand feel to it.
The best bit: the East coast tends to have mild weather all year round. Even in winter there are often blue skies. This makes it a great winter destination to avoid the crowds.
15. Gobble up a Lavender Ice-cream (or two)
Lavender is in flower in Tasmania between December and January, and Bridestowe Lavender Estate is one of the best places to see it.
Not only that, but these guys make their very own lavender ice cream, yum!
This happens to be the birth place of the finest lavender oil in the world. The onsite shop has lots of lavender-inspired gifts.
16. Don’t just eat a nut, walk on top of The Nut
There happens to be a strange sheer-sided bluff off the coast of Stanley, and it’s name is The Nut.
It’s rather picturesque and fun to walk on top of. The climb up is quite steep, so if you’re feeling lazy you can take the chair lift.
AND! On nearby Godfrey’s Beach you are in for a chance of spotting penguins waddling on the sand. Head out at night time and be careful where you step.
17. Stare up in search of the Southern Aurora Australis
Also known as the Southern Lights, because yes, they can be seen from Tasmania. Every day is a learning day.
Not surprisingly, the best time to spot them is during the night time when the skies are clear. So winter offers the best results thanks to the shorter daylight hours.
We suggest getting up high and preferably far away from light pollution.
A few good spots in Tassie include:
- Mount Wellington, Hobart
2. Cockle Creek (most recommended)
3. South Arm Peninsula
This is certainly one of the top things to do in Tasmania in winter.
18. Hit the Derby Mountain Bike Trails
Fancy trying your skills on one of the world’s premier mountain bike networks?
The Blue Derby trails offer up 140km of purpose built mountain bike trails with options to suit all skill levels.
This is your opportunity to experience legendary trails and create world-class memories.
Also: each year there is a Derby Festival which runs over 3 days and encompasses great food, live music, craft beer and entertainment.
19. Capture that perfect Waterfall moment
Whether you decide to dunk your head under the fall, go for a swim in the lagoon or admire from afar; the waterfalls in Tasmania will not let you down.
Even if you feel like you’ve seen enough waterfalls in your lifetime, we encourage you to make time for one or two more.
Here are some of the best waterfalls on the island:
- Montezuma Falls
2. Liffey Falls
3. Russell Falls
4. Nelson Falls
Let us know which one you deem to be the best!
20. Take a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Railway
There’s something quite romantic about railway travel, don’t you think? The slow pace, the chug-chugga of the engine, the engine steam.
Alright, alright enough of that.
Seriously though, the West Coast Wilderness Railway is different from most train rides.
This one is an old steam train that journeys deep into the heritage of the Tasmanian wilderness. From Queenstown to Strahan, along 35km of rainforest track. Go!
21. Dive beneath the Ocean
Do we have any scuba diver lovers reading this? Perhaps it’s something you’ve always wanted to try?
Tasmania is a great diving destination for the experienced and complete novice.
There are some great companies spread across the island that can rent out gear, as well as offer introductory courses and qualifications.
- Eaglehawk dive centre
- Go Dive Tasmania
22. Meet a Tasmanian Devil at an ‘Unzoo’
On your way down to explore Port Arthur Historic Site (UNESCO), you can add a bit of extra fun to your day by visiting the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo.
Forget your ordinary zoo; this one has been designed around a natural environment for the animals. Consider yourself a guest in their home.
As devils are only found living in the wilds of Tasmania, though it’s still tricky to see them. Support the efforts of the Unzoo and get close and personal with this intriguing carnivorous marsupial.
All Fun Things to do in Tasmania on a Map + Itinerary
By now you should be overflowing with ideas of fun things to do in Tasmania during your time there.
We’ve gone the extra mile and added all of them to the handy Tasmania map below. You’ll also find:
- All of the long-distance treks pinpointed
- A short and long Tasmania itinerary of MUST-SEE places
- BEST beaches in Tasmania
In case you still want more, we’ve also found these awesome Tasmania activities on offer:
- 3-hour Hobart city sightseeing tour
- Port Arthur Historic Sight Ghost Tour
- Tasman Island: 3-hour Wilderness Cruise
- Mt.Field, Mt.Wellington & Bonorong tour
An easier way to get around Hobart is by using the 24-hour Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus.
(You can open and view the full map here)
Getting around Tasmania
First of all, what’s the best way to reach this island off the south coast of Australia?
There are two main ways:
- Fly into Launceston or Hobart – flying from Melbourne often proves the cheapest
- Sail with Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne to Devonport – the crossing takes between 9-11 hours
There are some great bus services running all over Tasmania. It’s an easy way to get around the island, and we found the prices to be quite fair.
Tassielink is the direct service which links Hobart, Launceston and Devonport. It’s a great one to use if you take the ferry and want to reach one (or both) of the main cities.
Otherwise, you can use the Redline service. They also connect the major cities, and they stop off at smaller places inbetween. This is useful for getting off the beaten track!
For the self drivers out there, you cannot explore Tasmania without downloading WikiCamps on your phone.
This awesome app lists ALL of the camping opportunities across Australia. From free camps, to self-contained and paid campsites, this app has it all.
It can be used offline and is all yours for a small one-time fee.
We wouldn’t have been without it during our time here. It opened doors to some fantastic locations we’d never have found without the help of WikiCamps.
This option is actually super cool.
With Transfercar you can get lucky and find a car relocation from Hobart/Launceston to Melbourne. Usually you are offered 2-3 FREE days, with the option of adding extra days at a reduced price.
If you’re even luckier, some companies throw in a full tank of fuel and ferry expenses paid for the driver.
Good to know: Transerfar offer relocations across Australia!
Be aware that most companies expect the driver to be at least 21+ years, and often you need to pay a bond of around $500. Make sure you check if debit cards are accepted – sometimes they prefer credit cards only.
Important: once you have ‘requested’ a booking on the website, you have already agreed to the terms and are liable to pay a fee if you change your mind. So make sure you’re sure before you hit that request button!
Seasonal Work in Tasmania
Working towards your 2nd year working holiday visa in Tasmania is a really good choice – there is so much seasonal work on offer!
Between the months of October and June you can get involved in:
- Organic weekend
- Berry picking (raspberries, blueberries etc)
- Vegetable picking
- Factory packing
Tasmania’s North West coast is considered one of the best places in the world for quality fruit and veg.
We suggest staying with Tasman Backpackers Lodge – a working hostel that offers reasonbly priced accommodation and help with finding seasonal work.
Top tip: having your own car will bump you up as a more suitable candidate for work.
Where to stay in Tasmania
You’re in luck, dear reader, for there is a wonderful 5 star hostel in Tasmania!
And not only that, but it just so happens to be situated in the capital city of Hobart – a must see destination when travelling to this state.
There are a few hostels worth a mention in Tasmania. Though we must admit the choice of hostels around the island isn’t huge.
Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse (Hobart)
This family-lifestyle hostel at the other end of the world overflows with that homely vibe, with a hint of poshtel mixed in.
Though you consciously know you chose a hostel, you may forget and think you’ve checked into a hotel.
And by that we mean you can expect…
- Crisp, clean & fresh design
- Modern and vintage touches
- A very warm welcome from the Montacute family (including dog!)
Find out more by reading our full review of Montacute here.
Pilgrim Hill (Lucaston, Huon Valley)
Pilgrim Hill is an off-grid, family run Christian hostel nestled in the hills of the Huon Valley not far from Hobart.
“Come enjoy warm hospitality, shared meals, and thoughtful discussions, amid the rhythms of an off-grid lifestyle.”
It doesn’t matter if you follow Christianity or not – everyone is welcome here.
This hostel is in fact 100% off-grid! That means rainwater is collected for showers and solar is used for heating and energy. However don’t panic; there is still unlimited wifi available.
Bonus: there is a free shuttle for those looking to work on farms within 15km of the property.
Pilgrim Hill is located 35 minutes from Hobart and 15 minutes from Huonville.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Hostelworld
Arthouse Hostel (Launceston)
When visiting Launceston, we recommend staying in a 1888 heritage building, the Arthouse Hostel.
It feels much more like a big house-share, with plenty of big spaces to mingle with others.
The best part is surely the staff. Say hello to owner Pete for us – he and his team are naturals at making you feel at home as soon as you step through the door.
Enjoy super fast NBN Wifi, a rear courtyard with BBQ and a terrace overlooking the Tamar river.
The Pickled Frog (Hobart)
We were impressed during our stay at The Pickled Frog.
As soon as you walk through the door you’re greeted by a cosy fireplace, craft beer deals and a big board full of fun events and excursions.
There is a well-eqipped kitchen and a lounge area that’s ieal for watching Netflix, reading or playing a game of pool. It’s all there!
After 10pm reception closes and the hostel is asked to quiten down. This is great because many of the bigger dorms are attached to the social areas.
Swansea Backpackers Lodge (Swansea)
Over on the east coast is a place called Swansea; your gateway to the beautiful Freycinet National Park.
There is one hostel and one hostel only in this part of Tasmania. Welcome to Swansea Backpackers Lodge.
A basic set up with a large garden and great lounge area, this hostel is suitable for older travellers, families and backpackers alike.
Rooms are a range of shared and private options. There is also free parking on-site.
Trails End (St Helens)
St Helens is the closest town to the southern access point of Bay of Fires – a must see in Tasmania!
Trails End hostel is a home-from-home option if you’re passing through this way.
There are two friendly cats to cuddle, a cosy fireplace and a well-equipped kitchen for all to use.
It’s a good choice for families, older travellers and solo travellers that enjoy a peaceful atmosphere. The staff are super!
Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com
So you’ve been granted a 12 month working holiday visa and Tasmania is not the only place on your list. Fabulous!
In that case, you’re going to love our other Aussie guides to great hostels, 5 Star Hostels and epic things to do in Australia:
- best hostels in Sydney
- best hostels in Melbourne
- best hostels in Brisbane
- best hostels in Cairns
- best hostels in Alice Springs
- best hostels in Airlie Beach
- best hostels in Byron Bay
- best hostels in Perth
You can find all of our guides to ‘Best Hostels in…’ here.
Summary: Fun Things to do in Tasmania
I wanted to make this guide as useful and informative as possible. And fun!
And yet you may still have questions left. Please leave a comment and “bother” me. I appreciate your questions and would love to help you.
In fact, your question will help me and all our fellow travellers too.
So, please do not be shy and drop us a line the comment below. I will even send you a reply via email.
What have you got to lose?
Safe travels & enjoy Tasmania!
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Hostel Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries