Are you already planning a mid-year trip? We reckon Tasmania might be just the place to go. Here are the best short trips in Tasmania, all of them easily accessible from Hobart.
You can really step back in time at Tasmania’s Port Arthur Historic Site. Once known as Tasmania’s most ‘inescapable convict era prison’, the Port Arthur Historic Site is now a fantastic place to learn about Australia’s convict history. You’ll be able to explore more than 40 hectares of land, ruins and beautiful historic buildings.
Whilst there, don’t forget to grab a bite to eat. You can sample Tasmanian wines, craft beers and locally produced meals at the 1830 Restaurant and Bar or grab a snack at the Port Arthur Cafe. Otherwise, spend the afternoon enjoying a Devonshire Tea in the beautifully restored 19th Century Magistrates House.
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a cruise and guided tour around the historic Isle of the Dead, a tiny island by Port Arthur that once served as a prison graveyard. For the braver still, you can wander through the ruins by nightfall on one of Port Arthur’s famous lantern-lit Ghost Tours, or pursue paranormal activity at the adults-only Paranormal Investigation Experience.
Regular public coaches run between Hobart and Port Arthur via the Tassielink Transit bus service. For information on timetables, bookings and fares, check out the Tassielink website.
Make sure you escape to the breathtakingly beautiful Bruny Island. While you’re on the island, enjoy panoramic views on the Bruny Walking Tracks from Adventure Bay to Cape Bruny, visit the historic Cape Bruny Lighthouse (Australia’s second-oldest lighthouse) or catch a glimpse of a natural ocean optical illusion at the Neck lookout and boardwalk.
Usually around September or October, if you’re lucky you might also catch sight of Bruny Island’s adorable fairy penguins, who waddle ashore each year to nest — a must-see!
Drive or take the number 415 bus from Stop 7 (Davey St, Hobart) to Kettering, which is 37km south of Hobart. The trip should take around 30 minutes. From Kettering, catch a ferry across to Bruny Island, which takes about 20 minutes. Check the Bruny Island Ferry timetable here.
Travel South of Hobart and you’ll find the Huon Valley, a gorgeous region of pristine Hartz Mountains national parkland, still Huon River waters, and sun-spotted apple orchards. Tasmania is known as as ‘The Apple Isle’ — and for good reason. Taste the region’s specialty Huon Valley apples, brandies and ciders at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed Museum and Cider House.
Don’t forget to explore the magnificent dolomite caves before taking a dip into the thermal natural hot springs at Hastings Caves Reserve. If you’d prefer to stay dry, head to Tasmania’s Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin to sink deeper into Tasmania’s maritime history.
Up for a thrill? Try scaling Tasmania’s gorgeous rainforest canopies on the Tahune Treetop Walk. Take in breathtaking views 30 metres above the forest floor on the famous Tahune Airwalk, glide through the tree-tops with the Eagle Hang Gliding adventure, or kayak across the Huon River rapids on the Twin River Adventure.
If you’re feeling fit, climb the spectacular scenic slopes of Cradle Mountain — there’s no place quite like it. Situated in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, this weekend trip from Hobart is beloved by locals as a must-do Tasmanian experience and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
If you’ve got a whole day free, take a 7 to 8-hour hike to the summit of Cradle Mountain via the breathtakingly stunning Lake Lilla and Marions Lookout. Otherwise, take a gentler 2-hour walk around the iconic Dove Lake Circuit passing by sights like Glacier Rock, Ballroom Forest and the Boatshed. The mountain itself is full of gorgeous scenery, photo opportunities and Australian wildlife. Whilst hiking, you’re likely to stumble across birds, quolls, platypuses, echidnas, and even the famous Tasmanian devil.
Cradle Mountain is quite remote, so it can be difficult to get to. From Hobart, it’s a 4 to 5 hour drive. If you haven’t got your own car, check out local tours running from Hobart.