Tasmania travel guide

Tasmania Travel Guide: The Ultimate Guide for First-Timers

This article may contain affiliate.  For more information, please see our disclaimer here.

Table of Contents

Raw, untouched and diverse landscapes is how you can describe the nature in Tasmania. A true nature-lover paradise, with lots of wildlife to see and activities to do. In this Tasmania travel guide, I will tell you everything you need to know when you visit Tasmania!

Nanet and I spent more than a month in this beautiful part of Australia. Having so much time made it possible to explore deeper and further than most people do. We gathered a lot of information and I bundled it into this Tasmania travel guide for you.

Where is Tasmania

Tasmania is an island, or actually an island archipelago of 334 islands, situated 240km south of the mainland of Australia. The closest landmass to the West is South America, there’s nothing South until Antarctica and if you go the East you’ll pass New Zealand first.

Is Tasmania a country?

Tasmania is not a country, but one of the 8 states of Australia. Therefore, the same rules apply when it comes to a couple of general things:

  • The valuta, which is the Australian Dollar. Please check xe.com for current exchange rates.
  • Also in Tasmania people drive on the left side of the road (and your steering wheel is on the right side of the car).
  • Tasmania tourist visa requirements, which are the same for traveling to any other destination in Australia.

Tip: Click here to go to the visa finder of the Australian Government. This tool will help you to figure out whether you nee a visa or not, and if you need one which one is right for you!

Quick Tasmania facts

Not any Tasmania Travel Guide is complete without telling you some facts about this super interesting place!? So, here you are:

  • Tasmania has the cleanest air conditions of the inhabited world. And the inhabitants are proud of that!
  • There are half a million people living in Tasmania, which makes them the state with the 3rd smallest population (Only the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have fewer inhabitants).
  • It’s one of the world’s last accessible wilderness frontiers, but still quite easily accessible from Australia’s mainland.
  • In Australian slang, the island is called “Tassie”.
  • The capital city of Tasmania is Hobart. This is the second oldest capital city of Australia.
  • Tasmania is home to the tallest flowering trees in the world, which can grow over 100 meters high.
  • There is a lot of wildlife to discover, of which some species can only be found in Tasmania! Like the Tasmanian Devil and the White Bennett’s Wallaby.
  • The distances between sights, things to do, places to see, and national parks are way smaller than on the mainland, which makes it a pleasure to explore the island at a leisurely pace.
  • The landscapes are raw and nature is still untouched, including 2800 kilometers of coastline, where the highest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere can be found.

How to get there

As Tasmania is an island, which is not connected to the mainland by any tunnels or bridges, the only way to get there is by boat or by plane.

By boat with the Spirit of Tasmania

You can go from Melbourne to Tasmania by crossing the Bass Strait by boat. The only ferry operator that can bring you to and fro Tasmania is Tasmania Spirit. They have two ferries that can both bring cars and passengers. They sail 1 to 2 times daily in both directions between Melbourne and Devonport.

The sailing distance is 429 km and it takes 9 to 11 hours to cross over, depending mainly on the weather circumstances. The ships, called the Spirit of Tasmania I & II, are almost 200m long and can carry up to 500 cars and 1400 passengers.

On board there are several bars, restaurants and entertainment possibilities, like a cinema. If you decide to sail during the night you need to book a place to sleep. This can either be a hut for an extra charge or a recliner which is free of charge.

On our sailing towards Tasmania, we had the night ferry and slept on the recliners, which are very comfortable. You can push the backrest back and the footrest upwards to sit very comfortably and get some sleep.

Check out the website of the spirit of Tasmania for sailing times and fares.

Flights to Tasmania

The most common taken flight paths to go to Tasmania are from Melbourne or Sydney to Launceston or Devonport.

Once you arrived at one of the airports of Tassie, you can take the shuttle bus, taxi or Uber to the city center or your hotel. You can also rent a car at both airports. More about this further down in the section on how to get around.

From Sydney

From Sydney you can get a direct flight to Launceston in the North or to Hobart in the South. To Launceston it takes about an hour and 20 minutes. To Hobart will take you an extra 20 minutes.

Prices fluctuate throughout the year and the season, but are normally available between AU$80 and AU$200 for a one-way ticket.

From Melbourne

From Melbourne you can get a direct flight to Launceston in the North or Hobart in the South. Both flights take about 1 hour.

Prices fluctuate throughout the year and the season, but are normally available between AU$50 and AU$150 for a one-way ticket.

TIP: Check out Skyscanner for the best ticket prices.

How to get around

As there is barely any public transport available in Tasmania, the best way to get around is by car or by booking tours.

If you plan on going to Tasmania by ferry, you can bring your own car. But, if you plan on going by plane, this will be a bit harder and you have the following options to get around in Tasmania.

Rent a car

At both airports, so Launceston and Hobart, you can rent a car. This is the easiest way to go, as you have access to a car right away. As said before there isn’t a lot of public transport, not even between the airports and the city centers.

So, if you decide to rent a car, why not make it easy for yourself and rent it at the airport to drive yourself to the place where you stay.

What kind of car do you need in Tasmania?

The roads in Tasmania are solid and paved roads will bring you pretty much everywhere. There are some exceptions, like the roads to some very remote waterfalls. But if the weather conditions are in your favor you should be able to access these with a 2WD car.

If you like to book a car and accommodation at once, a Camper Van is the ideal solution. There are lots of camping opportunities in Tasmania which will make you enjoy nature even more!

So, my recommendation for car hire in Tasmania would definitely be a 2WD. Whether that is a Camper Van or a regular car is all up to you!

Book tours

Another way to get around Tasmania is by booking tours. These tours will bring you to all the highlights on the island in half-day, full-day or multiple-day trips.

If you want to explore Tasmania this way, you can best stay in Hobart. Most tours start from here and there is lots to see and to do in the close surroundings of this city.

Click here to get an overview of all the amazing tours you can’t miss on Tasmania!

Where to stay

Although Tasmania isn’t as touristy as for example the East Coast of Australia, there are plenty of choices to make when it comes to accommodation. Think of hotels, motels, cabins, campsites, and Airbnb’s.

Hotels, motels and cabins

The best hotels, motels, and cabins for each budget can be booked via booking.com. They provide a wide range of accommodations all throughout Tasmania.

Campsites

As this Tasmania travel guide is written by someone who loves nature, I can highly recommend going camping. Live outside and enjoy nature to the fullest. Tasmania provides many opportunities for camping, which can all be found in the WikiCamps app. This app shows you both free camps and paid campsites in all price ranges.

Must read: Free Camping in Australia: The Ultimate Backpackers Guide

Airbnb

Airbnb is also active on Tasmania and you can find many different accommodations on this platform. From single rooms to fully equipped private apartments.

What budget do I need?

In this Tasmania travel guide, I’ll give you a short overview of different budgets you can keep in mind and what you can do with such a budget. If you’d like to have more information on travel costs, please check out our blog post about the traveling costs in Australia.

  • Real backpackers budget: This means you have your own transportation and you mainly use free camps for overnight stays. Just party every now and then and do a tour only when you really really want to. You should be able to travel around Tasmania for AU$30 – AU$50 per day
  • Party animal budget: This means you party at least 2 times a week until you are totally wasted. Consuming a lot of alcohol, mainly traveling in the cities, which means you have to stay in backpackers hostels. You should be able to travel around Tasmania for AU$60 – AU$100 per day
  • Explorer budget: This means you love to explore Tasmania a bit more. Drive some more kilometers, do some more tours, activities, and go out for dinner every now and then. But you don’t mind staying on free camps, although twice a week you grant yourself a bit more luxury stay. You should be able to travel around Tasmania for AU$80 – AU$130 per day
  • Luxury budget: You just want it all. Do a lot of tours, eat out at least 3 to 4 times a week, rent a car, and you only stay in hotels. You should be able to travel around Tasmania forAU$175 – AU$300 per day

What is the Tasmania weather like?

Tasmania is the only state in Australia that really knows 4 seasons. It’s also the state where the temperatures are always lowest. Winters are cold with a lot of snow, and the summers are moderate with pleasant temperatures.

The key to preparing yourself for the Tasmania weather is to be prepared for experiencing all 4 seasons in one day. The day might start with beautiful sunshine and a clear blue sky with a pleasant breeze and might end in a storm with lots of rainfall and cold temperatures.

So, although you need to be prepared to experience all 4 seasons in a day, the official Tasmania weather seasons run as follows:

  • Winter: From June until August
  • Spring: From September until November
  • Summer: From December until February
  • Autumn: From March until May

Winter is pretty cold in Tasmania, especially compared to the rest of Australia. Temperatures drop to 10ºC and below during the day. The days are short and in the mountains, it will snow, which makes it possible to go skiing on some small slopes.

This time of the year there aren’t a lot of tourists around and you should almost consider yourself lucky to see another car on the road.

Summer season

Temperature-wise, the summer season is the best time of the year, but temperatures will fluctuate a lot with an average of 20ºC during the day. There will be a few exceptions on a hot days the temperature rises over 30ºC.

This time of the year is peak season and you can best book ferries and accommodations in advance. Especially when traveling during the school holidays, which normally run from just before Christmas until the end of January.

Must Read: The best time to travel Australia: An overview per region

How long to drive around Tasmania?

Any Tasmania itinerary or route guide will probably suggest you take around 10 days to explore this part of Australia. I think 10 days is a pretty good time frame to see most of the highlights, but 2 days more or less would be fine as well.

This gives you also more time to get out of the car for a day hike or even a multiple-day hike.

What to do in Tasmania

Or should I say, what not to do in Tasmania? Really, almost everything is possible! Biking, hiking, sightseeing, kayaking, climbing, island hopping, road tripping, skiing, etc. etc. This Tasmania travel guide will provide you the most common things to do and see, which I listed below.

Tip: If you want to explore Tasmania deeper and head towards all the far corners, I would recommend going at least 15 to 18 days.

Visit National parks

If you travel to Tasmania you will notice the abundance of National Parks. You sometimes literally drive from one park to a neighboring park next door. Tasmania has 19 national parks in total. Many of them are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The most famous Nationals park is Cradle Mountain, an iconic place of incredible natural beauty. It is situated in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. A must-do in this park is to walk the dove lake circuit, an easy hike which leads you around the lake in front of Cradle mountain.

South Bruny National Park is a national park on Bruny Island where you can do several hikes. It is also the only place in the world where the white wallabies or the so-called Bennett’s wallabies can be found.

Another national park you can’t miss is Freycinet National Park. Home of the iconic Wineglass Bay. If you love to do a challenging day hike, take the track to the summit of Mount Amos for the best views on this bay.

Check out: The Ultimate Hiking Guide for Tasmania

Explore the cities

Tasmania doesn’t count a lot of big cities, but the 3 major ones are Hobart, Launceston, and Devonport. All have their charms and city vibes. When in Hobart, don’t forget to visit Mount Wellington. You can drive all the way to the top for a beautiful view over the city. Especially with a sunset, this is worth taking the windy road!

Take photos of the highlights in Tasmania

Every curve in the road gives you another unique view, which is what I loved the most about my trip to Tasmania. Staring out of the car window is just never going to get boring on this island!

Anyway, there are some highlights you should really not miss on your Tasmania trip. Like the Bay of Fires, which is a conservation reserve famous for its crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, and granite boulders covered with orange mosses.

Another highlight is Port Arthur historic site, situated on the Tasman Peninsula. This is a world heritage listed site and is the best-preserved convict settlement in Australia. One of the best things to do here is taking the ghost tour! Hear spooky stories and enjoy the atmospheric grounds and buildings while you learn something about history!

The last, but not least sight I’m going to list here is the Nut. This extinct volcano is situated near Stanley, in the North-West of Tasmania. A short, but steep climb will get you to the top (you can also take the chairlift for a fee). Walk the short circuit on the top and enjoy the many beautiful views over Stanley, the ocean and over the other far corners of Tasmania.

What is the Tasmania National Park Pass

The national park pass is a pass that will give you access to each and every national park in Tasmania. There are many National Parks in Australia which you need to pay an entrance fee for. Often, it is cheaper to get the pass, then to pay for each park separately.

NOTE: All fees to enter the parks or to purchase a National Park pass are used to preserve the National Park environment.

How much does it cost?

A day pass, which allows you to access a national park for 24 hours can be purchased for AU$22 for a vehicle + 8 persons or for AU$11 per person.

A holiday pass, which allows you to access each and every national park in Tasmania during 8 weeks, can be purchased for AU$56 for a vehicle + 8 persons or for AU$28 per person.

When should I get the national park pass?

If you plan on visiting only 1 or 2 national parks throughout your visit to Tasmania, it is easiest and cheapest to purchase a 24-hour pass at the entrance of the park.

If you travel Tasmania as a couple, group, or family, it is probably going to be cheapest to purchase a holiday pass. We purchased this pass on the ferry towards Tasmania, so we were good to go when we arrived.

If you fly to Tasmania, it is easiest to purchase your holiday pass at the entrance of the first national park you are visiting.

Where can I purchase the national park pass?

The National Park passes are available at all major National Parks, Tasmanian visitor information centers (including the ferries Spirit of Tasmania I and II), at travel agents and at most service shops.

We love to hear from you!

I hope this Tasmania travel guide helps you to prepare your trip to this amazing part of the world. Have you been here or do you have a question? Please let us know in the comments below.

Are you ready to discover more about Australia? Check out our Australia page to read all our Australia articles.

All Australia posts

22 thoughts on “Tasmania Travel Guide: The Ultimate Guide for First-Timers”

  1. I’ve always wanted to go to Tasmania – it looks like such a unique place, especially with all the wildlife. I’d imagine that camping there is amazing – would love to do it myself one day!

  2. I really didn’t know that much about Tasmania. For one I thought, even though it’s an island, it was much closer to mainland Australia. That’s quite the ferry ride though. But it sounds like it’s worth it, and Tanzania is a beautiful looking place

  3. Wow! This is such a great guide and Tasmania looks so gorgeous. I found it interesting to know that Tasmania has the cleanest air conditions of the inhabited world. That is so fabulous! Thanks for a great share.

  4. Tasmania looks like such a unique place… I’d love to visit! Thanks for all the great info. And your photos are beautiful! I pinned the post for references when I start planning my trip 🙂

  5. I would love to visit Tasmania one day and even more so after reading this! I love all your photos and will deff refer back to this once I make it that way!

  6. Such a thorough guide, I love the tips you have provided. Great resource for any first time traveler. I think I would be interested in visiting the national parks.

  7. I hadn’t really ever considered Tasmania as a travel destination, but this post makes me feel like I should rent a car and go camping! Your pictures are awfully tempting. Thanks for all the tips!

  8. I would LOVE to visit Tasmania. I’d want to cram in as many hikes as I could and visit the mountains, the waterfalls and that beautiful coastline. The animals are sooo cool too!

    Your photos just make me want to visit even more!

  9. We did not have time to go to Tasmania and some other places when we visited Australia about 15 years ago. We are, however, planning a little longer Australia/New Zealand/Oceania vacation in 2 years and, yes, Tasmania is already on this list. 🙂
    So, you guide is real timely.

  10. Tasmania is on my list for a long time now. I love this place’s natural beauty and the fact that how photogenic it is. Thanks for such an elaborate guide.

  11. Ooo I bet staying in a cabin in Tasmania would be so nice during the summer! Or even camping. You’re totally making me wanna visit now!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *