With landscapes ranging from million-year-old rainforest and glacial mountains to dramatic, cliffs and golden-sand beaches it's no wonder Tasmania holidays are firm favourites with nature lovers. But there's much more to the place – Hobart and Launceston are packed with historic sights and world-class dining, the Tamar Valley hides away charming family-run wineries and there are fly-fishing, kayaking and golfing excursions that match anything the mainland has to offer.
Things to do
Most of Tasmania's attractions revolve around the island's phenomenal natural beauty. Whether it is walking in the glaciated landscapes of Cable Mountain, exploring the history of idyllic Bruny Island or witnessing the eerie sandstone ruins of Port Arthur penitentiary trekkers find amazing sights around every corner. Cruising on the Tasman Sea brings elegant albatrosses, playful seals and rarely seen whales to your doorstep and if all this sightseeing is working up an appetite bustling Hobart is turning in one of Australia's best restaurant destinations.
Food & restaurants
Tasmania has recently catapulted onto Australia's dining scene, with top chefs setting up shop in Hobart and Launceston. With an abundance of fresh produce and locally produced wine, restaurants in Tasmania such as Hobart's Flathead, a tiny eatery, serves up the best seafood in the state, all washed down with sundowners at Salamanca Square's Bar Celona. In Cambridge, Tasmania's world-famous oysters are at their best at Barilla Bay while Launceston's Blue plays chilled tunes to trendy clientele enjoying bistro meals and generous brunches.
From five-star luxury to budget hotels, B&Bs to 'eco-lodges', Tasmania's accommodation options means there should be a perfect room for every visitor. Tasmania has a fantastic range of camping options, ranging from fully facilitated holiday parks to bush camps. For more upmarket options, Hobart's Henry Jones Art Hotel is a renovated 19th century warehouse on the waterfront with immaculate rooms and artwork to match. Visitors can witness Tasmania's convict history by staying in an old prison in Bicheno Gaol Cottages while Launceston's Heatherly House combines1830s colonial English charm with a just a hint of the Orient provided by the foreign artefacts and trinkets adorning every room.
Tasmanian wool is known the world over so few visitors go home without picking up some kind of artisan knitwear. Souvenirs here tend to be hand-made too - Salamanca Market in Hobart has a convivial atmosphere, with stalls selling arts, crafts, trinkets and food to locals. Another must-see place is Reliquaire in Latrobe, a treasure trove of trinkets and toys adorning creaking shelves.
Visitors travelling to Tasmania during March and April should check out Tasmania's biggest event; the biennial Ten Days of the Island Festival, where theatrical companies, musicians, artists, dancers and performers host a programme of events around the island to celebrate its people, history, culture and nature.