Holiday Hotspots: Tasmania

If COVID19 has taught us one thing, it is how important it is to take a break. However, for most of us, being confined to our homes and communities is sometimes not the break we want or need. Getting out in nature is essential for our mental health and emotional wellbeing. If you haven’t already, why not plan a getaway for the new year! Australia is full of places rich in culture and natural beauty to visit. Today, we will be highlighting some incredible places in Tasmania where you can connect with Country and culture.  

Indigenous people have lived in Tasmania for more than 35,000 years. It was sometime during the Ice Age that Aboriginal tribes crossed the bridge spanning the Bass Strait, becoming the most southerly dwelling humans on Earth. Approximately 12,000 years, when the glaciers retreated and sea levels rose, the Tasmanian Aboriginal peoples became fully isolated. As a result of their isolation, they developed a rich and unique culture (Cradle Mountain Hotel, 2021). The British invasion had brutal impacts of mass genocide and inter-generational trauma for the Palawa peoples of Tasmania. Despite this, the Palawa community remained strong, and their culture and connection to Country has persisted to this day. Today, many Palawa peoples use a reconstructed language, which is based on the surviving spoken and written remnants of Tasmania’s original languages. This reconstructed language is called Palawa kani, and it has become a vital part of keeping culture alive and strong (The Conversation, 2018). 

So, now that you have some cultural context, here are 5 incredible natural places that we recommend visiting in beautiful Tasmania:

Kunanyi (Mt Wellington)

Mt Wellington/ Kunanyi. Courtesy of Tasmanian Travel, 2021.

Soaring above Hobart’s city skyline, Kunanyi can be seen from miles around. Featuring incredible rainforest, woodland and alpine environments, the mountain is Hobart's natural playground (Lap of Tasmania, 2019). Just 20 minutes from Hobart, the gorgeous drive to the summit passes through temperate rainforest, sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations. At the top, you are greeted with panoramic views of Hobart’s, Bruny Island, South Arms and the Tasman Peninsula. There are a whole range of activities that you can enjoy on the mountain including mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling and bushwalking. An extensive network of spectacular walking tracks criss-cross the mountain slopes (Discover Tasmania, 2021). For many Palawa peoples, Kunanyi is a significant landmark in creation stories and a place where spirits are laid to rest (ABC News, 2020).

Learn more about Kunanyi (Mt Wellington) here.

Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain. Courtesy of Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service, 2021.

Cradle Mountain is another must-see mountain in Tasmania. Located in the high alpine reaches of the UNESCO Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain has a unique pristine environment (Lap of Tasmania, 2019). It offers a diverse array of environments, from moss covered rainforests, to snow-covered mountain peaks and glacial lakes. These environments are home to an abundance of wildlife including Tasmanian devils, quolls, platypus, echidna and wombats. The best way to get up close with these incredible animals and take in the beauty of this Country, is through one of the many bush walks. The National Park offers a brilliant array of walking tracks to explore, from easy strolls to the advanced legendary Overland Track. For a lovely day walk with epic mountain and lake views, the Dove Lake Circuit is a must-do. The 6km track takes you around the lake, passing through some special Tasmanian vegetation including buttongrass, myrtle, sassafras, fagus and King Billy pine (Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, 2021).

Learn more Cradle Mountain here

Freycinet National Park

Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park. Courtesy of Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service, 2021.

Freycinet National Park is another of Tasmania’s beautiful natural gems. The crystal clear waters and unique shape of Wineglass Bay in the park is easily one of Tasmania’s most iconic views (Lap of Tasmania, 2019). Freycinet features a diversity of dramatic coastal landscapes with its rocky coves, sheltered bays and pristine sandy beaches. Coles Bay is a great place to start your walk, as from here there are views of the Hazards - the dramatic granite mountains. Or, you can take a short drive to Tourville Lighthouse for gorgeous views across Freycinet (Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service, 2021). Freycinet National Park is located within the territory of the Oyster Bay tribe, which was home to a population of around 600-700 people. Historic records suggest that Schouten Island and the Freycinet Peninsula were part of the Toorernomairremener clan’s territory within the Oyster Bay nation. From around August to October, the Toorernomairremener clan would traditionally gather along the coastlines, dunes and estuaries at Richardsons Beach, Moulting Lagoon and Schouten Island as they were significant Aboriginal sites and areas rich with shellfish and marine vegetables. These Aboriginal sites have a continuing connection to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, so it is advised that when or if you visit these areas, please be respectful (Freycinet Adventures, 2021).

Learn more about Freycinet National Park here.

Strahan

Strahan. Courtesy of Alquimie, 2021.

Tasmania’s west coast is full of many and varied environments. One of the most unique places is the harbour-side village of Strahan. It is situated on the shores of Macquarie Harbour, at the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. This beautiful area offers a whole range of fun activities. One of the key attractions is the river cruises, which take you down the iconic Gordon River, winding through gorgeous lush forests to Macquarie Harbour. Another way you can experience this beautiful natural area is by taking the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Starting from Strahan, you can take a half-day journey into the wilderness, or a full-day journey to Queenstown and back. You also must spend some time exploring the shops selling artisan wares and eateries serving delicious local produce in the gorgeous town of Strahan (Discover Tasmania, 2021). 

Learn more about Strahan here.  

Cataract Gorge 

Cataract Gorge bridge, image by Keiichi Hiki. Courtesy of Getty Images, 2021.

One of the best parts about Tasmania is how close everything is. The beautiful Cataract River Gorge is just 1.5km out of Launceston. Cataract Gorge Reserve is a lovely place to spend a few hours. The reserve offers endless fun activities, such as the beautiful hiking trails ending at the lookout which has gorgeous views of the gorge. Two walking tracks straddle the gorgeous gorge - the Cataract Walk is level and the Zig Zag Track is steep, leading up to First Basin. Just upstream from First Basin, is the Alexandra Suspension Bridge. You can also take a relaxing ride on the chairlift, have a swim in the ‘beach’ pool or further explore the river on a cruise (The Cataract Gorge, 2021). 

Learn more about Cataract Gorge Reserve here

Cataract Gorge Reserve. Courtesy of Launceston Airport, 2021.

We hope this post has helped give you some inspiration for your next holiday. Tasmania really does offer it all, from incredible natural environments, to awe inspiring views and adventurous activities - it truly is a beautiful place to connect with Country and culture!