Hello all, I’m Mischa. I have been visiting Tasmania for over a decade as various members of my family decided to move there. Recently I took some time off and spent three months in the Apple Isle, living in Launceston but exploring as much as possible.
Tasmania is Australia’s hidden gem (quite literally it often left off maps of the country). It’s a state of beautiful landscape contradictions, lovely people and a laid back lifestyle which merges both the old colonial world with a new metropolitan feel.
Based not far from Hobart this area is the reason that Tasmania is referred to as the Apple Isle, there are so many fruit farms in this area. The Huon Valley is an amazing mixture of rivers, forests and farming. It is great if you want to gently explore or be adventurous with bush walking, tree top walks, caving and hang gliding. It is best to explore the valley by car to take in all the beauty of the area.
The north-west coast of Tasmania is a combination of industry, arts and beaches. For many years, the large coastal towns of Devonport and Burnie have been a thriving hub of industries (mainly paper and fisheries) and still have that true hard working Aussie spirit about them. Dotted around these two ports are a series of beautiful little towns which the arts culture is growing every year.
Places like LaTrobe with its local, artist galleries and eclectic stores and Stanley which fishes for local produce and entices visitors to climb ‘the nut’.Travel inland you come to Sheffield which sits in the shadow of the foreboding and glorious Mount Roland. Wander around the town and view the wall murals which depict the days gone by in regional Tasmania. From here you can travel up to the famed Cradle Mountain for bush walking.
Mt Wellington is a feat of nature whether walking, cycling or driving, some of the differing landscape of wider Tasmania can be seen on this one mountain. It’s a focal point of Hobart, jutting out of the earth and you see it long before you see the centre of Hobart. At its base, the mountain is full of forests and bush walking trails. By the time you reach the top the landscape has become sparse with rocks and very little vegetation due to the fact that for a large part of the year it is covered in snow.
The view from the top is incredible, with a full view of Hobart, the countryside and down toward the Antarctic Ocean. Unless you have incredible stamina and fitness it is best to drive up the mountain. You do still pass a number of people who are walking or cycling up to conquer it, so having your wits about you is a must. If you want there are cycling tours which drive you up to the top and then in a group you cycle down stopping as you go.
Depending on the time of year that you go and the daily weather conditions will usually depend on how far you can go up the mountain but it is worth it even if you make it half way up as there are places to stop along the journey.
MONA is only a few years old but has become a must see place when you are in Tasmania. Privately funded this museum has allowed Australians and other visitors the opportunity to see (and smell) artworks that we wouldn’t usually see in our publicly funded galleries. The gallery is built into the rock face of a cliff, so as a visitor you feel as though you are going into the depths of cave. After you are done viewing the artwork, having a coffee and enjoying the view of the River Derwent is a must.
Check out the convict past
Tasmania was settled as a penal colony and still retains much of its history from this time. Most visitors to the island know about Port Arthur, one of the toughest convict settlements but there are still many other places to visit to explore this rich, cultural past. A handful of these towns include Ross, Campbell Town and Bothwell. If you love history and learning the convict’s stories then wandering around these towns will open your eyes to them.
Tasmania is known for its delicious produce and nowhere does it taste better then in restaurants or from suppliers on the island.
Tucking into oysters, mussels and salmon in Tasmania is an un-guilty pleasure. Due to the fact that it’s generally cold to cool temperatures year round Tasmania is the perfect place to experience oysters, mussels and salmon. Generally you would pay a pretty penny mainland but these are a little bit cheaper as there is no transportation. Because they are fresh they are incredibly delicious to boot.
Apples and berries
If you love apples and berries then you can’t go wrong in Tasmania. Due to the immediacy in which these are available on the island, you will find that they are sweeter, last a lot longer and apples are also crunchier. If you like the idea of picking your own fruit, many farmers offer you the chance to pick a bucket depending on the season, so keep a look out for handmade road signs.
Tasmania has its own customs department when it comes to food, so it is best to ensure you have no fresh food items in your luggage when coming from the mainland, so be wary of the cute beagles if they start to sniff you. Also, they do actually call all the other states and territories of Australia – the mainland.
The cheapest way to get around and if you are happy to stick to the main cities/towns of Tasmania then there are bus services that run between them. The best way to see the state is via car and you find a variety of hire car companies for different budgets in major towns.
Thanks so much for sharing, Mischa! Any Tasmanian or Aussie readers have tips to share?