Tasmania Australia Tourist Attractions
For those who haven't visited Australia's smallest state, Tasmania or "Tassie, " seems shrouded in mystique. Perhaps it's the state's far-flung location some 300 km south of the Australian mainland across stormy Bass Strait. Maybe it's the vast expanses of windswept wilderness - almost half of Tasmania's land mass lies in national parks and World Heritage Areas with sparkling alpine lakes, wild rivers, and mist-cloaked peaks. Perhaps it's the bizarre wildlife - from real life Tasmanian devils to the extinct thylacine, the Tasmanian tiger. Or is it the haunting convict history and beautifully preserved heritage towns that seem frozen in time? Today, this mystique lures more and more travelers who are discovering the island's many jewels.
Shaped appropriately like a heart, Tasmania also delights visitors with its world-class dining. Gloriously creamy cheeses, crisp fruits, and succulent seafood are just some of the mouthwatering local treats on offer.
1 Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
In the north of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is the jewel in the crown of the state's many natural wonders. Glacier-carved crags, glittering lakes, beech forests, alpine heathland, and jagged dolerite peaks, including 1, 616 m Mount Ossa (the highest point on the island) are some of its most breathtaking features. Hiking here is legendary. Favorite day walks include the Lake Dove Walk, with magnificent views of Cradle Mountain (1, 545 m), and the Weindorfer Walk, a 6 km circuit through dense forests.
The northern part of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, is particularly beautiful. From the summit of Cradle Mountain here, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the central highlands. The famous 80 km Overland Track runs south from Cradle Valley to stunning Lake St Clair, the deepest lake in Australia.
2 Port Arthur Historic Site
Port Arthur Historic Site
In spite of (or perhaps because of) its infamous past, the old convict settlement of Port Arthur, about an hour's drive south-east of Hobart, has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in Australia. The ruins are part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. Here, in 1830, Governor Sir George Arthur established a brutal penal settlement where convicts were forced to hew coal in the mines and fell timber. In spite of a devastating fire in 1897, the remains of many buildings still stand, including the guard tower, church, model prison, and hospital. Visitors can also browse fascinating documents and relics of the penal settlement in the museum, visit the nearby Coal Mines Historic Site, or join an evening lantern-lit 'ghost tour' of the ruins. After touring Port Arthur, take a drive along the coast to explore the soaring sea cliffs and sheltered coves of the spectacular Tasman peninsula.
3 Freycinet National Park
World Heritage-listed Freycinet National Park, on Tasmania's relatively sunny east coast, is one of Australia's oldest nature reserves and one of its most beautiful. The star of this picturesque peninsula is the perfect curve of powder-white sand and azure sea at Wineglass Bay - one of the park's most photographed features. A lookout provides the best views. Take the 20-minute walk from the lookout to the southern end of Wineglass Bay to admire beautiful views of the Hazards, three striking pink granite crags rising out of the sea. The peaks are best photographed at sunrise and sunset when their color deepens in the golden light. Throughout the park, hiking trails wind through pristine bushland to secluded bays and lookouts, and birding is fantastic - black cockatoos, kookaburras, and sea birds are just some of the resident species. At the entrance to Freycinet National Park, the little beach resort of Coles Bay is a good base for walks and climbs in the surrounding hills. Sightseers can explore the entire region on the East Coast Escape scenic drive.