Sometimes it’s not that easy to holiday overseas. There are monetary considerations, being able to take enough time off, visas to apply for, and that long flight in a confined space can be a huge turn-off.
If you’ve got the above considerations in mind, have you considered a holiday in Tasmania?
From the stunning scenery, wildlife, gourmet food, hiking and myriad of adventure activities available, this southern state would suit any type of traveller – from singles to a group of friends, to couples to seniors and families.
And since you’ve cut down on your travelling time, you’ll be able to fit in more activities! If you need a little inspiration, here are a few things you can easily do in the south of Tassie on Bruny Island and Hobart in 7 days.
Bruny Island is reached by an enjoyable 15 minute ride on the car ferry from Kettering, which is 45 mins from Hobart. It’s split into 2 and is joined together by the aptly named ‘The Neck’, a narrow strip of unsealed road with water and black swans on one side, and beach and penguin rookery on the other.
Getting around is easy - you can actually drive from the top of the island to the bottom in about 2 hours, but only if you don’t get distracted along the way!
If you’ve got little kids, Allonnah has wonderfully calm beaches - a five year old can walk out 200m into the clear water, and it would only reach their thigh.
Adventure Bay, as its name suggests, is where the action happens. It has golden sandy beaches, the water is an amazing deep blue, and it has stronger waves than at Allonnah, which would suit the older kids and adults. If you’re staying the night, come out at dusk to see the colony of white wallabies, which aren’t found anywhere else in Australia.
|Bruny Island Cruises also leave from Adventure Bay – this isn’t the slow meandering type of cruise – the boats are actually large speed boats staffed by knowledgeable and cheeky staff who’ll keep you informed, enthralled and laughing the whole way. It’s great fun for all ages, the land formations are amazing, if you're lucky you'll see dolphins, the bird life is plentiful, and there’s an interesting (but smelly) fur seal colony to visit.|
If you visit in the summer, a ranger provides a talk every night at The Neck about the fairy penguin colony that lives there. There are specially built board walks, so you can watch the penguins waddle back from their day out at sea, and it’s well worth the effort of coming, especially when the baby penguins come out of their nests to call and wait for their parents. If you’ve brought a torch, make sure you ask the ranger for some red cellophane to cover the light, so it doesn’t scare the penguins.
Hotel Bruny is the only place on the island that’s open for dinner, so if you’re planning to eat out, make sure you book your table in advance. Otherwise bring your own supplies before you board the ferry or go to the general store in Adventure Bay (which closes around 5pm). The hotel’s exterior and interior are definitely in need of a major renovation, but don’t judge a book by its cover – the food is fresh (no frozen battered fish here), local and delicious.
There are more lunch options during the day, including the Bruny Island Winery, which advertises ‘Awesome kids meals’ and actually delivers - with not a deep fried chicken nugget in sight! The adult meals are also great, with local produce the feature on the menu. Service is slow, so make sure you get your order in as soon as you arrive, and then you can wander around the vineyard or sit on the large red lounge and soak in the view while you wait.
Bruny Island Cheese Company is another great lunch spot – they have cheese tastings throughout the day, and offer a limited but very yummy lunch/snack menu including wood fired pizzas. Don’t leave without having one of their vanilla bean ice creams – you won’t regret it!
The capital has its fair share of things to do, including an easy-peasy 20 min, 1271m elevation drive up to Mount Wellington for fantastic views of the city. It is in an entirely different temperature zone up there, so bring warm clothes and head wear.
For a dose of culture, visit the world famous MONA. There are plenty of options to get there, you can drive, express bus, local bus or even helicopter but the best option is to arrive by ferry up River Derwent. Check out What’s On as they often hold festivals, music and events on the grounds surrounding the museum.
If you’re a bit of a foodie, take the Huon Trail, and buy fantastically fresh in-season cherries, raspberries and vegetables all along the trail. The Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet may sound a little family unfriendly, but it’s a wonderfully welcoming, large and airy room with pressed metal ceilings, but alas no red velvet lounge – part of the restaurant was destroyed in a fire in 2014, and took the red velvet lounge with it, so there’s a green lounge in its place. The restaurant serves generous meals using fresh local produce, and the chips will please adults and kids alike.
Along the Huon Trail, The Apple Shed in Grove used to be a disappointment to travellers, with its dusty old apple picking and processing machines, some vintage apple posters, lots of forgettable apple souvenirs and very little else.
However, the word around town is that new owners from Sydney have taken over the shed in the last few years, and have spruced it up (although you can’t tell from the outside). So if you’re interested in the history of the apple industry in Tasmania, a restaurant featuring the local produce and a cider bar, it’ll be worth turning off the highway.
If you’ve got kids with adventurous palates – think sea urchin butter or vanilla ice cream dusted with roasted bay leaf powder – or not travelling with kids, make a booking at the upmarket restaurant Franklin. It’s located in Hobart, and serves delicious, seasonal, uncluttered local produce in their wood burning oven.
The Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a clean and well looked after refuge for native animals. They operate a 24 hour rescue service for injured animals and are funded entirely by visitor entry fees. The entry fee also gets you a little bag of kangaroo food to feed the very tame and hungry kangaroos to your heart’s (and the kangaroo’s tummy’s) content.
Pay a little bit more, and you’ll get a 15 min encounter with an animal of your choice where you get to feed and pat them, and ask the ranger as many questions as you like.
And finally, what holiday in Hobart would be complete without a visit to the famous Salamanca Markets? There are over 300 stalls selling home-made gourmet food, art and craft from around Tasmania, the mainland and around the world. Make sure you get your scallop pie from the pie trailer before they (the pies) run out, look for the ‘Tassie Made’ label on the clothes, toys and wood products, and sample the local cherries while you jostle with the crowds.
Tasmania has almost non-existent peak hour traffic compared to the mainland, and the lifestyle here is relaxed and chilled. It’s an excellent place to visit if you need a break from the commotion of your everyday life, if you want a foodie holiday or love the outdoors. And while you’re at it, have the Tasmanian made Valhalla ice cream, available all around Tasmania – it’ll be worth your while!