This blog looks into handy, key travel facts Tasmania when considering a holiday there. It may look small on a map, but in fact it is much bigger than what you think – once you’re on the inside. Tasmania actually covers an area of 68,401 km2 (26,410 sq miles), of which the main island covers 64,519 km2 (24,911 sq miles). This blog highlights key travel facts Tasmania.
When it comes to contrasting scenery, Tasmania will definitely give you more bang for your buck!. Here, you can explore vast mountain ranges, dense rainforests, glaciated peaks and pristine beaches.
What to see and do in Tasmania?
If marine life excites you, Tasmania will deliver plenty of it here. You’ll get to see marine wildlife. The history here is also quite fascinating – there are World Heritage convict sites to be explored. But the variety of what you can see and do is here. Visit art galleries, boutiques, markets and antique stores. And you can also enjoy luxurious accommodation.
I guarantee you will fall in love with Tasmania’s rugged wilderness and history. The island is home to Australia’s most spectacular mountains, dazzling beaches and the freshest food and premium wine imaginable.
How to get to Tasmania?
As Australia’s only island state, you can only get access to Tasmania by air and sea. This is a key travel fact Tasmania to be aware of. Regular flights depart from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and fly direct to Hobart and Launceston. Direct flights are also available from Melbourne to Wynyard (Burnie), Devonport, King and Flinders Island.
Spirit if Tasmania Ferry Crossing
However, a great many visitors prefer to sail from Melbourne to Tasmania on the Spirit of Tasmania – arriving in Devonport. If you choose this option, you will be able to bring your own car over. That way, you can self-drive your way around most of Tasmania.
Travel Facts Tasmania – How to get around?
So if you are an independent traveller, you will be in a self-drive paradise! All major car rental operators have offices at Hobart and Launceston Airport and in various city, suburban and regional locations. And the good news is that there are no toll roads in Tasmania. The island is compact, the roads are uncrowded and the scenery is varied. Tasmania’s network of highways allows easy access for drivers to loop around the island with ease.
How big is Tasmania?
Distances in Tasmania between key locations are generally 2-4 hours. This is perfect for your self-drive holiday – because it means you can cover the best of the island in a matter of days.
Driving Distances on Travel Facts Tasmania:
Hobart to Coles Bay: 2 hours 20 min, 192 kms
Port Arthur to Hobart: 1 hours 30 min, 93 kms
Launceston to Hobart: 2 hours 20 min, 192 kms
Hobart to Cradle Mountains: 4 hours 15 min, 302 kms
Bicheno to Launceston: 3 hours 30 min, 236 kms
Cradle Mountains to Launceston: 1 hours 55 min, 149 kms
Weather & climate in Tasmania
Tasmania and Hobart have four distinct seasons. The climate here is best described as mild temperate maritime. The warmest months can be enjoyed in December, January, February and March. At these times, the average temperature is around 21°C/70°F With an annual average of 626 millimetres of rainfall, Hobart is Australia’s second-driest capital city. Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year, however the winter months are the wettest. During winter the island will get the southerly winds from the Antarctic and these are pretty much Australia’s coolest temperatures.
Summer – December, January & February
Summer starts from December to February. This is when the average maximum sea temperature is 21 °C (70 °F). On land, maximum temperatures average 20 °C (68 °F) to 24 °C (75 °F) along the coast and in the lowlands, around Launceston. The hottest areas of the state are in the valleys west of Hobart. In these areas, the summer temperatures regularly rise above 25 °C (77 °F).
Autumn/Fall – March, April & May
Autumn is from March to May and is a season of fluctuation. This is because the summer weather patterns begin to resemble the nature of winter patterns. The beginning of Autumn ( March until mid-April) does tend to be warmer and sunnier than Spring, especially in Northern Tasmania.
Winter – June, July & August
The winter months are June, July, and August. These months are generally the wettest and coolest months in the state. This especially applies to the elevated areas, which receive a lot of snowfall. Winter maximums range from 12 °C (54 °F) along the coast, to 3 °C (37 °F) on the Central Plateau. You can put this down to the frequent cold fronts from the Southern Ocean.
Spring – September, October & November
The Spring months are September, October, and November. These are seasons of continued change – winter weather patterns begin to take the shape of summer patterns – however snowfall is still common in mountainous areas until October. Spring is the windiest time of the year. That is when you’ll get afternoon sea breezes from the coast taking effect.
Regions in Tasmania
Tasmania is Australia’s smallest state and the most geographically diverse with over 40 per cent reserved as national parks and world heritage wilderness.
Hobart and South – Travel Facts Tasmania
Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city, offers a blend of heritage and lifestyle with world class activities and attractions nearby. In Hobart, explore the converted colonial warehouses of Salamanca and on Saturdays there’s Salamanca Market, Tasmania’s most visited attraction.
From here it’s a short walk to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery or a short ferry ride takes you to Mona, one of the world’s largest private collections of art and antiquities.
If you travel South of Hobart, clear waters await you. And you can also enjoy the stunning coastline of Bruny Island and the beauty of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. As an alternative, you can take the route that passes through the Huon Valley. By taking this route, you will be travelling alongside the tranquil Huon River. By driving further onwards, you will soon discover the Hartz Mountains National Park.
Yes, there are wineries in Tasmania and they are excellent! So travel to the east and enjoy the wineries of the Coal River Valley. Further on still, is the Tasman National Park.
Head west via the road to the beautiful River Derwent. This route will take you through the Derwent Valley and on to the grandeur of Lake St Clair in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
And if you’re travelling north to Launceston, the Midland Highway, dubbed the Heritage Highway, really delivers. As a traveller, this is the place you will learn about Tasmania’s heritage past. An area of homesteads and country cottages – these reveal the state’s early colonial history.
East Coast of Tasmania
Tasmania’s east coast has a natural beauty. In fact its spectacular landscapes and long beaches, offer a totally different coastal experience. Here you’ll discover the beaches of the beautiful Bay of Fires, one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions in the world, along with historic townships, fresh seafood and friendly locals – all on one of the best scenic coastal drives in the country.
Five national parks spread along the coast including the stunning Freycinet National Park with its pink granite mountains, white beaches and crystal clear sea.
The two largest towns on the east coast are Bicheno and St Helens – these are both busy fishing ports, so expect the freshest seafood. You will also get some of the best game fishing in Australia.
If you are keen on diving, you’ll get plenty of opportunity to enjoy sheer rock walls, deep fissures, and sea whips – not to mention world-famous kelp forests.
Inland from the coast you’ll find temperate rainforests and the rich heritage of the boom days of tin mining. There are gourmet treats galore – fruits and berries from orchards and gardens and full-flavoured beef and lamb raised on seaside pastures.
Launceston and North
North of Tasmania, there is an abundance of historical streets and heritage estates. And lets not forget the designers and craft makers who are always eager to talk about their work.
The largest city in the region – and second largest in the state – is Launceston, a vibrant hub for food and wine and culture. There’s also a touch of wilderness with Cataract Gorge which is just a few minutes walk from the city centre.
The city is located on the banks of the Tamar River and is the gateway to the Tamar Valley, a region where English conservatism sits alongside the unconventional and eclectic.
Out of Launceston, the surrounding green fields and country lanes are lined with 150 year old hawthorn, poplar and elm trees. In the Tamar Valley you’ll get strawberry farms and orchard. Further north east, there are beautiful lavender plantations to gaze at.
Such an idyllic setting will satisfy other interests too, from those of history enthusiasts to nature lovers.
The nearby town of Longford has the most grand old World Heritage listed properties. These estates such as Woolmers and Brickendon, offer visitors the chance to step back in history to enjoy the community spirit of 19th century English villages.. Many are now luxury retreats that offer a uniquely Tasmanian experience, combining old world elegance with a relaxed, new world style.
For those of us interested in wildlife, the nearby Narawntapu National Park provides is a must-do for Australia’s unique animals. This also applies to the Mt William National Park in the north-east.
Colours of Tasmania
You will find plenty of colour and in Tasmania’s north-west. This is considered the gateway to some of Tasmania’s most natural beauty. By exploring the north-west you’ll find classic coastal drives, food trails, stunning national parks and beautiful nature reserves.
Tasmania’s north-west is a great place for touring and offers spectacular views at every turn, from Mt Roland near Devonport, Table Cape near Wynyard and the famous Nut at Stanley. In fact, many of Tasmania’s prettiest cities and towns sit right on the water’s edge on the scenic north-west coast.
The north-west is also home to the Tarkine, one of the world’s last great wilderness experiences, Australia’s greatest expanse of cool temperate rainforest and the largest in the world.
There’s an ongoing tradition of agriculture here that’s evident in the rich red soils and patchwork fields found throughout the countryside. The ideal growing conditions have inspired growers and makers committed to producing the very best in fresh crisp vegetables, dairy products, wines, whiskey and sweet treats for the hungry traveller – the ultimate paddock to plate experience. Follow the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail and you’ll experience some of Tasmania’s finest producers.
There’s a wealth of stories here too, with great museums and significant Aboriginal heritage sites, while the region’s creative spirit is showcased in the many art galleries, public artworks, artisan shops and markets found along the north-west coast.
Tasmania’s north-west is also home to Cradle Mountain, one of Tasmania’s most visited icons, offering amazing nature experiences including forest adventures, great walks – easy and hard – and some of the best scenery in the world.
West Coast – Travel Facts Tasmania
On Tasmania’s west coast you’ll find world famous wilderness rich in convict heritage, stunning national parks and historic mining towns.
Gateway to Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area, its rugged mountains, ancient rain forests and heath make Tasmania’s west one of Australia’s last true wilderness frontiers. Yet, despite its remoteness, it’s easy and safe to visit and travellers can still enjoy the best of Tasmania’s quality accommodation and fine dining.
The largest coastal town is Strahan, situated on Macquarie Harbour and close to Sarah Island – one of the harshest penal colony settlements in Australia.
The inland population centres of Queenstown and the smaller towns of Zeehan, Tullah and Rosebery are rich in mining history and are all within a short distance of magnificent lakes, rivers, rainforests, giant sand dunes and historic sites.
Visitors can enjoy a fantastic his world heritage wilderness by driving around 60 km along the Lyell Highway between Derwent Bridge and Lake Burbury. Bordering the highway are a series of stunning short walks. These walks will take you through a rainforest with spectacular mountain views of Tasmania’s west. Donaghys Lookout, the Franklin River Nature Trail and the Nelson Falls Nature Trail – are all highly recommended.
Accommodation in Tasmania
Tasmania is full some great boutique accommodation options. For example, if you stay in Hobart, you might like the historic city centre at the Henry Jones Art Hotel. And when you travel Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park area treat yourself to a stay at Saffire Freycinet or Freycinet Lodge.
There are also a wide number of Bed & Breakfasts as well as cute cottages. Some are hosted while others are happy just to hand you the key and leave you to do your own thing. Hosts can be on-hand if you need advice on where to go and what to do.
Wildlife, Nature and Scenery
Tasmania is a treasure pot of natural wonders with stunning landscapes, unique animals and plants, and a rich diversity of sea life.
Being a compact island, it’s easy to access its many different environments – from alpine ranges, wetlands and grasslands to coastal heaths and vast temperate rainforests.
The island’s landscapes were shaped by previous ice ages and many of Tasmania’s plants and wildlife are living evidence of the breakup of the super-continent of Gondwana, millions of years ago.
This natural wonderland supports a population of mammals, birds, frogs and reptiles, many of which are found only in Tasmania.
Tasmania’s plant species are also as varied as its many environments. They include a huge range of eucalypts, ancient conifers such as the Huon pine, and Australia’s only native deciduous plant, the Fagus.
Summary travel facts Tasmania
Tasmania is a place of wild and beautiful landscapes, friendly people. What you will get is such a relaxed island lifestyle. And if you really want that feeling of fitting in, rather than being a tourist, you will love it!
Here are some more travel hints while travelling Australia:
- Best time to travel Australia
- Best travel planning for Australia
- Australia Travel Check List
- Travelling between key locations
- Visiting the Barossa Valley
- Kangaroo Island Experiences
Happy travelling with Tasmania!