A short break in Tassie rewards with delightful discoveries. Here, the best weekends away in Tasmania for your hit list.
The largest of the 52 Furneaux Islands that sit in the roiling waters of Bass Strait, Flinders Island represents 1367 square kilometres of untamed drama and beauty.
It takes just 35 minutes’ flying time from Launceston to reach its shores, but the difference in the pace of life is marked.
Once on-island, visitors can spend their time indulging in nature, nature and more nature, hiking the dramatic granite mountain ranges of Strzelecki National Park, fishing its pristine waters, walking its deserted beaches and feasting on the plentiful local produce.
Indulge in nature on Flinders Island. (Image: Stu Gibson)
Bordered by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on one side and the Huon River on the other, Cygnet is where Hobart locals escape for the weekend, with holiday ‘shacks’ scattered throughout the picturesque region.
Like many other locations in Tasmania, the area is known for its fruit production including apples, berries and cherries, but it also possesses a laid-back alternative lifestyle that makes it the ideal spot to relax and recharge.
The hamlet boasts craft stores, art studios and galleries to browse; follow the Cygnet Art Trail to find something to take home in addition to a sense of peace.
A quick drive north-east of Hobart delivers you to this historic town, situated in the heart of the Coal River Valley wine region.
With its impossibly cute sandstone buildings, many dating from the 1820s, and its landmark bridge, the oldest one in the country, you could almost convince yourself that you are in the Cotswolds.
Even the accommodation is impossibly charming, with the likes of The Mill House Cottage, Daisy Bank Cottages, Bridge Cottage and Red Brier Cottage all available for booking.
Once settled in, spend your time in the galleries, shops and cafes now housed in the town’s historic buildings or buy a bottle of local wine and cosy up next to an open fire.
The landmark Richmond Bridge north-east of Hobart. (Image: Tourism Tasmania)
Sitting in the shadow of the Nut, a flat-topped volcanic plug that can be viewed from all points throughout town, and allowing access to the untamed takayna/Tarkine wilderness, Stanley is the kind of remote town that mainlanders dream of finding in Tasmania.
Base yourself at the wonderfully atmospheric Ship Inn and luxuriate in the blissful remove from the modern day-to-day.
If you are feeling energetic, you can walk to the top of the Nut, or take the chairlift; no matter how you get to the top, looking out at the 360-degree views, and hopefully catching sight of seals and penguins below is a must.
Visit nearby Highfield Historic Site to get a snapshot of life in the 1830s.
Historic Highfield House in Stanley. (Imager: Poon Wai Nang)
Located north of the Freycinet Peninsula on the island’s picturesque east coast, Bicheno is a coastal hamlet that swells with visitors during the holiday season, and is wonderfully quiet the rest of the time.
Nature has been kind to Bicheno. The waters that it sits overlooking form part of a marine reserve teeming with life; you can dive it if you can stand the water temperature or take a glass-bottom boat tour if you would rather stay dry (and warm). And, come dusk, the resident penguins that call the area home appear to delight with their antics; book a tour to see them at a responsible distance.
Base yourself at either Sea Stacks – Shacks of the Denison or Aplite House for their coastal designer chic. And do feast on the fish and chips at The Gulch, which locals consider to be some of the best in the state.
The Gulch in Bicheno.
Sitting at the mouth of the River Leven on Tassie’s north coast, the seaside town of Ulverstone is the stuff that family getaways are made of, with lots of beaches to paddle and swim in, coastal walks to stride out on, and wildlife to spot.
On the road to Ulverstone. (Kelly Slater/Tourism Tasmania)
The fact the town is just 12 kilometres from the delightfully named outpost of Penguin should confirm that you can also expect ample opportunity to see these cute little sea birds going about their business, especially if you head to Lillico Beach as the day fades into night.
Idyllic Ulverstone. (Image: S. Group)
Stretching 60 kilometres north of Launceston along the Tamar River, this fertile landscape is considered by many to be the most stunning in the state.
Here you will find an array of producers busy creating, growing or crafting everything from cheese to cider, beer, truffles, walnuts, cherries and wine (Stoney Rise Wine Company is worth a stop).
The best way to discover the local delights is to get behind the wheel, stopping whenever you see a sign for a cellar door or farm gate shop. You will be richly rewarded.
Stoney Rise Wine Company in the Tamar Valley.
An hour’s drive from Hobart on the southeast coast, the Tasman Peninsula is home to two of Tasmania’s headlining attractions: the Port Arthur Historic Site and the breathtaking Three Capes Track.
There is no better way to invest three days in this part of the state than by doing the Three Capes Walk, taking in the edge-of-forever scenery and swathes of unspoilt wilderness.
Opt for an all-inclusive pack-free walk with an operator that will literally do the heavy lifting for you so all you have to worry about is appreciating the beauty of it all.
Three Capes Track, Tasman Peninsula.(Image: Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Services)
Another delightful diversion along the Great Eastern Drive, Orford has long been a popular place to stretch your legs and grab a bite before getting back in the car.
But staying a while rewards with beach days spent swimming at Raspins, Millingtons, Spring and Rheban beaches, lazy fishing trips to Prosser Bay and strolling-pace coastal walks.
The sleepy village also affords access to the incredible wildlife and nature of Maria Island National Park, a 30-minute ferry ride away.
A beach near Orford. (Image: Tourism Tasmania/Andrew Wilson)
While many mainlanders fly into Hobart and busy themselves with attractions at the southern end of the island, Launceston has quietly been morphing into a cosmopolitan second city that merits a short break all its own.
Its relaxed pace of life, buzzy food scene (Stillwater Restaurant is a standout), the natural beauty of Cataract Gorge, and the easy access it provides to the quaint towns surrounding it are just a few of its Hobart-trumping delights.
Cataract Gorge, Launceston. (Image: Nat Mendham)
Dine at Launceston’s Stillwater. (Image: Nat Mendham)