Close up of rows of lavender fields at Bridestowe Lavender Estate in North East Tasmania Close up of rows of lavender fields at Bridestowe Lavender Estate in North East Tasmania

The ultimate holiday guide to Tasmania'sNorth East

Bountiful wine country, stunning white-sand beaches and spectacular national parks that teem with an array of wildlife: the northeastern corner of the island state doesn’t hold back when it comes to putting its quintessential Tasmanian beauty on display.

 

Alight the senses as you walk among a purple haze of flowers at Bridestowe Lavender Estate, or when taking that first sip of world-famous sparkling wine in the Tamar Valley. Search for scampering furry devils in Narawntapu National Park by day, and camp under the stars at its beaches by night. Walk the streets of historic, convict-built villages, and imagine life back in the challenging colonial era.

 

Of course, when summer rolls around, it’s time for Mona Foma. Wrangle friends and family alike to come and experience the rich events calendar at this cultural festival, with citywide installations, music acts and performance art to discover.

Best places to visit in North East Tasmania

Launceston

Tasmania’s second-largest city has the friendliness of a country town but packs a punch when hosting cultural big hitters like Mona Foma and Effervescence Champagne Festival, and dishing up homegrown produce at its weekly farmer markets, or fine dining restaurants. Here, pencil in a walk and swim at nearby Cataract Gorge, and a date with wildlife at the Tamar Island Wetlands.

Tamar Valley

A hop and a skip away from the buzzing northern city of Launceston lies the Tamar Valley, where you’ll find some of the best sparkling outside of Champagne in France, in glorious surroundings of coast, river and vines. But it’s not all about the wine here. There’s plenty in the way of cideries, orchards, artisanal cheese makers and farmyards too.

Ross, Campbell Town & Evandale

You’ll find echoes of Tasmania’s penal colony past everywhere in this part of the world, but particularly in these historical towns. At Evandale, visitors can still walk past late-Georgian and early Victorian buildings. Cobble-stoned streets pass through the river town of Ross, which was built with convict labour, and Campbell Town is a popular stop for colonial – and today’s – travellers between Launceston and Hobart.

Top things to do in North East Tasmania

Wineries & markets

The Tamar Valley countryside is brimming with wineries, bush hikes and friendly growers. Famous for its sparkling wines, in particular, stops at world-class cellar doors like Jansz, Tamar Ridge and Josef Chromy are essential.

 

In town, make for the Launceston Harvest Market on Saturday mornings for fresh produce, direct from farmers. On Sundays, it’s the Evandale Markets turn over at Falls Park. Drop 20 cents to enter (kids entry is free), and browse stalls that range from bric-a-brac, local food trucks and pony rides.

History & heritage

The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Launceston is Australia’s largest regional museum and is separated into two sites, which includes old railway workshops. Afterwards, walk and uncover the stories of Launceston’s Heritage Trails.

 

Stand out highlights of visiting the surrounding colonial-era villages include walking Evandale’s historic main High Street, watching the river flow from the Ross Bridge, which is Australia’s third oldest, and following the convict brick trail from Red Bridge at Campbell Town.

Nature & attractions

Just outside of Launceston, Cataract Gorge is the perfect place for a natural swim. Take the Gorge Scenic Chairlift (the world’s longest single-span chairlift) or the suspension bridge for stunning views of the bushland and Victorian gardens, and eat lunch at Gorge Restaurant or First Basin Café.

 

At the northern edge of the Bay of Fires, you’ll find Mount William National Park. It’s a gorgeous place for a day hiking, swimming and picnicking, with white sandy beaches, azure waters and rocks covered in striking orange lichen. Narawntapu National Park is another coastal paradise, where Bennett’s​ wallabies, Forester kangaroos, pademelons and Tasmanian devils roam free.

 

If possible, go to the Instagram-famous Bridestowe Lavender Estate near Bridport between December and January, which is when the French lavender flowers. Also take a thrilling day taking out on the 125 kilometres of Blue Derby mountain bike networks, before finishing with a plunge at the wood-fired Floating Sauna Lake Derby.

Accommodation in North East Tasmania

Camping & caravan parks

In Ben Lomond National Park, you can free camp at the alpine national park’s campsite. Near Deloraine, there’s also free camping in the cool, temperate rainforest at Liffey Falls Campsite in the Liffey Falls State Reserve.

 

At Mount William National Park there are six low-cost camping sites to choose from along the coast. At Narawntapu National Park there are four campsites available, which also charge a small fee for caravans and tents. There are powered and unpowered sites.

Hotels & motels

At Launceston, the Peppers Silo Hotel is a quirky option on the Tamar River. Housed in a heritage building, its four silos once contained grain, and now house hotel rooms with sweeping views.

 

At the seaside town of Bridport, the four-star Platypus Park Country Retreat has self-contained accommodation. It’s close to the coast, the Barnbougle Dunes Golf Course, and if you head to the nearby dam you might spot a platypus or two.

Unique accommodation

If you’re paying a visit to the charming riverside town Deloraine, book in a night or two at Arcoona Manor. The four-star bed and breakfast is housed in a National Trust building that dates back around 130 years.

 

A short distance from Launceston, Longford is another country town with a strong pioneering history. Get a taste when you stay at the Panshanger Estate bed and breakfast, which was one of the colony’s earliest country estates.

 

Further east, the Bay of Fires Bush Retreat offers a glamping experience, bookable on Airbnb. This communal accommodation has bell tents and ‘Bunk House’ group accommodation, with a kitchen and pre-prepared meals available to order.

Restaurants & pubs in North East Tasmania

A hipster bakery where you can get fully caffeinated, the Tasmanian Butter Company’s Bread + Butter is a trendy brunch spot in a Launceston warehouse space. Snag one of their famously buttery croissants, and devour it next to their roaring fire.

 

Go fully Greased Lightning at Deloraine’s Cruzin’ in the 50’s Diner. Nostalgic, kitsch and much more in between, everything about this groovy establishment is primed to make you feel like you’re about to see Danny Zuko chowing down on a hamburger and Eskimo Pie.

 

For something special, you can’t go past the fine-dining establishment, Stillwater. Housed in an old flour mill overlooking the Tamar River, the restaurant specialises in crafting exquisite modern Tasmanian plates, like smoked eel croquettes and Cape Grim beef tartare. If you’re too full to move, now that their Stillwater Seven accommodation has opened, you don’t have to travel far after polishing off dessert.

 

Get your country pub fix out in Pyengana at The Pub in the Paddock. At this tavern (which dates back to 1880) you’ll meet Priscilla – a pig who is queen of beer-swilling – as well as a host of friendly locals. The Ross Hotel is a historical sandstone gem, built by convicts back in 1835. This pub has not one, but five fireplaces to warm yourself after a cold drive, with hearty meals like shepherd’s pie and sticky date pudding to boot.

 

Getting to North East Tasmania

Flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne go to the northeastern hub of Launceston. If you’re arriving from Hobart, it is a two-and-half-hour drive.

 

If you’re coming by sea, the Spirit of Tasmania ferry departs Melbourne for Devenport, which is an hour drive from Launceston. Brought your car along? We recommend this scenic North East road trip to get you started.

 

Summer is the most popular – though busiest – time to visit northern Tasmania. The sunny, yet not too hot weather is simply perfect for undertaking long walks in national parks or visiting the region’s wineries.

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