Your ultimate guide to

South Tasmania

While Hobart takes pride of place in the southern part of Tasmania, it’s not the only interesting place down there. With Bruny Island and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on the coast, and the Huon Valley inland, there are plenty of places to explore in the southern most area of Australia.

Top Things to See in South Tasmania

From markets to convict sites and even a walk through the trees, Southern Tasmania delights with so many things to see and do.

Markets

Showing unique arts and crafts, locally made souvenirs, freshly grown produce and even some excellent fashion, the markets that are scattered throughout Tasmania are a wonderful starting point to discover everything the state has to offer. Of course, when we’re talking about Southern Tasmania, we can’t go past Salamanca Markets in Hobart. It’s an institution and most definitely one of the most renowned markets in Australia, attracting thousands of visitors every Saturday morning.

 

But there’s more to the market place in southern Tasmania than Salamanca. The Cygnet Market is a unique and vibrant market with a warm and cosy atmosphere. From art to locally-grown produce, there are a variety of stalls to explore.

 

After making its final journey in 1978, the Margate Train carriages now house a bustling variety of retail businesses and are hot to the Margate Train Sunday Market. Every Sunday, the carriages are filled with stalls selling a range of things including antiques and collectables, second hand clothing, plants and fresh produce. Even the buffet car is open for coffee and snacks.

 

As the name suggests, Kingston Beach Handmade Market has a focus on handmade products. The atmosphere is always buzzing, with stalls bringing together an eclectic mix of artists, designers, craftspeople and growers.

Places to go

With some of Tasmania’s most beautifully preserved natural environments, Bruny Island should be top of your visitation list. While it is one single island, often it’s mistaken for two different ones, with North and South Bruny joined by a nvery narrow strip of land, known as The Neck. There are dozens of lookout points to view the breathtaking scenery and gorgeous sandy beaches to stroll along. A tour of the Cape Bruny Lighthouse is also most definitely worth it.

 

Port Arthur is Australia’s best preserved convict site and one of the country’s most important heritage destinations. As you visit the site, you’ll learn about some of the people who passed through the place and there are more than 30 historic buildings and ruins to explore. There are, of course, different types of tickets and tours to choose from including a Ghost Tour which runs after dark. Port Arthur is most definitely one of those places where you wish the walls could talk.

 

Steeped in history and a family-friendly destination, Richmond is one of Tasmania’s most popular places to visit. Take a stroll along Richmond Bridge, the oldest bridge in the country that’s still in use. There’s also Richmond Gaol – the oldest intact gaol in Australia. There are delightful shops to pop into and the Richmond Maze to explore. And when you’re done, head into Sweets and Treats, a traditional-style lolly shop and a Tasmanian institution.

 

The picturesque Derwent Valley is filled with historic villages, wilderness rainforest, spectacular waterfalls and gorgeous scenery. It’s well worth a drive through the valley, stopping along the way at New Norfolk, the Salmon Ponds, Russell Falls and Hamilton.

Things to See and Do

Walk above the forest canopy with the Tahune Airwalk. As you look down, you’ll get a glimpse of where the waters of the Huon and Picton Rivers meet. Along the way, there are spectacular views and there are various trails to take including the Swinging Bridges and Huon Pine walks. While you’re there, go and visit Australia’s oldest living tree.

 

Situated in Derwent Bridge, the Wall in the Wilderness is one of Australia’s most ambitious art projects undertaken in recent years. The designer, Greg Duncan, has carved the history of the Tasmanian Central Highlands into 100 metres of timber. The carvings show the history, hardship and perseverance of the local people and it’s truly a magical sight.

 

While Tasmania is most famously-known for Port Arthur when it comes to convict history, there’s also the Coal Mines Historic Site which is well worth a visit. The site was the state’s first operational mine and it’s actually where the worst convicts from Port Arthur were sent. Discover the site on foot and learn the history as you wander the paths and tracks.

 

Remarkable Cave is essentially, a long tunnel in a beautiful and dramatic spot, situated under a cliff. There’s a viewing platform at the bottom of the steps that offers an incredible view of the opening. It can be explored at low tide. However, for those looking for something a little less ‘wet’ there are several walks where you can still experience the magic that is Remarkable Cave.

Best Places to Stay in South Tasmania

From hotels to campervans and some of the most incredible camping spots in the country, Southern Tasmania has all the accommodation options.

Hotels and Apartments

Set on more than 200 acres of cattle farm land, Frenchman’s River in Cygnet offers two self-catering houses – The Writer’s House and The Helmsman’s House. Both houses offer exquisite scenery, amenities and the utmost privacy. The owners have sought to make the homes as magical and relaxing as possible.

 

A bit further south in Dover, Driftwood Cottages is a diverse selection of self-contained apartments from waterfront studios to secluded cottages. The Cottages are central to all the attractions of the Huon Valley, D’Entrecastreaux Channel and Southern Tasmania so it’s the perfect place to base yourself to explore.

 

43 Degrees on Bruny Island is boutique, environmentally-conscious accommodation offering self-contained apartments just metres from the beach. All apartments are luxuriously appointed and include kitchenettes, natural timbers throughout and in some, the icing on the cake, a freestanding black spa bath. Explore Bruny Island during the day and come home to peace and serenity.

Camping

There are plenty of camping opportunities scattered throughout southern Tasmania. If you want to really experience the southern-most point, set up camp at Cockle Creek. It’s truly the end of Australia and exceptionally remote. Disconnect completely and refresh in the large camping areas that are on offer around the creek, including Rocky Bay, Gilhams Beach, Finns Beach and Catamaran River.

 

There are numerous campgrounds on Bruny Island which is quickly becoming a popular destination for families, both locals and visitors. Campgrounds at the stunning Cloudy Bay include The Pines and Cloudy Bay Corner Beach. There’s also Jetty Beach which is the perfect choice for families as the swimming is safe. If you want to see some penguins, head to The Neck Reserve.

 

With some of the most spectacular coastlines in Australia, the Tasman Peninsula is an excellent place to camp. There are stunning beaches and soaring sea cliffs to explore. If you’re after a little slice of paradise, choose Fortescue Bay. Alternatively, if you’re a bit of a history buff, it has to be Lime Bay State Reserve – there’s loads of convict history surrounding the region and the water views are top notch which is an added bonus.

Caravans and Campervans

With self-contained cabins and a plethora of powered and unpowered sites for your car or caravan, Dover Beachside Tourist Park is a great place to base yourself to explore the surrounding region. The site boasts a modern camp kitchen, undercover barbeque area and laundry facilities and is the perfect budget-friendly accommodation option.

 

Australia’s most southern pub, Southport Hotel and Caravan Park is also an excellent accommodation option. A family-friendly hotel with country-style meals, it’s truly a winner in our books. If you’d prefer to stay in your caravan or trailer, the park also offers powered sites with drive-through access and concrete slabs. Of course, there are also unpowered camping sites, set along the small creek.

Where to Eat in South Tasmania

If Huon Valley is one of Australia’s fastest emerging wine and food destinations, then Cygnet is certainly the food capital of Southern Tasmania. Red Velvet Lounge has become a local icon with fresh, organic produce the driving force behind the menu. The café believes strongly in three things: local, seasonal and vegetarian. There’s also the Lotus Eaters Café, a local favourite. Once you see the menu, it’s easy to understand why the café is so addictive, especially the egg and bacon breakfast panini.

 

Inland in Huonville, there are also some lovely options. The Local is surrounded by orchids and farmland and is truly a wonderful spot to relax with the morning’s paper and a delicious cup of coffee. According to the locals, it’s the best coffee in time. Again, local produce is front and centre on the menu with everything made using ingredients sourced in the Huon Valley and Tasmania. When it’s dessert time, head straight to The Cat’s Tongue. The chocolate shop and café specialises in handmade chocolates and pralines. There’s also a breakfast and lunch menu to enjoy prior to the chocolate binge.

Packages and Tours

However, you choose to explore Southern Tasmania, there’s no denying that there’s a lot to see. Whether your joining a pre-arranged tour or doing it yourself, a car seems to be key. The roads are excellent and the views are top-notch so why not take your time in the area and really see it all. Just remember, it is a big region so it will take time to get around.

 

If you choose, there are coach tours on offer that provide extensive itineraries for all budgets – from modest through to luxury travellers. Of course, there are also several tour operators that will accommodate small groups for private tours and you can also book your own ones along the way at the attractions you wish to see.

 

While Hobart seems to get a lot of the limelight, it’s clear that there is so much more to Southern Tasmania than the big city. With small towns dotting the area, wonderful wildlife to meet and gorgeous wilderness to explore, relax and enjoy the spectacular region.

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