Call it the MONA effect. It’s been a decade since Hobart opened the doors to its Museum of Old and New Art, a headline-grabbing cultural hub said to reinvigorate Tasmanian tourism. And today, Australia’s island state lures visitors for so much more that its impressive art collection, from the pristine wilderness to fine food and wine and ultra-luxurious stays. Herewith, our edit of places to go and things to do on the other side of the Bass Strait…
1. Roam world-class beaches
Located on the north-east coast of Tasmania, Bay of Fires has won global accolades for its awe-inspiring coastline. Stretching about 50 kilometres from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point, it’s a vision of crystal-clear aquamarine waters, fiery red rocks and powdery white sand – and you might just have a cove or bay all to yourself.
2. Frolic in fields of flowers
Autralia’s most picture-perfect lavender farm is Bridestowe Estate, less than an hour from Launceston. Go for the flowers – which are at their most dazzling in summer – and stay for the lavender-flavoured ice-cream. Click here for more lavender and sunflower fields across Australia.
3. Soak under the stars
Tasmania gives good luxury, and in our opinion, luxury is synonymous with an open-air bath tub. With that in mind, check out: Barn House Penguin, a stunning timber barn on Tasmania’s north-west coast; Thalia Haven, a charming waterfront holiday house in Great Oyster Bay; and The Keep, a magnificent castle in the clouds in the state’s north-west. For more outdoor tubs across Australia, click here.
4. Befriend a Scottish Highland cow
At Highland Getaway in the Huon Valley, southern Tasmania, you’ll get up close and personal with gorgeous, docile cattle and calves – who just happen to love being brushed. Book in for a two-hour tour, or stay overnight on the working farm.
5. Sleep to change the world
Change Overnight might look like a standard, stylish stay, but it’s truly a hotel with heart. On booking a room you’ll be prompted to choose from one of eight causes – including Beyond Blue and Tasmanian Land Conservancy – and part of your payment will be donated straight to that charity.
6. See a natural wonder
Originally a mine hole, Little Blue Lake is an impossibly blue body of water in the state’s far north east (find it a few hours from Launceston, on the way to Bay of Fires). Have your camera at the ready but leave your swimmers at home – despite its lush looks, the lake is contaminated with toxic metals.
7. Go truffle hunting
8. Stay on a private island
An escape in every sense of the world, Satellite Island is a tiny pocket of land in the state’s south – the last stop before Antarctica, in fact. Rental of the island includes a blissful three-bedroom abode along with a two-bedroom boat house, plus everything you’ll need to spend your days swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and shucking oysters.
9. Stay on a not-private but pretty sublime island
To get to Satellite Island, you’ll need to start at Bruny Island, also south of Hobart. Here you’ll find lust-worthy accommodation (check out Bruny Island Hideaway, an architecturally designed bushland cabin) and more oysters, cheese and wine. Alternatively, head to Flinders Island, a haven of untamed beauty off the state’s north-east coast.
10. Complete an epic walk
Go to the edge of the earth: Three Capes Track is an independent hike that will see you traverse 48 kilometres of cliff-hugging coastline over four days. Carry your own backpack but overnight in a comfy cabin each evening.
11. Stay in a city sanctuary
12. Float in a sauna by the sea
Sweat out your sins in two chic floating saunas on Lake Derby’s scenic Mountain Bike Trail, or in King Island Escapes’ striking oceanfront cedar barrel (the latter is part of Porky Beach Retreat, which will sadly close its doors in June 2021, but will take sporadic bookings over Christmas). Then, make like you’re in Scandinavia and plunge straight into the icy sea.
13. Spend a night in a luxury lodge
Nestled in the wilderness on the East Coast of Tasmania, Saffire Freycinet frequently tops international hotel lists – perhaps because for all its polish and grandeur, it still feels down to earth. And who doesn’t love a private plunge pool? This is definitely one for the lust list.
14. Take an Indigenous history lesson
The Wukalina Walk is a four-day trek in the aforementioned Bay of Fires or larapuna region, led by an Aboriginal guide. Immerse yourself in not only nature, but the rich culture of the palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) people. Also check out Palawa Kipli for authentic Aboriginal-inspired food and dining events.
15. Go wildlife watching
Tasmania is the dream vantage point from which to see the gentle giants of the ocean. From May to September, see humpback and southern right whales coasting past Great Oyster Bay, Frederick Henry Bay or Bruny Island – plus penguins and pods of diving dolphins too.