My husband and I have visited Tassie 3 times in just the last 2 years and we can't seem to get enough of it. It feels like there are always MORE places to go and MORE things to see each time we go, and the "must see/do" list grows enormously everytime we leave. But here it is - our favourite top 10 places in Tasmania.
1. MONA (Museum of Old & New Art)
Best. Place. Ever.
This is a gallery like you've never seen before. Funded by gambling billionaire David Walsh, the gallery is filled with old and new artworks that will get your brain twisting (sometimes uncomfortably). Walsh made a point to shock and offend, challenge, inform, entertain and provoke debate, and he really does just that. A lot of people I've spoken to have either loved or hated the gallery, some critiquing it as distasteful. Not the case for the Neve's! We absolutely love this place and find it captivating, engaging and inspiring.
The architecture of the gallery itself is an amazing piece of artwork. Picture a very edgy futuristic looking building on the edge of a small town, Berriedale. You walk into the main building and you think to yourself - how puny is this place? Then it hits you. You're given earphones, a specially reconstructed iPhone and the words "go get lost". You descend downwards, 3 levels down to be precise and when you land, you see it - a long tunnel of sandstone covered walkway leading you into a maze full of the most bizarre, weird, crazy, insane, inspiring, challenging, jaw dropping artworks (none of which have placards and this is where your handy dandy iPhone comes in).
This place makes you think. Not only will you appreciate what people consider as different art forms and how people create art, but it also makes you really contemplate on some of the subjects that will be brought up through the artworks.
Leave a whole day aside for MONA. You'll need it, you'll want to spend the whole day there immersed in all its artistic goodness.
2. Cradle Mountain
About an 8 hour drive from Hobart, a trip to Tassie is not complete until you visit the untouched unspoiled beauty that is Cradle Mountain. It's located in the Lake-St Clair National Park and the place is ridiculously huge. As you drive through, it feels like never-ending acres of natural beauty - a photographer's dream!
There are a few hikes you can do at the national park depending on how adventurous you are feeling. Of course, my husband and I were feeling super adventurous that day and decided to go on the 6-8 hour hike (which not surprisingly, took us 9-10 hours to do). Super cold (yes, even in summer!) and a long long day, but the panoramic sights were breathtaking and absolutely worth the sore backs!
The one other thing you have to do here is canyoning. Cradle Mountain Canyons run canyoning tours for everyone whether beginners or experts. They take you right into the heart of the place but be aware - lots of jumping off cliffs, streaming down crazy-ass-cold waters and sliding down waterfalls (tiny one I promise, unless you do the laundry chute tour). Not my usual idea of having fun but it really is the best way to experience the magic of the place.
If you're anything like me, you'll have a good whinge about your sore back and non-existent bruises from the canyoning adventure so soak up a bit of warmth, goodness and comfort at the Waldheim Alpine Spa, located at the Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. A very expensive stay here at the Lodge but if you were going to spend a little more money on something special, this accommodation is totally worth the dollars.
3. Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula
Situated in the Freycinet National Park, this east coast gem is so naturally stunning and blissfully pure that it makes you feel like you are the only people that's ever set foot on it. Drive into the national park, set out on foot (pick up cheese, wine, fresh fruit from a town called Sorrell on the way in) and head for Wineglass Bay Lookout and wander down onto the beach below. Long stretches of clean white sand and untouched crystal clear ocean. Absolutely stunning. Whilst enjoying some food, watch out for local wildlife and I promise you, they are easy to spot. So keep your eyes out for sea eagles, quolls, wallabies and wombats. We had a romantic picnic here and it honestly felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. If you're feeling adventurous enough, go for a dip in the super cold but clean water. Best part about both? FREE!
You can book yourself in for a walking tour group but I highly recommend just walking around by yourself and getting lost in this place. It's like a dream! The other way you can experience the beauty of this place is via a kayaking tour. Freycinet Adventures hold kayaking tours that'll get you right in the middle of crystal clear waters surrounded by picturesque mountains.Tired again from all that walking? Want luxury and a bit of R&R? Check out Saffire. Undoubtedly the most ridiculously luxurious (and expensive) place we've ever stayed and boy did we feel like movie stars! Go budget on everything else, save up all your pennies and spend it here. The food is DELISH.
4. Port Arthur
The first 2 trips we took to Tassie, we never bothered going to Port Arthur because... well we don't know why! This place is surreal. Ruins of what was once a convict settlement, it now consists of eleven remnant penal sites originally built within the British Empire during the 18th & 19th centuries. They have different types of passes depending on what you would like to do and how long you'd like to stay. We bought the most basic - a bronze pass which allows you a whole day's entry to the site, a ferry ride and a guided tour to the place.
While you are in Port Arthur, be sure to also take the night ghost tours they run. While it sounds super scary and might be off-putting to most people, I promise you it's actually quite fun. Not very scary at all and actually accommodates for children as well. Plus, it's another way to experience the sights of Port Arthur and hear its stories - in the dark, through lanterns and under the gorgeous starry sky.
5. Richmond & New Norfolk
5. Richmond & New Norfolk
Two historic towns with the most incredible (and cheaper) array of vintage collectible items and antiques. Richmond is a 30 minute drive from Hobart and is a picture perfect town that tells the story of an early colonial village. It's home to Australia's oldest bridge and houses rows of 19th century Georgian buildings, all of which are kept in its very natural state. Most of these buildings/houses on the main street have been turned into shops, showcasing the very best antiques and all sorts of Tasmanian arts/crafts, foods, produces etc. Shops to look out for are Alley & Me, Ewenique, Richmond Antiques, Rosehip & Co and The Wicked Cheese.
New Norfolk is about a 40 minute drive south-west of Hobart and is a growing hub for antique hunters. There are 8 antique specialists but we can't forget to include the smaller shops that sell hand-made arts & crafts, letterpress items and all sorts of papers (new & old). Drill Hall Emporium is by far, the most gorgeous antique shop I've ever been to. Other shops I highly recommend are Ring Road Antique Centre, Old Maypole, Rose & Sons, Pennyworth Treasures and Flywheel.
Now I did promise you a top 10 list but how about we save the last 5 for another day? I didn't realise just how long this post was going to be! In the meantime, have any of you travelled to Tassie and if so, what would you put on your top 10 must do/must see list?