Traversing Tasmania - Hobart & The Great Eastern Drive
Tasmania is a land of natural beauty, friendly people, and rich history. It is deeply rooted in its story and the locals are more than happy to share it with anyone who visits their beautiful island state. A short flight from Sydney, this island state is full of surreal visuals; of rolling hills of untouched bright green and calm cattle sprinkled across the landscape. The capital city thrives around the vast, glassy Derwent river, and is surrounded by small suburbs crafted along the edge of wilderness. Adventure is a leap away!
Named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who is known to have made the first reported European sighting in 1642, Tasmania offers diverse exploration opportunities throughout its multiple regions, all accessible by road. While Hobart and the South Coast provide you with a bustling city vibe, Saturday markets at Salamanca Place, and great restaurants near Franklin Wharf, the West Coast introduces one to rich wilderness, vast national parks and accounts of convict history. For coastal exploration and brilliant food, travelers often turn to the North West Coast, while Launceston and the North Coast provide for unparalleled mountain views, farmlands and local produce. The East Coast, also popularly referred to as The Great Eastern Drive, stretches across 220 kilometers of pristine coastline with beaches of white, shimmering sand and turquoise waters. Tasmania is no small island, it is a treasure cove of discovery, challenge and exploration; worthy of multiple visits and a good chunk of your time.
Capital city Hobart, and The Great Eastern Drive, are a great place to start for your first visit to Tasmania. The two places offer a good mix of city-based activities and more adventurous expeditions that pull you outside of the city and introduce you to the marvel of Tasmanian outdoors. No matter how long one stays, the two locations offer enough for everyone to tailor their Tasmanian experience according to their interests and curiosities. Here are a few experiences that come highly recommended and are surely worth a go -
Fish & Chips at Franklin Wharf (Hobart)
A beautifully delicious experience; dine on some crispy Fish & Chips at Franklin Wharf against the backdrop of a purple-pink sunset, shimmering boat lights against the horizon, and buskers. There is no better way to wind down from a packed day of exploring! Flippers, at the Constitution Dock, offers a must-try serving of scallops, which works perfectly when followed by a scoop of creamy ice-cream from the neighbouring Van Diemen’s Land Creamery!
Words don’t do justice to the eccentricity of MONA, the Museum of Old & New Art, built within the Moorilla Winery. Curated by David Walsh, an Australian professional gambler, art collector, and businessman, MONA is the largest privately financed museum in the Southern Hemisphere. Full of art installations, unique artwork, immersive art, and unique architecture, MONA is a famous weekend spot with its offerings of wine-and-dine locations, live music performances, and a happening vibe. Definitely visit MONA for a unique perspective on Tasmania, or simply for a wine and art break!
Port Arthur Historic Site (Hobart)
Port Arthur is steeped in convict history and a visit will leave you fully immersed in an acknowledgment of Tasmania’s past as a major convict settlement. It will also introduce you to Australian colonial history, the tragic and strict prison processes and methods, and convict treatment, while exposing you to a beautiful landscape and views. A visit to Port Arthur will sure connect you to Tasmanian history, all of the good and the bad.
Mt. Wellington (Hobart)
Mount Wellington stands tall above Hobart, veiled by clouds on some days, but shimmering in sunlight on others. A drive up to the summit guarantees stunning views of Hobart, the East Coast, and parts of the West Coast on a clear day. There are also many opportunities to trek down to a quaint cafe, Lost Freight, for a steaming cup of coffee or tea. The Bagpipes lead to a great trek route that is good for beginners and provides stunning views of the wilderness below.
Salamanca Place Market (Hobart)
Hobart comes alive every Saturday morning with many people coming out for the Salamanca Place Markets. A short walk from Franklin Wharf, the markets are bustling with stalls selling local wooden products, local fresh produce, European street food, collectible trinkets, clothes, and so much more! The markets are also lined with buskers that add a melodious hum to the business of the market. The market usually closes by 3PM, so a visit is the perfect way to spend a nice, relaxed yet eventful Saturday morning.
Visit to Richmond Town (Hobart)
Richmond is straight out of a fairytale. With its old style attraction, an old bridge, towering over a duck pond; Richmond is a quaint town of cosy candy shops, old style Australian pubs, and friendly locals. A walk around Richmond will introduce you to some beautifully built European style houses, wonderfully maintained churches, and interesting shops for some souvenir shopping!
Kayaking Tour (Hobart)
Kayaking might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those looking to make a splash, kayaking provides for a great new lens from which to see Tasmania. There are regular tours conducted by Roaring 40s Kayaking, which offers multiple kayak tours around Hobart and the Tasman Peninsula. With its friendly instructors and fresh, delicious lunches, all one has to do is buckle up, energize, and be ready to take on a few drops of sea water!
Wineglass Bay (East Coast)
With its fascinating backstory and beautiful view, Wineglass Bay is worth a visit on your trip to the East Coast. Whether you visit it on a day tour from Hobart, or as a stop along your Great Eastern Drive, the wonder of this natural gem and it’s pristine white shore will leave you hungry for more! A moderate trek down from the lookout will leave you barefoot on the calmly secluded shore of Wineglass Bay, teased by the clear, blue-green water and an abundance of nature all around!
The Hazards (East Coast)
A tiny beach by the Hazards, a mountain range situated within the Freycinet National Park and named after local whaler Captain Richard Hazard, Hazard Beach is a peaceful, secluded spot for lunch along the Great Eastern Drive. Full of wonderfully unique shells, clear waters and clean, soft sand, this beach will surprise you with its ocean views, serenity, and beauty.
Seafood (East Coast)
There is no better place to try seafood than at the great marine farms dotted along the East Coast.The Freycinet Marine Farm at Coles Bay will allow you to try some of the freshest, most delicious oysters and mussels, whilst also giving you a chance to take a fresh catch of lobster or abalone back home! Whether you savor the delicacy at the farm or take it away, it is best enjoyed with the chilled Tasmanian beer or wine!
No matter your interests, Tasmania is surely to tug at your heartstrings with its sprawling lush, green hills, clear blue skies, warm and friendly people, and fascinating history. It is a place simultaneously birthed from beauty and tragedy, moving forward whilst acknowledging the effects of both onto its present. The island exudes a spirit, an energy that moves travelers to explore, pause, and admire all that our planet, and the island, have to offer. Tasmania will undoubtedly leave you with a newfound awareness and respect for the world that you occupy, a sense of gratitude that is immensely satisfying!