What is Tasmania Known for? Unveiling the Island’s Secrets

tasmanian devil sniffing the air at devils @ cradle sanctuary

Tasmania, an island state of Australia, boasts a rich history, unique natural beauty, and thriving agriculture. Situated approximately 150 miles south of my home Victoria, the island offers a wealth of famous sights and experiences.

But what exactly is Tasmania known for?

Tasmania is particularly famous for its seafood, wines, its fertile soil and cool climate make it an ideal location for apple orchards, and vineyards as well as the production of a wide variety of seafood. In addition to its agricultural offerings, Tasmania stands out for its breathtaking scenery and unique wildlife. Known for having some of the cleanest air in the world, the island’s pristine landscapes are perfect for eco-tourism and outdoor adventuring.

We learned a lot about Tasmania on our trip around the island, and research a lot about it to learn more. We are passionate travellers, who spent nearly two weeks in Tasmania and the photos you see in this post are all ones I took on our journey.

In this post, I cover some of the research I did into what Tasmania is famous for and link out to my best content to help you plan a trip to the island.

National Parks and Wilderness

a mountain shrouded in mist with a lake in front of it. cradle mountain as part of a 10 day tasmania itinerary

Nearly 37% of Tasmania’s land area is protected as nature reserves and national parks, with over a fifth designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

This wilderness was our main reason for visiting the island, as I’m a UNESCO geek! Taking a tour down the Gordon River was my highlight of Tasmania, and probably one of my highlights in Australia.

Tasmania has a huge number of natural attractions, here are some of the highlights:

  • Cradle Mountain: At the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain offers rugged, breathtaking landscapes perfect for hiking and wombat spotting.
  • Lake St Clair National Park: This park boasts Australia’s deepest freshwater lake, with numerous walking trails and opportunities for water-based activities.
  • Freycinet National Park: With its stunning coastal vistas and iconic Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park is an idyllic location for hiking and wildlife watching.
  • Bruny Island: An island off the southeastern coast, Bruny Island is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, boasting white wallabies and a diverse bird population.
  • Mount Wellington: Towering over Hobart, Mount Wellington offers panoramic views of the city and beyond, and a prime spot for hiking and mountain biking.
  • Maria Island: Accessible only by ferry, Maria Island is a natural sanctuary with sandy beaches, rare wildlife, and convict-era historical sites.
  • Tasman Peninsula: Home to the famous Three Capes Track, Tasman Peninsula features dramatic cliffs, coastal walks, and the UNESCO-listed Port Arthur Historic Site.

Convict History

an old style convict building port arthur tasmania

Tasmania was one of the first places Europeans settled when they arrived in Australia. Naming it Van Diemen’s land, it quickly became famous for its harsh penal colonies.

One of the most famous historical sites in Tasmania is the Port Arthur Historic Site, which was a notorious convict prison during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is now set up to tell the story of the convicts who lived here, and does so incredibly well. It is also part of the UNESCO Convict Sites of Australia listing, which shows how important a place it is.

🎫 Beat the queues and buy your Port Arthur entrance ticket in advance

Sarah Island is another one of the notorious convict camps of Tasmania, and is included as part of a cruise down the Gordon River. We also saw the local play The Ship That Never Was whilst in Strahan, which is based on convict stories from the island.

Another heritage site worth exploring is the historic town of Richmond, where you can find Australia’s oldest bridge, built in 1823 by convict labour. We enjoyed a morning out here, where you can also visit the Pooseum (yep, it really is what it sounds like) and a model village which shows the early history of Hobart.

Festivals

Tasmania hosts several culturally significant festivals and events throughout the year.

The island’s vibrant art scene is showcased during the Dark Mofo festival, a mid-winter event in Hobart celebrating contemporary arts and culture through intriguing installations, performances, and concerts.

For food and drink enthusiasts, the annual Taste of Tasmania festival is a must-visit event, featuring the island’s best food, wine, and produce. This week-long festival takes place in December and January, with live music, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of delicious culinary experiences on offer.

The World’s Cleanest Air

Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world, measured at Cape Grip in the north of the island.

Winds here travel over the fast southern ocean, only picking up minor pollutants from the two big cities on the mainland.

Tasmania’s recent advertising campaign ‘Come Down For Air’ got it spot on!

Native Tassie Animals

tasmanian devil sniffing the air at devils @ cradle sanctuary

In Tasmania, you’ll find a diverse range of native animals, many of which are unique to the island.

The Tasmanian Devil is perhaps the most well-known, but hard to see as they are nocturnal. We stopped into the fantastic Devils @ Cradle whilst we were at Cradle Mountain National Park to get up close to them.

🤩 Book a ‘Day Keeper Tour’ of Devils @ Cradle for less than $20

There are also 12 species of birds which can only be found on Tasmania:

  1. Tasmanian Native-hen (also known locally as turbo-chooks for their speed!)
  2. Green Rosella
  3. Dusky Robin
  4. Tasmanian Thornbill
  5. Scrubtit
  6. Tasmanian Scrubwren
  7. Yellow Wattlebird
  8. Yellow-throated Honeyeater
  9. Black-headed Honeyeater
  10. Strong-billed Honeyeater
  11. Black Currawong
  12. Forty-spotted Pardalote
wombat sticking head out from under boardwalk cradle mountain national park

There are also many other animal species which aren’t exclusive to Tasmania, but still exciting to see. We were fascinated by the wombats, which we have not seen in the wild after four years in Australia, but spotted roaming around during the day on Tasmania in the national parks!

Unfortunately, the most famous of Tasmania’s big marsupials, the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) is long extinct, though you can see the site of the old Beaumaris Zoo near the Botanic Gardens in Hobart, which was the home of the very last one.

Hiking and Walking Trails

wineglass bay tasmania named for the blood of whales

Tasmania is known for its incredible hiking and walking trails, and there are plenty of them to suit all fitness levels. Here are some of the most notable ones:

  • Overland Track: This world-famous trail takes you through the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, covering approximately 65 kilometres. Expect a challenging but rewarding journey through diverse landscapes, from rainforests to alpine regions.
  • Wineglass Bay: Situated in the Freycinet National Park, the Wineglass Bay walk is a must-see. The 5-kilometre round trip offers breathtaking views of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. This is the only one of the walks we managed, but given we had a toddler in tow, I think we did pretty well to get to the top!
  • Three Capes Track: This 46-kilometre walk takes you along the spectacular coastline of the Tasman Peninsula. The trail’s highlights include views of the towering sea cliffs and unique geological features such as the “Organ Pipes.”

Seafood

Tasmania is renowned for its fresh and diverse seafood, particularly oysters. Indulging in the freshest seafood available is a must when visiting the island. In addition, Tasmania is home to some gourmet delights such as locally-produced cheese, olive oil, and chocolates, all waiting for your taste buds to explore.

When exploring the island’s culinary offerings, don’t miss out on local specialities such as Cape Grim beef, often considered as Australia’s highest grade grass-fed beef and Leatherwood honey, which has gained a strong reputation among food enthusiasts.

Cool Climate Wine

devils corner winery, the view from the window with wine glass on the bar in front
The view from Devil’s Corner Winery

Tasmania’s cool climate makes it an ideal region for sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, and sparkling wines.

Notable wine-producing areas to visit are the Coal River Valley near Hobart and the Tamar Valley near Launceston, both offering exquisite cellar door tastings and fine vineyard dining experiences. Apart from the well-known pinot noir, the region also produces exceptional chardonnay and riesling wines.

Take a Wine Tour of the Tamar Valley: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ from 500+ Reviews

Beer & Australia’s Oldest Brewery

cascade brewery oldest in australia 1824

Tasmania’s breweries are also worth a visit, in fact the oldest brewery in Australia can be found in Hobart, Cascade Brewery, which sits at the bottom of Mount Wellington.

Breweries in Hobart and Launceston offer hoppy IPAs, rich stouts, and everything in between. Don’t forget to visit MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, which is home to its very own microbrewery, ensuring that your cultural and gastronomic experiences complement one another.

Museums and Galleries

4pm exhibition mona lots of photo frams on the wall

In Tasmania, you will find a rich art scene that includes notable museums and galleries, the most famous of which is the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. Voted by Lonely Planet writers in their top 20 places on earth, it’s now the most visited place for tourists on the island. We enjoyed it, and can see why it has become such a draw for people visiting Tasmnaia, but in the top 20 places on earth? That’s pushing it a little. It wasn’t even in our top five places on the island!

If you’re looking for more traditional art journeys, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, established in Hobart in 1846, and the Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery (QVMAG), opened in Launceston in 1891, are also worth visiting.

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