Let’s start by saying I’m not really a camper. Or a hiker. But there are a few things I DO love about the great outdoors, and that’s beautiful scenery and totally Instagrammable locations. Luckily, Tassie is full of amazing national parks where you can do just that—without that whole campervan/lack of showering thing.
With Virgin Australia announcing direct flights from Perth to Hobart flying from 17 September, there's never been a better time to get curious about Australia's most southern state. And for those who don't want to do it rough, we've put together a guide to the big three Tassie wilderness hotspots.
Check out the flight deals here and put Tassie firmly at the top of your vacay list.
If you’re looking for amazing views, plenty of walk options, and wild wombats by the dozen (we saw three in one day!), then Cradle Mountain is your jam. Depending on your fitness level, you can take the short walk to the famous boatshed to snap a ‘grammable pic, or you can do the entire 6km Dove Lake Circuit (it took us about two hours. Tip: turn left at the entry, rather than right for the best views and least crowds.)
Accommodation-wise you’re pretty limited if you want to live large AND be located close to the national park. The King Billy Suite at Cradle Mountain Lodge is the room you’re looking for; it has a double-sided fireplace facing both into the lounge and bedroom, as well as a spa on the private balcony overlooking the bushland below.
If you’re a little more adventurous you can take a crack at the stunning Overland Track, which takes six days to complete. Along the track, you can either camp or take your chance at getting to a standard hut in time before it gets full – but there are very limited facilities. For the fancy pants peeps out there, try Tasmanian Walking Company, who not only provide you with an experienced guide-turned-cook, but also access to their exclusive, private huts along the track, complete with hot water showers and beds. Ah, that’s the life!
Bay of Fires
I’ve been to Mexico, Fiji, Bali, the Amalfi and more—but Bay of Fires hosts truly some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in my life. Crystal clear turquoise water laps softly against white, sandy beaches dotted with the orange-red coated rocks that give the Bay of Fires an alternate source of its famous name—although originally named for the fires lit by Indigenous tribes dotted along the coastline.
Accommodation options are fairly limited along Bay of Fires if you’re looking for something a little more swanky than a regular beach house—so the best option here is to pop onto Airbnb or HomeAway to find something to suit your taste. Something like this very cool villa, with just about the most perfect views on the coast, is on my personal bucket list.
If you want to combine a hike with somewhere cosy and comfortable to rest your head at night, Tasmanian Walking Company also operates a four-day walk that takes in the award-winning Bay of Fires Lodge, which is only for the exclusive use of walkers who book with the company.
Freycinet National Park
Possibly the most popular of the hiking options in Tasmania is the Freycinet National Park walk to Wineglass Bay. Now owned by the parks department, this area has a dark history in whaling, with the famous bay being named after the blood of whales spilling into the turquoise waters, lending it a red wine-like appearance. Nowadays, you can enjoy the beautiful wildlife with a range of hiking options, and even spot the now-protected whales making their way up the coast from the top of the towering cliffs.
The only accommodation within the park is the famed Freycinet Lodge, who have recently updated a selection of their accommodation to the newly minted Coastal Pavilions. These architecturally-designed stunners face the water for maximum privacy—lucky, considering they offer an outdoor bath on the deck. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in one of these pavilions, and they had to drag me away upon check out… maybe it was the complimentary whisky.
The fancy pants out there have two options for a stress-free Freycinet visit: by air or by water. Book a scenic flight with Freycinet Air, and you’ll snap the best views of Wineglass Bay, Hazards Beach, and the rest of the park from above. It’s the best option for time-poor visitors and will give you the most amazing view of the famous, curved white sands of Wineglass Bay.
If you’re keen on some hiking, but don’t want to brave the steep return steps back to the carpark from the Wineglass Bay walk, book a water taxi to Hazards Beach with the Aqua Taxi. If you’ve taken my advice and stayed at Freycinet Lodge, you can wander down the steps to their private pier after breakfast for a fuss-free pickup, and be dropped off at the quiet sands of Hazards Beach. From there, you can take an easy 30-minute stroll across the flat peninsula to Wineglass Bay—and if you go early enough, you might even have the famous beach all to yourself. Now that’s luxurious.
Looking for somewhere to eat in Hobart? Check out our rundown of Hobart's best restaurants.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge & Adam Gibson