With its incredible – yet eminently accessible – wilderness areas, its well deserved reputation for stellar food and wine, and its fabulous, flourishing arts scene, Australia’s southern island-state of Tasmania, which lies south-east of the mainland, almost due south of coastal Melbourne, is one to place high on your family holiday bucket-list. Imagine days spent with your children combing idyllic beaches, wandering through exquisite national parks, and having close encounters with some truly remarkable wildlife (including, naturally, a Tasmanian Devil or two). And at night, whether you’re holed up in a cozy bush shack, or living it up in downtown Hobart whilst your little ones slumber, you can expect to be tucking into renowned local produce (Oh, the oysters! The cheese! And did we mention the oysters?), washed down with cold-climate wines from boutique vineyards.
Hobart and Launceston, Tassie’s two biggest cities, are both less than a 90-minute flight from Sydney and Melbourne, and an array of budget airlines make it easy to pop over from the mainland for a few days of outdoor adventure and good living. After years of being known as ‘Slowbart,’ the island’s capital is now basking in a moment of national attention: Hobart, in other words, is hot right now: a sense of energy animates the city, fueled by an artistic undercurrent and celebrated natural surroundings. Meanwhile, a quick two hours up the highway, Launceston, with its lovely heritage-listed streets, is the gateway to Tasmanian beauties such as Cradle Mountain and the Overland Track (for both, see below), and the exquisite Bay of Fires.
At first we couldn’t think of anything Tasmanian that’s not kid-friendly…but then we remembered the weather. The only thing standing in the way of a perfectly dreamy summer holiday is the sudden arrival of bitterly cold storm-clouds as you set up your tent at blissful Freycinet. But never fear: Tassie is famous for its four-seasons-in-one-day, and before you know it, the clouds will be gone and the glorious sunshine will return (for another 10 minutes, at least). So whether you’re heading down for a weekend treating, or taking the time to properly cruise the wonders of the ‘Apple Isle,’ (so-named since it was once one of the world’s major apple producers), Tasmania’s hippie-come-gourmet-farmer-meets-outdoorsy-adventure spirit is sure to get under your skin.
This Destination Guide was written with the invaluable assistance of Laura Edwards, a flying doctor and mother of two, who hails from the foothills of Mt Wellington.
There are regular flights from all Australian cities to Tasmania’s capital Hobart, situated in the south-east of the island, and to Launceston, 200km to its north, in the north-east. The highlights featured in this mini-guide all lie within several hours’ striking distance by car of one of these two cities, and many are strung somewhere along the more developed, oft-travelled east coast. Tasmania’s wild west coast, meanwhile, is one of Australia’s last true wilderness frontiers; with the exception of Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park (see below), it’s hard to access, with few coastal roads.
A great alternative to flying is to catch the overnight Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne, arriving in Devonport. This has the added benefit of allowing you to bring your own car, in order to make the most of Tasmania’s touring potential (though you can also easily rent in Hobart if you’re arriving b y plane). Although, at 35,000 square miles (almost 91,000 sq km), Tassie is small by Australian standards, don’t underestimate the time it takes to get around: driving about the state will take several days; longer, if you plan to stop at a good number of the highlights listed below.
SEE & DO
No visit to Hobart, Tasmania’s capital and biggest city (with a population of just over 215,000 people) would be complete without a trip up the 1270m-high Mt Wellington, with its beguiling views of the Tasman Sea and the wild South West National Park. There are lots of well-marked walks all over Mt Wellington: if you have young kids, hoist them into a backpack and walk from the Springs up under the Organ Pipes (2 hours return), or, if you have longer, keep walking on up to the top of the mountain (5-6 hours return). With more time to explore, pick up a map, tips, and a hot chocolate from the Fern Tree Local Store (located 1km past the turnoff from Huon Rd to Pinnacle Rd, which heads to the top of the mountain). Older, adventurous kids, will likely love the mountain bike tours, whose van takes you to the mountain’s summit, from which they can enjoy the thrill of cruising 21km back down again, mostly on sealed roads, but with off-road options.
Every Saturday morning locals and tourists gather at Hobart’s historic Salamanca Place to buy huon pine (a type of native conifer) souvenirs, fresh fruit and veg, and all manner of gourmet delights. There’s loads of entertainment for kids, with buskers, live music and lawns upon which to relax and enjoy your bratwurst. The markets run from 8.30am-3pm.
Held in the enchanting Salamanca Arts Centre courtyard every Friday evening from 5.30 to 7.30pm, this popular après-work event is a wonderful place to enjoy some free live music and dancing. It can get a little crowded, but it’s a lovely, relaxed environment for kids to run around whilst parents grab a beer (or hot gluhwein in winter), before heading out to dinner in one of the many eateries along Salamanca Place or Battery Point.
Hobart’s newest museum, tucked away in a corner of the waterfront, is a novel scale replica of the buildings that were constructed as the base for explorer Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic expedition of 1911. The main feature of the museum is a re-creation of the living conditions inside the huts, complete with the weekly menu featuring penguin for main course.
As soon as the privately-owned Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) opened in 2011, on a headland of the Derwent River outside Hobart, it completely changed the face of Tassie tourism. The museum, owned by eccentric philanthropist David Walsh, is never short of shock value, with a wall of porcelain vaginas and a poo machine called Cloaca that replicates the human digestive system. What kid isn’t going to love that? While the more disturbing displays are behind floor-to-ceiling red velvet curtains, much of the main collection, with its antiquities and incredible works by Australian artists is actually very playful and will entertain older kids no end (and perhaps pose a few interesting questions for the adults!).
If you have concerns, the free printed guide contains a map showing you how to avoid sexually explicit and potentially confronting artwork. Babies, meanwhile, will sleep the hours away in a sling or pram, but if you have a energetic toddler, it’s probably best to take it in turns playing on the lawns outside while your friend or partner explores the museum.
Getting to MONA is part of the experience. Enjoy Moo Brew beer and Moorilla wine from the bar on the Mona Roma Fast Ferry, which departs from Brooke St Pier up the Derwent River roughly every hour ($20). MONA is also getting a name for its fab music and art festivals, including Mona Foma in mid-January, curated by Violent Femmes member, Brian Ritchie. Dark MOFO is the winter festival which brings Taswegians out of their wood-heated houses in the depths of winter, and makes Hobart feel alive.
Ride Around Town
Hobart is a great place to explore by bike. Take some time to check out the Greater Hobart Trails website, which will help you navigate the city with ease. The Intercity Cycleway is an easy-going family ride close to the Derwent River, with plenty of places to stop and explore along the way. Hobart Bike Hire down on the docks or Cycleingo (better for mountain bikes) have bikes for rent, or, if you have older kids, check out ARTBIKES, a bike-borrowing service that enables art lovers to easily access either Hobart’s arts precincts and galleries or the cultural hotspots of Launceston, Tasmania’s second-largest city: the Dutch designed Vanmoof bikes are better than anything you’ll get at a rental shop, that’s for sure.
Tasmania has some spectacular beaches…only not quite so many warm days as the rest of the country to enjoy them! Some family-friendly options close to Hobart include Nutgrove Beach in lower Sandy Bay, which has one of the best playgrounds in the city; stick around for an early dinner at the Sandy Bay Beach Woodfired Pizza, from which you can take-away and eat in the park while the kids play. Hinsby Beach in Taroona, 10 minutes from Hobart has shady areas most of the day, while Kingston Beach, 10-15 minutes south of the city, is a large beach with a dog-friendly section, and great fish and chips. Try the Citrus Moon café up the road for brekkie or lunch: it has yummy nachos and a fun ‘make your own plate’ option for the kids, plus a little grassy play area. Seven Mile Beach, 20-30 minutes east of Hobart, near the airport, is another great bet for families, while Clifton Beach, further east, is one of the most popular surf beaches, where Coastrider Surf Academy offers lessons for kids and adults during summer. At Coningham, 25 minutes away, there is a beautiful, protected white sand beach; lovely walking tracks lead off from the beach, with more on offer at the nearby Coningham Nature Recreational Reserve.
NORTH OF HOBART
This wonderful wildlife sanctuary, 30 minutes north of Hobart, cares for injured animals, to get them back into the wild. Try to time your visit with one of the sanctuary’s free twice-daily tours, when you’ll hear entertaining stories of animal survival, pat koalas, scratch a wombat and see the state’s namesake Tasmanian Devils running around. Two-and-a-half-hour nighttime tours, too, are highly recommended: a truly magical way to get up close and personal with some unusual creatures (tawny frogmouths and bettongs numbering amongst them), and feed breakfast – taking, naturally, at night – to the sanctuary’s nocturnal residents. It’s worth noting that if you find a sick or injured animal on your travels across the state, Bonorong’s is the number to call.
SOUTH OF HOBART
Tahune Airwalk and Picton River
Located 70km south of Hobart, this 600 metre airwalk is suspended 50m in the air and gives amazing views of the Huon Pine Forest, and junction of the Picton and Huon rivers. There are a range of walks in the area, which give a great taste of the expanse of predominately untouched wilderness to the South and West. Stop at Geeveston on the way, if only to visit Masaaki’s Japanese restaurant, arguably the best sushi in Tasmania. Adventurous families should book with one of the Hobart-based white water rafting companies for a day-trip down the Picton River, so clean that you can dip your cup in for a refreshing drink while you paddle. Rafting trips finish at the base of the Airwalk; depending on water levels, it’s safe for children.
For diminutive Thomas the Tank Engine fans – and, for that matter non-fans alike – it’s worth paying a visit to the last operating bush ‘tramway’ in Tasmania at Lune River. Originally built to transport limestone from Ida Bay quarries to waiting ships, the bright red locomotives now mainly carry grey nomads and families on a two-hour, 14km return-trip through wildflower-dotted bushland. The train stops for around 20 minutes at Deep Hole Bay, where you can have a picnic on an idyllic white sand swimming beach.
A 50 minute journey south of Hobart, Bruny Island represents all the good things that Tassie has to offer. Think great food, wonderful walking, white sandy beaches, easy camping…and chocolate. Indeed, there’s a superb chocolate factory on the island. Book a holiday house near the beach, ideally somewhere near Adventure Bay, and spend a good few days hitting the beach with the bucket and spade (or kayak, or windsurfer); campers should seek out Jetty Beach, a peaceful spot with a sheltered beach for kids. Our favourite foodie places include the award-winning Bruny Island Cheese Co which, amongst the exceptional artisan cheeses, wines, condiments and the like, promises the ‘best cheese toastie’ you’ll ever eat. You can pick your own berries from October to April at the Bruny Island Berry Farm and tuck into the freshest Bruny oysters, while watching oysters being harvested, sorted and shucked at the Get Shucked Oyster Bar. The island is also home to abundant sealife, such as seals, dolphins, migrating whales, seabirds and birds of prey: Pennicott Bruny Island Cruises operate a 3-hour wilderness cruise around the island in powerful, purpose-built boats, which are highly recommended.
The 15 minute ferry journey to Bruny departs hourly from Kettering, 35 minutes south of Hobart, between 6.30am and 7.30pm daily and costs $30-35 return. There is no public transport to or on Bruny Island, so you will need to bring your own car.
On a narrow sliver of land south-east of Hobart is this magnificently preserved penal colony, where 12,500 convicts served their time between 1830 and 1877. It’s a powerful reminder of Australia’s history, and is extraordinary to contemplate what happened in this brutal and isolated outpost. Unless you’re travelling with babies and toddlers (plenty of wide open spaces to run around here, though bring a pushchair for exhausted tinies!), it’s probably of most interest to kids around eight and above. The site has a few specific activities to engage young ones, including a Hidden Stories book, (free from the reception), which offers up a bit of a history treasure hunt. They’ll also no doubt enjoy playing the Lottery of Life game in the Convict Gallery, where visitors trace the life of one of the Port Arthur Penal Settlement’s convicts. The museum is also fascinating, with hundreds of original artefacts on display, and a 30-minute harbour cruise is included in the price of the ticket. If you are staying close by, consider doing the lantern-lit ghost tour at night. It’s an incredibly popular (and kind of scary!) tour, but the dark atmosphere of the site is intense, so is not one for sensitive kids.
Port Arthur Historic Site is 90 minutes south east of Hobart.
IN & AROUND LAUNCESTON
Set on the banks of the Tamar River, charming ‘Lonny’ (as it’s known by locals) is slowly shedding its reputation as Hobart’s country cousin. Spend a day wandering it’s heritage-listed streets (or ride the free Tiger Bus) and you’ll find there’s more to love about it than its famous gorge.
(Free Entry) This museum-shaped time capsule set amid 19th-century railway yards is one of Australia’s best regional galleries and brilliant for kids. Between the long-extinct marsupial megafauna such as Zygomaturus tasmanicus (a hippo-sized wombat), the interactive science centre, the ArtSparks! Family Art Space and the planetarium ($6/4), there are a number of attractions to excite little hands and minds. Next door at the Launceston Tramway Museum, you can take a ride on an old 1940s tram.
(Free Entry) A 15 minute walk from the centre of Launceston is the beautiful Cataract Gorge Reserve, framed by basalt cliffs, vast green lawns and the South Esk River. On hot days the swimming pool and gorge are very popular, and there’s also a good café with resident peacocks, walking trails up to some superb lookouts, a suspension bridge perfect for running across, and the world’s longest single-span chairlift, with which to climb the giddy heights.
Evandale Farmers Market
About 15km south of Launceston, out near the airport, is the sleepy Georgian village of Evandale, famous for its Sunday Farmer’s Market. There are over 100 stalls selling everything from local gourmet goodies to bric-a-brac. There’s also pony rides and other amusements for the kids. After you’ve trawled through the stalls, take a seat at Ingleside Bakery in the old council chambers and enjoy a cream tea under the tendrils of climbing roses in the courtyard or by the fire inside, then buy a pack of biscuits for the road.
There are loads of berry picking experiences on offer in Tassie, but this wonderful family-run farm, 20 minutes from Launceston and in the middle of the scenic Tamar Valley, is a definite favourite. Depending on the season, kids can pick their own strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, blackberries and currants, , and since it’s a working farm there are loads of sheep, ducks and pigs to meet as well.
Narawntapu National Park
Dubbed the ‘Serengeti of Tasmania’, Narawntapu is one of the best places to view free-ranging wildlife on the island. In the afternoon head out on the meandering Springlawn Lagoon Circuit Walk (2 hours) where you will be almost guaranteed to spot congregations of Forester Kangaroo’s and grazing wombats. Listen for the growls and screeches of Tasmanian devils. The walk returns via a lagoon bird hide over a tranquil Paperbark swamp, where hundreds of birds, including honeyeaters, rosellas and black cockatoos gather.
Narawantapu National Park is around a 90 minute drive from Launceston.
With its snow-capped mountains, serene lakes and magnificent bush, Cradle Mountain offers the quintessential Tasmanian wilderness experience, and is by far the easiest part of western Tasmania to access. Teeming with wallabies, wombats and super-sized playful possums, it’s part of the 161,000-hectare World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, a two-hour drive west from Launceston. There’s a lot to do at Cradle Mountain, but the focus is on the bracing mountain bush walks. Famous for its six-day Overland Track, there are a multitude of more family-friendly day walks available, such as the easy-going 6km Dove Lake loop track which takes you right around the stunning lake, beneath the towering spires of Cradle Mountain. If your kids like horse-riding or mountain biking, there are plenty of tour options, along with seasonal adventures such as tobogganing and canoeing: we highly recommend Cradle Mountain Canyons an award-winning adventure company, set up by two young, outdoorsy locals. They offer half- and full-day canyon tours departing from Cradle Mountain, including specific trips for families. Other highlights include close encounters with endangered Tassie devils at the Devils@Cradle sanctuary, and the King Solomons and Marakoopa caves, where you’ll witness an incredible natural light show, thanks to the resident glow-worms, along with some spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. For a luxurious overnight stay, soak tiny tired feet (and your own) in a spa cabin at the iconic Cradle Mountain Lodge at the northern end of the park.
If you’re taking the ‘scenic’ route to the Mountain, you might be tempted to stop into Tasmazia, a challenging series of eight walk-through hedged-in mazes, with a few comic twists.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a 4.5 hour drive from Hobart, and 2 hours from Launceston.
EAST COAST TASMANIA
The Bay of Fires
The supremely beautiful 29 kilometres ribbon of sea and surf spooling out from the old whaling town of St Helens, is known as the Bay of Fires. While the famous four day guided hike is considered the best way to take in its natural beauty, you can still experience all that spectacular white sand, blue water and granite splashed with orange lichen from a scenic drive along the coast. The Bay of Fires extends from Binalong Bay in the south to Eddystone Point in the north, and a dazzling view of the bay can be glimpsed by taking the windy 13km drive out to The Gardens from St Helens. There are loads of beautiful beaches, lagoons and secluded inlets to explore, and free bush camping available at some of them. We love Cosy Corner with its grassy sites and easy proximity to the beach. Binalong Bay makes a great base for exploring the area as it has a a few holiday rentals, such as the The Bay of Fires Character Cottages with their fab views, and some good eating.
St Helens is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Launceston.
Freycinet National Park
With pink granite mountains falling away to dazzling white sand beaches and sheltered coves, without a doubt the Freycinet Peninsula is one of the most breathtaking areas of Tasmania, and is a wonderful spot to set yourself up for a couple of days of beach action. The most popular activity in Freycinet National Park is bushwalking, and you’ll find plenty of walks to suit all ages and fitness levels. The most well-known is the 2-3 hour return walk to Wineglass Bay, oft-voted one of the Top 10 beaches in the world. A great day-trip is the 4 hour, 12km circuit past Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach and back around the coast or, for something a little less well-trodden, the 2-3 hour return walk up Mt Amos (be careful of the steep, slippery rocks, particularly when wet). If you are travelling in summer it’s a good idea to avoid the crowds and walk early in the morning or late afternoon.
Getting out onto the water is also a must here: there’s terrific snorkeling at Honeymoon Bay and Sleepy Bay. Alternatively, Freycinet Adventures offer sea kayaking tours and is happy to tailor trips to suit kids of all ages. Fishing boats are available for hire from a number of companies in the Coles Bay township, and you are guaranteed to catch at least a few flathead for dinner. For something a little more glam, Wineglass Bay Cruises run a stunning cruise around the Southern tip of the peninsula all the way into Wineglass Bay, where you’re served local champagne, cheese, and quince paste whilst getting to see a part of the park that few locals even get to see. The peninsula is a place, too, for whale watching, so keep an eye out for humpbacks and southern rights, migrating north from the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic: they’ve been sighted close to shore at Wineglass Bay, Hazards Beach and Coles Bay.
Camp sites are available just inside the park boundary; however, because the area is so popular over the Christmas-New Year and Easter period that a ballot is drawn for sites each August; check the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife website for details. Alternatively, Freycinet Lodge, also within the National Park, is in a beautiful location overlooking Great Oyster Bay, and their smart log cabins, some with spa baths, go for around A$200 per night. You’ll find a range of accommodation, too, from self-catering options to luxury glamping in nearby Coles Bay or Swansea.
Whilst in the Freyecet region, our other faves include:
- Penguin watching at dusk in Bicheno.
- Being wowed by the Rocking Rock (a huge 80 tonne piece of granite balanced so that it rocks with the movement of the tide) and the Bicheno Blowhole.
- Tucking into berry icecream, pies and other sweeties at Kate’s Berry Farm in Swansea.
Freycinet National Park is a 2.5-hour drive (192 km) from Hobart and 2 hours, twenty minutes (173 km) from Launceston. Bicheno is 20km north of Freycinet.
Just when you thought you’d had your fill of World-Heritage-listed wilderness, Tasmania throws you another dazzling national park. Remote southern Maria Island – accessible via the little Maria Island Ferry (bookings recommended) is known for its astounding scenery, its Noah’s Ark of threatened wildlife, and its turbulent and dramatic convict history, of which remnants still remain. The island offers excellent walking and cycling journeys, including short walks which explore the buildings and ruins of Darlington – a ghost town with a convict and industrial past. The Reservoir Circuit, meanwhile, is sheltered from the coastal winds and provides a glimpse of Maria Island’s wildlife and history, as you wander through open woodlands into a tall eucalyptus forest: chances are you’ll see wombats, pademelons, Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s wallabies and Tasmanian Devils. Note that there are no shops or cafés on the island, so if you decide to stay at various free camping sites or in the basic bunk accommodation in the old penitentiary (spooky, much?) you will have to be self-sufficient. A great alternative is staying the night in Triabunna, a 90 minute drive from Hobart, and taking the morning ferry for a day trip. You can rent mountain-bikes from the Maria Island Ferry, but note they don’t have baby seats or trailers for kids.
Triabunna is about 90 minutes from Hobart, and the ferry ride to Maria Island is 30 minutes.
This South Hobart family favourite has some of the best coffee and locally-sourced meals in town. It wins points on the kid-front, with its stock of books and toys, not to mention the enormous marshmallows that come with the hot chocolate and babycinos. It gets busy on weekends, so try to come mid-week, if you can.
This happening café in West Hobart vends home-baked paninis and pastries from their wood-fire oven, along with rocking coffee, from an old butcher’s shop that seats just 16. The constantly changing blackboard menu might feature radicchio salad with persimmon vinegar, or sardines on toast. This sadly isn’t one, however, with prams or with small, mobile kids (closed Sundays).
Best hot chocolate in Hobart as voted by one nine year old in the know. This cosy, retro cafe has a great spot out the back for babies and little people, plus the food is a winner. Tasty breakfasts roll into a tapas-style lunch and dinner, where they put their own spin on some classic dishes.
Machine Laundry Café
An oldie but a goodie, this Salamanca institution (see Salamanca Markets, above) has been doling out café standards – ricotta hot cakes and vast all-day breakfasts – for years. It has a relaxed vibe and a superb location on the square, so pull up a seat outside, while the children play with the giant chess set.
Tucked into the foyer of the Peacock Theatre at Salamanca, this delightful café has terrific coffee and a short menu featuring organic, seasonal produce. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, and it fills up fast, so beware that you may have to wait (closed Sundays).
Drop by this informal dockside eatery on Elizabeth Street Pier for stand-out fish and chips. There is often a queue (you can’t book) but it moves fast and is worth the wait.
Wannabe pirates and seafarers will love the quirky nautical décor at this iconic wharf restaurant. But if that’s not enough to keep them busy whilst waiting for their massive plates of seafood to arrive (the fish market chowder is a highlight) there are stickers and colouring-in pencils to boot. There is a 6pm and an 8.15pm seating: book ahead.
Jackman & McRoss
For coffees and in-between nibbles, try Hobart’s best bakery, Jackman & McRoss, located on Hampden Road, amid the sandstone cottages of quaint Battery Point. Pick up a whole host of takeaway – try the melt-in-your-mouth croissants – and head down the road to the Boat Park playground for a picnic on the water.
In a busy but un-atmospheric food hall down by the water, Mures serves up Tassie seafood, so fresh that it looks like it’s about to jump off the plate. Grab a table outside and admire the yachts in the harbour (it’s one of the best spots to watch the Sydney-to-Hobart boats arriving), and definitely try the Mures marinade. Mures Upper Deck, upstairs, is also worth a visit for a fine-dining experience.
Fresh. Local. Seasonal. Pram-friendly. Need we say more? This fabulous market is on every Sunday from 9am-1pm in the Melville Street car park.
These two self-contained townhouses each have three individually decorated bedrooms, comfortable living spaces and well-equipped kitchens. Opposite St David’s Park, they are less than five minutes’ walk from Salamanca and the waterfront precinct.
Just a couple of blocks from the waterfront, this great value city option has a fresh, bright lobby café and modern, contemporary decor. Nab a room up high for the mountain views. There are also one and two bedroom apartments on offer, and all rooms have complimentary Foxtel and WIFI.
In a beautiful old sandstone mansion, at charming Battery Point, is this newly refurbished hotel, which offers very spacious two room suites with fantastic water views. Staff are lovely and very welcoming to kids. Alternatively they have stylish self contained apartments up for grabs, right on Salamanca Place.
This retro oasis on Princes Square, with its concrete floors and dizzying swivel chairs, serves up super delicious vegetarian food. The all-day breakfast is hugely popular with the locals digging into hearty fare like couscous porridge with coconut cream and almonds, and sweet potato and zucchini hash browns with spinach, relish and scrambled tofu. Also open for dinner on Friday nights, doubling as a venue for the occasional music gig and comedy night.
Launceston’s art crowd likes to hang out in this stylish, industrial setting at the Inveresk Railyards. There’s excellent coffee and a focus on fresh, organic produce. Try the wood fired Flinders Island lamb rump with peas, broadbeans, zucchini, buckwheat, mint and chilli. The woodfired pizzas are a stand out, and the innovative toppings (Mt Gnomo chorizo and whitebean puree) are as far from a boring Margarita as you can get.
Down at Launceston’s seaport this is a relaxed spot for dinner, with great views of the marina and people strolling along the boardwalk. Alongside the local seafood dishes, there’s Tasmanian beef plus an extensive pizza menu.
These modern self-contained apartments offer fantastic luxury with a Tassie twist; think elegant wood furniture, Max Brenner hot chocolate sets, locally made toiletries, and a fridge loaded with premium wines and beer. There’s also games and DVDs for the kids. The apartments are well-located on Charles Street, giving you the option of exploring the city by foot.
In a former Art Deco hospital on the hill, this recently renovated hotel now looms over Charles Street offering great value and bright, stylish accommodation. The two bedroom interconnecting rooms with balcony and kitchenette would suit families best. There’s complimentary onsite car parking and WiFi available. Close to restaurants and an easy walk to town.
WHEN TO GO
Unless you a prepared to ‘rug up’, Tasmania is best avoided during winter, which falls around June to August in Australia, and when the average daily Tasmanian temperature sits somewhere between 3 and 11 degrees Celsius. Winter is also blowy and rather cold, particularly in the mountains…after all, the next stop south is Antarctica! If you’re thinking of visiting over Summer (December to February), be sure to book ahead, since this is the peak tourist season with an abundance of great festivals and the arrival of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race: whilst there’s loads of fun to be had, accommodation can be scarce.