The Tasmania Bucket List

You haven’t truly “done” Tassie unless you’ve done these 100 experiences.

#10 - Explore Cataract Gorge

Where is it? Launceston, TAS

Residents of Launceston are spoiled by having such a striking natural feature accessible in mere minutes from the city centre, as Cataract Gorge is a ruggedly beautiful example of Tasmanian geography just a short stroll away. A delightful mixture of terrain and highlights all in one, the Gorge features a vibrant body of water, impressively rocky riverbanks, a lovely suspension bridge, and the Southern Hemisphere's longest chairlift all in a single location. Combine all of these together, and it's not hard to see why this is one of Tasmania's most-visited tourist attractions.

Getting to the gorge is easy, as there's a main well-paved pathway that leads into its heart that's also nicely lit of an evening and makes accessing the main grassed congregation point a breeze. This grassed section provides a wonderful view overlooking the South Esk River and makes for one of Australia's most scenic picnic spots, and comes well-equipped with facilities including restaurants, BBQ's and undercover areas in case the weather turns sour. Couple this with wildlife such as ducks, peacocks and various others adding a dash of life, and Cataract Gorge is a wonderful overall attraction. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

#9 - Visit Binalong Bay

Where is it? North-east coast, TAS

If there was ever a part of Tasmania that shatters the stereotypical colour palette of greens and browns for which the state is most famous, Binalong Bay just might be it. With a coast that features a contrast of wonderful blue sea and pristine white sands dotted by rocks covered in an orange-red lichen which have become iconic of the region, Binalong Bay is the gateway to the wonderful Bay of Fires - and its multi-day walk which we ranked at #3 on our list of Australia's 10 Most Epic Walks.

Benefitting from pleasant, temperate weather, this is a sunny part of Tasmania that is a favoured getaway for those elsewhere in the state, with the town of Binalong Bay itself oriented around tourism and providing visitors with a place to stay. There's a reason this stunning coastal area is a favoured getaway spot for Tasmanian locals, and is the site of a large number of holiday homes - it's not hard to appreciate its combination of physical beauty and laid-back, escapist nature. Image credit: Paul Fleming

#8 - Russell Falls & Mt. Field National Park

Where is it? Mt. Field National Park, TAS

Home to a massive diversity of flora that serves as a microcosm of Tasmania's wilderness as a whole, Mt. Field National Park is both beautiful and convenient, easily reachable from capital Hobart and with a number of individual highlights highly accessible from its main carpark. Chief among these is the gorgeous Russell Falls - widely regarded as one of, if not the, most beautiful waterfalls in Tasmanian - with its three-tiered structure serving to create the visual effect of being several waterfalls in one. The falls are obviously at their best after a bout of recent rainfall, but given Tasmania's relatively wet climate, seeing them near full force is seldom a difficult prospect.

Mt. Field National Park is a wonderful showcase of plant and animal life as well, as it's home to some enormous and lush fern forests while giving visitors the chance to spot a range of native wildlife including pademelons, echidnas, and even the rare shot at seeing a platypus in the wild. Add in the ability to take part in some quality skiing during the winter months, and some lovely extended hiking for the more adventurous, and you've got one of Tassie's most comprehensive natural exploration hubs. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Michael Walters PhotographyBOOK

#7 - Cruise to Bruny Island

Where is it? Bruny Island, TAS

Few spots in Tasmania blend together highlights both visual and gourmet quite as well as Bruny Island. Roughly 100km in length and located just off the southern coast of the Tasmanian mainland, the island intermingles the best of rugged coastal environments with rolling farmland, a huge array of ocean-dwelling mammals and dramatically impressive scenery. The island is divided up into two main "sections" - north and south - by a narrow stretch of connecting land known as The Neck, and offers visitors a diverse array of terrain types that range from sandy beaches, to tall forests, to its characteristically wild and pillar-dotted coastlines.

Exploring Bruny Island can be done in a variety of ways both on land and in-ocean; the island can be accessed via a vehicle ferry from Kettering on mainland Tasmania, while tour operators Pennicott Wilderness Journeys take travellers on aquatic adventures and Bruny Island Safaris allow visitors to indulge in culinary experiences on the island itself. Specialties for the tastebuds on Bruny Island include the likes of rich local cheeses, locally-produced wines and famously-fresh oysters, to name just a few, all of which makes for a wonderfully balanced getaway spot. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Joe Shemesh BOOK

#6 - The Museum of Old and New Art

Where is it? Hobart, TAS

If one single attraction could be cited as doing a disproportionately large job of helping put Hobart on the global map in recent years, The Museum of Old and New Art (or MONA) just might be it. Having received numerous globs of international praise since its inception for a willingness to embrace the confrontational - and often bizarre - MONA does not shy away from controversy, with many of its exhibits bordering on the risqué and sometimes violent. Each piece has a message behind it, however, and as a result it's one of the most striking visual examples of social commentary available in Australia.

It doesn't hurt that MONA has been willing to embrace technology and other modern techniques in order to augment the visitor experience, either; interpretive audio complements the gallery's slick and modern layout which both help bring its inspiring examples of artistic talent to light. Throw in a picturesque location alongside the waters of the Derwent River, and you've got perhaps the most unique man-made attraction in the entire state of Tasmania. Throw away your inhibitions, and a visit to MONA will be sure to open your eyes. BOOK

#5 - Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

Where is it? 117km west of Hobart, TAS

Famed for being dissected by its many rivers from which it derives its name, the Franklin-Gordon Rivers National Park is a massive, lush and largely untouched concentration of natural highlights situated in the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area. Long a focal point of controversial conservatory actions taken to preserve it over the decades, the park features a mixture of mountain peaks, dense rainforested areas, spectacular gorges and - of course - rivers that make for some of the best combined scenery in Australia. Its concentration of bodies of water has made it Tasmania's premier hub for white water rafting adventures in particular, with the Franklin River serving as the base for a number of multi-day rafting trips that provide a mixture of both aquatic challenge and sightseeing enjoyment.

Numerous individual highlights that can be found within each serve as an example of the park's diversity, from the beautiful cascading Nelson Falls which are reachable via an easy boardwalk and measure an impressive 30m high, to the views from King William Saddle of mountain ranges to the south, and the towering Huon pines which form a dense natural barrier throughout. The National Park is also a site of important significance to the Aboriginal culture who inhabited the region dating all the way back to the last Ice Age. Remote and rugged yet flush with greenery and aquatic beauty, this is dense Tasmanian wilderness at its best. Image credit: Paul Fleming

#4 - The Port Arthur Historic Site

Where is it? Port Arthur, TAS

One of the greatest remaining bastions of Australia's early colonial history, there are few better-preserved examples of this bygone era in the country than the Port Arthur Historic Site. Sitting amongst immaculately-kept grounds alongside the waters of neighbouring Carnarvon Bay, the site boasts a peaceful and serene facade that belies its contentious past. Featuring a tumultuous history dating back to its origins as a penal colony from 1830 onwards, Port Arthur was chosen as a site for the incarceration of some of the UK's worst offenders due to its location on a narrow oceanlet acting as a natural "anti-escape" barrier.

Nowadays, Port Arthur is a collection of buildings and ruins nestled amongst a beautifully green landscape that provides visitors with a blend of historical insight and natural beauty that is rare amongst Aussie tourist attractions. The site features over 30 buildings each with their own historic role - from mining, to milling, to administration and imprisonment, and simply exploring its architecture and absorbing the events that took place here can be an interesting (and harrowing) experience. Stepping back in time has seldom been more enjoyable, and its panorama is as impressive by day as it is eerie by night. BOOK

#3 - The Dove Lake Track

Where is it? Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, TAS

"Pristine" might be an overused word when describing Tasmania in general, but when applied to the panorama of Cradle Mountain mirrored on the surface of Dove Lake it seems especially apt. There are few more photogenic locations in all of Australia than this unique spot within the Cradle Mountain/Lake St. Clair National Park, with Cradle Mountain's distinctive shape - consisting of twin, jagged dolerite peaks from which it derives its name - making for a wonderful backdrop to the proceedings. With this incredibly tranquil environment as a base, Dove Lake's encompassing Loop Track makes for a truly meditative walk that's far from challenging but no less satisfying for the fact.

A significant portion of the track is boardwalk and thus navigation is easy and takes roughly 2 hours to complete; visit earlier on in the day and you'll likely have it all to yourself. During the summer months the flat waters of the lake make for a refreshing splash of coolness, while during the colder periods the addition of a light snow-dusting atop Cradle Mountain only adds more magic to the proceedings. Regardless of if you choose to venture further into the park to explore its blend of rainforests and heaths, or simply make the drive from Devonport for a quick visit, there's no doubt you'll be left with an indelible impression of your time spent here. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania and Jason Charles Hill BOOK

#2 - Wineglass Bay & Freycinet National Park

Where is it? Freycinet, TAS

The coastal-oriented nature of the wondrous Freycinet National Park stands in contrast to many of the other national parks that dot Tasmania. Situated on the east coast of the state and jutting out towards open ocean, the park blends together wonderful and colourful elements with secluded pockets of water and jutting peaks to make for an incredible hub for exploration. While Tassie might not carry with it the reputation for spectacular beaches that several of the mainland Australian states do, Freycinet's Wineglass Bay takes this misconception and turns things dramatically on their head. A clam-shaped cove of pristine sand and vibrant water that looks like something straight out of a photo shoot, Wineglass Bay is a slice of surprising and isolated paradise.

Taking in Wineglass Bay's beauty from the best possible (on-foot) vantage point comes courtesy of its lookout which sits high on the ridges between Mounts Amos and Mason which overlook the bay. While it requires roughly a 1.5 hour return journey to complete, the panorama at the top is breathtaking, and well worth extending via a picnic in return for your efforts. Combine the spectacle of Wineglass Bay itself with the abundance of activities that Freycinet offers including outstanding bushwalks, wildlife spotting, kayaking, snorkelling and more, and this gem is one of Tasmania's quintessential natural features. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Andrew McIntoshBOOK

#1 - Walk the Overland Track

Where is it? Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, TAS

Widely considered one of the world's best bushwalks, Tasmania's Overland Track is stunning natural beauty exemplified to the fullest, and the pinnacle of many off-the-beaten-track adventures that Australia has to offer. Featuring an environment reminiscent of the best parts of Switzerland and New Zealand, this 6 day journey provides walkers with all the best hallmarks of the state's gorgeous alpine scenery – pristine mountain streams, radiant waterfalls, vibrant meadows and numerous other phenomena all combine to make for a breathtaking spectacle awaiting around each new bend of its roughly 65-kilometre-long expanse.

Valleys that have been carved out of the earth by eons of glacial activity are surrounded by jagged ranges jutting seemingly out of nowhere, many of them with uniquely odd shapes personified best by Cradle Mountain itself. This wonderful track is also surprisingly beginner-friendly, as despite possessing a few more challenging sections the Overland Track is generally both easy to navigate and in a respectable condition – which serves to make it an epic experience for first-time trekkers who are prepared to carry a full pack. "“Bucket list item” might be a cliché thrown around slightly too much in travel literature, but there's few better ways to describe this epic journey. Image credit: Great Walks of Australia

Tasmania MapTasmania is a state that’s quite separate from the Aussie mainland – both literally and figuratively. Not only is it Australia’s only island state, but the majority of its environment and landscape convey the sense of being in another country altogether; one that blends together the best of both Europe and the United Kingdom into a single, pristine and largely untouched whole.

Tassie is the state of choice for those looking for an escape from the crowds without skimping on the sightseeing prospects – this is far from a land of overcommercialised theme parks and bustling harbours and is instead a destination where escapism and “stopping to smell the roses” is the name of the game.

Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that Tasmania is home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes in all of Australia; with a topography that often brings to mind the likes of Switzerland albeit with several dashes of characteristic Aussie beach beauty thrown in, your camera will get more than a mild workout when travelling around the Island State.

Much of the natural wonder on offer in Tasmania is summed up by its many National Parks, which rank amongst some of the most gorgeous in the country, and each of which has its own individual character and cavalcade of highlights. From the coastal beach beauty of Freycinet to the pristine water-and-mountain duo of Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair, and the inland watery majesty of Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers to the accessible forest-and-waterfall panorama on offer within Mt. Field, the parks of Tasmania are reason enough alone to make the trek down south for several weeks.

It’s also a state that’s rich in history, having been one of the focal points of early European colonisation of Australia and home to many architectural remnants of that period that still remain in remarkably good condition to this day. From prisons to administrative buildings to everyday residences, Tasmania offers the traveller plenty of opportunities to step back in time for a day.

Add in the charming aspects of many of its regional towns and cities, as well as the vibrant seaside-and-mountain character of capital Hobart and its many intriguing attractions, its numerous epic walking tracks, and slices of coast on both sides that offer some ruggedly beautiful magic, and it’s clear that while Tasmania may be relatively small on size, it’s far from lacking in majesty.

In our Ultimate Tasmania Bucket List, we highlight 100 of the most essential experiences that we feel best sums up the diverse and incredible highlights of our Island State. While much of it will be known to locals, we hope to both inspire travellers from afar to visit wonderful Tassie while also hopefully encouraging residents to get out and explore the best of their own, lovely, backyard.

The Tasmania Bucket List Map

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