The Tasmania Bucket List

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

#40 - Drive the Western Explorer Highway

Where is it? West Coast, TAS

Those looking for a drive in Tasmania that allows oneself to go truly "off the beaten track" will likely find their desires more than fulfilled by the Western Explorer Highway which links Stanley to Strahan. Recently upgraded yet still largely unsealed, the route makes its way through a variety of wild and rugged landscape, including through the lush Tarkine Rainforest, while offering the chance to see some characteristic and towering examples of Huon Pine. The Western Explorer also passes within reach of a number of charming villages and townships throughout its course - including the likes of Corinna, Marrawah and Arthur River - that can serve as stopover points, however it's the getting away from civilisation and embracing isolation that make this drive so unique.

While the unsealed portions of the road are navigable by traditional 2WD vehicles, having a 4WD makes things easier, although simply maintaining a steady and comfortable speed alleviates any concerns of a mishap. It's not a dangerous route, however it is often narrow and winding - but this is the price to be repaid for visiting a part of Tasmania that is so wonderfully remote. This is an example of the "scenic route" in every sense of the term, and while it's definitely not the way to take if you're in a hurry, your efforts will be rewarded with one of the best wilderness drives in the country. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

#39 - Tour the Cascade Brewery

Where is it? South Hobart, TAS

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While only a small state, Tassie sure does a great job of producing some wonderful beers, with perhaps the most famous of these being Cascade Lager produced locally at the historical Cascade Brewery. It’s much more than just a simple beer-production facility however; there's also an architectural appeal here as the brewery is over 150 years old and is the oldest running brewery in the region, with a stunning setting amongst lovely surroundings and immaculately well-kept gardens. It’s an impressive example of older, colonial-era construction in itself, and one which comes with a familial atmosphere from its staff that remains today despite the brand’s size.

There’s more than just drops of the tasty amber stuff on offer at the Cascade Brewery too; it’s a downright pleasant place to eat, and many menu items are designed to couple well with the various brews and cider flavours on offer to produce a nice drink-and-meal combo for everyone. Regular, informative tours are also available that will allow you inside to see the inner workings of Cascade’s pride and joy, with visitors getting the chance to learn more about how beer is produced. Spend an afternoon in the sun relaxing in picturesque gardens while enjoying a bite to eat and a frosty, delicious beer? Yes please! Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Richard Eastwood

#38 - Admire the views of Leven Canyon Lookout

Where is it? 45 mins from Ulverstone, TAS

One of Tasmania's best panoramas remains relatively unknown, particularly given its high level of accessibility, however it doesn't take more than a glance to realise that Leven Canyon is a sight every traveller to Tassie should take in at least once. The lookout lies around a 45 minute drive from the major town of Ulverstone in Tasmania's north-west, and can be reached via a well-maintained track that requires a reasonable level of fitness that is doable for all ages. Accessing the lookout merely requires a 20 minute return walk from the adjacent carpark - there are a fair few stairs to negotiate, with seats at regular intervals to stop for a spell along the way - with the visual reward on offer more than worth the effort. Step out onto the lookout (officially named Cruickshanks Lookout) and you'll witness a dramatic panorama of mountains and farmland that will have your hairs standing on end.

The lookout provides an outlook to the canyon floor lying 275m below through which the Leven River flows (don't be afraid to gaze down!) and which is particularly spectacular if there has been recent rainfall. Plentiful plant life including trees and ferns offer shade in the area, and there's a picnic area near the canyon rim which makes for a great way to extend the experience while enjoying a bite to eat. There's additional walking on offer for the more adventurous as well, providing the potential for a multi-hour experience amongst the wilderness. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Brian Dullaghan

#37 - Take the Spirit of Tasmania

Where is it? Runs between Melbourne and Devonport, TAS

More than just a form of transport bridging mainland Australia with Tasmania, The Spirit of Tasmania is a long-running service that has ferried thousands of passengers across the Bass Strait for decades. An experience in and of itself, the massive ships run between Melbourne and Davenport, and serve as an intriguing alternative option to flying for those who don't mind investing more time travelling between the two states. The ships themselves underwent some significant refurbishment in recent years, and now boast a host of modern facilities and impressive cabin accommodations that makes travelling across this vast waterway entertaining rather than a mere chore.

The obvious appeal is for those heading to Tassie (or vice versa) who wish to bring their own vehicle across for further travels, however the comfortable facilities and abundant attractions on board including bar and lounge areas with live entertainment, big screen televisions/theatres, and surprisingly high quality dining options to boot. Cabins come in different flavours as well, with the deluxe suites truly impressive, while the newly updated decor gives the vessels a modern and uplifting feel throughout. Well organised, with good communication, extremely clean and filled with friendly staff, a journey on the "Spirit" is a rite of passage all Tassie travellers should undertake. Image credit: Sean Scott

#36 - Ski or Hike Ben Lomond

Where is it? North-eastern region, TAS

Despite its fairly mountainous topography and multitude of areas that possess alpine climates, Tasmania isn't quite as abundant in ski areas as one might initially imagine. This makes Ben Lomond - home to Tasmania's second-highest mountain and with a ski season that runs from July to September each year - all the more of an essential visit for those in the state who enjoy their winter sports. Situated around 1.5 hours from Launceston and roughly 3.5 hours from Hobart, it's the only "true" ski centre in the state and offers 7 lifts to transport riders to on the slopes. While snow cover can be unpredictable and it requires somewhat of a winding and arduous drive that can be scary for the uninitiated, the area offers some wonderful alpine scenery in addition to quality skiing.

As a result, Ben Lomond is also an excellent spot to visit for an entirely different reason during the warmer months: to view its colourful wildflowers, gaze out over the barren surrounding landscape, and spot local wildlife such as wallabies. Ben Lomond's alpine village is located at the foot of the ski slopes, with shuttle buses running when snow cover is sufficient. Those wanting to stay in the region can book an overnighter at the Ben Lomond Alpine Hotel, which offers both accommodation and hearty meals consisting of local Tassie produce - as well as a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

#35 - Admire the Tulips of Table Cape

Where is it? Near Wynyard, TAS

A former volcano might not be the first location that springs to mind when imagining one of Tasmania's most colourful panoramas, however that's exactly what occurs during September to October each year atop the plateau of Table Cape. Located near Wynyard on the north west coast, the Cape is one of the more memorable landscapes in Tasmania, with a dramatic cliff face that drops into the vivid waters of the Bass Strait beyond that's impressive enough in and of itself. Add the spectacular tableau of the flowers to the equation, and it's easy to see why this is one of the state's most popular occurrences for those with an interest in photography.

The Table Cape Tulip Farm is the hub for all of this colour, and grows tulips that are of such high quality that they're exported all the way to Europe, while visitors to the farm can take the chance to wander through the fields of blooms themselves during the height of the season. There's even an annual "Bloomin' Tulips" festival that takes place each year in which the region celebrates this cavalcade of colour and floral life. As this is a phenomena that only operates for a very limited time throughout the year, if you're in Tasmania - or planning a trip - during this brief period, be sure to divert to the Wynyard region and witness the spectacle firsthand. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Tony Crehan

#34 - Shuck Oysters at Freycinet Marine Farm

Where is it? Coles Bay, TAS

Dining doesn't get much fresher than this. Situated on the picturesque Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania's east coast, Freycinet Marine Farm is part seafood farm, part cafe, and part unique dining experience - one that has become emblematic of Tasmania's strong seafood culture as a whole and the premier destination in the state for those looking to sample the ocean's bounty. Grown amongst tidal waters, oysters are its signature product here and visitors can sample them at their plumpest and most juicy; no additional additives are needed to bring out their flavour. A tour of the Freycinet Marine Farm not only provides further insight into the growth and production process, but allows guests to enjoy the shellfish shucked in the water right next to them - dining on a table immersed in the waters and surrounded by a lovely natural backdrop makes for a distinctively unique sampling experience.

A dozen of the oysters here go down incredibly quickly, but the seafood here is not limited to oysters; the likes of abalone, mussels, prawns and scallops also feature prominently, and can be dined on in both fresh and cooked forms. The farm's cafe is ideal for those simply wanting to enjoy wonderful seafood without the full-blown shucking experience, and while it's a "no frills" dining experience, it carries with it an aura of exclusivity and care nonetheless. In all, the Freycinet Marine Farm is both an essential visit for seafood aficionados, and a great stop to include on the itinerary for those looking to visit the famed Wineglass Bay nearby. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & George Apostolidis

#33 - Raft the Franklin or King Rivers

Where is it? West Coast & Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, TAS

Tasmania's a state that's carved and furrowed by an extensive network of rivers, so it's only logical that it's also highly popular amongst watersports enthusiasts looking to explore some of its gorgeous innards via water. While the state is immensely popular for canoeing and kayaking fans, it's also a hotspot for whitewater rafting adventures - particularly on two of its major rivers: the Franklin and the King. Each of these waterways has their own individual appeal, scenery, and requirements for access, with the choice of rafting venues likely coming down to how much time, money, and energy you're willing to invest.

The Franklin River with Franklin River Rafting is the option for choice for those looking for an extended, multi-day rafting adventure, as it's one of the last few "wild" rivers and situated in the heart of the gorgeous Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. As a result, this is a river suited to the experienced rafter, yet one which offers some incredibly untouched and pristine scenery in return for your investment. Rapids on the Franklin range anywhere from 2 to 5, with even a 6th grade during high water conditions. On the opposite end of the scale, the King River with King River Rafting is both more easily accessible (from both Hobart and the town of Queenstown) and more leisurely, and can be done as a day trip. Other beginner-friendly rivers include the Derwent, Huon and Picton rivers which are all viable options as well - add them all together and it's hard to argue that Tasmania is Australia's preeminent whitewater rafting state. Image credit: Tourism Tasmania & Wolfgang Glowacki

#32 - Visit King Island

Where is it? Bass Strait, TAS

Boasting one of the world's top rankings in terms of "cleanest air", King Island in the Bass Strait off the Tasmanian north-west coast stands out as a must-visit for a number of reasons ranging from its beautiful beaches, to its tantalising seafood, to its wonderful wildlife. Add in its nearly eternally-uncrowded nature and you've got a gorgeous getaway spot that offers even more escapism than what is already a strong point of mainland Tasmania. Perhaps the island's most famous drawcard, however, is its cheeses - produced on-island by the widely acclaimed King Island Dairy, they're mouth-wateringly fresh and rich, with samplings available during opening hours, and form the perfect complement to some crayfish (another specialty) for one of Tassie's most memorable picnics.

There's plenty to keep visitors occupied on King Island other than its lovely culinary offerings, too - the island is home to a number of great walking trails on which to lose oneself, while waveseekers will be in their element with some excellent surfing available off a range of the island's pristine beaches. It's also something unexpectedly of a hotspot for golf, with both Ocean Dunes and the spectacular new Cape Wickham courses offering both wonderful challenges along with incredible coastal outlooks. Perhaps the only downside of King island is the fact it's only accessible by air - however the upside to this is that visitor numbers remain relatively low even during high seasons; you'll thus be able to carve out a little slice of paradise all to yourself. Image credit: Andrew Wilson

#31 - The Cascades Female Factory Historic Site

Where is it? South Hobart, TAS

This World Heritage listed site in Hobart is a detailed and moving chronicle of the life of female convicts who were transported to Tasmania in the early 1800's and which operated for just under 30 years. Today the site exists as a museum that's quite fascinating to behold, with a number of its buildings still in remarkably good condition and providing visitors with a firsthand glimpse of exactly what life was like for the women imprisoned here. The Female Factory sits around 10 minutes from the Hobart CBD, with visitors able to take part in both self-guided and guided tour options available for exploring its various yards and buildings. Guides here are able to recount some truly horrific stories regarding the treatment of some of the facility's inmates, including harrowing details about the high rate of disease and mortality amongst its inmates.

Of particular interest is the "Her Story" hybrid tour/presentation in which two actors - one portraying a convict, the other a warden - lead your group around the site and add additional context to the purpose of each of the buildings and yards. While the luckier of the inmates simply performed menial tasks such as laundry and needlework - and even had a number of positive outcomes in their lives - most of a visit here brings a stark reminder of the cruelty humans can display to one another - but an incredibly poignant and worthwhile one at that. It's an emotional journey that combined makes for one of Tasmania's best overall historic attractions, and an excellent follow-up to a visit to Port Arthur.

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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