Tasmania

About Tasmania

Tasmania is the smallest Australian State.  At just 68,401 km2 it is around the same size as Ireland, Switzerland or Sri Lanka, or the state of Wisconsin.  With a population of just 540,000, the state is sparsely populated.  

Around half the state is protected, either National Parks, State Reserves or Conservation areas managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service. 

Tasmania is a diverse land of world Heritage wilderness, dense rainforests, incredibly tall trees, majestical waterfalls, rugged coastline and craggy mountains.

Tasmania has some of the most unique wildlife in the world, with wallabies, wombats, and the elusive Tasmanian devil. You won’t have to look too hard to find these gorgeous creatures (except maybe the devils – but there are several places where you can spot them too).

We spent the first few months of 2024 on a Tasmanian Road Trip. We will be publishing travel guides and producing travel films as we explore the island.  

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Lake Rosebery, tasmania, free camping

History of Tasmania

The history of Tasmania dates back through the millenia, with the original inhabitants being the Palawa people.  These indigenous people had a rich connection to the land, and survived in this harsh environment.

The first European settlement was established near modern day Hobart in 1803.  Several penal colonies received convicts from Britain and Ireland.  The convict era was characterised by the harsh treatment of convicts, and conflict with the indigenous people. The Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula is one of the highlights of a trip to Tasmania.

Throughout the nineteenth century, mining, pining and agriculture became important for Tasmania, especially after the end of the convict era.  Wool production became a cornerstone for the state, and since then, dairy, seafood and wine production have also become important.

The unique convict past, coupled with the remoteness of the island state meant that Tasmania developed its own cultural identity.

The 20th century saw the development of important hydro-electric power stations, which led in the 1980s to some of the biggest conservation protests Australia has seen.  

Tasmania is now world-renowned for its wilderness, and people come from around the world to enjoy the unique landscapes and outdoor adventures Tasmania offers.  Tasmania is known to both locals and “mainland” Austraians as Tassie.

Getting to Tasmania

As Tasmania is an island state, you either need to fly here or come via Ferry.  

By Air

The main airports in Tasmania are Hobart and Launceston.  You can fly directly from most Australian cities, and internationally to Hobart from Auckland, New Zealand.

By Sea

The Spirit of Tasmania ferry makes the 10-12 hour crossing over Bass Strait nightly, with additional day sailings during the warmer months.  It is a vehicle ferry, and many visitors will bring their cars, caravans or campervans across to the island.

If you’re travelling with a campervan or large vehicle over 2.1m high spaces on the Spirit of Tasmania are limited. You should make sure you book well in advance, particularly if you’re looking to visit Tasmania in the summer.

Spirit of Tasmania, tasmania ferry,

Getting Around

Tassie is only small, making it perfect for a road trip.  If you’re not bringing your own vehicle across on the Spirit of Tasmania, you’ll need to hire a car or a campervan when you’re here.

In general, the roads are in good condition, with the main roads between the hotspots being sealed.  However, many of the roads wind up through the mountains. You’ll find it takes a lot longer to travel than the kilometre distance would have you expect.

If you’re heading off-the-beaten path to visit some of the hidden gems of Tasmania, expect to encounter unsealed roads.  Most of the unsealed roads we’ve driven on so far have been in good condition, and we’ve not had to engage 4wd.

tasmania road trip, western explorer highway, van life tasmania,

Where to Stay in Tasmania

There is a good variety of accommodation in Tasmania, ranging from luxury hotels in the cities, to boutique stays in the country, caravan parks and National Park campsites.  

Tassie is famous for its abundance of free camps.  We use the WikiCamps app to find the best places to stay.

When to go

The best time to travel to Tasmania is the summer, although it’s also the busiest time.  We arrived on the 2nd of January in the middle of school holidays.  We avoided the main attractions for the first few weeks, choosing instead to explore the lesser visited South West wilderness.

The weather can be cold at anytime (today’s high in Hobart is 14 degrees.  I’m sitting wrapped in a blanket on the 22nd January!).  Tasmanian weather is also famously changeable, so if you’re setting off on a hike, make sure you are well prepared.  We are carrying our raincoats and puffer jackets on every hike.

Tasmania Adventure Travel Films

We will be producing Travel Films weekly as we travel around Tasmania. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and ring the bell to be notified each time we upload a new video.

Spirit of Tasmania, Tasmania Ferry, Ferry to Tasmania,
Tasmania, Stanley, Penguin,
Tarkine Drive, Tasmanian Wilderness, Tasmania Road Trip

Essential Information for a trip to Tasmania

Plan your itinerary, but be flexible.  We had our full 6 week itinerary planned out, and then kept hearing about places we couldn’t miss.  It’s good to have some wiggle-room, so you can take a detour to check out some of those hidden gems.

Then there’s the weather. Tasmania’s weather is notoriously changeable so you want to have space in your Tasmania itinerary in case of rain.

Quarantine

Tasmania has strict bio-security regulations which prohibit the importation of fresh food, including fruit, vegetables, seafood and honey.  You’ll need to drive through a quarantine station as you embark onto the Spirit of Tasmania, and some vehicles will also be inspected when disembarking. For a full list of what you can and can’t bring into Tasmania, check this web page.

Travel distances

The roads in Tasmania are notoriously windy and hilly.  Expect to take a lot longer to drive anywhere – especially in the west of the country.  There’s no need to rush as there is so much to see!

Fuel stops

In the more remote south west of the country, you may need to drive a while before finding a fuel station.  We use the Petrol Spy app to locate fuel stops and the best prices.

Food and water

You won’t find the larger supermarkets (Coles and Woolworths) outside of the main centres like Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, Devonport and Deloraine.  Many of the smaller towns have IGA supermarkets, but your choices may be limited, and prices higher.

We use the WikiCamps app to find places to fill our water tanks.  We were surprised that in the south west we struggled to find water, and ended up paying $15 to fill our tank in Zeehan.  This is one of the very few times we’ve paid to fill our water tank on our 3 year lap of Australia.

Phone and Internet

Outside of the towns, phone and internet reception is patchy and unreliable. It’s a good idea to have your maps downloaded before you set off. Also, if you download the state info on WikiCamps you’ll be able to use that map and all the information offline.

Best places to visit in Tasmania

Tasmania really has something for everyone. Whether it’s the wilderness of the Tarkine Forest or the Wild west coast, the island off the island (Bruny Island), the convict history of the Tasman Peninsula, the pristine beaches of the Bay of Fires, the quaint small towns or the iconic views of Freycinet National Park and Cradle Mountain. Tasmania offers so much is such a small place. We know you will love it!

Need help planning your Tasmania Road Trip?

We’d love to help you plan your Tasmania Road Trip Itinerary.

Leave us a message in the comment box below or send us an email.