Standing sentinel over Hobart, Mt. Wellington is known by locals simply as ‘the Mountain.’ A visit to the Pinnacle is an essential Hobart experience.
At the Pinnacle you’ll find a glass lookout building and boardwalks. In every direction the views of Hobart, all the way to the sea, are incredible.
The weather can change very abruptly up here, and it’s often freezing or can even be snowing when fair Hobart Town is experiencing mild weather.
If you’re feeling active, come to Mt Wellington to go bushwalking, bike riding, horse riding or rock climbing, or pack some lunch to enjoy at the sheltered Springs picnic area.
Launceston’s ruggedly beautiful Cataract Gorge is a popular highlight for visitors, combining dramatic natural landscapes and Victorian-era landscaping right on the edge of the city.
The reserve is surrounded by wild natural parklands, and near-vertical cliffs soar alongside the South Esk River as it enters the Tamar River.
Hikers and rock climbers head here to follow picturesque walking trails along the gorge’s northern bank, and the open-air swimming pool becomes a mini lido in summer, surrounded by beach umbrellas and sunbathers.
With picnic grounds, restaurant, kiosk, cafe, wandering peacocks, scenic lookouts, a lofty suspension bridge and walking trails, you can easily spend a day here. At night the gorge is beautifully floodlit, and a chairlift whisks visitors over the river to West Launceston.
Before Launceston’s hydro dam was completed in 1955, the waters here were channeled to create electricity.
This quiet suburb just south of Hobart was established in 1818, and while extravagant houses and luxury homes now dot the landscape of this prestigious town, a walk through its shaded streets offers visitors a look at how Tasmanians used to live.
The old warehouses of Salamanca Place are still visible from atop Kelly’s Steps, a series of hand-carved stairs built in the 1800s. Travelers can explore Battery Point’s colonial past at the Narryna Heritage Museum, then trek to the town’s highest point at St. George’s Anglican Church, built in 1936.
No trip to Battery Point is complete without a visit to Arthur Circus—one of the nation’s first official subdivisions. Today, visitors can wander around the original cottages, which are now some of the most expensive and sought-after homes in the area.
This chapel, nicknamed "The Trench", designated for male convicts in Hobart Town was a less than holy place. With poor ventilation, 36 solitary confinement rooms and separate punishment chambers hidden beneath the chapel floor, it was truly a spot for torture and despair. The dark cells, referred to as “dust holes” were deemed inhumane and closed in 1849, but visitors can still catch a glimpse of the horrid conditions on a Penitentiary tour, where guides remind guests about the terrible sounds that could be heard coming from convicts chained beneath the floors.
The grounds include a prison yard, barracks, punishment chambers and an execution yard, as well as the chapel, which was partially transformed into courtrooms in 1859. Visitors who opt for the ghost tour can wander the tunnels and gallows by lamplight while hearing stories of the more than 30 individuals who were executed here.
Tasmania’s number one visitor attraction is the former convict settlement of Port Arthur, a ghostly and eerie heritage area just outside Hobart. Built to reform and rehabilitate convicts, Port Arthur was a key part of convict discipline within the Colonial system whose philosophy was "a machine for grinding rogues into honest men." Today, the site is part of the Australian Convict World Heritage Sites and UNESCO World Heritage Site listed.
Covering about 100 acres (40 hectares), the crumbling ruins of the penal settlement include the Penitentiary, the Separate Prison, the Dockyard, the Port Arthur gardens, the Coal Mines Historic Site, Cascades Female Factory and Gothic church.
The stories of Port Arthur are told in many different ways. Interactive displays tell the tragic story of the 12,500 convicts who served time here from 1830 to 1877, and after-dark ghost tours reveal the presence of the site’s many ghosts.
Experts at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary have been nursing some of Australia’s most-beloved creatures back to health since 1981. When the park first opened, its team of passionate volunteers worked tirelessly to provide orphaned wildlife, like its family of 17 Tasmanian devils, with a safe home and adequate care in a near-to-natural environment. For more than 20 years the sanctuary has continued to promote its mission of reducing rates of extinction by raising community awareness.
Visitors to Bonorong get a guided explanation of the sanctuary’s rehabilitation efforts, as well as a real-life lesson on the impact of wildlife conservation while on a tour of the grounds. Guests of the park can also get up close and personal with Australian animals by feeding one of the largest mobs of free-range kangaroos and wallabies in the world.
Cradle Mountain is a world-famous wild and beautiful World Heritage area of glacial mountains, pristine lakes and legendary hiking and bushwalking. This unique slice of Australian wilderness also protects ancient rainforest and alpine heathlands.
Day visitors can take day walks at Cradle Valley and Cynthia Bay, but it’s the 65km (40-mile) Overland Track that gets hikers especially excited by Cradle Mountain. The six-day, five-night epic walking track winds through eucalypt forests and across alpine moors. December to April is the optimum time to walk the track, providing wonderful glimpses of alpine wildflowers.
Shorter walks include the two-hour Dove Lake Loop Track through rainforest, an eight- to 10-minute stroll along the Visitor Center boardwalk rainforest walk, and the 20-minute exploratory walk to historic Weindorfer’s Chalet, once home to the park’s founder Gustav Weindorfer. Rangers also lead guided walks and provide talks and kids activities.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse is situated on Bruny Island in Tasmania and is the second oldest lighthouse tower in the country. Commissioned by Governor George Arthur following a series of mishaps and shipwrecks just off Bruny Island, the lighthouse took two years to build by convict labor and was first lit in 1838.
Technological advances in the 1980s and 1990s meant that the Cape Bruny Lighthouse was lit for the last time on 6 August 1996 and replaced by a solar powered light nearby. In December 2000, the lighthouse was declared part of the South Bruny National Park. Visitors should be prepared for rough roads and a steep walk to reach the lighthouse, although you’ll be well rewarded on arrival; with some fantastic views out to sea, migrating humpback and southern right whales have been spotted from this vantage point.
Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art showcases modern and contemporary art alongside antiquities to create a surreal museum experience.
Opened in January 2011, MONA has quickly become one of Hobart’s top museums. The museum primarily sources its art from the private collection of owner David Walsh. Described as a ‘ghost train for adults,’ MONA is certainly a unique experience. Exhibitions are intense, the experience larger than life.
Exhibitions in MONA change regularly. Currently on display are three exhibitions ranging from 10 to 3 months in length, as well as the permanent ‘Monaism’ collection – described as an evolving exhibition of the highlights of the collection. Recent and future exhibitions include showcases of world theater, an exploration of Lewis Carroll’s The Red Queen character, and the work of specific artists. Themes, concepts and the work of individuals form powerful exhibitions within the building.
Outdoor activities, fishing and relaxing are your reasons for coming to Bruny Island, off Tasmania’s south-east coast. Two north and south islands joined by a long narrow isthmus, Bruny is a favorite destination for weekending Hobart residents and visitors wanting to escape the rat race.
Along with surfing and exploring the wild windswept coast, spotting wildlife is a highlight of a visit to Bruny Island. If you’re lucky, you might spot penguins, echidnas, mutton birds and cormorants.
The vibe is low-key on Bruny, with no resorts just holiday homes and guesthouses. There are a few shops for supplies and a museum detailing the history of the island and the explorers who came here, from Bligh to D’Entrecasteaux. The lighthouse is one of the island’s few landmarks.
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