Picture a Tasmanian holiday, and a few destinations will pop into your mind: the azure waters of Wineglass Bay, the thought-provoking works inside the subterranean walls of MONA, the granite pillars of Cradle Mountain.
And while these attractions are must-sees on any Tassie road trip, on your way to these best-known attractions, it’s also worth taking some side trips off the tourist track to find these otherworldly destinations.
So fill your car with luggage and camping gear without a worry about excess baggage, drive on to Spirit of Tasmania and drive off relaxed and ready to hit the road to discover these Tassie secrets.
If you’re going to Cradle Mountain, make sure you go to Leven Canyon
Walking the 600 metres from the carpark feels like a standard Tassie bushwalk, but if you don’t have your breathe snatched away when you arrive at Cruickshanks Lookout, jutting out over the Leven River, 275 metres below, then you might need to check your pulse. It’s smaller in scale than the Grand Canyon, but the river still seems a thin ribbon far, far below and cliffs and forests dropping sharply to the canyon floor make this one of Australia’s most dramatic outlooks. Those after a more rugged walk can take a trail to the canyon floor.
If you’re going to Tahune Airwalk, make sure you go to the thermal pool at Hastings Caves State Reserve
If you make the trek to the Tahune Airwalk – with its metal platforms soaring high through the tree canopy with stunning views of Federation Peak – you should also drive a bit further south for a dip in the thermal pool at the Hastings Cave State Reserve. Surrounded by dense and peaceful forest, this isn’t just a standard pool – it’s fed by a thermal spring and is 28 degrees Celsius year round. On a hot summer day the forest is a cool oasis, but it’s in deep winter when the thermal pool really comes into its own. Floating on a warm bed of water looking up at the dripping trees and the steam of your breath is an experience you won’t find anywhere else in Australia.
If you’re going to Bruny Island, make sure you go to Fluted Cape
Every Tassie road trip should include a day or two at Bruny Island. And every trip to Bruny should include a walk up Fluted Cape. It’s a strenuous hike, which takes you past the remains of a whaling station at Grass Point before climbing steeply above some stunning cliffs, the waves crashing dramatically hundreds of metres below. You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness but if the hike itself doesn’t take your breath away, the views sure will when you reach the top.
If you’re going to Lake Pedder, make sure you go to Lake Oberon
It’s one of the most famous views in Tasmania, subject of a thousand posters, but it will take some solid camping and hiking experience to get there to view it for yourself. Lake Oberon is a stunning alpine lake stained amber with tea tree, cupped in the Western Arthur range. It takes three days to get there and back, so if you’re not an experienced walker, consider joining a guided trek and leave the planning and navigating to someone else.
If you’re going to Devonport, make sure you go to Mole Creek Karst National Park
Devonport, the disembarkation point of Spirit of Tasmania, is the perfect start to a road trip around Tassie, and while most travellers hit the road straight to Hobart, or to Cradle Mountain, it would be silly not to take a side trip to Mole Creek to check out the incredible glow worms, reflection pools and underground river of Marakoopa Cave, which is one of 300 caves in the area. These strands of glowing worms create an underground city of serene beauty.
Wherever it is you decide to go in Tassie, start your holiday from the moment you walk out the door – pack your car and get on Spirit of Tasmania to see these otherworldly places for yourself.
For more information: www.spiritoftasmania.com.au