The Tasman Region is just over an hour’s drive from Hobart and makes a wonderful getaway. Discover impressive geological wonders, a fascinating convict history, spectacular walks, epic coastal scenery, thrilling tours, unique wildlife, beautiful beaches, and amazing places to eat and drink.
You’re spoilt for choice with things to see and do, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you out.
1. Discover geological wonders
Prepare to be awestruck by some pretty cool rock formations, thousands of years in the making (we’ve mapped some spots out for you here). Discover the rare Tessellated Pavement at Pirates Bay, a giant natural chequerboard (bonus points for catching a colourful sunrise reflecting off it). The blowhole puts on a great show, while giant archway Tasman Arch is very impressive. At the Devils Kitchen, gaze down the huge sea cliffs to the foaming cauldron below.
Remarkable Cave at Port Arthur is shaped like Tasmania, and certainly lives up to its name. (Please note, Remarkable Cave and the walk to Crescent Bay/Mt Brown will be closed from May to October for site upgrades.)
2. Delve into our convict history
Learn all about convict life at the region’s significant convict sites. A line of ferocious dogs once guarded the isthmus to prevent convicts escaping, so stop at Eaglehawk Neck to see the fierce Dog Line sculpture and visit the free museum at the Officer’s Quarters (c. 1832, the oldest timber military building in Australia).
The World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site is the most intact convict site in Australia. Passes are valid for two consecutive days, so take your time exploring the ruins and landscaped grounds (the site is kid and dog friendly). Brave an evening ghost tour, or cruise to the Isle of the Dead.
The Coal Mines Historic Site at Saltwater River had a fearsome reputation as a probation station between 1833 and 1848. The site is open daily with free entry, so grab a printed guide from the Port Arthur Visitor Centre and explore the site.
3. Walk the Three Capes Track
The Three Capes Track is a family friendly, cliff-hugging coastal walk celebrating the raw drama of nature. Over four days and three nights, trek 46 km through tall eucalypt forest and colourful coastal heath, with the swirling Tasman Sea by your side. Climb The Blade at Cape Pillar and gaze across to Tasman Island. Each night, rest in comfort in the environmentally sensitive shared cabins. The walk to the third cape, Cape Raoul, is now complete, so stay an extra day and add it on.
Three Capes Gear & Gourmet can kit you out with the best quality food and gear. If luxury digs, gourmet dinners and spa treatments appeal, the Tasmanian Walking Company can cater for your every need.
For more walking tips, check out: Edge of the Earth: 5 Dramatic Walks in the Tasman Region.
4. Get out on the water
The water offers top views of the rugged coastline, including the Southern Hemisphere’s highest sea cliffs. Spotting sea life such as seals, dolphins, whales (in season), and seabirds are an added bonus. There are several amazing experiences on offer, so take your pick: spend a thrilling three hours with Tasman Island Cruises exploring waterfalls, interesting rock formations, giant archways, and hidden sea caves; join Roaring 40s Kayaking on a day tour exploring the Tasman National Park‘s stunning coastline; or discover world-class scuba diving sites with the Eaglehawk Dive Centre (with dives to suit all levels).
5. Go sky high
Another option for experiencing the Tasman Peninsula from a different perspective is to go sky high with Osborne Heli Tours. Instead of looking up at the giant sea cliffs, gaze down at the rugged landscape from above on a scenic helicopter flight. Some of the breathtaking highlights include seeing the spectacular Three Capes and the fascinating Port Arthur Historic Site from the air. Unforgettable!
6. Meet the devil
Visit the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo at Taranna for a unique experience. You’ll notice a lack of enclosures here—most of the wildlife roam as they please. There are some resident Tasmanian devils (safely behind a fence), so attend one of the regular presentations to learn all about them. The peninsula offers some geographical protection from the Devil Facial Tumour Disease, and the team monitor the wild devils via night cameras.
7. Visit the Port Arthur Lavender Farm
Discover an amazing array of lavender inspired cuisine at the beautiful Port Arthur Lavender Farm. The lavender flowers are in their peak bloom from December through to February, but the farm is open year round. As well as treating yourself in the cafe, go for a wander and enjoy the scenery, learn about the manufacturing and distilling process, and pick up some Tassie-made goods from the gift shop.
8. Eat & Drink
There are loads of great places to grab a bite or indulge in a tipple in the Tasman Region. Our picks include: Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed, Bream Creek Vineyard, Dunalley Waterfront Cafe, Dunalley Fish Market, Federation Artisan Chocolate, 1830 Restaurant & Bar at the Port Arthur Historic Site, Whale Watcher’s Cafe and The Pavement Restaurant at Lufra Hotel, Gabriels on the Bay, The Mussel Boys Cafe Gallery, and McHenry’s Distillery. Sorell Fruit Farm is a great stop on the way in or way back.
9. Relax on the beach
Live the dream on the Tasman Peninsula’s white sandy beaches, set serenely against forested hills. Swim in crystal clear water at Fortescue Bay, in the Tasman National Park. Relax at White Beach, Lime Bay, Sloping Main, or Stewarts Bay. Take the family to Safety Cove and play on the tyre swing at Carnarvon Bay. If you feel adventurous, walk to Crescent Beach (4 hrs return) and gaze up in awe at the huge sand dunes. Surfers, head to Roaring Beach at Nubeena or try your luck catching the famous giant waves at Shipstern Bluff.
10. Do Doo Town
Doo Town is a doozy of a place at the southern end of Pirates Bay. Almost every cottage or shack has some kind of ‘Doo’ title proudly affixed. Back in 1935, a Hobart architect named Eric Round hammered a name plate to his shack, stating ‘Doo I’. His neighbour, Charles Gibson, replied with ‘Doo Me’ and then Bill Eldridge responded ‘Doo Us’. Now everyone’s doo-ing it! Go for a drive, have a giggle, and enjoy the cheeky photo opps. Find the Doo-lishus food van near the blowhole for amazing fresh fish and chips.
There is so much to see and do, why not stay a while and make a trip of it? Stewarts Bay Lodge and Lufra Hotel & Apartments are two of our favourite places to stay. Other amazing options include the Fox and Hounds Inn, Port Arthur Villas, White Beach Tourist Park, and Harrison Grove Guest House (at Forcett on the way to or from the peninsula). There are also some beautiful camp sites at Fortescue Bay and the Lime Bay State Reserve (Parks Pass required).
We love it when you share your adventures with us! Share your snaps by tagging @hobartandbeyond and using #HobartandBeyond on Instagram and Facebook – we’ll share our favourite pics on social media and in the blog.