Every year Travel + Leisure readers are asked to vote for their favourite destinations and island rankings are compiled based on readers’ ratings of five characteristics. This year, Tasmania grabbed the top spot (yes, that’s NUMBER ONE) on Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2015 list of Top Islands in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. And fourth place on the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2015 list of Top 10 Islands Overall. Woohoo! Go Tassie! How does it feel to be the best island destination in this neck of the woods?
Although Tasmania has plenty of well-known attractions, such as Cradle Mountain, Bay of Fires and Freycinet National Park, there are also lots of unknown spots that are equally beautiful and relatively undiscovered.
The team at Travel2Next is in the fortunate position to have had the chance to explore almost every corner of Tasmania.
In the last 12 months, we’ve climbed mountains, hiked through stunning landscapes and driven right around the island. We’ve dined at dozens of restaurants, sampled Tasmanian wine, whisky and cider. We’ve met lots of locals (people, ghosts and other furry things) and we’ve found a few secret spots where the locals hang out.
In recognition of Tasmania being voted to the top spot, we’ve pulled together our own list of favourite stories about Tasmania based on T+ L’s criteria.
Natural attractions and beaches
Instagram road trip
On a 10-day journey around southern Tasmania with four of Australia’s top instagrammers, Lauren Bath, Garry Norris, Jewels Lynch and Paul Vella took photos that will make you drool.
Think golden sunrises and awe-inspiring sunsets. From Hobart we travelled south to quaint fishing villages, lonely beaches and enchanted forests with magical waterfalls.
Hiking Tasmania’s Overland Track
This 65km (and six days) of walking through World Heritage-listed landscape had Bruce Holmes in awe of the scenery along Tasmania’s Overland Track.
10 best places to photograph the Southern Lights
The Aurora Australis is one of nature’s gems and with unpolluted skies and clean air, Tasmania is one of the best places to see it. Hobart photographer Matt Glastonbury revealed his 10 best places to photograph the Southern Lights.
As an island, of course there are plenty of beaches in Tasmania. Here are Sue Henly’s favourite four.
Activities and sights
12 reasons to return to Tasmania every month
As a fan of festivals, Danielle Lancaster discovered a variety of exciting events and festivals going on in Tasmania so whenever you visit you’ll have a good chance of joining a party. Danielle found a reason to visit every month of the year.
As a golfing enthusiast, Craig Tansley had a ball at Barnbougle’s world-famous course, The Dunes, a public golf course considered one of the world’s premier links-style golf courses.
4 new reasons to visit the Tasman Peninsula
An hour’s drive south-east of Hobart airport, Louise Southerden explored the wild and windswept Tasman Peninsula (home of World Heritage-listed historic site at Port Arthur) and found out the region is undergoing a quiet revolution.
Franklin River Rafting adventure
“You won’t want to be anywhere else when you’re rafting down the Franklin River, through Tasmania’s wilderness,” says Louise Southerden and check out these photos by Cameron Blake, who “was sensible enough to go with a professional rafting company.
Restaurants and food
Tasmania’s Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail
Brisbane’s top food blogger Kerry Heaney describes Tasmania’s Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail as “a highway where every turn has a more jaw-dropping view and every stop guarantees an outstanding taste of local delicacies.” The region is packed with food, wine and lots to see.
The Cider Trail
Closer to Hobart, Jessica Teas explored the Cider Trail and discovered Tasmanian ciders are made with 100% Tasmanian whole apples and pears, have no added sugars and the majority are unpasteurised.
72 hours of gluttony in Launceston
You need stamina, dedication and an insatiable appetite to survive Launceston’s restaurants. Carmen Jenner has all three and is ready to go back for more. Launceston certainly dishes up an eating experience to remember.
10 best restaurants in Tasmania
When it comes to food and wine, Tasmania punches well above its weight. So imagine how difficult it is to pick 10. Food writer Carla Grossetti chose 10 that looped around the island covering a range of eating experiences, from low-key to up market.
People and friendliness
Tips from the locals
Launceston locals are fiercely proud of their city and its attractions. Here are 10 tips from locals on what to do see and do in Launceston.
Magic of Tasmania
Tasmanian film maker, wilderness photographer, conservationist and bushwalker, Dan Broun, is passionate about Tasmania. Check out his stunning photographs that show off the magic of Tasmania.
Launceston art and architecture
Many of the tours are run by friendly locals who are passionate about their subjects and the state they live in. Art of launceston showcases almost every style of architecture possible and an informative local who has fascinating tales.
4 secret spots in Tasmania’s north west
Most visitors Tasmania’s Tarkine is an expanse of cool temperate rainforest and the largest in the world to the rugged coastal shores of Tasmania’s north west. Danielle Lancaster explored Tasmania’s northwest corner with the help of a local and found some relatively undiscovered natural attractions.
4 best camping spots
Whether it’s in a tent, campervan, motorhome or caravan, Tasmania is a top spot for those who love the outdoors. For nature lovers, sleeping in a protected wilderness among breathtaking scenery and wildlife is a dream come true.
Campervan road trip
Tasmania’s pristine east coast is a top spot for a campervan. The roads are good and Tasmania is compact and easy to drive around.
Many of Tasmania’s best attractions cost little or are free, such as the Tessellated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck, a natural attraction that draws top photographers from around the world. See Lauren Bath’s photo essay of the region.
20 things to do before you die (in Tasmania)
If you’re looking for more, here’s a list of 20 things to do in Tasmania for your bucket list.