Having been to Tasmania a number of times, we can see why Australia’s smallest state was listed as number four on Lonely Planet’s top 10 regions to visit in 2015. From Freycinet National Park to the Western Wilderness, there are so many things to see and do in Tasmania.
We’re starting a “top 4” series to highlight some of the best ways to experience Tassie. To kick off, here are four ways of escaping to the Tassie countryside without blowing the budget.
Travelling with the family? Here are some caravan parks and cabins to check into.
1- Captain Cook Caravan Park, Bruny Island
A famously named caravan park in Adventure Bay, across from the beach, Captain James Cook Memorial Caravan Park was named after Captain Tobias Furneaux’ ship HMS Adventure in 1773.
There are both powered and unpowered sites for caravans, campervans and camping. Another budget option is to bring your own bedding and rent an on-site caravan with a kitchenette, lounge and colour television.
For more comfort, there are one-bedroom villas and two-bedroom cabins. The family cabins can accommodate up to seven people, with a queen-sized bed in one room, and a double and three singles (arranged as bunk beds) in the second room. They have kitchens, air-conditioning and television sets.
DO: Bruny Island has several farms and local producers, such as Bruny Island Fudge, Bruny Island Cheese Company and Get Shucked oyster farm.
South Bruny National Park is a good place for bush walking, while Bruny Island Cruises is a fabulous ecotour along the island’s southern coastline and an adventure on the Southern Ocean.
The soaring cliffs, Jurassic dolomites, rock columns, caves and blowholes of Bruny Island have imaginative names like the Fluted Cape, which is a cliff 272m high. The bird and marine life is impressive. You’re likely to spot sea eagles, birds, dolphins and Australian fur seals.
A highlight is zipping through the narrow channel between the Totem Pole (a spectacular column formed from Jurassic dolerite around 165 million years ago) and the island.
BEST FOR: Families, adventure seekers.
2- Big4 Iluka on Freycinet Holiday Park
There’s a bed for all budgets at Big4 Iluka on Freycinet Holiday Park. This well-positioned holiday centre in tranquil Coles Bay has tent sites, bunks, cabins and two-bedroom holiday units with plenty of room for families.
The two-bedroom units have queen-sized beds in the main bedroom. There are double bunks in the second. Living areas are cosy and there are lounges with television sets and DVD players, fully equipped kitchens and dining tables. Each unit has undercover car parking and an outdoor deck from which you can admire views of the bay with a beer or wine in hand.
Travellers on a budget can opt for an unpowered tent site.
Facilities onsite include a good-sized communal laundry, bakery, tavern, take away shop and supermarket.
DO: For a long while, sleepy Coles Bay has stayed under the radar as a tourist destination. But the secret is out and the stunning location at the foot of the Hazards mountain range, on the edge ofFreycinet National Park, means that the quiet township of 200 residents is fast becoming a hotspot.
There are plenty of activities for an active holiday in Tasmania, such as swimming, kayaking and walking in the national park. Coles Bay is also a gateway to fabulous fishing and has a decent children’s playground. There are tennis courts for hire adjacent to the park and a safe swimming beach.
The ranger-led educational walks, talks and slide shows at Freycinet National Park is a great way to escape to the country and for the kids to learn about flora, fauna, history and heritage of the area.
BEST FOR: Families with kids, budget conscious.
3- Corinna Wilderness Retreats, Corinna
Ditch the mobile phone and get back to nature in a rustic retreat at the edge of the Tarkine. Experience ecotourism in comfort at Corinna where one- and two-bedroom cottages are decked out with queen-sized beds and toilets with hot showers.
During the gold mining era, Corinna was a boom town. The historic pub has been converted into a guest house with single and double rooms and shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. There are also a few camping sites and room for caravans.
Young Tasmanian devils are often spotted hanging around the former mining town’s produce store, now a communal barbecue area.
The Tarkine Hotel is a delightful traditional Australian homestead with a bar, a small store and a decent restaurant. The modern pub grub menu is surprising, considering the remoteness of the location.
DO: Tasmania’s Tarkine is a pristine World Heritage-listed wilderness region. The temperate rainforest is a perfect spot for bush walking. Another fun way to see the wilderness is a cruise on the Pieman River on board the historic boat, Arcadia II. The boat is constructed from Huon pine and has a colourful past, first as a naval examination vessel then as a war ship in New Guinea and the Philippines.
Kayaking is also a popular activity and kayak routes range from short paddles along the Whyte River to all-day explorations to the Southern Ocean.
Corinna is the perfect destination to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Wild pademelons and wallabies graze boldly around the cottages. And ringtail possums, wombats and spotted-tail quolls are often spotted fossicking in the forest.
BEST FOR: Nature lovers.
4- Maydena Country Cabins, Maydena
Situated on a hill overlooking a forest, Maydena Country Cabins has views of snow-capped mountains. The owners also run Roydon Alpaca Stud and have nine alpacas that love having their picture taken with visitors.
The B&B has an ensuite and sitting area. There’s a studio cabin and a two-bedroom cabin that sleeps up to six people. The cabins are self-contained with kitchens, decks and outdoor areas where you can sit and admire the mountains and fields of grazing alpacas.
There are a few cafes around and the National Park Hotel is a short drive away.
DO: Mount Field National Park is an enchanted forest. The main attractions are the waterfalls – Lady Barron Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Russell Falls, a gushing waterfall that featured on Australia’s first stamp. The park is a photographer’s dream and the walks offer a chance to spot wildlife.
In winter, Mt Field National Park offers downhill skiing and snowboarding, and decent cross-country skiing.
BEST FOR: Adventure seekers, families.
For more great ways to escape to the country see Discover Tasmania.