Tasmania's Unmissable Natural Highlights
When it comes to wild, untamed natural beauty, Tasmania is very difficult to beat. About 40 per cent of the state is protected by national parks and reserves, and some 20 per cent of the island is designated as World Heritage-listed wilderness. Striking mountains, spectacular lakes, sublime bays, pristine rivers. Tasmania has them all, and more, so we recommend starting off with these five unmissable natural highlights.
1. Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain might only be the fifth-highest peak in Tasmania, but it’s number one on most visitors’ wish-lists. One of the best ways to view the 1,545-metre mountain is to walk around the shores of Dove Lake, at the foot of the peak. The six-kilometre walk along the path that rings the lake will take you into lush rainforest, with Cradle Mountain vistas through the canopy.
Sitting in the state’s north-western corner, the Tarkine wilderness is the second-largest tract of cool temperate rainforest in the world. It’s a huge area of untouched beauty (about the size of Kangaroo Island) where Tasmanian rainforest species such as myrtle beech, celery top pine and Huon pine grow amid the moss floor. Take in views of the Arthur River, then walk in the Julius River Forest Reserve, where a short trail circuits through the forest, or head to nearby Sumac Lookout.
3. Gordon River
A cruise along the Gordon River on the state’s rugged west coast gives a truly memorable glimpse of Tasmania’s beauty – with thick rainforest hugging the banks, and the water so still and clear that (albeit upside-down). Wander through the rainforest at a landing along the river, visit the convict island that inspired Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of His Natural Life, and sail through the harbour opening that convicts christened Hells Gates.
4. Wineglass Bay
Postcard-perfect Wineglass Bay is one of the most sublime drawcards of Freycinet National Park on the east coast. You can’t drive to this curving stretch of beach, but a challenging hike takes you to a lookout platform on the slopes of the Hazards range. For a different perspective, wander out to Cape Tourville, where the views stretch along the Freycinet coastline.
5. Russell Falls
Also within Freycinet is Mount Field National Park, one of Tasmania’s oldest. It’s crowned with spectacular alpine peaks but along the Tyenna River, a series of waterfalls pours through the rainforest. The most spectacular of these is Russell Falls, which plummets over a series of fern-lined cliffs. From the visitor centre, it’s a 10-minute walk to the base of the falls.
Need to Know
Explore these five spectacular landmarks on our 12 Day Tasmania Complete.
Start in Hobart, then see Russell Falls before travelling to Strahan. Next day, cruise the Gordon River then head to Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge in the heart of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Spend the next day exploring the park, before you travel to the Tarkine and an overnight stay in Smithton. Two nights in Launceston follow, including lunch at renowned Josef Chromy winery. On Day 8, it’s on to Freycinet National Park, for two nights at the Freycinet Lodge. Visit the historic town of Richmond en route to Hobart, then tour fascinating Port Arthur.