There’s something for all the family in Tasmania – thrills, crazy critters, gruelling history and unforgettable experiences.
For the adrenaline junkies
Get the heart racing and the family cheering on these outdoor adventures.
Shred the trails through forest around Derby, explore waterholes at St Helens, ride 42km from mountains to beach at the Bay of Fires, or feel the force of gravity at Maydena Bike Park in the Derwent Valley.
Shoot through a water spout, leap off a rock ledge and abseil through narrow canyons on an adventure trip with Cradle Mountain Canyons (minimum age eight).
King River Gorge
Tackle the highs and lows of the white-water rapids through King River Gorge with King River Rafting (minimum age 12).
Penny Royal Adventures in Launceston is an adventure playground for kids, who can jump off cliffs, zip line, take walks or take a ride in a history-themed boat.
Hold on! The exhilarating Huon River Jet Boat speeds through rapids and does 360-degree spins along the Huon River.
For more fun afloat, navigate the Meander River in the north on a river sledding trip with Meander Wilderness Experiences.
For the animal lovers
Furry devils, adorable wombats, cute wallabies. See some of the world’s most fascinating creatures.
This island national park is a natural animal sanctuary, just a 30min ferry ride from Triabunna on the east coast. Expect to see an abundance of wombats, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, Cape Barren geese and most of Tasmania’s endemic bird species.
See little penguins from purpose-built viewing platforms at Stanley, Burnie, Lillico Beach and Bruny Island. Or watch them waddle up the beach on a Bicheno Penguin Tour. Don’t miss the Big Penguin, a centrepiece of the coastal town aptly named Penguin.
Spot wildlife on one of many walks on Bruny Island. Echidnas happily forage by paths and keep an eye out for the rare white wallaby. Grab a torch and venture out after dark for the chance to spot quolls and bandicoots looking for dinner.
The best and most reliable way to see an array of local critters is at a wildlife park or sanctuary. These can be found around the state, among them Bonorong Wilderness Sanctuary, Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary, Wings Wildlife Park, and East Coast Natureworld.
Seahorse meets platypus
For the soft adventurers
Head into the wild. There’s nothing like a calming day in nature to bond the family.
Marvel at some of the tallest trees in the world on a Giant Tree Expedition. Or walk in the treetops along the elevated airwalk at Tahune Adventures, or get a wedgetail-eagle’s view of the forest ziplining on the Eagle Hang Glider.
Dig deep into Tasmania’s caves. See sparkling crystals, underground streams and glow-worms in the caves beneath Mole Creek Karst National Park. Down south, Hastings Caves has spectacular stalactites, columns and shawls, and take a dip in the thermal swimming pool.
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service’s 60 Great Short Walks includes many family-friendly walks. Or take a multi-day hike such as the Three Capes Track. Walk on top of the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere and meet other travellers in the shared, comfortable cabins in Tasman National Park.
Take a family kayaking expedition. Paddle across Coles Bay to the foot of the Hazards with Freycinet Adventures, or drift with platypus on the River Derwent with Tassie Bound Adventure Tours. There’s even a tour around the Hobart waterfront with Roaring 40s Kayaking.
Train enthusiasts will love the historic West Coast Wilderness Railway. Climb aboard and hear stories of the railway on the ride along a 35km rainforest track between Queenstown and Strahan.
For the history buffs
This small island has a fascinating convict past. Hear stories of crime, punishment and survival in one of the harshest colonies in Australia.
The Port Arthur Historic Site is Australia’s most intact and evocative convict site. Take a guided tour through more than 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes to gain a deeper insight into the lives of 12,500 convicts who lived through hell here. There’s a cruise out to Point Puer boys prison and the Isle of the Dead. Feeling brave? Take a ghost tour after dark.
Visit remote Sarah Island on the west coast, one of the harshest penal colonies in Tasmania. Then wrap up the day watching the play The Ship that Never Was, a hilarious and true story about the last attempted escape from Sarah Island.
In the northern town of Longford, gain insight into convict-era farming life at neighbouring Brickendon and Woolmers estates. Brickendon features a convict-built farm village dating back to the 1820s, and Woolmers Estate offers homestead tours.
Take a story walk. Listen to tales of convict life on an historical walk through the old precinct with Tours Around Tasmania. And there’s a free 2hr walking tour of Salamanca and Battery Point exploring the grand Georgian sandstone warehouses and pretty colonial cottages built by convicts.