Epic views, roadside stalls and cider. Rapid rivers, tall trees and fascinating history to explore.
It’ll be a challenge working out which direction to take.
Here are five top day trips from Hobart.
Tasman rock stars
At Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula, stand atop the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere and take a deep breath. Explore Teralina / Eaglehawk Neck. Rock-hop on the Tessellated Pavement and take the short walk that passes Tasmans Arch and Devils Kitchen. It’s a taster for the rest of the peninsula.
There are plenty of spectacular walks in Tasman National Park. Cape Hauy showcases striking dolerite columns and incredible views. It’s almost impossible to resist a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters of Fortescue Bay on return.
Port Arthur Historic Site
Allow several hours at least to explore the Port Arthur Historic Site – it’s Australia’s most intact and evocative convict site. Unravel the dark history of hardship and punishment as you wander through more than 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes. Take a guided tour to gain a deeper insight into the lives of 12,500 convicts who lived through hell here. And take a cruise around the harbour and out to the Isle of the Dead.
It’s enough to give you a thirst. Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula is home to distilleries and vineyards. Call into McHenry Distillery to try fine whisky and gin. On the return to Hobart, take a break for oysters and wine at the Bangor Vineyard Shed and check out Hellfire Bluff Distillery, the potato farm that turns its surplus taties into vodka and gin.
Welcome to the apple isle. The Southern Edge drive journey weaves through orchards and bucolic valleys framed by water. Visit the apple museum and sample the ciders at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed in the Huon Valley. But wait, there’s more cider. Family-owned Frank’s Cider in Franklin makes a cherry cider, and Pagan Cider offers a range of crisp ciders flavoured with the likes of quince and blueberry.
Enough cider? Let’s explore. The historic river town of Franklin is neatly wedged between rolling green hills and the mighty Huon River. Chief among the town’s maritime treasures is the Wooden Boat Centre, the last remaining school in Australia teaching traditional wooden-boat construction. Inhale the woody fragrance of Huon, celery top and King Billy pine on a guided tour, and watch shipwrights at work.
Potter around Geeveston, which bills itself “Australia’s most southerly town”, and gather provisions to fuel a hike in Hartz Mountains National Park. Ancient glaciers carved this rugged landscape of peaks, waterfalls and lakes, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
In the treetops
The magical Tahune Airwalk is a 600m-long canopy walk that hangs high above the forest floor, with a final cantilevered section positioned 50m above the Huon River. From Tahune, the Twin River Adventure is a 4hr return rafting or kayaking excursion bouncing down rapids and drifting along quiet sections of the Picton River. Seeking fast-paced action? Prepare for white-water thrills aboard Huon River Jet Boats.
Spot the black swans afloat on the River Derwent on the drive to New Norfolk. This bustling town is the third oldest settlement in Tasmania. Go antique fossicking in shops occupying historic buildings. Head to Willow Court, a former asylum, where food lovers book ahead at The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery. Settle in for a set menu of fresh local produce or stock up on kiosk-style takeaways to enjoy at Mount Field National Park.
Grab coffee and a snack at Mount Field’s Waterfalls Cafe and Gallery, then take your pick of wilderness walks. Stand-out short walks include Russell Falls and Tall Trees, or take the unsealed road to Lake Dobson to stretch the legs further on the Tarn Shelf or Pandani Grove tracks.
Mountain bike riders gravitate to gravity-focused trails through stunning forest at Maydena Bike Park. Those seeking gentler rides can jump aboard a unique pedal-powered railway through rainforest with Railtrack Riders.
Walk among giants
Walk among forest giants in the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area and gaze up at magnificent mountain ash, among the world’s tallest flowering plants, easily accessible via a short walking track.
Coal River Valley
English-style villages and convict-built bridges lend a palpable sense of history to the Southern Midlands. From Hobart, there’s cheese and wine to relish in the Coal River Valley. Stand-out cellar doors include Frogmore Estate and Pooley Wines. Call into Coal River Farm for chocolate and cheese, and fresh berries in season.
With its restored Georgian buildings, historic Richmond retains the ambience of an early colonial village. Cross the oldest bridge in Australia, the Richmond Bridge, built by convicts in the 1820s. Richmond Gaol is the oldest in Australia. Standing inside its stone cells gives an eerie insight into the hardships and brutality of convict life in early Van Diemen's Land.
Follow country backroads to Oatlands, with the largest number of colonial sandstone buildings in Australia. Visit the grounds of the 1837 Callington Mill, which is being repurposed and transformed into a whisky distillery. Also not to be missed is The Jardin Room & Provincial Interiors for antiques, and the atmospheric The Imbibers wine bar for local produce and locally sourced wines.
Take the Heritage Highway back to Hobart and complete the day at the Old Kempton Distillery, a whisky distillery in an 1842 coaching inn, with tastings and afternoon tours available.
Go island hopping
A trip to Bruny Island is a chance to embrace natural beauty, see abundant wildlife and feast on gourmet local produce. Just a 30min drive from Hobart, board the ferry at Kettering for the 20min crossing. Call in for oysters at Get Shucked and artisanal cheeses at Bruny Island Cheese Company en route to The Neck to see sweeping views of the isthmus between north and south Bruny. Take a walk among curious rock formations, dramatic coastlines and white-sand beaches. Visit the historical lighthouse in South Bruny National Park and spot marine life on a Bruny Island cruise.
Drive 90min from Hobart to Triabunna on the east coast, then take a half-hour ferry ride to the natural wildlife sanctuary of Maria Island National Park. Originally inhabited by the Tyreddeme people, the island has been a whaling and sealing post, a penal settlement and even an Italianate pleasure resort. Now it’s a national park and its residents are wombats, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, Cape Barren geese and endemic birds. There are no cars here. Hire a bike or walk one of the trails that weave between the historic ruins of the old Darlington Probation Station. Explore the remarkable Fossil Cliffs and the striking patterned sandstone at the Painted Cliffs. Mind the wombats.