Top 5 things to see in Tassie
1. Mount Field National Park
Experience the natural wonders of the 6km Three Falls Circuit linking Lady Barron, Horseshoe and Russell Falls. 100m-tall swamp gums reach skyward, and with a soft web of vegetation, the surrounds seem to absorb every sound – until the cries of black cockatoos break the silence and the static of a gurgling waterfall cuts through.
Russell Falls runs year-round, alternating between spring snow melts that blanket the highlands and transform the falls into logjams, or the summer torrents that drift over the three tiers.
At higher altitudes, enjoy an alpine playground of moss-coated granite, flowering heath and drizzle-pocked tarns. The access road ends at Lake Dobson and a 1.5m hike through groves of pencil pines, and prehistoric pandanis. Prepared summer hikers can venture into the abandoned ski fields and beyond, to where alpine lakes stepladder into the mountainous distance and wooden huts offer sheltered lunch spots.
Where to camp: National Park camping is available near the Visitor Centre for Parks Pass holders. Costs $20 (two people) or $30 (family). No bookings; pay at Visitor Centre or with cash at the self-registration booth. There’s alternative free camping at Bethune Park Camping Area 30min/30km away.
2. Bay of Fires
North of the extremely popular Freycinet National Park, the Bay of Fires coastline stretches 50km from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point. Looking down from the horizon, the water transforms from an impenetrable blue to a transparent turquoise full of dancing light, strands of seaweed, and darting fish.
Visitors can do as much – or as little – as they like. While the ocean is fair game for skilled swimmers and surfers, free coastal campsites provide instant goat-track access through low dunes to virtually endless stretches of footstep-dimpled beach.
The orange lichens coating the barnacled boulders leave an imprint on the memories of all who pass through. Head to the Gardens or Cosy Corner to witness the best of this natural light display. Also, make sure to check out the brick Eddystone Point Lighthouse and keep your eyes peeled for penguins returning from the sea.
Where to camp: Free beachside camping is available in the Bay of Fires Conservation Area, across eight campsites that accommodate dozens to hundreds of campers. These include Swimcart Beach, Jeanneret Beach, Grants Lagoon and Sloop Reef.
3. The Tarkine
Any serious exploration into Tasmania’s World-Heritage West kicks off with the suitably wild Edge of the World Viewpoint, where driftwood banks up against lichen-covered rocks and Arthur River joins the sea in a battle of waves and wind-whipped spray.
Continue south along the unsealed Western Explorer Highway towards Corinna, where on the far side of the Pieman River awaits the quirky pastel-coloured streets of Strahan, Zeehan and Queenstown. Nearby, the pure streams of Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park fan out in cascades such as Nelson Falls.
Explore the northwest’s dramatic Sarah Anne Rocks, the butter-soft sand of Sandy Cape track, and the Tarkine Loop Drive which winds through the heart of untarnished forest, hiding quolls, Tassie devils and allegedly the extinct Tasmanian Tiger.
Where to camp: Marrawah Green Point Campground near Marrawah offers free camping near the ocean to a maximum of about six to ten campers. Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area offers several sites ranging from $6 to $15 for two adults. Neither option can be booked.
4. Ben Lomond National Park
East of Launceston, switch-backing dirt roads climb towards the treeless upper reaches of Ben Lomond National Park. Staggering grey dolerite outcrops thrust through the thin air above 1500m for a postcard-worthy picture.
Jacob’s Ladder zigzags up an almost impossible cliff-side in a series of dense switchbacks. An invigorating drive, the drop plunges to a vast scree field, surrounded by razorbacked rock formations. Once reaching the plateau, visitors can marvel at their achievement from the designated lookout and explore the sodden wilderness beyond - where snow can fall year-round.
Tackle the highest peak of Legges Tor (1572m) or walk between the Alpine Village and Car Villa to experience the best of the landscape.
Where to camp: Free National Park camping is available for Parks Pass holders at Ben Lomond National Park, near Carr Villa, but only six sites are available. Alternative free camping is available at Scottsdale Northeast Park and Myrtle Park Recreation Ground, which are both about an hour away.
5. Tasman National Park
100km south-east of Hobart, revel in the titanic swells of the Southern Ocean that explode against the base of cliffs, headlands and outlying islands.
A far cry from the swimmable shore near the Fortescue Bay car park, the shoreline along the 48km Three Capes Tracks ebbs and flows between quiet valleys and soaring stretches hundreds of metres above the ocean, taking its walkers on a whirlwind journey populated with echidnas, wallabies and blue wrens. Highlights for day-trippers include Cape Hauy and Cape Raoul.
The Peninsula boasts other immersive wonders, including Tessellated Pavement, the Blowhole and Tasman Arch.
Where to camp: Two National Parks campsites on the water at Fortescue Bay for Parks Pass holders cost $13 for a couple and $16 for a family. Bookings can be made between November and April.