Tasmania in 5 Days: Top Destinations and Hidden Gems

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5 Days In Tasmania: Where to Visit and What to Do

Tasmania, an island state of Australia, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, rich history, and unique cultural experiences. Often overlooked in favour of its larger mainland counterparts, this hidden gem offers a diverse range of attractions that can perfectly fill a 5-day itinerary.

From the bustling streets of Hobart to the tranquil shores of Bruny Island, Tasmania is a microcosm of adventure and serenity. This guide, “Tasmania in 5 Days: Top Destinations and Hidden Gems,” is your ticket to experiencing the best of Tasmania in a short time.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply in search of a peaceful retreat, this journey through Tasmania’s heartlands and beyond promises an unforgettable adventure. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the wonders of Tasmania, where every turn is a new story waiting to be told.

Notes on Spending 5 days In Tasmania

While Tassie is not a super large island, it does take quite a while to get around. So while you might spend 5 days in the places I suggest, you will definitely have to add in 2-3 extra days for travel days.

This Itinerary also means you will be travelling in an anti-clockwise direction starting and ending in Hobart.

Day 1: Exploring Hobart’s Rich History and Vibrant Culture

Firstly if you have extra time, its easy to spend at least a few days in Hobart. Its a beautiful small city and has some of the best weather Tassie offers. Hobart’s weather is usually milder than other places and heaps warmer than the likes of Cradle Mountain and the Wild Rivers can be.

Hobart, the picturesque capital of Tasmania, serves as the perfect starting point for your 5-day Tasmanian adventure. Steeped in history yet brimming with contemporary culture, Hobart offers a unique blend that captivates almost every visitor.

Hobart’s Historical Gems

Begin your day at the historic Battery Point, a suburb filled with charming colonial architecture. Stroll through the quaint streets and visit Salamanca Place, famous for its Georgian warehouses now housing galleries and cafes. If you are in Hobart on a Saturday you can visit Salamanca Markets which is one of Hobarts big draw cards. Next, delve into Tasmania’s past at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, showcasing both natural and cultural heritage.

Arthurs Circle Battery Point Hobarts historic area.
Arthurs Circle Battery Point Hobarts historic area.

Mount Wellington

No visit to Hobart is complete without a trip to Mount Wellington. The drive up the mountain is scenic, leading you to a breath-taking viewpoint overlooking the city, the Derwent River, and beyond. It’s a perfect spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.

There are many tour operators who do bus tours up and back from Mount Wellington. You can also choose to get a bus up and hike back down, but be warned its a bit hard core in places. I hiked up one day and missed the bus back as it took me way longer than I though it would. Luckily a family gave me a lift back down.

Day Tours for Mount Wellington Hobart

Mount Wellington viewing tower
Mount Wellington viewing tower. The view is amazing.

Hobart’s Vibrant Waterfront

In the afternoon, head to Hobart’s vibrant waterfront. The area buzzes with activity, from fishing boats to local artisans selling their crafts. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants, offering fresh local seafood and other Tasmanian delicacies.

The drunken Admiral is one of the best seafood restaurants I’ve ever eaten at – and that is saying something! There is also quite a few cheaper places where you can get takeaways or sit outside and eat along the docks which is fun.

Eating places along the wharf in Hobart
Eating places along the wharf in Hobart

Mona – The Museum of Old and New Art

After lunch, a – must-visit is the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), known for its unconventional and provocative art displays. Reachable by a short ferry ride, the journey to MONA is as intriguing as the museum itself.

However, I should tell you that some of the exhibits at the Museum can be very risque. I don’t feel I’ve ever been really offended but I have though, “hmm that’s not great” a few times. It does depend on the exhibitions at the time and most are really cool, but they don’t shy away from nudity or sexual exploration so just be aware of that.

The best way is to get their boat over. It picks up and drops off from the main wharf and there are 2 levels of tickets you can buy. Grab them via their website easily.

Brad at MONA Hobart.
Brad in one of the exhibition rooms at MONA Hobart.

Experience Hobart’s Culinary Scene

End your day by exploring Hobart’s thriving culinary scene. From upscale restaurants to cozy pubs, the city’s food landscape is a testament to its cultural diversity. Be sure to try some local Tasmanian wine, renowned for its quality.

An alternative this evening is to take a dinner cruise of the river and harbour. At only $75 for an hour and a half cruise and dinner its a pretty good deal.

As the day winds down, Hobart’s blend of history and modern culture leaves you with an enriched sense of this charming city, setting the tone for the rest of your Tasmanian journey.

Extra Days In Hobart: Things to do

If you decide to add an extra day to your itinerary, there are a few really good day tours available from Hobart.

Port Arthur is worth visiting and I did this Tasman Peninsular cruise and Port Arthur tour last year when I was in Hobart and loved it. You spend 3 hours along the coastline between Hobart and Port Arthur with some amazing scenery. Then you get time at the historic Port Arthur site as well. We were taken back to Hobart by mini bus so we got to see the inland drive as well.

You could also visit the Tassie Devil Unzoo if you decide to drive out to Port Arthur. It’s on the way and is really worth visiting to learn all about these Tassie animals.

Day Tours From Hobart to Port Arthur

Day 2: A Journey to Tasmania’s Southern Edge – Bruny Island

Your Tasmanian adventure continues with a visit to the enchanting Bruny Island, a microcosm of the Tasmanian experience. This island is a fusion of stunning landscapes, rich wildlife, and gourmet local produce. It’s also very close to Hobart so it makes sense that its next on the list.

The Bruny Island Cruise

If you have a car, the Bruny Island Ferry takes both walk-on passengers and cars. It is best to book ahead as it can get busy during the summer months. Alternatively there are many operators that visit Bruny Island from Hobart. You won’t have trouble finding a Bruny Island tour to suit your tastes and budget.

Start your day with the Bruny Island Cruise, a thrilling boat ride that takes you along the island’s rugged coastline. Witness the dramatic sea cliffs, deep sea caves, and maybe even spot dolphins, seals, and whales in their natural habitat.

The Neck Lookout

Next, head to The Neck, a narrow isthmus connecting the north and south parts of the island. Climb the steps to the lookout for panoramic views of the isthmus and the surrounding waters. This spot is also a haven for wildlife, particularly birds.

Local Produce and Culinary Delights on Bruny

Bruny Island is renowned for its gourmet food and artisanal products. Visit local producers to taste fine cheeses, fresh oysters, and handcrafted chocolates. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the island’s boutique eateries, savouring dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

If you are an Oyster lover check out Get Shuked oysters. I’m not an oyster lover but Brad insisted they were great. Eeww…..

Get Shuked Oysters Bruny Island
Oysters on Bruny Island

Exploring the Island: Spend the afternoon exploring more of the island. Visit the historic Cape Bruny Lighthouse, take a walk on one of the pristine beaches, or simply relax and soak in the tranquil natural beauty.

Bruny Island’s diverse landscape and peaceful ambiance provide a fitting conclusion to your adventures around Hobart, leaving you with lasting memories and a desire to return.

Day 3: The Wild Beauty of Freycinet National Park

On your second day in Tasmania, prepare to be enthralled by the natural splendors of Freycinet National Park. This area is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike, offering a perfect blend of pristine beaches, rugged cliffs, and diverse wildlife.

You do need a permit to enter the park and the information centre as soon as you drive in can help you with that. You can also purchase your parks pass online, so check out Freycinet’s Government website for more info.

To get to Freycinet National Park from Hobart it is a good 3 hour drive. While it is only 197km it isn’t motorway driving so it does take longer than you think.

Wineglass Bay

Start your day with a hike to the Wineglass Bay lookout. The trail may be challenging, but the panoramic view of the perfectly curved bay with its crystal-clear waters and white sand beach is a rewarding sight. This iconic Tasmanian vista is not to be missed.

Wildlife and Wilderness

As you explore further, keep an eye out for the park’s abundant wildlife, including wallabies, echidnas, and various bird species. The park’s diverse ecosystems, from dry eucalypt forests to wetlands, create a mosaic of habitats.

Kayaking and Water Activities

For those who love water sports, kayaking in the serene waters of Freycinet is a must. Paddle around the small islands and hidden coves, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins or seals.

Secluded Beaches

Spend the afternoon relaxing at one of Freycinet’s secluded beaches. Honeymoon Bay, with its stunning backdrop and calm waters, is a perfect spot for a picnic and a leisurely swim.

Sunset at The Hazards

End your day at The Hazards, a range of pink granite mountains forming a dramatic backdrop to the bay. Watching the sunset paint these peaks in hues of pink and orange is a magical experience, concluding your day in this natural paradise.

As the stars begin to dot the sky, the serene beauty of Freycinet National Park leaves a lasting impression, showcasing Tasmania’s wild and untouched nature.

Wine Glass Bay, Freycinet National Park Tasmania
Wine Glass Bay, Freycinet National Park Tasmania

Day 4: Discovering Launceston’s Charm and Attractions

Launceston, Tasmania’s second major city, offers a delightful blend of historical elegance and contemporary culture. Nestled in the Tamar Valley, it’s a city where heritage, nature, and culinary excellence come together.

Leaving Freycinet you will drive north west toward Lonnie (as the locals call it). This drive is about 180km but again you should allow between two and a half and three hours.

Don’t get Launceston’s name wrong. While it sounds like it would be “lawnsesston” it isn’t. It is pronounced “lonsesston”. The locals are a little protective of it so make sure you don’t get it wrong.

The Cataract Gorge

Begin your exploration at the Cataract Gorge, a natural oasis just minutes from the city center. Here, you can take leisurely walks along the gorge’s cliffside pathways, enjoy a swim ride on the world’s longest single-span chairlift, or take a swim in what might be the strangest swimming pool.

Don’t get me wrong – the pool is amazing but I went out to do the long gorge hike and about half way up one of the climbs I turned around to see the view and there was a bright blue swimming pool! It felt bizarre. I was in the middle of the Australian bush and “boom” there’s a pool and a chairlift!

Fortunately it was February and I had my hiking towel so after my sweaty hike I jumped straight in that bad boy. I should mention however – the water is FREEZING!

Cateract Gorge Day Area Launceston
Cataract Gorge Day Area Launceston – and the pool!

Tamar Valley Wine Route

In the afternoon, embark on a journey through the Tamar Valley Wine Route. Renowned for its world-class wineries, this region offers the opportunity to taste some of Tasmania’s finest wines, accompanied by stunning vineyard views. There are many tours that do wineries in the area and this was a day I very much enjoyed.

The Tamar Valley make some of the best cold weather Pinot Noir in the world so if you are a wine lover, its not to be missed.

A sign at a Tamar Valley Winery in Tasmania
A sign at a Tamar Valley Winery in Tasmania

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

Delve into Tasmania’s history and art at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. The museum houses an extensive collection that narrates the rich heritage of Launceston and Tasmania at large.

Visit Glass Manifesto

One of Australia’s premiere glass art galleries and workshops, this is definitely worth a visit. Check their website for opening hours, but if you love quality artwork I don’t see how you could be disappointed with a visit here.

Launceston’s Culinary Scene

As the day winds down, indulge in Launceston’s burgeoning culinary scene. The city’s restaurants and cafes offer an array of dining experiences, from gourmet dishes crafted with local produce to cozy, casual eateries.

I had a beautiful dinner at Mudbar. It isn’t cheap but I was celebrating hiking the Overland Track so I splurged. I can highly recommend the Huon Salmon. OMG – so good!!

Another place I loved for breaky was Bread + Butter on Elizabeth Street. Their french toast with espresso butter is DIVINE!

Launceston’s charming blend of natural beauty, history, and gastronomy provides a fulfilling end to your third day in Tasmania, leaving you enriched with its diverse offerings.

Add An Extra Day In Launceston

For an extra day in Launceston, consider doing a full day winery tour on your second day and walking the Cataract, checking out the town and eating out on your first day

Jenny Marsden - Charge The Globe
About the author

Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 103 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She’s always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes. Learn more about Jenny and her travels.

Day 5: West Coast Wilderness – Strahan and the Gordon River Cruise

On the fifth day of your Tasmanian journey, immerse yourself in the untouched wilderness of Tasmania’s West Coast, with a focus on the charming town of Strahan and the majestic Gordon River.

To make the most of Strahan you will need a spare travel day between Launceston and the Wild Rivers area. It is almost 300km from Lonnie across to Strahan and again, while it is highway its not motorway so it will probably take you a good 4 hours. It is a pretty nice drive though.

The Gordon River near Strahan in Tasmania
The Gordon River near Strahan in Tasmania

Strahan – A Gateway to Wilderness

Begin your day in Strahan, a picturesque fishing village that serves as a gateway to the West Coast’s wilderness. Take a stroll along the Esplanade, lined with quaint shops and cafes, offering a glimpse into the town’s rich history.

The Gordon River Cruise

A highlight of your visit to Strahan is the Gordon River Cruise. This serene journey takes you through ancient rainforests and tranquil waters, showcasing Tasmania’s pristine natural environment. The reflections of the rainforest in the glassy waters of the Gordon River create a surreal and peaceful experience.

The cruise also includes a stop at Sarah Island, once a notorious convict settlement. A guided tour here reveals the island’s dark yet fascinating history, providing insight into the lives of those who were once imprisoned there.

There are a variety of Gordon River cruises, some of the best ones are shown below.

West Coast Wilderness Railway

In the afternoon, embark on a journey aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway. This historic steam train traverses through dense rainforests and rugged mountains, offering stunning views and an unforgettable experience.

Wendy Wu Wanderlust Tour Sale

Sunset at Ocean Beach

Conclude your day with a visit to Ocean Beach, Tasmania’s longest beach. Witness a breath-taking sunset over the Southern Ocean, a perfect end to a day filled with natural beauty and historical exploration.

As night falls, the remote and wild beauty of Tasmania’s West Coast leaves a lasting impression, a reminder of the diverse landscapes that this island has to offer.

Do not miss the Scallop Pies at The Kitchen in Strahan. Its very close to the wharf where you get on the boat for the Gordon River so once you get off the boat – head to the bakery. They are amazing (assuming of course that you like scallops).

Brady's Lake, The Wild Rivers, Tasmania
An amazing sunset at Brady’s Lake, half way between Strahan and Hobart

Tips For Your Tasmania Trip

I am assuming that you are limited with time if you are looking at a 5 day itinerary for Tasmania.

What you might consider doing is basing yourself in Launceston and doing day trips in and around the area. You can visit both Freycinet and Cradle Mountain on day tours from Launceston. This might allow you to remove a travel day and still visit Wine Glass Bay AND Cradle Mountain.

Want to see more of Tasmania? Consider hiking the Overland Track or just taking it slower through this amazing slice of Australia.

Reflecting on Your Tasmanian Journey: As the day ends and you prepare to leave Hobart, take a moment to reflect on your 5-day Tasmanian journey. From the vibrant culture of Hobart to the untouched wilderness of the West Coast and the charming serenity of Bruny Island, Tasmania has offered an array of experiences, each unique and memorable in its own right.

I hope this guide inspires you to explore the wonders of Tasmania for yourself, discovering your own hidden gems along the way. Tasmania is not just a destination; it’s an experience, one that stays with you long after your journey ends.