Tasmania possesses an amazing combination of nature and history. The island state was one of Australia’s first areas to be colonised by Europeans, and in some places tourists can still get a sense of what life might have been like in one of the old penal colonies. Away from the cities and built-up areas, Tasmania is an island of wild waters and challenging mountains, perfect for any avid backpacker. In my backpackers guide to Tasmania, here are my five “must-see” places for anyone exploring Tasmania with a backpack!
The Backpackers Guide to Tasmania
Mount Wellington is called Kunyani in Palawa kani, the language of the indigenous people of Tasmania. This impressive mountain stands in the southeast of the island in the region of Hobart, the vibrant capital of Tasmania. An observation shelter means amazing views are on offer even when the weather is not so great. Mount Wellington also offers beautiful picnic spots like The Springs, and a range of walks and trails for hikers of all abilities to explore.
Mount Field National Park
Backpackers who love wildlife have to head to this enormous park in the south of Tasmania. Mount Field was the first national park ever created on the island, and it’s home to the platypus, wombats, echidnas, bandicoots and Tasmanian devils. One of the most popular sights is Russell Falls, an absolutely stunning waterfall that takes the breath away. This waterfall is fully accessible with a wheelchair and child-friendly track that runs right from the visitor centre. It’s worth noting that there are charges to enter some national park areas, so check with tourist information before you travel.
Henty Sand Dunes
Head west and experience giant sand dunes which stretch along 15 kilometres of Tasmania’s coastline. The dunes are being constantly formed and reformed by ceaseless winds, which blow all the way from South America. Rest in the sheltered picnic area before enjoying an hour and a half’s relaxing walk to the longest beach in Tasmania: Ocean Beach. The truly adventurous can even try tobogganing down the sand dunes.
Enjoy the spectacle of Tasmania’s highest waterfall, Montezuma Falls. Head to Williamsford then take a three-hour walk that’s nice and level all the way to the base of the falls. Backpackers will find themselves surrounded by giant tree ferns, myrtles, leatherwoods and sassafras, plus dozens of species of birds and other native wildlife. See if you can spot the remains of the old bridge, which used to cross the creek running below the falls.
Arguably the most famous natural landmark in Tasmania, this 1545-metre high mountain dominates the north of the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area. This national park is a backpacker’s paradise, filled with ancient rainforests, wild plains, raging waters and placid lakes. The mountain itself tempts hikers to tackle its summit, but there are plenty of trails around the lower slopes too. Walks range from twenty minutes to overnight exploration trails, to a six-day trek. Good quality boots and hiking equipment are essential, and remember to consider your level of fitness and the weather forecast when choosing your trail.
The Cradle Valley is home to multiple historical sites, including evidence of Aboriginal life through the ages. The Aboriginal Cultural Walk takes travellers on a journey that includes caves, rock shelters, and amazing artefacts. In summer, the valley is filled with wildflowers including rare orchids, and a wealth of native wildlife.
One day isn’t really enough to explore this tremendous national park, but (thankfully) there are plenty of places to stay. If you’re backpacking on a budget, look into staying at one of the various campgrounds in the Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Park.
I hope you enjoyed reading my Backpackers Guide to Tasmania! Tasmania can be accessed by air from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, in addition there is the ferry, Spirit of Tasmania, which travels between Melbourne and the northern Tasmanian port of Devonport. This is the route I took when travelling to Tasmania, and highly recommend it if you’re bringing a car over.
Be aware that local transport links are independent of mainland Australia, so if you need to travel extensively check before you travel or consider car hire. Make sure you check how the local driving laws differ, and take note of tips on safe driving overseas before you go.
READ NEXT: Ultimate 10 Day Tasmania Road Trip
Have you been to Tasmania before? Which were your favourite places on the island state? Let me know in the comments below!
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