Is Tasmania Australia’s Favourite Backpacking Destination?

Tasmania, the little apple island, is one of Australia’s unspoken secrets. Until now. Previously Tasmania was considered the home of the grey-nomad, sea changer and those people who don’t want to wear deodorant and marry their cousin. To put it politely Tasmania was the butt of Australia jokes and generally an area that you didn’t want to go on a family holiday. Thankfully the times have changed and Tasmania is truly blossoming as a traveller’s haven.

There’s no doubt that Tasmania is certainly on trend right now with more and more people, from all budgets, finding the simple pleasures in this naturally wonderful part of Australia.

We’re not the only people who have recently fallen in love with Tasmania. We first visited Hobart over three years ago and ever since then we’ve had an inkling that we wanted to go back and explore more.

There’s quite a significant concern from the other Australian states, especially Queensland, about how many people are intrigued by Tasmania. Recent tourism figures show that visitors to the island are up 7% from the previous year and visitors spend has increased by 11% For such a small island these are big figures. (figures Tourism Tasmania March 2017 Snapshot) To further compound this fear the current Queensland tourism figures are showing a 23% decrease in visitors.

So why is Tasmania turning into Australia’s favourite backpacker destination?

It’s so easy to get to.

And cheap. We paid $12 for our flights to Tasmania. Ok I get that that was a super amazing special deal. But a previous trip that was booked very last minute was less than $200 for a same day return flight. There are three simple ways to get to Tasmania from the mainland.

Fly – The majority of direct flights depart from Melbourne and Sydney.
Tiger Air, Virgin and Jetstar are your best bet for flights. Qantas does fly but many of the flights are code share with Jetstar. So you’ll pay a premium price to be on a less than premium experience.

Ferry  – The Spirit of Tasmania departs from Melbourne

Cruise – Tasmania is now becoming a major destination for cruise liners. It’s got great access and readily available day trips for passengers.

Road Trip

There’s no better way to see Tasmania than on a road trip. The roads are rather well maintained and there’s nothing over tricky about driving around Tasmania. To make it even more appealing there’s not a great deal of distance between amazing destinations.

On our recent road trip, we covered more than 700km across a week. Which sounds like a lot of miles but really it felt like nothing at all. At most, we were driving 90mins with the longest stretch when we drove through the centre of the island.

Our recent road trip route: Hobart (arrival) – Richmond – Swansea – Coles Bay – Sheffield – Cradle Mountain – Launceston (departure)

Car hire is really affordable and easy to arrange. With the major car companies having depots on the three major ports – Hobart, Launceston and Devonport. One way hiring isn’t a huge additional expense and if your time is flexible you can easily pick up a super cheap relocation car hire deal.

We hired from Vroomvroom at a very appealing $75 for our week of hire.

A Vast Variety of Accommodation

From Air Bnb, to dirty prison hostels and luxury beyond your wildest dreams Tasmania packs a lot of accommodation options in. No matter what your budget you’ll be able to find a place to lay you weary head. Which is a much nicer option than some of the popular northern Australia backpacker destinations. There are also quite a few sneaky free accommodation places in Tasmania.

Our recommendation without a doubt is to get yourself up to Cradle Mountain Lodge and indulge in a good dose of luxury amongst the wilderness.

Fine Dining

Tasmania does produce some of the best gourmet food in Australia. Even the coffee down there is almost on par with Melbourne coffee. Big call I know. Tasmanians are passionate about their produce. From growing to grazing on it. You really will need to search for a bad meal.

  • Top foodie items-
  • Apples
  • Cider
  • Cheese
  • Wine
  • Honey
  • Scallops
  • Salmon
  • Beer
  • Just about everything.

Safety

Tasmania is a fairly safe part of Australia. Unlike its northern counterpart, there hasn’t yet been the level of assault against tourists. I do say yet – as there is a significant population of socio-economicalmical areas across Tasmania. Like any area, the lack of entertainment, employment opporutnies and in general life choices can have a negative affect on people and the community that they live within. So far this hasn’t crossed over to attacking tourists.

Beautiful Beaches

Tasmania is a wild island. The east coast offers some of the most photogenic beaches in Australia. Who could resist visiting Wineglass Bay? Well, we did and instead took a leisurely stroll down to Sleepy Bay.

 Head over west and you’ll find yourself on some of the world’s roughest coastline.

Majestic Mountains

Tasmania has, undoubtedly, some of the best mountains and hikes in Australia. The Overland track being the most popular and well known. With over 8,000 people hiking this track every year. Who wouldn’t want to take a long walk through the St Clair National Park, sleep under the stars and finish up at Cradle Mountain lodge for a well-deserved wine.

Tasmania’s wild side attracts mountain bikers, hikers and climbers alike. With such a short and afford flights from Melbourne and Sydney it’s not unusual for thrill seekers to take along their toys for a play.

Wombat Cradle Mountain Tasmania
Cradle Mountain. Tasmania

Wonderful Wildlife

Tasmania plays home to some truly unique and wonderful wildlife. With its natural isolation from the mainland, limited predators, intact habitat and now extremely strict quarantine the wildlife has been able to flourish.

Mild Mannered Weather

Tasmania has 4 very distinct seasons. With the warmest months being December to March.The average maximum daily summer temperatures are between 17 and 23 degrees Celsius and winter daily temperatures sit between 3 and 11 degrees Celsius. Like anywhere in the southern half of Australia you do need to be prepared for a temperature tantrum. Our first visit to Tasmania was in October and there was snow. Or latest trip at the start of may and there was snow.

Snow at Cradle Mountain Tasmania

Tasmania – On Your To Visit List?

Ah yes, Tasmania should definitely be on your list of places to explore when you come to Australia. Or if you are based in Australia you should get yourself down to Tasmania now. Before everyone else realises what a wonderfully curious island Tasmania really is.

Jeanette

Jeanette

Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker

Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.

Backpacking Tasmania || Traveling Honeybird

29 Comments

  1. Life is a Hotel

    I would love to visit Tasmania. I have never been to Australia but it’s on my list.
    I think that I would love to visit whole country by car to see even more than from airplane. A trip around Tasmania would be great as I enjoy backpacking 🙂

    Best,
    Kasia

    Reply
  2. Christopher

    You had me laughing at “those people who don’t want to wear deodorant and marry their cousin.” I almost choked on my water. I have been hearing a lot about Tasmania lately and I really like your break down. Those flight prices sound like a really good deal too. It’s already been added to my to go to list but I will save this post for when I go…

    Reply
  3. Mike Cotton (@MikeCjourno)

    I’m heading to Oz in December (first time) and I’d love to visit Tasmania. Alas I don’t think I’ll have time on this trip. It looks awesome.

    Reply
    • Jean

      Oh make the time!! It is worth the effort

      Reply
  4. Meg Jerrard

    I think Tasmania is definitely on the verge of a tourism boom – really coming into its own in terms of ecotourism and adventure travel – I was born in Tasmania and we’ve just bought a house in the Northwest to move back after many decades on the mainland. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

    Reply
  5. sara

    You don’t have to convert me on Tasmania – it’s the place to go. I adore it The size and what is on offer makes it perfect for backpacking (or those of us that prefer to leave the swag at home).

    Now on the food side of things I’m a total fan, but you need to add sea salt to your list!! Did you know that Tasmania produces the most pure pristine sea salt on this planet? Its all about those non polluted pristine waters.

    Reply
  6. Archana Singh

    I was almost there in Tasmania three years back but had to drop the plan at the last moment. It would have been ideal for a roadtrip. BTW I can’t believe you got a flight for $12. That’s unbelievable. You were super lucky.

    Reply
  7. Natasha Meldrum

    I have never been to either but I have heard great things about Tasmania. I have heard the ferry there can be quite rough. The roadtrip sounds like fun

    Reply
  8. travellingslacker

    I heard of Tasmania during my childhood mainly because of its cricketers like Boon and Ponting. The name always intrigued me. This post shows that my hunch was right. This must be a very unique location to explore for a while.

    Reply
  9. Jen

    It has never occurred to me to include Tasmania in my destination list. I might reconsider though after seeing the Cradle Mountain Lodge and reading the “produce some of the best gourmet food in Australia.” The landscape looks pretty amazing too!

    Reply
  10. Swati Jain

    Wow. I will be honest I have not heard about this place in Australia. So I am glad I came to your blog and got to know about it. Especially dollar 12 for a flight…sounds awesome 😉

    Reply
  11. Richelle

    Chris and I really want to do an Australia road trip and I’ll have to add Tasmania to our trip. It looks amazing!

    Reply
  12. abrokenbackpack

    I have to confess: We never made it to Tasmania. In fact, it was the only state missed in our 2 year trip! (I know; shame on us!) But, hey, I heard many great things about it – it looks absolutely beautiful out there! Hopefully, we’ll be back in Australia so I can finally see Tasmania!

    Reply
    • Jean

      We can go together

      Reply
  13. Juliette | Snorkels to Snow

    $12 flights to Tassie? Wow! That is a great deal – what a find! Tasmania has always seemed like it has a raw, rugged natural beauty. I guess it’s somewhat similar to Stewart Island of NZ – the tiny little island at the bottom of the country that many people don’t pay much attention to, make jokes about the people who live there, but the truth is, it’s absolutely stunning! Tasmania and Stewart Island should come together for some joint marketing purposes 😛

    Reply
    • Jean

      We were lucky to find such cheap flights. The skyscanner newsletter is a life saver!

      Reply
  14. Lydia Smith

    I had always known Tasmania to be that, it used to be one of the most boring places in Australia. Shocked it has reached stardom. I’m close to Sydney, would go visit,

    Reply
    • Jean

      You should go visit. It’s such a short trip and really worth a visit.

      Reply
  15. hertraveltherapy

    Tasmania looks so gorgeous! My boyfriend and I are going on an indefinite Australia roadtrip next year (we are from Adelaide) and Tasmania is top of our list. So keen for all the gorgeous natural wonders and national parks. Which was your favourite spot?

    Reply
    • Jean

      Cradle Mountain was our favourite by far!

      Reply
  16. Arnav Mathur

    Being an outdoor lover, I love places that have got a little bit of everything. And Tasmania fits right in, with its beaches, wildlife and mountains. Would definitely love to visit the place before it gets too crowded.

    Reply
  17. cassie

    I had never before thought about visiting Tasmania, but this was super inspiring, and such a good “guide.” Thank you! Will definitely check it out.

    Reply
  18. Lucy - Travel Textbook

    I’m from Tasmania and am so glad everyone is finding out more about this special island 🙂 Thanks for the fantastic post and pictures!

    Lucy x

    Reply
  19. Zinara

    A lot of things I’ve heard about Tasmania are also negative, like my Aussie friends used to make fun of them and they are considered less brainy or something which is bad. I’ve always loved that part of Australia because my fav Australian cricketers are all Tasmanian (see: Ricky Ponting). Haha! I’ve seen many photos of Tas and it looks like a beautiful destination. I’d definitely visit in the future.

    Reply
  20. tanyakorteling

    I’ve heard alot of Tasmania, it sounds a great and I definitely hope to visit one day. At the moment in Siem Reap in Cambodia it’s always very hot and humid (which I love) but I think I’d welcome some milder weather for a change!

    Reply
  21. Ryan Biddulph

    LOL Jean on not wearing deodorant and marrying your cousin. Love it. No; I do not love not wearing BO-DO and marrying my cousin. But this is incredibly funny. Tasmania strikes me as one of those brilliant exotic places.

    Reply
  22. Jamie Joyner

    I had never considered Tasmania when planning my bucket list travel there. I will definitely add it to my list as it sounds wonderful. I enjoy places with fewer crowds.

    Reply
  23. asoulwindow

    Tasmania seems like an exotic world, so different from what I have already seen. I had the perception that Tasmania is an expensive destination. You broke that myth for me. I am amazed to know that you can fly for as less as $12.

    Reply
  24. Indrani

    I am eager to get to Tasmania one of these days. It was not so well known till some seasons back, but now it is a rage. Love the info that it is a pleasant and easy drive there. Though cruise too sounds equally tempting.

    Reply

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