Experience the best the Apple Isle has to offer at your own pace.
Tasmania is a tapestry of varied landscapes, where lush rolling fields meet sprawling mountains and rivers run to roaring coastlines. Ancient forests, home to trees over 100 metres tall, are a stone’s throw away from rugged alpine terrain, while winding roads with minimal traffic lead you through scenic towns.
Victoria’s sister to the south lies across Bass Strait, just a cruisy ferry ride from Melbourne. It’s no surprise it’s become something of a tourist hotspot over the past few years, thanks to its growing cultural scene, but it certainly doesn’t stop at its capital. While Hobart gets the most attention with its galleries, cafes and rich history, there’s truly nothing like kicking off your journey somewhere different and exploring the island at your own pace.
With local band EWAH and The Vision of Paradise as our guides, we sailed to Devonport, jumped in our car and hit the road to find out what the island’s north has to offer beyond the beaten track. As the band explained, Tassie’s shifting terrain makes for one hell of a road trip.
“Tasmania looks small, but it’s actually really big and there’s a lot to do,” explains Emma Waters aka EWAH. “It’s really diverse in terms of landscape; you can be at the beach in an hour, and then up the top of a mountain in an alpine landscape.
“It’s all within reach, you can get from one end of the island to the other in a day, but there’s also a lot of amazing things that can distract you along the way.”
With that in mind, undoubtedly the best way to get around Tasmania is by car. Luckily, with Spirit of Tasmania you can take your own along for the journey, as well as any other gear you might want for your adventure. On the ferry over, vehicles were piled high alongside various forms of camping equipment, surfboards and kayaks, signalling the many kinds of activities on offer. Don’t worry about cutting down on camping gear or holding off on bringing delicious produce back to the mainland, because there are no luggage restrictions if you decide to sail over. Organising Party in the Paddock just got a hell of a lot easier.
Around half of Tasmania is covered in untouched wilderness which makes it the perfect place for those wanting to get away from the endless urban sprawl. The island is blanketed in an assortment of native trees, shrubs and grasses, some of which we were lucky enough to see during a walk at Pine Lake and a tour of Launceston’s Cataract Gorge.
Even a stop at Swinging Gate Vineyard in the Tamar Valley was steeped in connection to the land, with locally grown produce and wine on display.
“Tasmanians can’t ignore nature,” says Waters. “It’s something that ‘s right at our fingertips, beneath our feet and right in front of us. I think it’s part of our genetics, really.”
This affinity for the environment spills out into the band’s music, which they’re able to showcase more readily thanks to an influx of music festivals across the state. With summer around the corner, Tassie’s events calendar is set to light up the local scene, bringing with it an abundance of culture and entertainment.
“We’ve got a healthy scene here and it’s good for the morale of our music community,” explains Waters. “We kind of have a tongue in cheek thing happening here with the Mona Foma and Dark Mofo festivals, then we have an incredibly exquisite and beautiful festival like Panama, which is vehemently small. It’s really intimate and a safe and welcoming environment.”
‘Welcoming’ would be the word to describe much of our Tasmanian experience as we traversed the island’s north. The openness of locals makes you feel more like a friend than a tourist and the prehistoric landscape is begging you to explore it. With an assortment of activities, from hiking to fine dining, it’s the perfect destination for those aching to jump in their car, strap on some sturdy shoes, sail to the island state and drive the road less travelled.
Check out the video below to see our full road trip:
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