Tasmania: Main Sights
Top Destination for 2009
You won’t have to look far for something to do and see in Tasmania. Your main problem will be trying to fit everything in, as Tasmania offers a variety of different things to see and do – for people of all ages and every taste and interest. Explore the rainforests, along ancient sea cliffs, beside turquoise seas and over jagged mountain peaks, of simply relax on its miles of unspoilt beaches, or wander through the historic towns of Port Arthur, or Sheffield. The attractions of Tasmania are just too numerous to mention, but here are some of the world class attractions and sights that Tasmania has to offer.
Bay of Fires Conservation Area
At the edge of Mt. William National Park, the magnificent wilderness coastline known as the Bay of Fires invites you to experience a Tasmanian trekking tour with dramatic landscape, ecology and wildlife.Beautiful white beaches all fringed with tropical forest, crystal clear turquoise sea, an azure sky and note a soul for miles. The secret edge of Tasmania is a must see destination for 2009. It has not been long since the Bay of Fires in Tasmania came to international attention, and the crowds are bound to flock.
The Penal Colony: Port Arthur
The Port Arthur Penal Colony is an integral part of Australian history, and as such, is one of the nation's principal tourist destinations. Built by convict labour, its impressive architecture, delightful gardens and chilling prison facilities survive today for you to explore. The Penal Colony began life as a small timber station in 1830. Port Arthur quickly grew in importance within the penal system of the colonies. The first ten years of settlement saw the penal station being hacked from the bush. Soon after, came the first workshops and factories, where ships were built, shoes made, horses shod, timber cut and bricks made. In the 1840s, both the industrial and penal aspects of the settlement developed, as the convict population reached over 1,100. By 1842 a large flour mill and granary, which later became the penitentiary, was begun as well as the hospital. 1848 saw the first stone laid for the Separate Prison, the completion of which brought about a shift in the method and policy of punishment, from physical to mental subjugation. Port Arthur also expanded geographically as the convicts pushed further into the encircling hills to extract valuable timber.
Art Gallery of Fine Art: Hobart
The Art Gallery of Fine Art, in central Hobart, specialises in exhibiting work by Tasmanian artists. The Gallery holds exhibitions of work in a range of media, including drawing, oils, acrylic, sculpture and photography. Its intimate space provides an opportunity for broad range of Tasmanian artists to show their work, including Wayne Edwards, Jessica McLaughlan, Mary Lou Wright, Francine Smith, Rodney Lea, Rebecca Brogan, sculptor Kathryn Hodges and fine art photographer Paul Barrington. You can also purchase original artwork from the gallery, including pieces by Luke Wagner, Jerzy Michalski, Danny Benson and the late Deny King, or choose from a range of prints and cards. Aart is located in Macquarie Street, a short distance from Hobart’s central business district and waterfront.
Alpenrail Swiss Model Village and Railway: Hobart
This miniature model of scenic Switzerland covers an area larger than two average sized houses. The Bernese Alps, alpine villages, rivers and lakes are set out before you and connected by a bustling model railway system. The model village was built by the Jenni family, which has spent more than 20,000 hours creating the locomotives, rolling stock, bridges, buildings, chair lifts, cable cars and trees. They started their mammoth task in 1977, and although the model appears complete, new features, such as a severe thunderstorm, are always being added. You can even see superb sunrise and sunset effects that are timed to coincide to the haunting sound of an alpine horn! Children will love to control Thomas the Tank Engine and the Smurf Train as they run around the track. The Model Village also includes Wildwoods Gardens. Consisting of approximately one acre, the gardens were developed with a fairy theme to entertain and entrance girl and boy visitors. The admission fee includes entry to both attractions.
Anglesea Barracks: Hobart
Originally built in the 1800’s Anglesea Barracks now houses the Military Museum of Tasmania. The Australian Governor Macquarie ordered the building of the barracks when he visited the colony in 1811. Later, when the last British Regiment left Tasmania in 1870, the buildings were used variously as a school, reformatory, a home for old women and a gymnasium. With the federation of Australia in 1901, the barracks became Commonwealth property and they returned to military control. Today, you will see a variety of buildings in the barracks, including the commander's residence (once the hospital), the original officers' quarters and mess and the arch from the original Bath Inn. Also worth visiting is the memorial to the British 99th Regiment of Foot, which was stationed here from 1848 to 1858 and some beautiful two storey soldiers' accommodation which was built in 1850. The barracks' gaol is now were the Military Museum of Tasmania is housed. Guided tours of the Barracks and Museum are conducted on Tuesdays at 11am. The Museum is open on Tuesdays from 9 am to 1pm and on Thursdays from 9am to 12 pm. You can visit at other times by appointment.
Australian Axeman's Hall of Fame: Latrobe
The Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame serves as a function hall for the local people of Latrobe and is also a major tourist attraction. This is because it houses what has been called Tasmania’s first national Hall of Fame. In the Axeman's Hall of Fame you will see the history, exploits and achievements of Australian’s internationally renowned sporting wood choppers. It provides a magnificent insight into the realms of Australia’s world champion axemen. You will marvel at the unbelievable collection of trophies, treasures and memorabilia it contains. The centre is also home to memorabilia from victorious Tasmanian horse Piping Lane, including the 1972 Melbourne Cup, which is worth nearly £33,000. The Hall of Fame includes a licensed café, indoor wood chopping arena, gift shop, visitor information service and function centre. During your visit, you can also gain an insight into the Tasmanian platypus. This display consists of the comprehensive dioramas, videos and models with a unique water feature, which explains how platypuses live, eat and breed in their secret world. There is also a display of live rainbow and brown trout plus other fish that live in Tasmania’s rivers and lakes, making it an enthralling destination for anyone interested in angling. The Axeman’s Hall of Fame is only ten minutes away from the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal and from Devonport airport.
Art Mob-Aboriginal Fine Art Gallery
Art Mob, in Hobart’s Hunter Street arts precinct, is Tasmania's only gallery that is solely dedicated to Aboriginal art. It was founded by the Tasmanian Euan Hills in 2002 with a view to providing much needed expert knowledge in this field, and to honour and support Tasmanian Aboriginal culture and art. Art Mob includes work by most of Australia’s indigenous communities, including those in the Western Desert, Balgo Hills, the Kimberley, Torres Strait and Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land. The gallery contains work by some of Australia’s most collectable artists, including Gloria Petyarre from the Western Desert, Dennis Nona from the Torres Strait Islands and Sally Gabori from Mornington Island. Art Mob also includes a collection of Tasmanian Aboriginal art. Of particular interest are the collections of rare shell necklaces, paintings, prints and wood and fibre works. The Tasmanian artists exhibited include Allan Mansell, Ros Langford and Mick Quilliam. Art Mob is close to number of other galleries, including the Henry Jones Art Hotel and Masterpiece Gallery on Hunter Street. A short stroll along the waterfront takes you to Salamanca Place and some of Hobart’s best galleries, including the Salamanca Collection, Handmark Gallery and the Long, Sidespace and Loft galleries at the Salamanca Arts Centre.
Female Factory: South Hobart
The Female Factory in South Hobart has been said to be the most significant site for the history of women in Australia. The site was once the Cascades Female Factory, which was really a euphemism for the overcrowded prison where women were incarcerated in atrocious conditions in the 1820s. (The prison was the setting for Bryce Courtenay’s novel The Potato Factory). You can tour the Female Factory Historic Site without a guide, which will allow you access to the memorial garden and the historic site itself. Alternatively, take a guided one-hour tour, which will tell the fascinating, yet tragic, history of the site. The Female Factory site was the winner of the 2004 Tasmanian Tourism Awards.
The Air Walk: Tahune Forest Reserve
The Tahune Air Walk gives you the chance to walk among the giants of one of Tasmania’s most beautiful and world renowned forests – the Tahune Forest Reserve. It is a spectacular walkway through the tree canopy that provides visitors with stunning views over the surrounding forests and landscape. It extends for over 600 yards (597 metres) and takes you past some unique tree species including Eucalyptus regnans, which is the world’s tallest flowering plant. The walk culminates with a cantilever suspended 150 feet (48 metres) above the ground that provides breathtaking views of the confluence of the Picton and Huon Rivers and surrounding forest. This is a gentle walk that is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. The Tahune Air Walk is a unique way to experience the beautiful natural environment of Tasmania.
Claude Road Market: Sheffield
Claude Road Market is a country market in Sheffield, North West Tasmania. Every three months, on the third Saturday of the month, Claude Road Hall fills with stallholders and treasure hunters for the Market. You will find here fresh organic fruit and vegetables, garden and farm produce and locally made preserves, curry pastes, jams and sauces. The market also has many stalls that sell art and crafts goods. You can browse the creations of local artists and craftspeople and make your selection from the jewellery, clothing, leatherwork, hand weaving and ceramics on offer. The Claude Road Market is open from 9am until 3pm. Sheffield is also known internationally for its collection of public murals, which depict the area’s rich history. Since 1986, dozens of murals have been painted in the town, ranging from large scale work by professional painters, to murals by local school children. Sheffield attracts over 100,000 visitors each year who come to admire its collection of public art. The town also hosts the annual Mural Fest – a national competition of mural art. Sheffield is 19 miles (30 kilometres) south of Devonport and 58 miles (93 kilometres) west of Launceston.
Mole Creek Karst National Park: Mole Creek, Northern Tasmania
Mole Creek Karst National Park features richly decorated deep limestone caves limestone that also contain superb stalactites, stalagmites, glow worm displays, subterranean streams and cathedral caverns. The Park renowned for its superb Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves, which are open to the general public. The National Park’s 3,324 acres (1,345 hectares) contain a total of 300 caves and sinkholes. You can take a guided tour, which takes place several times each day, or join a specialised adventure-caving expedition. If you plan to visit both Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves, remember that it will take about 15 minutes to drive between the two locations. There is an entry fee to explore the caves, and the National Park entry fee also allows you access to other areas of the Park. Mole Creek National Park also has a wildlife park, shops and a range of accommodation. Nearby is the town of Deloraine, where you can see historic homes, antique shops and craft galleries. The Park is a 40 minute drive west of Deloraine and a short drive from the village of Mole Creek.
The Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture Centre and Museum: Devonport
Tiagarra (a Tasmanian Aboriginal word meaning 'keep' or 'keeping place') presents both the history and present-day cultures and art of Tasmanian Aboriginal people. It is one of the few Tasmanian sites where ancient Aboriginal rock carvings (or petro glyphs) are well-preserved. A local schoolteacher discovered the petro glyphs in 1929, and over 200 engravings were found subsequently. The Aboriginal Culture Centre was established at the site in 1976 in order to protect the petro glyphs. The Museum features over 2,000 artefacts, incorporated into a number of exhibits depicting the lifestyle of the north-west coast’s original inhabitants. You can also see large-scale murals by Tasmanian artist Max Angus are. There are ten rock carvings on public display, which you can see if you walk along the walking tracks that lead from the Centre. Another interesting feature o the Centre is that Tiagarra’s buildings have been designed to resemble traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal dwellings of the north-west. Guided tours are available, and Tiagarra also has a gift shop offering locally made Aboriginal arts and crafts. The Centre is located on Mersey Bluff, a traditional Aboriginal sacred site on the Mersey River near Devonport. Devonport is 63 miles (101 kilometres) from Launceston and 30 miles (49 kilometres) from Burnie.
Trowunna Wildlife Park: Mole Creek
This Wildlife Park is a great location for a family outing. At Trowunna you can see more than 35 species of birds and animals, situated on more than 38 acres (15 hectares) of natural bush land. You can get up close and hand-feed the free-ranging kangaroos and wallabies. Alternatively, take an interactive guided tour and see Tasmanian devils being hand-fed, pat a koala and wombat, and learn from informed guides about these unique marsupials. After all of that, you can use the Park's barbeque facilities for a welcome picnic in the open air. Trowunna Wildlife Park is open daily 9am to 5pm (during January 8am to 8pm) and is situated at Mole Creek, not far from Cradle Mountain.
Court House Museum: Latrobe
The Court House Museum tells the story of Latrobe and surrounding areas since European settlement began in the mid-nineteenth century. Latrobe is the centre of a rich agricultural and forestry district and the town was once major port on the north-west coast. Latrobe is now the site of Tasmania’s oil shale industry. The Museum tells its stories through changing displays and rich collections of historic photographs. Children under the age of 18 are admitted free.
Moo Brew Brewery: Moorilla Estate Hobart
Beer lovers will enjoy the Moo Brew state-of-the-art micro-brewery, which produces four distinctive beers. These are an American Pale Ale, an American Dark Ale, a German-style cloudy wheat beer and a Pilsner. Moo Brew beers are all brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516, which proclaimed that beer must contain only the essential ingredients: malt, hops, yeast and water. These unique beers contains no additives or preservatives and are unpasteurised – so Moo Brew’s distinctive flavours are best enjoyed fresh and cold. The award winning Moo Brew beer labels depict the works of Australian artist John Kelly, who was commissioned to produce a series of paintings for the beer labels. Sit back and sample these wonderful beers while you enjoy views of the Moorilla Estate, which sits on a private peninsula on the Derwent River at Berridale. There is a jetty that provides private and charter access to the site and a fast catamaran service from the Hobart waterfront.