On a road trip around Tasmania, finding some peace and quiet isn’t really the issue – it’s more a question of deciding how you want to experience it. Golf, fly fishing, mountain biking, bushwalking, a dusky stroll along the beach… Australia’s island state is, by definition, all about open space, hushed forests and empty shores, where the only footprints in the sand are your own. And in this crowded COVID-19 world, that’s a very special thing.
A walk in the woods
Mount Roland / Lusy Productions
With around 40% of Tasmania protected as national parks, reserves and World Heritage wilderness, bushwalking happens here almost by default. The boundaries between the cities and the bush are hard to pin down: suburban backyards morph into wild forests without anyone really noticing. Locals dress to be ready for a hike at the first opportunity.
A Tasmanian bushwalk might be a multiday epic: the alpine Overland Track, clifftop Three Capes Track and windswept South Coast Track are justifiably famous. With a bit of preparation you can tackle these independently, or sign up for a guided wilderness experience. Or, on one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks you can discover a mirror-flat lake, a secret waterfall or a peaceful lookout…and have it all to yourself.
Maria Island / Stu Gibson
Life by the beach in Tasmania isn’t about bikinis, bronzed muscles and being seen. Tasmanian beaches are frontiers – exciting places between the known and the unknown, where anything seems possible. Tasmanian beaches are temples – meditative places where you count the rhythm of waves on the sand. Tasmanian beaches are escape hatches – places where you can forget the day-to-day, breathe deeply and finally get some air.
Or of course, you can just stop by a local fish-and-chip shop, collect your order and head for the sand. Disappoint the seagulls as you chew your final chip and watch the kids splash around. If you’re looking for the quintessential Tasmanian experience, you’ve found it.
Tee-off at a top golf course
Cape Wickham Golf Course / Stu Gibson
Into golf, much? Four of Tasmania’s public golf courses regularly feature on lists of Australia’s best. Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm at Bridport on the north-east coast have legions of international fans; while on King Island in Bass Strait, Cape Wickham and Ocean Dunes offer spectacular coastal golf, the wild Southern Ocean grinding along these isolated shores.
King Island also excels on the foodie front, with plenty of post-golf opportunities for a local whisky, an island ale, a slab of cheese or some crayfish, fresh off the fishing boat. Swept clean by the Roaring Forties winds, King Island is Tasmanian royalty.
But back to the golf: at courses around Tasmania you can forget the waiting lists, the bank-draining fees, the haughty club-house hierarchies... Golfing here is a democratic game, open to all comers. For further inspiration, check out our guide to Tasmania’s top spots to tee-off.
Mountain bike mecca
Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails / Stu Gibson
Tasmanian kids have been shredding through the bush on their bikes for generations. Take this elemental experience, supercharge it with custom-built single track and whole towns geared towards mountain bikers, and Tasmania has become a global mountain biking sensation.
Tasmania’s two-wheeled revolution began with the 125km of trails at Derby in the north east, followed closely by the dynamic downhill runs at Maydena Bike Park in the south, and the glorious mountains-to-the-sea descents at St Helens Mountain Bike Trails on the east coast. Then there’s Queenstown, Latrobe, Penguin, Maria Island…
Book a package – accommodation, transport and bike-hire – or go DIY. Either way, mountain biking here is wheel-spinning good fun, and a great way to breathe some of the island’s famously fresh air.
Shout about trout
Penstock Lagoon / Adam Gibson
In 1864, a batch of brown trout eggs survived the long sea voyage to Tasmania from England, wrapped in a box of icy moss. The eggs were hatched in the clear Plenty River near New Norfolk, 35km upstream from Hobart. It was third time lucky for the English settlers who’d been trying to introduce trout to Tasmania for several years – and the first time anyone had done it successfully south of the Equator.
Fly fishing in Tasmania has never looked back. A day spent fishing in the quiet solitude of Tasmania’s highland lakes, southern rivers or northern streams is a day well spent. Wade into the water, inhale, exhale, wait, watch…then arc your fly across the surface. You might even catch your dinner.
For everything you need to know about guided fishing trips, licences, seasons and hotspots, hook into our insider’s guide to all things Tasmanian trout.
Driftwood Cabin / Emilie Ristevski
At the end of the day, rack your golf clubs and your fishing rod and head to your accommodation – which, when you’re exploring Tasmania, might be a retro shack in the dunes, a stylish contemporary beach house, or an all-inclusive mountain retreat.
But wherever you rest your head, Tasmania delivers what you need most: the chance to recharge, tune-in to nature, and reconnect with your wellbeing.
So hire a car or campervan, pick a compass point and see what’s around the next bend in the road. Hike, bike, fish, putt or just beach yourself for a while – whatever you do, there’ll be lots of uncrowded space along the way.