Tasmania has always been a safe haven – and our wide-open spaces, empty beaches and natural watery borders have served us well during the pandemic. And now, Tasmanians are embracing new ways of staying safe and are enthusiastically welcoming back travellers.
Here’s what you need to know about your COVID-safe trip to Tasmania.
Before you get on the plane…or the boat
Had your jabs? Good for you. And good for the Tasmanian community. But regardless of your vaccination status, you no longer need to register your travel or have a COVID test before you come to Tasmania.
Things change, of course. We’re all used to that by now. So for the latest pre-entry requirements for coming to Tasmania, by boat or plane, check out the official health and travel advice on the Tasmanian Government’s COVID-19 website, well before you’re due to hit the road.
On your way to Tasmania, apply the basic principles of Pandemic 101. You know the drill:
- wear a mask
- wash your hands regularly
- delay your travel and get tested if you feel sick; and
- practice social distancing wherever possible.
At the airport or ferry terminal, here are a few bonus tips:
- Avoid crowding at the counter: check-in and print or download your boarding passes in advance.
- Travel light: can you get away with just a carry-on and sidestep the baggage carousel?
- Use a credit card instead of cash if you’re buying a coffee or a trashy airport novel.
- BYO hand sanitiser in case the airport or terminal dispensers run dry.
- You may be asked to scan your own boarding pass (exciting!).
- Short flight? Use the bathroom before you get on the plane. Aeroplane toilets are pretty horrible anyway…
Once you arrive
Made it through the gates? Nice work. Around the state, keep your mask on when you’re inside public areas and maintain your personal space – which is easier to do in Tasmania than you might think, mostly because there aren’t very many Tasmanians. It might look little on the map, but Tasmania is bigger than Sri Lanka and gives Ireland a run for its money – and with only half-a-million locals, maintaining social distancing here is easy. Think of it as natural elbow room.
If you do develop symptoms while you’re in Tasmania, here’s what to do:
- Isolate immediately and get tested. See the COVID-19 website for information, testing locations and details on what happens next.
- If it’s an emergency, call 000.
- If have further concerns or need some advice, call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.
Out and about
Across Tasmania’s cities and regions there are myriad opportunities to safely enjoy your stay. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.
Cradle Mountain. Photo: Chris Crerar
Tasmania’s great outdoors is…well, great. An easy way to get to know the place is to head outside and get active. Tee-off on a world-class golf course, cast a fly across a slow-flowing river, take a hike or ride a bike – an active way to spend your day with inbuilt social distancing.
- Bushwalking is sooo Tasmanian. It’s what we do on Saturday afternoons. It’s how we dress. Book yourself on a famous multiday hike across the highlands or along the clifftops, or tackle a short walk to a waterfall, lookout or hidden bay.
- Mountain biking is a big deal here too these days, with an ever-expanding network of epic trails and entire towns geared-up for barnstorming mountain-bike action (we’re looking at you, Derby, St Helens, Maydena, Penguin, Queenstown…).
- Golf in Tasmania dates back to 1822, when Ratho Farm, the oldest surviving golf course outside of Scotland, was banged-out across a field in Bothwell. Today, Tasmania has fairways clinging to cliff edges, holes scattered through sand dunes, greens surrounded by sheep paddocks… King Island and Bridport should be top of your list.
- Fly-fishing here is almost as old as golf, arcing back to 1864 when a batch of brown trout eggs were hatched in the Plenty River. These days, in places like the Tyenna River, there can be 150 wild trout per 100m of water. ‘Plenty’ pretty much sums it up.
The roads here might not be particularly wide, but they sure are open. Hire a car or a campervan, pick yourself a city, a town, a region or a national park and see where the road takes you. Wherever that is, there’ll be plenty of breathing room along the way. To help your planning, have a look at our road trips suggestions and fire-up your imagination.
Spring Beach. Photo: Lisa Kuilenburg
Make sure you enjoy some fine Tasmanian seafood, artisan produce and island-made wine, whisky, cider and beer while you’re here – it’s all part of the deep pleasure of a visit to Tasmania.
- All hospitality venues around the state have COVID-19 Safety Plans, meeting minimum capacity standards to keep customers safe – including cafes, restaurants and bars…even farmers’ markets.
- If you don’t want to sit inside, book an outdoor table. Yes, it can get chilly here when the sun goes down, but do as the locals do: bring layers. Maybe a beanie too.
- As you’re touring around the state, keep an eye out for roadside stalls selling everything from cherries to cheese. There probably won’t be anyone around: just drop some cash in the honesty box and prime yourself for an outdoor picnic.
- If you’ve got the kids in tow, there’s always fresh fish and chips on the beach – and maybe a swim afterwards. What’s not to like?
The Restaurant With No Food. Photo: Stu Gibson
Festivals and events
Around Australia, festival and event organisers are also playing it smart, factoring capacity limits into their planning and shifting events and happenings to outdoor venues wherever possible. For the latest big-ticket events and backyard barn dances around the state, check out our month-by-month What's on listings.
‘Can we go to the shack on the weekend?’ A question Tasmanian kids have been asking for generations. These days, Tasmanian shacks take it to the next level. You can still book an old-school, sandy-floor cabin in the dunes, but there are also high-end beach houses and forest retreats which deliver a new kind of luxury. Either way, this is your chance to engage with nature and reconnect with what matters – your wellbeing.
On your way out the door, make sure you’ve checked the border requirements for wherever you’re going. Maybe you’ll need to declare a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result on arrival. Maybe you’ll need to download a QR check-in app. Maybe there’ll be some paperwork. You’re a smart cookie – you can figure it out.
And we’ll see you next time around.