Finding places far away from crowds is the best way to relax on a summer holiday. In Tassie it’s all about winding back to island time and discovering what lies in wait around each corner. We’ve compiled a list of activities that are away from the crowds – where you can kick back, chill out and disappear this silly season.
1. Polo at The Creech
Polo is a lifestyle for Justin Cooper, the owner of The Creech polo farm. Mount a trusty steed and he’ll teach you how. If the first swing doesn’t cement a love of thwacking a ball around a field, the outdoors and some friendly banter with the polo player on your left will. A drop of local whisky should calm your nerves. Or if you want to try your hand at fly fishing, Justin can help you with that too. At The Creech your fish is pulled from the local river, the lamb is grown on the farm and if they didn’t grow it they’ll know who did.
Image Credit: Samuel Shelley
2. Go wild with the Tarkine Drive
The Tarkine Drive in Tasmania’s North West takes travelers through Tasmania’s wild and dramatic landscapes. With your map in hand drive start the small loop section of the drive from Kanunnah Bridge Picnic Area, followed by the Sumac Lookout surrounded by tall eucalypts and impressive widespread views of the river and beyond. Julius River Forest Reserve has cool temperate rainforest, excellent picnic facilities and a short forest walk. Lake Chisholm Forest Reserve has flooded limestone sinkholes and meandering walks alongside still watered lakes. West Beckett Forest Reserve is for the more adventurous. At Milkshakes Hills Forest Reserve, relax with a picnic and then complete the loop with the Trowutta Arch Rain Forest Walk – a stunning and natural geological structure.
Image Credit: Rob Burnett
3. Explore Cockle Creek
This tiny township, with a population of just 10, is the furthest point south you can drive in Australia. There are no shops and no services, but in Summer the seaside town bursts into life with regular campers setting up residence. The area was an important port of call in the early 19th century for ships transporting convicts to Sarah Island, as well as sealers, whalers and loggers with over 2,000 residents living in the town. Today Cockle Creek is a haven for campers and hikers keen to explore Tassie’s southern wilderness and Recherche Bay’s clear turquoise waters. Walkers are able to either start or finish the famous 82km South Coast Track from the township. Want to get even further away from the crowds? Take the nine-day South Coast Track guided walking tour.
Image Credit: Dennis Harding
4. Park yourself at the Paragon
If you are in Queenstown you can take a self-guided tour of the Paragon Theatre. Its local owners have fully restored the theatre to all its art deco glory. On the tour you can learn all about its history as a popular local hangout from the 1930s until it closed in the 1980s. Before you hit the road again, remember to grab a coffee at the theatre’s coffee shop out the front. And if you are lucky enough to be around in January when the movies start, relax with a beer and tapas and enjoy a classic film.
5. Make gin at McHenry’s
Tasmania’s conditions are perfect for whisky and gin making, and with views like this, the McHenry Distillery Tasmania could easily be mistaken for a luxurious retreat. Several natural springs provide the distillery with pure water year-round. No wonder their whisky and gin are exceptional. If you want in on the action, enrol in McHenry’s four-hour workshop to learn the skill of gin making using your own recipe and still. It includes a flavour-matched lunch and 500ml of your own fine spirit to take home. And only a five minute drive from the World Heritage Port Arthur Historic Sites, McHenry’s is the most southern distillery – and perhaps the most beautiful.
Image Credit: Alice Hansen
6. Kayak at Lake Pedder
One of the best ways to experience Lake Pedder and all its 40 islands and over 1000 quartzite beaches is by kayak – especially during summer with Tassie’s amazing clear blue skies. Either stay at Pedder Wilderness Lodge and hire a kayak, or take a guided tour with Wild Pedder, run by best mates, Cody and Lou, two men who forged a friendship guiding along the deserted beaches of the Bay of Fires. With a shared passion for the South West, it wasn’t long before their four-day guided wilderness experience became a reality. The Wild Pedder experience is designed to give the intrepid traveller a taste of all the wilderness can offer. Jagged mountain peaks strewn with flora, magnificent temperate rainforests lined with mosses, fungi and ferns and some of the tallest hardwood trees on earth.
7. Canter at Cradle
There are plenty of ways to appreciate the beauty of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Horse-riding being one of them. Even if you have never ridden a horse before, it doesn’t matter as the horses on Cradle Country Adventures are carefully matched to the skill level of the rider. For 90 minutes your ride will climb up through the changing mix of alpine Eucalypt and Myrtle Forest to the button grass plains at the top of The Speeler Plain. Before seeing amazing views of Cradle Mountain, Barn Bluff, Western Bluff, Mt Roland and Black Buff. Horse rides also exist on Bakers Beach for three or five hours.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge
8. Sip cider at Franks
The orchards at “Woodside” have been planted through generations, and today produce the delicious apples and pears that makes Frank’s Cider. Frank’s Cider Bar and Café is in the 1870s former St Johns Church Hall in Franklin, part of the Tasmanian Cider Trail. Tuck into some local produce, sip on a cider and try their famous apple cider scones. Or just rock up for a free cider tasting! Afterwards, wander through the adjoining Jane Franklin Memorial Museum and Gallery and discover the fascinating history of the Huon Valley. Pssst – visit Frank’s online before 25 January 2017 and you could win a trip to Tassie.
Image Credit: Kathryn Leahy
9. Wander Friendly Beaches
The aptly named Friendly Beaches is contained within the boundaries of East Coast Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park. Known for its very soft, bright white sand, this long stretch of coast, runs from the northern tip (Isaac’s Point) past Saltwater Lagoon to Freshwater Lagoon at the southern end. Walking along the coastline you will be greeted by treasures from the Tasman Sea: beautiful shells, rare wildlife, whalebones and discarded pieces of flotsam and jetsam. A truly secluded secret, Friendly Beaches is the perfect combination of azure water and pure white sand to satisfy anyone seeking to retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Image Credit: Kathryn Leahy
10. Follow a beer trail
Head out of town to drop into a local. Tasmania has some pretty decent craft beer breweries to be found along its country roads. Discover the charming characters and captivating stories behind these beers by following the Tasmanian Beer Trail. You’ll find that not much has changed in Tasmania since brewing first began. The island has always had a mild climate with plenty of pure, clean water; ideal for brewing beer all year round. And Tasmania’s brewers still have an unfair advantage over mainland rivals. They are re-creating and paying homage to original brewers – and they’re always on the lookout for interesting ingredients, resulting in some pretty wild and unusual ales.
Image Credit: Nick Osborne
11. Head to the remote South West wilderness
It’s a wild place South West Tasmania. Untamed, remote and isolated…it’s blissful isolation at its best. But Par Avion Wilderness Tours ensure a touch of luxury to their wild South West Wilderness Camp. Sleep near the gently lapping shores of Bathurst Harbour, wake to a freshly cooked breakfast and be ferried from secret cove to secret cove and guided down walking trails few have explolred. Feel like an early explorer atop peaks that have stood unchanged for millennia. Even if it’s just once in your life, experience the silence of Tasmania’s South West.
Image Credit: Alice Hansen
12. Bike around Maria Island
Maria Island is an island that’s entirely a national park as well as a natural wildlife sanctuary. Jump on a ferry with your mountain bike (or hire one from the ferry terminal) and explore Maria on two wheels. Historic ruins, sweeping bays, dramatic sea cliffs and plenty of stories await, but don’t expect to find hard-core mountain biking trails here. The main attraction of exploring Maria Island by bike is getting off the grid. Maria is great for those with little or no mountain biking experience, a keen sense of adventure, and a desire to explore a place free from the confines of modern life. With 30km of tracks and trails on the island, a mountain bike that can handle loose sand, mud and rocks should guarantee you see it all.
Image Credit: Flow Mountain Bike