Tasmania is one of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations for good reason. Like a bag of lollies and sweets packed with all sorts of flavours, this little island has vacation activities aplenty. Families especially will find their own little haven. With just the right mix of luxurious and rustic, Tassie is a child-friendly place. Your family can enjoy being pampered in high-end accommodations, or you can satisfy your simpler wants exploring the beach, countryside, and mountains. You’ll never find yourself bored with the eclectic collection of bustling city life, easygoing country life, and exciting nature escapades. Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about your children’s well-being, for Tassie is as safe as can be. Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania & Chris Crerar.
Located about 240 km south of the mainland, Tasmania is considered a natural state with almost half of its area being protected National Parks--making it an excellent destination for nature lovers.
Hobart, the capital, is home to almost half the entire population of Tasmania. A juxtaposition of metropolitan and homey vibes, this Tassie city is the main stop for many visitors. It has all the modern comforts while retaining a charming time-worn feel.
For the adventurer, Tassie will bring out the best in you--be it on land or on water--so pack your outdoor gear and get ready to dive in, climb up, and even fly.
Fun Fact: The island was named after Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer who discovered it on 24 November, 1642.
The Tasmanian Devil! We’re serious. It may not be straight out of a cartoon, but the Tasmanian Devil is a real creature that can only be found in Tassie. But don’t let your fixation for the Tasmanian Devil get in the way of discovering the island’s diverse collection of wildlife. Get some exercise while wandering through the many national parks. Love birds? You’ll find your heaven on earth. Next, feast your eyes on coastlines--rugged rocks and sandy beaches alike--as you drive along the coastal roads. From caves to thermal springs, Tassie’s got your nature-loving back. Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett.
It’s not all about roughing it out, though. Tasmania is also great for kids who may not be able or may not want to engage in rigorous physical activity. Take them on a railway ride; visit theme parks, model villages, and museums...maybe even go to the zoo (or the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo...yes, you heard right!). Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania & Nick Osborne.
Need to refuel? Tassie’s got some of the best wine (because parents need refreshments too, right?) in the country, as well as the freshest produce and seafood you can find.
Adults, prepare yourself for the plethora of cold-climate wine: Tassie’s pride and joy. Vineyards are scattered all over the island, many of which are easily accessible from a major city. Go on cellar door sampling tours and get a taste of Tassie’s vast array of wines. While your kids may not be able to partake, they will be taken by the sight of seemingly endless rows of grapevines. Image thanks to Wineglass Bay Cruises.
You’ll find copious amounts of fresh food pretty much everywhere. Introduce your children to natural, organic fruits and vegetables. Keep your energy levels high on the road with fresh produce from roadside stalls. Looking for a proper dinner at the table? Restaurants and cafes are generally kid-friendly and offer children’s menus. You can even go to a pub for a more local experience. And don’t miss fish and chips from the harbourside: a kid favourite. Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.
Speaking of local...get a taste of the sea--literally--with a bucketful of oysters. Satisfy your craving for meat with milk-fed lamb. Don’t forget to ask for wine recommendations!
Wherever you go, you can bask in the beauty of nature. In Hobart and the surrounding areas, you can take languid walks in the shadows of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. If you need to burn extra energy, go mountain biking or engage the little ones in a winter snowball fight. Bury your toes in the sand in the gorgeous beaches in the east, and when you’re ready to cool off, dive into the water or go kayaking. This is also the place to spot the renowned Tasmanian Devil and the oh-so-cute penguins of Bicheno.
Tassie may have its wild side, but it’s also teeming with unparalleled attractions for kids. You don’t have to venture far from Hobart to delight them with seal and dolphin-spotting as you cruise along the coastline. Give them the afternoon to kayak as much as they want near the harbour. Alternatively, you and your family can hit the bike and hike trails. Image thanks toTourism Tasmania & Joe Shemesh.
Visit wildlife parks and zoos to observe delicate seahorses, sea dragons, kangaroos, koalas, monkeys, echidnae, platypus, wombats, and of course, the Tasmanian Devil. Give your mini-mes the experience of a lifetime by watching feeding sessions carried out by zoo keepers.
Spend a day at the Cataract Gorge Reserve, where you can have a barbie (not the doll for little girls--in Oz, this is what we call a barbeque!) whilst taking in the lush scenery. You might even be able to spot the odd peacock or wallaby. Spice things up a bit by taking the longest single-span chairlift in the world--the Launceston Cataract Gorge & First Basin Chairlift--the Reserve’s most popular attraction. Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.
Tassie is steeped in history, and you might want to take this opportunity to share this with your kids. Talk about how the geological formations came to be. Tell the story of our how our nation started as a penal colony and the interaction between the European settlers and the natives. While they may have some knowledge of this, actually being in Tasmania will truly make the stories come alive.
Are you a bargain hunter? Then you’re in the right place! Tassie is a bargain hunter’s paradise. Get your haggling game on and visit artisanal shops, antique stores, street markets, and country shows. While younger kids may not be shopaholics yet, they will have a blast at the street markets with all the sights and sounds. The buskers in particular will entertain them with all manners of performances.
Getting to Tasmania is easy. You’ve got two options: by plane or by boat.
If you prefer travelling by plane, there are regular direct flights from Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney to Hobart and Launceston. There is also a direct flight from Adelaide to Hobart. Alternatively, you can fly from Melbourne to Burnie and Devonport.
Are you feeling more adventurous? Do you want more flexibility? Then the boat route is for you. Go from Melbourne to Devonport via the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry. They operate 6 times a week and the trip takes just under 10 hours. The perks of arriving by ferry? You can take your car with you. This allows you to bring more luggage than airlines allow, and your family has the freedom to explore Tassie on your own. Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania & Melinda Ta.
If you have your car or campervan, you’re all set. Alternatively, rent a car. Choose your own adventure, and go your merry way.
Are your children a handful? Do you want to lessen the load of keeping an eye on them all the time? Take your pick of Tassie’s accommodating travel companies. They will make all the arrangements, so that you can focus on the important thing: enjoying your vacation with the family.
Do you want everything spick-and-span with all the works? Chain hotels thrive here. Take things up a notch, and stay at a high-end resort. Looking for something more unique? Boutique hotels will have your room (or two) of choice. If you’re training your kids to be future backpackers, book rooms at hostels--with a low crime rate, even budget accommodation is pretty safe here in Tas. Motels are a budget-friendly alternative. If you’ve got a campervan, tourist parks are the best option. B&Bs, however, are not necessarily child-friendly, so check in advance.
Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy.
Tassie features a relatively cool climate, so the best time to visit is January to April if you prefer warmer days. However, even if you’re visiting in summer, pack some warm clothing since Tasmania’s weather can change at a moment’s notice.
If you’re crossing Bass Strait via the Melbourne-Devonport route, there are chances of encountering rough waters, so prepare yourself for that possibility.
Insider tip: when you get off the ferry, stop by the Elizabeth Town Bakery Café, which is about 25 minutes south of Devonport.