5 secrets spots in northern Tassie
Searching for Tasmania's hidden tourist gems, Holidays with Kids writer Jennifer Ennion hits the road to discover the best for families in Tasmania's north.
If you've taken the kids to Hobart more times
than you can remember, ticked off Port Arthur and even made it to Bruny Island,
then it's time to pack up the family and head further afield, to Tasmania's north.
Hit the road in Launceston for a journey through sprawling countryside,
host to lavender fields and strawberry farms; call into wildlife parks and meet
local furry friends; ride a chairlift to Stanley's famous landmark, 'The Nut';
and hop aboard a boat tour to an Australian fur seal colony. There is plenty to
do in Tassie’s remote crown and here are the top five essential activities for
1. Marakoopa Cave
Let yourself be whisked away to another world as glow worms light up
the darkness around you in an underground limestone cave. Marakoopa Cave,
in Mole Creek Karst National Park
, is a great place to experience the beauty
of these not-so-creepy-crawlies, as well as sparkling stalactites, stalagmites,
limestone ‘straws’ and impressive ‘curtains’.
There are also two underground
streams, so wear comfortable enclosed shoes and a jacket, as it can get cold
and wet. The sparkling crystals, reflection pools and trickling water will have
all ages mesmerised by the underground magic. There's a ticket office not far
from the cave entrance - be sure to check tour times!
2. Trowunna Wildlife Park
If you've never seen a Tassie devil, make a beeline for
Trowunna Wildlife Park
at Mole Creek. The noun ‘trowunna’ means “heart-shaped island home” and the
privately owned park lays claim to the title of Australia's largest and
longest-running devil conservation and breeding programme. Opened in 1979,
the park is set on a 26-hectare property and you're encouraged to throw down
a picnic rug and stay awhile, join a tour of the grounds or plod along at your
Along with the devils, you can expect to see wombats, spotted-tail and
eastern quolls, masked owls, Bennetts wallabies, Tasmanian tree skinks and
yellow-throated honeyeaters, along with injured and orphaned wildlife, such
as possums. A crowd pleaser for everyone in the family is sure to be the baby
wombat meet and greet.
3. The Nut Chairlift
Hop aboard a chairlift and head high above the fishing village of Stanley
for a self-guided tour of 'The Nut' – the town's iconic landmark. The Nut is
a rock outcrop that rises 152 metres and offers beautiful views of the town
and surrounding beaches, coastline and the Bass Strait. It gets windy, so hold
onto your hats as you follow the paths to various lookouts. You can catch the
chairlift back down or stretch your legs even more by following the wending
4. Stanley Seal Cruises
Once you've explored The Nut, head to nearby Fisherman's Dock, where you can
join Stanley Seal Cruises for a small boat tour to an Australian fur seal colony.
The tours run for 75 minutes, allowing passengers plenty of time to watch the
seals frolicking in the water and lazily sunbathing atop Bull Rock, not far
from shore - again, don't forget to plan your tour time.
5. Lavender and Strawberry fields
The fields are alive in Tassie’s north: with lavender and strawberries! London
perfumer CK Denny migrated to Tasmania
in 1921 with nothing but a packet of French Alps lavender seeds in his pocket,
and today, we have the picturesque (and very violet)
Bridestowe Lavender Estate.
Wander through the purple fields, enjoy local delicacies at the onsite cafe and
buy some lavender oil (or a lavender Bobbie bear) on your way out. Or, if you
like your farms more ‘paddock to plate’, then don’t miss the family-run Hillwood
Berry Farm in the heart of scenic Tamar Valley. Strawberries, blackberries,
loganberries, raspberries... the farm is a practically mixed berry smoothie
and the kids will delight in picking their own – and indulging in the famous
Farm Super Deluxe Sundae afterwards.