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North Tasmania

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 families.

Marakoopa Caves Tasmania

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!

Tasmanian Devil

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 own pace.

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.

The Nut Chairlift

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 walking track.

Stanley Seal Cruises

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.

Birdstowe Lavender Farm

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 Hillwood Berry Farm Super Deluxe Sundae afterwards.

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