No matter what type of getaway you need, you'll find it in Tasmania – from wild adventures to peaceful and private places to unwind.
For truffles: Stillwater Seven Truffle Experience
When Craig Will moved back to his hometown of Launceston in 2008, one of the first things he did was visit Marcus Jessup, the manager of Tamar Valley Truffles.
Jessup was then a fledgling Perigord truffle producer awaiting his first harvest. Will was about to become executive chef and part owner of two of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants — Black Cow Bistro and Stillwater. For the farmer and the chef, it was a match made in culinary heaven. Since that first harvest, says Will, “I’ve been using his truffles every year.”
Now winter-time guests at Stillwater’s seven-room boutique hotel, Stillwater Seven, can indulge their love of the delicacy in Every Day I’m Trufflin’, a three-night package that promises, among a raft of other delights, truffles from frosty sunrise (freshly shaved over scrambled eggs at breakfast in bed) to toasty bedtime with truffle-inspired dinners at Stillwater and Black Cow Bistro. True enthusiasts also have the option of visiting Jessup’s farm and a Tamar Valley winery.
It’s a small window of opportunity. The season, which is dependent on dry summers and frosty autumns (not to mention well-trained detection dogs), only runs for three months at most. “People are interested in truffles and their origins,” says Will, who’s joined guests to hunt for the elusive fungus. “They’re not your everyday item.” And Stillwater Seven is not your everyday hotel.
The property’s architect-designed rooms are housed in an 1830s flour mill with waterfront views. Plus, there are two other new packages available. If truffles aren’t your thing, have some “me” time with two nights in a luxury suite, sparkling wine (plus a masterclass if you want to pretend your interest is academic), brekkie in bed and a facial. The hotel also has a six-night Best of Both Worlds experience
incorporating three nights at Stillwater Seven and three at King Island’s Kittawa Lodge, a short flight away.
For walking: East Coast and Central Highlands
Exploring nature by foot can be invigorating on its own but Tasmanian Walking Company is going a step further with the launch of three themed walks.
At scheduled times during the year or by request, Tasmanian Walking Company’s dedicated mindfulness walks are centred around the idea of “restoring stillness within” and giving guests a deeper connection to place. Led by an experienced practitioner, the four-day Three Capes Lodge Walk includes regular yoga, mindfulness sessions and daily meditation. Accommodation is an exclusive stay at the company’s Cape Pillar and Crescent Lodge with the very best of Tassie wine to sip at the end of each day.
The island state is home to bird species that can’t be found anywhere else and it helps if you’re guided by someone who knows where to look for them. The company runs several birdfocused walks and photography groups around The Bay of Fires and Bruny Island – with the latter including stays at the off-grid Mt Mangana luxury camp site where you’ll replenish your supplies with Bruny produce, including fresh seafood, cheese and wine. If you’re lucky, your lens will capture one of the island’s true rarities, like the tiny forty-spotted pardalote.
For anyone stuck at a desk all day, just spending time in the wilderness breathing in the sweet smell of eucalypt and feeling the crunch of leaf matter underfoot is adventure in itself. But upgrading your walk to a run or mountain climb is exhilaration on another level. These tours – whether it’s hot-footing it down Kunanyi/Mt Wellington or scaling Cradle Mountain – are for those who like their getaways with a shot of adrenaline. The Bruny Island Trail Run includes a downhill sprint from the summit of Kunanyi/Mt Wellington followed by multikilometre dashes along Bruny Island’s Cape Queen Elizabeth and Labillardiere Peninsula, powered by delicious fuel such as freshly shucked Bruny oysters.
For a boutique apartment: The Ship Inn
The Ship Inn is so good at little luxuries and special touches that people visit Stanley, on the island’s north-west coast, expressly for the purpose of staying at the boutique hotel. Now its new Van Diemen’s Apartment, an elegant hideaway on the property’s second storey, is giving guests another reason to return.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Marnie Hawson.
The interior is painted the colour of a stormy sea, augmented with carefully selected wooden and ceramic curios, and the room looks out to The Nut, the stout rock formation that juts into Bass Strait. It’s a cosy place for two to warm up by a fire before adventuring in the nearby Tarkine Wilderness or simply wandering the town’s cafés, restaurants and stores, such as Tasmanian Wine and Food (2 Church Street; 0411 283 489) and The Angel’s Share whisky emporium.
For a family cultural experience: MONA
It’s fair to say that MONA, the wildly subversive art museum on a bank of the Derwent, wasn’t conceived with kids in mind.
But why not? David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art has just the kind of installations that children – young and old – thrill at, from the famous Cloaca (Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s intricately designed poo machine; pictured above) to a waterfall of words commonly searched on Google (German artist Julius Popp’s Bit.fall).
Okay, there are some highly sexualised and sometimes confronting artworks but small children are easily distracted. And a day at MONA is an opportunity to push the boundaries of what art “should be”. In the nine months that the museum closed during the pandemic, the art was reassessed and rehung, allowing for new works to come into the collection and old favourites to return. But for families, the biggest changes are outside the building. American artist Tom Otterness’s enormous bronze sculpture, Girls Rule, (pictured) is a most playful playground. And the head-spinning maze House of Mirrors, which was created by Melbourne installation artists Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney and made its debut at Dark Mofo in 2016, is now on exhibition in the grounds.
There’s also a new burger bar, Dubsy’s, which serves everything from plant-based patties to wallaby and pork. Team your burger with loaded fries and grab a beanbag in the sun.
Of course, some things never change. There’s still live music on the lawn. You can grab a glass of Moorilla wine or Moo Brew. And on the ferry back, you can again choose to sit on a sheep before bedding down at the city’s new Mövenpick Hotel. It’s culture with a side of fun.
For adventure: North-east Tasmania
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Flow Mountain Bike.
After experiencing Tasmania’s wild landscape on two wheels, recharge in a comfortable, architect-designed pod… that’s the promise of Blue Derby Pods Ride, a guided mountain-biking adventure that kicks off in Launceston and bumps along more than 100 kilometres of world-class bike trails in north-east Tasmania. Between riding and sleeping you’ll fuel up with fare prepared by your “experience leaders” and visit the sleepy town of Derby. The three-day route climbs to the Blue Tier – the highest point in the trail – for views that will take away whatever breath you have left. Or if you’re feeling gung-ho, test your limits with the four-day package that covers the renowned Bay of Fires trail. There are also opportunities to unwind if you like to take it slow. On day one, after cycling through the serene Cascade Valley and enjoying a picnic lunch, you can either get back on your bike for more or head off to your pod, nestled among tall blackwood trees. The best bit? There are only four pods, each accommodating one or two people, so you won’t see a crowd for days.
For small groups: Picnic Island
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Luke Tscharkes
Is there any greater luxury than a private island? This speck of an isle in Coles Bay, about two hours from Hobart, has unspoiled views of Freycinet National Park and the soaring Hazards mountain range. The rustic cottages are right on the water so you can wave to your neighbours – passing dolphins and fairy penguins.
For couples: King Island
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Stu Gibson
Lying between the mainland and Tasmania’s north-western tip, King Island is scenic lighthouses, picturesque shipwrecks, rolling golf courses (Cape Wickham and Ocean Duners are world class) and wildlife-spotting. But perhaps the highlight is Kittawa Lodge, a 39-hectare property with two self-contained one-bedroom cottages. Watch the wild coast beyond the windows from the freestanding bath in your ensuite, with a soundtrack of waves crashing to shore.
For spirit-lovers: Hobart
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/MACq 01 and Stu Gibson
Tasmania has built a rousing reputation for its boutique whisky and gin makers. Base yourself in Hobart to sample the wares of the best distilleries. Check in at the waterside MACq 01 Hotel (pictured at top; currently open for Friday and Saturday night stays) and sign up for a tasting tour with Drink Tasmania – just tell them how much time you have and what your poison is (gin, whisky or both) and they’ll create an itinerary for you.
For wildlife: Cradle Mountain
On the edge of the pristine Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Devils @ Cradle lets you observe one of Australia’s most mysterious creatures, the Tasmanian devil. Wander through the conservation facility at your own pace or take a guided tour. While you’re there, book a room at the nearby Cradle Mountain Lodge.
For a charming village: Strahan
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Stu Gibson
It takes effort to get to Strahan, at the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. From Hobart, it’s four-and-a-half hours by car, winding through some of the state’s national parks. But that’s precisely why this hamlet – with a harbour about six times larger than Sydney’s and a growing food and art scene – has stayed one of the Apple Isle’s best-kept secrets. Check in to Captains Rest, a quaint one-bedroom cabin at the water’s edge, and be charmed by the village once dubbed “the best little town in the world” by America’s Chicago Tribune.
For vineyard glamping: Tamar Valley
You could base yourself in Launceston and take a day tour of the scenic Tamar Valley or soak up the splendour in one of the three glamping domes at Domescapes at Swinging Gate Vineyard. Each of the geodesic domes is heated, has a king-sized bed and ensuite, plus clear panels that reveal vineyard views and the sky after dark. Don’t forget to drop in at the cellar door.
SEE ALSO: The Most Romantic Getaways in Tasmania
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania and Jason Charles Hill