Australia’s island state of exquisite wilderness, amazing creatures and craft breweries is an excellent place to cruise to, replacing the usual tropical beach scenes with a bit of adventure and fantastic sightseeing. From interesting city hotspots to stunning natural sights, Tasmania has something to entice any holidaymaker, and never fear - there are beaches here, too. With so many options, you’ll want to go into your cruise to Tasmania well prepared. To that end, we have compiled a quick guide to the island’s various ports and what to expect when you get onshore.
Tasmania is an island state of Australia, a triangle-shaped land mass hanging off the country’s southeast corner. It covers 68,000 square kilometres, of which more than 40 percent consists of protected wilderness. Hobart is the state capital and largest city, sprawling around the mouth of the River Derwent in the shadow of Mount Wellington, and it is home to myriad urban attractions. History buffs will enjoy the prison ruins at Port Arthur, and there are plenty of beautiful natural spots to explore too - including the simply stunning Wineglass Bay.
Small but spectacular Tasmania has a bit of something for any cruiser. It’s not your typical palm trees and turquoise lagoons cruise destinations, but beyond a rugged appearance, this place packs a real punch. It’s especially good for those cruisers who like to get onshore and get moving, and its relatively small size means you can enjoy a different place every day with no sea days in between.
What to do onshore during your cruise to Tasmania? It’s a question with many answers - from hiking to sunbathing to visiting microbreweries. If your ship stops at Port Arthur, a visit to the historical site is a must-do, as it is the country’s best preserved penal colony with a rich heritage and some fascinating collections. There are also stories of hauntings to fascinate anyone with an interest in the supernatural! Should you be in port during Hobart’s famous Salamanca Market on Saturdays, you should definitely call in and browse the stalls and food options. The city has a range of different sights, sounds and tastes, and a highlights tour (offered by most cruise lines and other onshore providers) is a great way to take it all in.
In Burnie, you can get onboard a shore tour to Cradle Mountain National Park to experience some of the island’s famed wilderness and feast your eyes upon the reflection of rugged mountains in the tranquil Dove Lake. Alternatively, stick around in town and sample the flavours of the small city which include great local cheeses and honey.
Freycinet National Park, home to the gorgeous white crescent of Wineglass Bay, is a favourite Tasmanian destination for scenic cruising, which is included in some itineraries. From the ship you can enjoy the stunning crescent of white sand that has a name with gruesome origins - once home to a whaling station, it would occasionally appear as red as a glass of merlot with the blood of the big marine mammals. Don’t forget a camera for some epic cruise photos.
Tasmania’s abundant fresh produce has seen the state grow quite a foodie reputation in recent years, and you’ll find all manner of delicious things to eat onshore - particularly in metropolitan Hobart. The Blue Eye Seafood Restaurant is a great place to sample the day’s catch. Specialties local to the island include wild abalone, salmon, leatherwood honey, various cheeses, black truffles and antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef.
Cruisers who like a tipple are in luck. Hobart has quite a few microbreweries producing beers like the well-known Boags and Cascade, along with a few distilleries producing single malt whiskeys with Tasmania’s pure water. There are often tours on offer which take in a few of these, a great way to spend a day in the city. The northern part of the island is all about the wines, particularly the Tamar Valley region near Launceston which is replete with cellar doors for sipping.
Should the treats found onshore not be to your liking, the food onboard the ship is guaranteed to please.
Tasmania’s currency is of course the same as mainland Australia - the good old Australian Dollar. Cruises to the island generally depart from mainland Aussie ports, so foreign travellers should have no troubles getting their hands on some cash pre-cruise (there are no cruises departing Tasmania itself) - and Tasmania’s cities will have banks and ATMs aplenty.
The climate of Tasmania has four distinct seasons, with warm but mild summers and cold winters with snow in some places. Prepare for warm and cold whatever the season, with sunblock and plenty of layers in case it gets chilly. The island also gets quite a bit of rain, so pack a waterproof jacket in your cruise suitcase.
Culture-wise, Tasmania is very similar to the rest of Australia - relaxed! English is spoken, and most people will dress very casually - with a lot of outdoorsy outfits where necessary. Nudity on beaches is not the custom, but bikinis and speedos are acceptable. English is the language spoken all throughout Tasmania, peppered with Aussie slang such as “thongs” meaning flip flops and the many words ending in “o” such as “arvo” (afternoon), “bottle-o” (liquor store), “drongo” (idiot) and more.
Tasmania is well known for its marsupial mascot - the Tasmanian Devil. The character Taz in Looney Tunes is one of these unique critters. There are several parks and sanctuaries around the island where you can see one up close, and perhaps even get a photo to add to your albums.
Tasmania offers a unique and exciting cruise experience, so check out our affordable Australia cruises and consider a southern sojourn for your next getaway!