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Adventure Cruises in Tasmania
A Tasmania cruise takes guests to a remarkable and wild island off the south-east coast of Australia. Although a part of Australia, Tasmania has been detached from the continent for over 10,000 years. The island is home to around half a million people mostly of British descent and was once used extensively as a penal colony. Tasmania is a big draw for nature lovers with just under half of the island covered by national parks and wilderness heritage sites. This island is also home to the endangered Tasmanian devil which can be seen in various parts of the countryside.
Cruises to Tasmania can take visitors to some of the most remote and inaccessible parts of the island. In Tasmania small ship cruises are the norm, offering access to the land only by small tender boats. The coastline is dramatic with huge cliffs, caves and stone pillars on the south-east coast. There are also plentiful hiking trails, beaches and even a thermal spa. The weather in Tasmania is temperate, which along with the rugged wilderness make this the perfect place for an adventurous holiday.
Top things to do and see in Tasmania
More than forty per cent of Tasmania’s population live in the capital city of Hobart. Hobart is a small city which has retained its historical architecture and is home to numerous museums and historical buildings. The museums illustrate the long and often conflicted history of the island. For active travellers, the city sits in the impressive shadow of Mount Wellington which is excellent for hiking and mountain biking. For those who would rather just relax, the city is also home to plenty of laid back bars and restaurants to enjoy.
Wildlife enthusiasts might find it hard to decide where to start on a Tasmania boat cruise. If in doubt Tasman National Park is a great spot with fur seals and little penguins on the shore and dolphins and humpback whales in the ocean. Like many cruises around Australia, cruises in Tasmania take guests into all the nooks and coves with small tender boats. This gives guests the chance to get to places other visitors can’t and look for the fascinating range of land animals in the Tasman National Park. Wombats, wallabies and the iconic Tasmanian devil can all be found in this area of the wilderness.
Port Davey is one of the highlights of any Tasmania small ship cruise especially for wildlife encounters. The port and the surrounding area is part of the Tasmanian wilderness world heritage area home to one of the few remaining untouched areas of wilderness in the world. Bush walking is a very popular activity here and there are several different tracks from a few kilometers to the Port Davey trail which is 70 km long. Fishing is a popular sport in the rivers and diving and kayaking along the coast. Diving here offers the opportunity to see a range of marine life including dolphins which have an unusual brown tint due to tannin in the waters around Tasmania.
The small town of Port Arthur is situated on the Tasman peninsula and is renowned not only for its natural beauty and views but also its importance in the heritage of Australia. The remains of the Port Arthur penal colony still remain, excellently preserved and open for visitors to walk around. The history of the colony’s harsh punishments and daring escapes include a prisoner trying to escape dressed as a kangaroo. History enthusiasts shouldn’t miss this stop off on their Tasmanian cruise. Maria Island, the other convict colony is also well worth a visit, not only for the rich history of the colony but the wildlife which consists of Tasmanian Devils, wombats and kangaroos.
Included in the Tasmanian world wilderness area Bathurst Harbour is a huge bay which is almost entirely surrounded by land. This area is very sheltered from the wind and inaccessible by car making it the perfect place to explore by kayak. Watch out for the dark red colour of the water though, the natural tannin in the earth has changed the tint of the entire bay.
Those looking to explore the rugged natural beauty of Tasmania’s geology on their Australian cruise might find a stop off in Freycinet National Park very enjoyable. The park is home to several beautiful bays including Wineglass Bay, named not for its glass like shape but for the blood that stained the waters during the whaling years. The area is also home to the Hazards mountain range and plentiful wildlife including wallabies and several other marsupials.
Top Tips for visiting Tasmania on a cruise
- One of the main reasons for visiting Tasmania is the wildlife and as in other places the appearance of Tasmanian devils, wallabies and wombats can happen anytime and anyplace so be sure to have your camera at the ready.
- It is also a good idea to pack some very good walking boots and warm clothes, Tasmania is a temperate climate and the weather can be changeable.
- If you are looking to go snorkeling you might find bringing your own equipment is more comfortable and be sure to wear adequate exposure protection as the waters are a little colder here than other parts of Australia.
Best time to cruise Tasmania
The best time to take a Tasmania cruise depends somewhat on what activities you want to do and what places are on your must-see list. The weather in Tasmania is unpredictable at all times of year with strong winds one moment and beautiful warm sunshine the next. The peak months for good weather are however from December to February, this time has the best conditions for sailing and hiking but is also the busiest period of the year for tourists. If you want to visit during this period plan ahead so you can be sure of a reservation.
If deserted beaches and cool temperatures are more you thing then a Tasmania cruise in March to June is perfect and you will have a lot of the beaches and trails to yourself. The winter is much colder with snow and strong winds but still good for skiing and seeing humpback whales migrating.
Where do Tasmania cruises depart from?
Most Australia small ship cruises visiting Tasmania depart from the port of Hobart, the capital of the island. It is possible to reach Hobart by plane from Sydney and Melbourne as well as by ferry from Port of Melbourne. Visitors also have the option of flying to Launceston, Burnie and King Island and traveling onwards to Hobart from there.
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