With a young family biting at my ankles, what I now consider fun and exciting while I’m travelling has changed dramatically – I’m talking easy drives, comfortable lodgings and lots of outdoor roaming to burn off energy. I’ve visited Tasmania for the best part of my life, traversing from coast to coast more times than I can count, revelling in the quiet and the remoteness of it all. Now, with the kids there to break the silence, there’s a whole new island perspective to discover.
From north to south, east to west families can enjoy short distances from one beautiful landscape to the next, fresh healthy food and fantastic accommodation options from camping to apartments. Add to that exciting tours like Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, bushwalking around Cradle Mountain and the new Three Capes Track, there's a wild side to Tassie for families to explore.
Wilderness and the Water
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys give you the chance to explore Tasmania’s rugged southern coastline on one of six incredible journeys. My pick is the Bruny Island tour – you can either jump on the bus from Hobart, or self-drive to the sleepy town of Kettering to catch the ferry to Bruny Island and meet the boat at Pennicott’s headquarters on the island. Each boat has been custom made to be safe and comfortable, showcasing the raw environment you’re travelling into. After being decked out in wet weather gear (yes you’ll probably get wet, and yes you’ll love it!), the boat ventures down into the Southern Ocean in search of seals, sea birds and soaring cliffs.
Wildlife and Mountains
In the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area of Cradle Mt Lake St Clair National Park, you and the kids will breathe in some of the freshest air on the planet and leave craving more. Check in to the spa family cabins at Cradle Mountain Lodge, complete with a hot tub on the deck overlooking the King Billy and Pencil Pine forests. There are loads of walking options here – from easy tracks suitable to take toddlers or babies in carriers, through to the summit of Cradle Mountain and the Overland Track for the more experienced walking families. Head over to Devils @ Cradle daily at 5:30pm to see Tasmanian devils enjoy their dinner (or in the case of these nocturnal animals, their breakfast!).
The Three Capes
The freshly minted Three Capes Track started welcoming walkers at the start of 2016, showing off dramatic coastline views down the rugged south east coast of the state. While I wouldn’t be taking a toddler on the four day, three night trip, it’s gentle and suitable for most kids, as long as they’re good walkers and sleepers – each night is spent in well designed shared cabins so a sleep-challenged child could get a bit tricky! The 46km cliff-hugging track has been designed to ignite the senses – breathe in the sea salt spray, witness sunrises and sunsets like you’ve never seen before and stop to enjoy the sculptural artwork along the route. It’s an incredible way to help kids develop their own sense of what wilderness means.
Farm Animals Galore
At the other end of the scale younger travellers will love the Peter Rabbit Garden at Riversdale Estate where they can live out an episode of the bunny drama (and Mum and Dad can enjoy a glass of wine) and the Coal River Farm to pick fruit and vegetables and get to the know the chickens and other farm animals.
Whatever the age, whatever the stage, a family trip to Tasmania will be as wild as you want to make it.