When visiting Tasmania, the city of Hobart is a natural place to visit. As one of Australia’s most underrated cities, Hobart is sleepy in nature which blends perfectly with the cultural and culinary draws it has. But Tasmania is so much more than just one city and you shouldn’t go all that way there only to miss some totally incredible places. But don’t worry, the best day trips from Hobart won’t disappoint. Many of the best places to visit in Tasmania are found right around Hobart.
How to Get Around
Although many of these day trips can be undertaken with public transport, consider renting a car for the day to give yourself more flexibility and independence. Your own four wheels allow you to be in control of your time and schedule, and depending on how many people are in your group, renting a car might even work out cheaper than other forms of transportation. You can compare car rental deals and find the cheapest prices at Rentalcars.com, an aggregation site that searches and displays prices and availability from hundreds of car rental companies so that you can be sure of getting the best possible car for your budget.
Don’t want to drive or deal with the hassle of public transport? No worries, we’ve listed the best tour for each day trip (where available).
1. Port Arthur
Home to Australia’s most well-known convict settlement, the town of Port Arthur is one of the best Hobart day trips. Situated out on the Tasman Peninsula, the main attraction is the Port Arthur Historic Site. On your visit you can learn about Australia’s convict history as you walk past historic buildings, ruins, and gardens of this former penal colony. You can also hear what life was like for prisoners on a guided tour, and discover more of the city’s past in the interactive exhibits and displays at the Port Arthur Gallery. Don’t miss the harbor cruise which allows you to see Port Arthur from a fresh perspective, as well as spy the graves over on the Isle of the Dead.
Getting there: Port Arthur is a 1 hour 20 minute drive from Hobart, with a guided tour you’re only other option to get there.
2. Mount Wellington
Looming over Hobart, quite hard to miss, is Mount Wellington – one of the best places to visit from Hobart. On a trip up Mount Wellington, also known by its indigenous name Kunanyi, you’ll be visiting the highest summit of the Wellington mountain range. At the top of the mountain lies the pinnacle observation shelter. On a good day, the shelter offers an exceptional panoramic view of Hobart. Down from the summit you’ll find bushwalking trails that can take you through a series of different environments, from rainforest to alpine terrain. It’s even possible to find snow on Mount Wellington in the winter.
Getting there: Just a short trip from Hobart’s city center, the top of Mt Wellington is just a 20 minute drive by car or public bus. Alternatively, you could do the 2 ½ – 3 hour hike up, or visit as part of an organized tour of places around Hobart.
3. Bruny Island
One of the best things to see in Tasmania outside of Hobart is Bruny Island in Storm Bay. Visiting this large island is a lot of fun for those after nature and scenery thanks to Bruny Island’s wildlife and raw landscapes. On the island you might spot seals, echidnas, or even white wallabies. There are also plenty of picturesque places to explore, chief among them the narrow isthmus that connects North and South Bruny called The Neck. Then there are the impressive cliffs and beautiful beaches of South Bruny National Park, not to mention the lookouts at Adventure Bay and Cape Bruny. Visiting Cape Bruny is especially memorable as it’s there you’ll find the island’s lighthouse, which you can take a tour of.
Getting there: To reach Bruny Island from Hobart, first drive 30 minutes to Kettering to catch the hourly ferry over to the island. Without a car, your only choice is to go with a guided tour.
4. Freycinet National Park
Given the chance, you can’t pass up a visit to Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay on Tasmania’s east coast. Freycinet National Park is one of the most captivating day tours from Hobart thanks to its superb scenery and delicious seafood. The most famous attraction there is Wineglass Bay Lookout, from where you can see the Wineglass Bay Beach and Hazards Beach on either side of the narrow peninsula. Walking along other trails in the national park you’ll find quiet bays, gorgeous sand beaches, and unusual pink granite peaks on top of the Hazards mountains range. Round out your day with some tasty local seafood in nearby towns like Swansea just across Great Oyster Bay from Freycinet.
Getting there: Driving from Hobart to Freycinet National Park will take around 2 ¾ hours, with a guided tour the only other way to make the day trip.
5. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
If seeing local wildlife is high on your agenda when visiting Australia, consider a trip to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Not far from the center of Hobart, this excellent wildlife sanctuary gives you the chance to see a whole host of local critters and even get up close with a select few. Native animals that call the sanctuary home include wombats, koalas, sugar gliders, quolls, and perhaps most notably – Tasmanian devils. With your paid entry to the sanctuary you also get a guided tour which will help you learn more about these animals. What’s more, you get to hand feed the Forester kangaroos which freely roam the reserve.
Getting there: It’s actually possible to reach Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary from Hobart city center by taking two buses, on a trip totaling 1 hour 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can make the 25 minute drive yourself or visit with an organized tour.
6. Hastings Caves
Not all of Tasmania’s natural wonders are necessarily found on its surface, as the incredible Hastings Caves proves. Underneath the forest and ferns of Hastings Caves State Reserve in southern Tasmania lies a wonderful complex of caves well worth seeing in person. The Hastings Caves include Newdegate Cave which is the largest dolomite cave in the country and is full of fascinating formations like flowstone, stalactites, stalagmites, and helictites. Other than taking a guided tour through the caves, Hastings Caves also boasts its own thermal springs which feed a thermal swimming pool. The pool’s water is not exactly hot, at 28°C, but it’s still enjoyable thanks to the nice forest surroundings and useful picnic and barbecue facilities.
Getting there: To visit Hastings Caves from Hobart is a roughly 1 hour 45 minute drive.
7. Mount Field National Park
To see why Tasmania’s nature is so fondly talked about, make the best side trip from Hobart to Mount Field National Park. This national park is one of the few accessible places in the state’s wild south-west, but it still has everything you could want. Russell Falls is a three-tier waterfall and the park’s most iconic attraction. Next, take the Tall Trees Walk to see the giant swamp gum trees, which, at 30 meters tall, are the world’s tallest flowering plant. While these sights are surrounded by primeval rainforest and ferns, you’ll find a far more alpine environment over at Lake Dobson. There you’ll find more hiking trails during the warmer months, but come winter, it’s known for its ski slopes.
Getting there: To drive from Hobart to Mount Field National Park takes close to an hour, while a guided tour is another way to go if you don’t have a car.
For a calmer day away from Hobart, seek out the colonial town of Richmond, just north of the city. The town was settled in the 1820s, making it quite an early settlement by Australian standards and that old-time character lingers to this day. Throughout Richmond you can find many historic buildings and structures, including many that date from the Georgian era. Richmond’s most famous landmark is the Richmond Bridge, the oldest bridge still in use in Australia. Other places with the “oldest” honors include the colonial Gaol and the Catholic Church. The rest of your time in town can be spent admiring quaint cottages or learning about colonial life at the Hobart Town Historical Model Village.
Getting there: Buses go every few hours from Hobart to Richmond, and the journey takes just 25 minutes. Otherwise you can drive or go with a guided tour and visit other places on the way.
Another town near Hobart overflowing with colonial character is Bothwell which is up near Tasmania’s Central Highlands. Bothwell is another town settled in the 1820s and still proudly bears that history. In fact, there are more than 50 heritage-listed buildings in and around Bothwell that bear architectural and historical significance. If you’re interested in golf at all, you’ll find one of Australia’s oldest golf courses at the Ratho Farm Golf Links. The town even has its own golf museum. There are also several whisky distilleries surrounding Bothwell, where you can experience the island’s fondness for the spirit.
Getting there: Bothwell is an hours drive from Hobart and beyond the range of public transportation.
10. Huon Valley
In terms of variety, there are few regions around Hobart better to visit than the Huon Valley. Following the Huon River southwest of Hobart, this valley combines river scenery, fresh produce, and captivating landscapes. Among its many destinations, one not to miss is the Tahune Forest Airwalk that takes you through the tree canopy. Then there are the nearby suspension bridges that allow you to walk out over the Huon and Picton Rivers, while there are also trails across the forest floor. The region is also known for its many apple orchards, which are particularly worth a visit if you like apple cider. Otherwise, just take a drive along the Huon Highway and admire the beautiful scenery as the Huon River flows out into Sunken Rock Bay.
Getting there: Only certain parts of the Huon Valley, like Franklin, are accessible by bus from Hobart, with the trip taking around an hour. To really see the valley though you’ll need your own wheels.
These are just some of the day trips possible when you’re visiting Hobart. Clearly, you have plenty to look forward to when visiting this enchanting corner of Australia.