Southern Tasmania is a melting pot of must-visit natural and man-made attractions. Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, is located in Southern Tasmania along the banks of the scenic Derwent River. Zooming out on the map shrinks Hobart’s surrounding suburbs and blends into rolling countryside, historic towns, carefully maintained national parks and wild, protected forests.
An hour’s drive in any direction from Hobart results in vastly different landscapes. The gems of Southern Tasmania are best discovered by car, light aircraft or helicopter, however the best way to experience everything the region has to offer is by car. Crisscrossing roads and national highways are clearly signposted.
Places of Interest In Southern Tasmania
Beaches, valleys, mountains, vineyards, wilderness heritage areas, world-class art galleries and famous convict sites are all within easy reach in Southern Tasmania.
Hobart features many landmarks of the early colonial era: Battery Point, Salamanca Place (the venue of Salamanca Market on Saturday mornings), the Royal Botanical Gardens and dozens of colonial buildings. Hobart’s waterfront is the home to cafes, art galleries and exciting nightlife.
Mt. Wellington provides a picture perfect backdrop to Greater Hobart and is only a short drive away from the CBD. Visitors can either drive to the top of the mountain via Pinnacle Road, or take a regular shuttle bus to the summit. At the foot of Mt. Wellington lies the carefully maintained ruins of the colonial-era female prison, the notorious Cascade ‘Female Factory’.
The Museum of Old and New Art (known as ‘MONA’) is located in Berriedale, a suburb to the north of Hobart. MONA is a world-renowned modern art gallery and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe every year.
Thirty minutes from Hobart by car is the town of Richmond, a historic town famous for colonial buildings, convict structures and period antique and lolly shops. Noteable places to visit in Richmond are St. John’s Church, (Australia’s oldest church), the Richmond Bridge, old Richmond Gaol and the Old Hobart Town Model Village.
Driving a little further past Richmond brings visitors to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Brighton where Tasmanian wildlife, like wallabies, wombats, Tasmania Devils and Wedge-tailed Eagls can be photographed.
The bustling town of Sorell lies east of Hobart on the Tasman Highway (A3). Sorell is famous for farm produce and antique shops. Noteable places to see at Sorell are St. George’s Church and the Sorrell Barracks (now tourist accommodation).
The Arthur Highway (A9) from Sorell leads to the Tasman Peninsula and the Port Arthur Historic Site, the largest and most notorious colonial convict settlement in Australia. Visitors to the historic site can choose to walk around the site on their own or enjoy a compelling guided tour or cruise of the settlement.
On the way to Port Arthur is Eaglehawk Neck, where natural wonders like the Tasman Arch, Tessellated Pavements, Devil’s Kitchen and Blowhole are located. Man-made convict attractions like the Dogline and Officer’s Quarters are waiting to be explored.
To the North of Hobart is the rolling Derwent Valley which is home to historic towns and rolling country-side and is a perfect destination for wine tours. New Norfolk is the ‘capital’ of the Derwent Valley and acts as a commercial hub for the surrounding community. Other towns and hamlets are Ellendale, Hamilton and Ouse. Notable attractions in the Derwent Valley include the old Willow Court Asylum, The Salmon Ponds Heritage Hatchery and Mt. Field National Park.
Heading South from Hobart along the ‘Southern Outlet’ highway brings visitors to the Huon Valley. Huonville is the unofficial ‘capital’ of the region and much like New Norfolk, acts as the commercial hub for surrounding towns and hamlets. The main attractions of this region are the Huon River, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, the Tahune Forest AirWalk and the Hartz Mountains National Park.