Tasmania may be small, but it is bursting with family-friendly activities and sight. Below is a complete guide to the best things to do in Tasmania with kids, including the best places you should include on your itinerary.
Tasmania is fast becoming the must-see state in Australia, particularly with the rise of the Aussie lappers who have taken the leap to drop everything and experience life on the road.
A Tasmania family holiday is easier to plan when you know the sights and activities you want to see and do on your travels. These will generally be dependant on your timeframe in Tasmania and the ages of your children.
We have been to Tasmania twice and travelled both the east and west coast and can easily say it is one of our favourite places to explore. As we haven’t seen every corner of the state, I have asked a few fellow travellers to contribute to this article and share their recommendations.
The below list includes some of the places that I (and fellow travellers) think families would enjoy visiting on a trip to Tasmania. Continue reading to discover them all!
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Featured Image: Cradle Mountain © Laura Helle
- Getting Around Tasmania
- Travelling Tasmania with Kids
- Things to Do in Tasmania with Kids
- Have Extra Time – More Suggestions
Getting Around Tasmania
The best way to explore Tasmania is on a road trip, and the well-maintained roads around the state make travelling easy and enjoyable.
If you don’t bring your own vehicle over on the Spirit of Tasmania and choose to fly into Hobart or Launceston, there are many car hire companies available from the more well-known to the smaller companies. You can search for the best deals on Rentalcars.com.
Some car hire companies are located at the airports, and some operate a pick-up and drop-off system. We have always chosen the airport option due to sheer convenience.
Make sure you check the limitations before hiring a car, as some companies will not allow you to travel on unsealed roads, and may also have snow restrictions.
Pro Tip: Book your car in advance as this is the best way to get the car want; it saves you time and typically money.
Travelling Tasmania with Kids
Before I continue with naming the best family things to do in Tasmania, if I could offer a tip when travelling on a road trip, it would be to take your time.
Plan a Tasmania family holiday itinerary, add in some relaxation time, and enjoy the longer rest stops. Unless you have unlimited time, it is impossible to see all of Tasmania in one hit, so make the most of the places you are going to visit.
To help with your planning, don’t miss grabbing my FREE CHECKLIST BELOW with 30 hand-picked ideas to cross off your Tasmania bucket list.
Now let’s move on…
Things to Do in Tasmania with Kids
1. Cradle Mountain
If you want to experience the rugged and untamed beauty of Tasmania, then a trip to Cradle Mountain should be on the list. Cradle Mountain is renowned for its pristine beauty, natural diversity, and an abundance of wildlife.
The reason why many people travel to Cradle Mountain with kids is to visit the area that has some of the best and most beautiful walks in Tasmania.
There are many walking tracks in the Cradle Mountain area that are suitable for children, and formed wooden walkways have been created to offer access to some of the dense regions of the National Park. The tracks starting from Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge will lead you through temperate rainforests will ancient trees and diverse vegetation.
If you asked me to describe them in one word, it would be: magical.
At the foot of Cradle Mountain is the majestic Dove Lake, one of the most popular walks on the west coast of Tasmania. The six-kilometre track is not one I would recommend tackling with young children, due to the distance and some steps along the path.
Tip: If you are travelling with young children to Dove Lake, you don’t have to miss out! Take the short walk anti-clockwise around the lake to the famous Boatshed, or venture clockwise to Glacier Rock for a bird’s eye view of the area.
As far as capital cities go, Hobart is one of the most family-friendly. Where some cities are full of expensive attractions and geared towards adults, Hobart can still be enjoyed on a thrifty budget, and there are plenty of sights and kids activities in Hobart suitable for all ages.
In a city, choosing attractions can be overwhelming, and it’s essential to select sights and activities that will keep the kids interested.
The diversity of the city will take you to the summit of Mount Wellington, have you wandering the markets in Salamanca Place, and admiring the majestic Botanical Gardens.
Hobart is a destination I always recommend when asked where should we visit on a Tasmania holiday with kids?
You May Also Like: What to see in Hobart with Kids
3. Cataract Gorge
One of the best places to visit in Northern Tasmania with kids is Cataract Gorge. An urban park only 1.5 kilometres from the city of Launceston. It is here that you’ll find fabulous walking tracks, landscaped gardens, exotic and native wildlife. Many lookout points offer incredible views over Cataract Gorge with one of those being the scenic chairlift.
“The Gorges” feature is the chairlift that was built in the 1970s and spans some 457 metres across the gorge, giving visitors an elevated view of the natural basin. If heights aren’t your strong suit, take the pathway below the chairlift, which links each side of the basin.
On those warm Tasmanian days, make use of the free public swimming pool surrounded by wide open spaces perfect for a picnic on the lawn.
It’s tempting to relax on the lawns or kick back in the café or restaurant, but don’t miss the recommended walks at Cataract Gorge. Those searching for more accessible trails, wander across the Alexandra Suspension Bridge or follow Cataract Walk down along the South Esk River towards the impressive Kings Bridge.
Keep an eye out for peacocks and wallabies on the bush or garden walking trails, and if you are lucky, you may see a seal sunbaking on the rocks along Cataract Walk.
4. Bruny Island
Bec from Wyld Family Travel recommends visiting Bruny Island.
Bruny Island is one of the premier destinations in Tasmania. It is only 1 hour away from Hobart plus a short ferry ride, reaching Bruny Island is an adventure in itself. It is a pristine wilderness area that stretches into the Southern Ocean off the South Coast of Tasmania. Taking a trip to Bruny Island with kids is best-done as a camping trip staying at one of the three designated campsites near the beach.
Kids can have fun fishing, swimming, and catching the gentle waves that roll onto the Bruny Island beaches. For a bit more excitement, you can take a boat tour that crashes and bashes its way along the coastline spotting sea lions, seals, dolphins, and massive ancient rock formations. For many kids they have never seen a lighthouse in real life. Bruny Island has a working lighthouse that is only a short child-friendly walk from the car park.
On Bruny Island, there are many family-friendly walks that kids and parents will find easy to navigate. You will find the food on Bruny Island is one of the reasons people visit too. With some of the best fresh produce, seafood, and island made beverages; there is a place for everyone to stop and enjoy the food on offer. Bruny Island is a magnificent place to visit in Tasmania.
The harbourside village of Strahan draws visitors with its history and natural beauty. Two of the major attractions in Strahan are travelling by boat or train.
Cruise along the Gordon River through World Heritage wilderness learning of the history of the Macquarie Harbour along with the convict past of Sarah Island. Bookings for this tour need to be made in advance, so not to miss out!
The West Coast Wildnerness railway departs from Strahan on half or full-day return trips. Hear fascinating stories from the guides about how the classic railway line was built while taking in the scenery from the comfort of an old steam train. There are a few stops along the way, allowing you to taste local produce and see interesting sights.
If you have set your sights on visiting Strahan, I have written a detailed article on Strahan attractions, including the two I have mentioned above.
When planning your family holiday in Tasmania, you’ll want to find an excellent base for at least a couple of nights to allow for further exploring. We chose the beautiful coastal town of Bicheno, not just for its location, but also because of the family friendly activities and sights the town offers.
During the day, there is plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Take a dip in the calm waters of Waubs Bay or a picturesque stroll along the sandbar. Visit the Bicheno Blowhole and wait patiently for the tide to crash through the granite sea cave creating a geyser effect.
Be prepared to get wet if you stand too close!
After the blowhole, employ a little energy by taking the short walk to the top of Whalers Lookout for a fabulous view of Bicheno and the east coast.
At night get up close to the fairy penguins on a local tour. This tour is a highlight not only for adults but one of the best things for kids to do in Tasmania. Watch the fairy penguins arrive back to shore and scuttle up to their burrows. Make sure to book this tour in advance, so you don’t miss out!
7. Maria Island
Natalie & Steve from Curious Campers recommend visiting Maria Island.
Maria Island is just over an hour from Hobart. The ferry service runs from Triabunna. There are more regular ferry services in Summer, which is the best time to visit. Winter can be cool and windy.
One of the great things about the island is how undeveloped it is. So, be aware that you’ll have to take your food and drinks for the day. There are no playgrounds or cafes. You’ll be doing all your exploring on foot, so Maria Island is best suited to children who are up for some walking.
With that in mind, a trip to Maria Island is a wonderful adventure. The 40-minute ferry ride is a fun start. Besides its natural beauty, the island is known for its wildlife – in particular, the wombats. They’re everywhere, and they’re the cutest things ever. There are lots of kangaroos and wallabies to spot too.
The Fossil and Painted Cliffs, each a 45-minute walk from the ferry wharf but in opposite directions, are also great sights. The kids won’t believe how many fossils there are! For lunch, the beach near the wharf is a great spot to relax, play, or give your feet a rest.
8. Freycinet National Park
Stunning sandy beaches, turquoise water, pink granite peaks & breathtaking views is what you’ll find in Freycinet National Park. Home to some of the best walks, including those for all abilities. Its beauty equally matches Freycinet National Park’s dramatic landscape.
One of the must-see places in the national park with children is Cape Tourville, an easy walk suitable for strollers and wheelchairs offering incredible views toward Wineglass Bay. If you are travelling with children that may not be able to walk the iconic Wineglass Bay circuit, this is a perfect alternative.
For a swim or snorkel in quiet crystal-clear waters, visit the picturesque Honeymoon Bay. One of the most famous locations in Freycinet National Park with giant boulders sheltering swimmers from the swell of the ocean.
9. Beauty Point
Only a 40-minute drive, and one of the best day trips from Launceston is to the riverside town of Beauty Point. Originally the town was established as the first deep-water port in the area. Now the port hosts a world-class marine research facility for tropical marine organisms.
The star attractions that live on this port are Seahorses, Australian platypus and echidnas.
Seahorse World is dedicated to the conservation and breeding of seahorses as their numbers are severely impacted by wild harvesting. Visiting Seahorse World is a unique experience as you are taken “behind the scenes” on a 45-minute guided tour and given a first-hand account of how a seahorse farm works. You will learn about the seahorse lifecycle and their behaviour, while also having an opportunity to get hands-on at the end of the tour with some of the marine life you can find in the Tasmanian waters.
Next door to Seahorse World is Platypus House offering visitors the chance to learn about the platypuses and echidnas on a guided tour. It can be a rare occurrence to see both these mammals in the wild, which makes Platypus house a fascinating attraction and the only one in Tasmania where visitors can see these native Australian animals during the day in an indoor environment.
Tasmania with Kids Freebie
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Emma from Our Wayfaring Life recommends visiting Stanley.
Stanley is a small picturesque seaside town on a narrow piece of land that sticks out into the waters of Bass Strait. It is a town rich with local history and culture and stunning landscapes, beaches, and natural beauty.
The most noticeable feature on the landscape is Munatrik or the Nut, an ancient volcanic plug standing 143m high with a flat plateau at the top. A must-do in Stanley is visiting the Nut’s summit, reached by walking up a steep trail or taking the chair lift. At the top, walk the loop trail to lookouts on all sides of the plateau.
Stanley has many other family-friendly attractions. The beaches and seaside parks are fantastic for swimming, fishing, and picnicking. See the small colony of adorable little penguins when they return to their burrows at sunset. Take a stroll along Church Street, at the base of the Nut, with its beautifully maintained historical buildings, boutique stores, cafes, and the Stanley Discovery Museum. If you’re looking for adventure and have a 4WD, check out the East Inlet on to Sawyers Bay at Gulliver’s Rest. At low tide, you can enjoy four-wheel driving on the sand flats while in the shallows, enjoy a swim, or try your luck fishing.
The best time to visit is the summer months when the weather is warmer, and it rains less. On the North-West Coast of Tasmania, Stanley is a 1-hour drive from Devonport and 45 minutes from the Tarkine Drive.
11. Port Arthur
A one-hour drive to the Tasman Peninsula is where you can take a step back in time and wander the expansive grounds of the Port Arthur historic site. Even if you are not a history buff, you will leave with a new-found knowledge of the people connected to Port Arthur and an appreciation for how well the story is shared.
What I found surprising is despite the hardship and sadness that has washed over the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur during the convict era plus present times, it also has an extreme sense of beauty. Heritage buildings and ruins are surrounded by landscaped grounds and gardens looking out onto the magnificent harbour.
You will need ample time to make your way around the Port Arthur site, which why the site entry ticket gives you two consecutive days to explore. The inclusions with the tickets are a 40-minute guided walking tour, 25-minute Harbour Cruise, access to all the buildings and ruins, plus entry into the Port Arthur Gallery. Skip the line and book your tickets here.
If you have the courage, return after dark for the Port Arthur ghost tour. With a 47-year history as a penal settlement and over 1000 deaths, you may find yourself witnessing paranormal activity.
There are many small towns in Tasmania that are perfect for visiting with kids, and one of those that spring to mind is Richmond. Only a 20-minute drive from Hobart, the nineteenth-century streets are filled with Georgian buildings that have been restored into cafes, restaurants, and galleries.
One of those shops and most well known in Richmond is Sweets and Treats “lolly shop.” Based on the old-fashioned style candy shops and milk bars, their selection of sweets is diverse. Chances are you will find your favourite treat from your youth in this store and the popular ones from today.
Once the sugar rush from the lollies, sweet drinks or ice creams hits, take a wander around the historic town, the Richmond Bridge is a popular attraction in this town, and I know you may be thinking what is unique about a bridge? Well, Richmond Bridge lays claim to being the oldest existing stone arch bridge in Australia. Built by convict labourers, the Richmond Bridge was opened in 1825, and after nearly 200 years, it has required minimal maintenance.
The nearby Richmond Gaol shares fascinating and brutal stories of the men and women imprisoned over time. Visitors can enter the original gaol and conduct a self-guided tour of the solitary confinement cells, holding rooms, punishment cells, flogging yard, and cookhouse. Many original items used in gaol, including whips, handcuffs, and even an original oven, remain on display.
Have Extra Time – More Suggestions
I hope the above list helps with building your kid friendly Tasmania holiday. If you find yourself with more time, then some of the other things to do in Tasmania with kids that receive positive reviews are as follows:
- Visit the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
- Go waterfall chasing
- Swim in the Bay of Fires Conservation Area
- Explore Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs
- See the magical world of Tasmazia
- Visit a delightful lavender farm
Share in the Comments. What is going to be on your Tasmania with Kids Itinerary?
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