Insider tips: How to do Tasmania like a local

The locals recommend the following places for a true Tassie experience.

Insider tips: How to do Tasmania like a local

Tasmania may be small but it’s big on natural beauty, tourist attractions and things to see and do. That’s why it regularly tops baby boomer travel wish lists. You’ve all heard of or visited Port Arthur, MONA, Wineglass Bay and Freycinet, but the locals recommend the following places for a true Tassie experience.

Spiky Bridge

Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

Built by convicts in 1843 using field stones laid without mortar, Spiky Bridge is a distinctive colonial construction with a colourful, if somewhat, enigmatic history.

Legend has it that the bridge was built after Edward Shaw, who at the time was lobbying for improvements to the roads between Swansea and Little Swanport, took the local superintendent on a hazardous high-speed ride to highlight the dodgy surfaces in the region. According to Ancient Origins: “Needless to say, the bridge was erected shortly after.”

There’s also a mystery about the reason for the spiky stones on the bridge. Some say it was to prevent cattle from falling off, others say it was to stop humans from jumping off. Our favourite explanation is that the convicts stuck the rocks in the wrong way as a bit of a ‘stuff you’ to their supervisor.

Either way, it looks quirky and cool and, being situated just opposite Great Oyster Bay, it provides stunning foreground views for the Freycinet National Park mountains in the background.

Dip Falls

Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Jason Charles Hill

This two-tiered waterfall is one of the most beautiful in the state and while the falls retain water all year round, the best time to visit is in winter after a big rain, when raging torrents gush over the unique cubic-basalt formed rocks of the Dip River.

A short walk from the car park will take you to a platform with unsurpassed views over the top of the falls, or you could take the path that leads down to the base of the falls and its unique rock formations. A fine-minute walk will also get you to the Big Tree – famous flora with a base nearly 17m in diameter and definitely worth a look.

Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Jason Charles Hill

Dip Falls is between Stanley and Wynyard in Tasmania's North West, 27km up a quiet and mostly sealed road that passes through pleasant countryside.

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    6th Apr 2019
    9:45am
    Saw Dip Falls in the North West and the big tree last year. Very nice. You missed the tree fern walk not too far from Smithton. That's at least as good as the big tree. Better actually. Never seen so many huge tree ferns in one place in my life.
    Tassie is a jewel and hopefully Taswegians keep out those who will happily destroy what they have. Anybody who has not been there should go. Recommended.
    Janus
    6th Apr 2019
    10:23am
    As a local, I think this article starts to get to the essence of Tas.
    As a resident I see a lot more than the tourist. I've been here 20 years, and there is so much more...repeat visits in different seasons is the way - Dip falls in Winter is a real display, Meander Falls freezes solid.

    The best of Tasmania is in the smaller details, don't expect the spectacular but look for mosses, ferns and orchids. Take the time to see, not just look.

    My advice: Avoid the major attractions. See it now before the current government trashes the whole place. Our Parks are becoming noisy crowded touristy dumbed-down spoiled litter-strewn expensive travesties full of bike tracks and helicopters.

    Then go away. Don't stay too long.
    hyacinth
    6th Apr 2019
    11:58am
    I lived in Tasmania for 15 years and just returned to WA to be nearer family. Tasmania is a beautiful state and I miss it. I lived in the picturesque North West . My daughter previously lived in the equally beautiful Huon Valley area before having to move for work. I lived near
    the enchanting Mount Roland (Sheffield area). It is so beautiful the mountain changes colour depending on the season and weather. It never ceased to amaze me. The Liffey Falls area is lovely too. But quite honestly I cannot pick out one specific place as to me Tasmania is certainly a p lace of wonder and I am glad to say that I have experienced being there. That is where my husband rests in a lovely little cemetery in Kimberley and to where I shall return one day .
    hyacinth
    6th Apr 2019
    11:58am
    I lived in Tasmania for 15 years and just returned to WA to be nearer family. Tasmania is a beautiful state and I miss it. I lived in the picturesque North West . My daughter previously lived in the equally beautiful Huon Valley area before having to move for work. I lived near
    the enchanting Mount Roland (Sheffield area). It is so beautiful the mountain changes colour depending on the season and weather. It never ceased to amaze me. The Liffey Falls area is lovely too. But quite honestly I cannot pick out one specific place as to me Tasmania is certainly a p lace of wonder and I am glad to say that I have experienced being there. That is where my husband rests in a lovely little cemetery in Kimberley and to where I shall return one day .
    Mondo
    6th Apr 2019
    5:25pm
    I love it, beats even New Zealand in my book; fantastic scenery, very friendly people always time for a chat, not too expensive although I expect that's changing and great bakeries in some of the smaller villages. Mona is massively overrated. Hobart is just like our mainland towns used to be with interesting, useful shops. I just hope it doesn't change too much with the current influx. We're lucky to have it on our doorstep.
    Jen50
    7th Apr 2019
    9:41am
    I grew up in Launceston, Tasmania and we were always hopping into the car at weekends to go for a drive or a picnic to out of the way places where we could walk to a waterfall, explore a beach or Dad could do a bit of fresh or saltwater fishing while we had a swim or a paddle. I’ve done a bit of bushwalking there, including twice to the original Lake Pedder before it was flooded and the Overland Track. I even flew into Lake Pedder and we landed on the wide flat quartz beach. We had our summer holidays at Ulverstone & I lived in Battery Point, Hobart for 2 years before coming to Melbourne. I’ve seen so much but there is still much more to see because a lot of places have opened up and are more accessible now. Tasmania will always be ‘home’ and I go as often as I can.
    musicveg
    7th Apr 2019
    1:55pm
    Been wanting to go for sometime, but need to go on a budget. Wondering is self-drive with your own car more economical factoring paying for it on the ferry or should I hire a car then stay in accommodation or hire a camper, any tips on costing would be helpful, thanks.
    Mondo
    7th Apr 2019
    3:50pm
    Hi musiveg. I think in part, taking your own car or hiring depends on where you live, ie how far you need to drive to get to the ferry, pay for accommodation in Melbourne overnight etc. I have done both but live two days drive from Melbourne so it becomes marginal. However, the sea trip is an experience in itself so worth doing at least once. We especially like the south so starting in Hobart rather than Burney/Launceston makes sense for us but for a first time the latter is a good place to start as there is still plenty to see. Accommodation is becoming increasingly scarce so I expect dearer so hiring a camper could make sense especially as finding places to stay as you go becomes harder. But then check the price of camp sites too as they have probably gone up. It does get quite cool and the countryside can look somewhat bleak from around mid-April, around 12-14 in the south during the day is not unusual so cold at nights in a camper. Also the non-summer days are quite short as it gets darker earlier than on the mainland. One of the many good things about Tassie is you can do a circular drive with plenty to see on the way but I'd allow at least two weeks for that, its bigger than you might think. I think a camper in late spring or very early autumn could be great. Regarding budget; goods are generally a bit dearer than on the mainland so worth stocking up on food in a major town but allow room for some good bakeries on the way. But there is plenty to see that is free or relatively low cost compared to many tourism places elsewhere. I am sure others can add to this or disagree as I am sure some will but this is from my personal experience. Have a good trip, you will enjoy it!
    musicveg
    7th Apr 2019
    5:30pm
    Thank you Cosmo for your tips, much appreciated. I will take some of your advice and work it all out. I have to save up first, my budget is tight but no won't be going in winter so have plenty of time to plan and save. I am more interested in the nature wonderland than tourist spots and bakeries so could save a bit there too.
    Paddington
    7th Apr 2019
    8:12pm
    We have been twice years ago now. Once we took the car across on the ferry and spent about three weeks driving around Tassie. The other time we flew into Hobart and mainly went far south and around Hobart and by boat to the Cadbury factory.
    You could easily spend a month and discover all the hidden gems.
    An interesting story about my father was that he bought an old car in Tassie and tinkered with it as he and my mother explored Tasmania. At the end of their trip my father sold the car at a profit which paid for the holiday. He was very good at doing up old cars.
    I am sure it is a lot more expensive now but still a wonderful place to explore!


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