Tasmania is an island state of Australia that is located right in the Pacific Ocean off of the southwest coast of mainland Australia, just south of Melbourne. Tasmania was originally settled as a penal colony in 1830, where some of Great Britain’s worst convicts were sent. Nearly 200 years later, Australia’s smallest state is now known as a hotbed for culture, food, and wine. It's home to gourmet restaurants, wineries and breweries, and a fabulously unique art museum, as well as a love for the land that extends to miles upon miles of protected parks, reserves, and beaches.
If you’re a history buff, though, don’t worry -- you can still find plenty of remnants of the island’s storied past during a Tasmania cruise port of call in the city of Hobart. You can visit Tasmania during our Australia and New Zealand cruise itineraries.
Tasmania may be the smallest state in Australia, but it packs a lot of things to see and do within its borders. Whether you want to experience the cosmopolitan side of the island with things like art and cuisine, or you’d rather get into nature via Tasmania’s wine country or national parks, you’re sure to leave Tasmania feeling rejuvenated and excited to come back one day.
Tasmania is home to a beautiful (and tasty!) wine country. A drive through this region will take you past vineyards framed by mountain peaks and green valleys. Dotting Tasmania’s wine country are wineries and tasting rooms where you can try Tasmania’s famous Riesling, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines.
One of the biggest draws enticing people to cruise to Tasmania is the MONA museum, the Museum of Old and New Art. It’s the largest privately funded museum in Australia and has a contemporary aesthetic overlooking the river with interesting and surprising art exhibits inside.
Learning about the history of the island and how it went from being a notorious penal colony to a destination rich in culture, arts, and natural beauty, is one of the top things to do while in Tasmania. It will give you a better understanding of this large Australian island.
Nearly half of the island of Tasmania is protected as a national park and reserve land. The cities may be alluring due to their rich culture, but the backcountry landscape of Tasmania will leave you awestruck. One of the most popular natural wonders to visit is Freycinet National Park, which makes for a great visit during longer port stops.
The port of call for Tasmania is Hobart, located on the southeast coast of the large island. You’ll typically cruise there during Australia and New Zealand cruises, even if your cruise itinerary focuses more on one over the other. Tasmania is located in between the two (though close to Australia).
From a tour through Tasmania’s past to a decadent day of wine tasting, you’ll find a shore excursion that is sure to please your senses and inquisitive mind while in port. Throw in some exciting city life and animal encounters to your day, and your cruise to Tasmania is sure to be unforgettable!
Tasmania shore excursions offer many fun ways to go wine tasting. Do a wine and oyster pairing, or visit the island’s gorgeous wine country along with a tour of historic Hobart. You can even head to the nearby smaller island of Bruny to try its sought-after wine.
Learn more about Tasmania’s penal colony past on a shore excursion that visits Port Arthur, the former prison for the convicts sent to the island. While touring this infamous penal settlement you’ll be accompanied by a guide who is an expert storyteller and will regale you with tales that teach you about this time in Tasmania’s history.
Shore excursions you can do on a Tasmania cruise will effortlessly transport you all around the island to see its scenery and meet the animals who call it home, such as kangaroos, koala bears, penguins, and Tasmanian devils.
Discover the best parts of Hobart on a city tour that takes you around the city for food, fun, and history. See the Georgian warehouses in Salamanca Place, now home to boutiques and art galleries; do a tour of MONA and marvel at its eclectic art; walk through a botanical garden; and take in gorgeous city views.
If you are a U.S. citizen cruising to Australia, which includes Tasmania, then you’ll need a visa in order to fly and/or cruise to and from Australia, along with a valid passport. It is your responsibility to obtain the visa and have it issued before you check-in for your cruise on embarkation day. Luckily, an Australian visa is easy to get since U.S. citizens can apply for it online – you’ll also see the visa referred to as the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).
Tasmania may seem remote, but it has many of the conveniences you can expect on Australia’s mainland, such as ATMs and credit cards widely accepted. English is also the official language of Australia and is spoken in Tasmania. Tipping is appreciated, but it is generally customary to leave less than you may be used to at home; 10% of the total bill is a common gratuity to leave for good service at a restaurant.
If you cruise to Tasmania on a Saturday, don’t miss visiting Salamanca Market, which is a great place to get a locally made souvenir or try some handcrafted cheese, bread, and other local delicacies. Some fun souvenirs to bring home with you to remind you of your time in Tasmania are ones made by local artisans, such as wood carvings made from Tasmania timber, bespoke jewelry, leather goods, and ceramics.