Australia – The hidden quiet summer corners in Tasmania

In Tasmania, you can slow right down: do it all or do nothing at all. Pay a visit to some island favourites: the craggy peaks of Cradle Mountain, the sparkling sands of Bay of Fires, the manicured grounds of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, the celebrated foodie establishments of Launceston … Or perhaps wander paths less trodden. Find places to snatch moments of quiet contentment, where nature’s soundtrack goes uninterrupted. Ponder life’s big questions, or don’t think at all. Gaze at the clouds, or maybe just shut your eyes. Tasmania has plenty of places like these, should you choose to find them.

Healing waters

Nurture body and soul in Tasmania’s cool, clear waters: dip toes, dive in, float. The island has more than its fair share of watery hideaways.

The east coast is Tasmania’s summer playground, but on the fringes of popular seaside towns like Orford, Bicheno, Coles Bay and St Helens you’ll find pristine beaches with space to roam. Head south of Swansea, where the Great Eastern Drive meanders past a string of beaches with unrivalled views of the Freycinet Peninsula, including Cressy, Spiky and Kelvedon Beach. Walk, swim and laze on the sand, or call the coast home with a beachfront stay at Swansea Beach Chalets or in heritage comfort at Wagner’s Cottages.

Ready to rinse off the salt? Head for the fresh waters of Apsley Waterhole, the most accessible of a series of pools dotted through Apsley Gorge. Often overlooked on the east-coast route, this serene spot in Douglas-Apsley National Park, just outside Bicheno, is a refreshing reward for the short (15min return) walk through open bushland.

For the ultimate moment of calm, hire a kayak at remote Corinna on the edge of the takayna / Tarkine wilderness. Float through morning mist on the mirror-like waters of the Pieman River. Visit fanciful Lovers Falls, hidden among rainforest, about an hour’s paddle from Corinna, and stick around to dream deeply at Corinna Wilderness Village.

In a quiet corner of the north-east hinterland, feel the misty spray of enigmatic Mathinna Falls as it pours over mossy rocks. This series of four waterfalls is tucked at the end of an old forestry road. A short stroll (15min return) takes you to the base of the first and most accessible waterfall.

For water views of a different kind, head north to Little Blue Lake where the serene turquoise water shimmers brightly. No swimming here though: the blue hue is a result of minerals from mining days of old. On the way, stop at Derby for wood-fired pizza and beers at the Hub.

Finding wildness

The island’s wild places are many, offering the freedom to choose between following well-trodden paths or meandering down lesser-known tracks. From alpine plateaus to misty rainforests and windswept coasts – find whatever it is you seek.

You’ve (probably) heard of Wineglass Bay – that perfect arc of dazzling white sand and turquoise water in Freycinet National Park – easily one of Tasmania’s most photographed vistas. But have you been to the Edge of the World? Yep, it’s a place. At this unforgettable lookout, where the Southern Ocean charges onto the isolated west coast at the mouth of the Arthur River, you can feel truly dwarfed by the ocean’s immensity.

For alpine adventure away from the masses, scramble up the steep slopes of Ben Lomond National Park in the north, including Tasmania’s second-highest mountain, Legges Tor (1572m). The winter snow melt reveals the park’s rocky walking tracks and a burst of colourful summer wildflowers, while the steep switchbacks of Jacobs Ladder can make for a nervous-making (but perfectly safe) drive up to the plateau.

After a lazy day rolling between the wineries in the Tamar Valley, hang out with some wildlife in a peaceful coastal setting at Narawntapu National Park in the north. Spot mobs of Forester kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons in the late-afternoon sun at Springlawn: embrace the day’s final rays while the wildlife munches quietly away.

Down south, not far from popular Mount Field National Park, wander among giants in the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area. The area protects an enchanted forest of towering Eucalyptus regnans — Australia’s tallest trees, which can nudge 100m. Watch and wonder before following the road to its end at Strathgordon, to contemplate the dramatic arc of engineering that is the Gordon Dam. Rest up at remote Pedder Wilderness Lodge.

Sense of discovery

Keen to wander a little left of field? Set your sights beyond the big-ticket attractions and maintain your inner Zen. Or don’t. It’s your holiday …

Head outside the island’s renowned galleries (think TMAG and Mona in Hobart, and QVMAG in Launceston) to where art and nature collide. Three public art installations across Tasmania’s west are inspired by the region’s captivating tales and rugged landscapes, providing space to reflect under wide open skies.

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site is undoubtedly Tasmania’s most famous convict-era drawcard. Lesser known is the (also World Heritage-listed) Coal Mines Historic Site, at the opposite end of Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula. Wander these uncrowded ruins on foot, reliving stories of 19th-century hardship, adventure and loss. Bed down for a night on the peninsula at Stewarts Bay Lodge.

Whether you’re seeking your true path in life or just want a walk with a view, the Potters Hill Labyrinth at South Arm, 45 minutes south east of Hobart, will deliver. Unlike a maze, which can have many paths, labyrinths have a single route to follow as you twist and turn toward the centre. Marvel at views stretching from Bruny Island to kunanyi / Mt Wellington and beyond, and pause for quiet meditation.

Looking for a faster-paced flow state? Try trails less ridden at one of Tasmania’s newest mountain bike sensations, George Town MTB Trails, framed around Mount George near the mouth of kanamaluka / River Tamar in the north. Head to coastal Low Head at sunset to see little penguins waddle ashore on a Low Head Penguin Tour, then rest your head at Low Head Pilot Station Accommodation.