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Top 6 things to do in Tasmania on a budget

Our Student Travel Writer, Jamie Doris from Heriot-Watt University, shares his top tips for how to have a devil of a time in Tasmania on a budget. Take in everything from the dizzy heights of Mount Wellington to the natural beauty of Wineglass Bay.

Known for its outstanding natural beauty, rich colonial heritage, vibrant art scene, and award winning fine foods and produce, it is no wonder that Tasmania is one of Australia’s greatest tourist destinations. Separated from mainland Australia by the Bass Strait, Tasmania (Tassie) offers a unique experience and is a must visit for travellers hoping to escape the heat and noise of Australia’s big cities and enjoy the island state’s unique character.

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1. Relax with nature at Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park

Recognised as one of the best beaches in the world, Wineglass Bay in the Frecyinet National Park should be placed up nice and high on the to do list for anyone visiting Tassie. Located on the east coast of Tasmania, it exemplifies the state’s natural beauty with white sandy beaches, postcard-perfect views and an abundance of walks, lookouts and swimming spots. To make the most of the experience, travellers can camp at a variety of sites within the park. It is important to note however that there is a high demand for park accommodation during the peak season (December to February) and applications for accommodation must be submitted to the Freycinet National Park by the 31st of July.

Wineglass Bay

2. Take in the view from Mount Wellington

Discover Tasmania states that “no other city in Australia has a vista like this one” and I would certainly agree. Standing at 1,271m, Mount Wellington towers over the city of Hobart and offers breath-taking views of the landscape below. Known by locals simply as “The Mountain”, the summit is most easily reached by car and takes approximately 20 minutes from the city centre. The Hobart Shuttle Bus Company offers daily tours leaving from the Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre in central Hobart. The weather at the summit can be notoriously harsh and even on a pleasant day in the city centre, I recommend packing a jacket, hat and gloves. At certain points of the year the mountain has thick snow on top which adds to the experience.

Mount Wellington's summit

3. Breathe in the world’s cleanest air

One of the unknown benefits of travelling to Tasmania is you get to breathe the cleanest air in the world. A scientific outpost at the wonderfully named Cape Grim in Northwest Tasmania has been measuring the air quality since 1976 and has been acting as the “baseline” for air quality worldwide. Tasmanian air is particularly clean because of the “roaring forties” the prevailing westerly winds that brings air from over the Southern Ocean that has had no recent contact with the land. Tasmanian entrepreneurs have cashed in on this natural resource and have developed a market for selling bottled air to middle class families in China where pollution levels are some of the highest in the world. Visitors to Tasmania can fill their lungs and it will not cost a cent.

Boomer Bay

4. Explore Salamanca markets

Set between the historic sandstone warehouses of Hobart’s waterfront and Constitution dock, the Salamanca markets are open every Saturday from 8am to 3pm. With more than 300 stalls this is the holy grail of all markets, in my humble opinion. Walking through the hussle and bussle of Salamanca Place with Mount Wellington as the backdrop, there is no better way to spend a morning. Tourists travel from across the globe for a taste of Tasmanian delicacies, or to purchase some high-quality arts and crafts, handmade jewellery or chic clothing. The markets are within walking distance of Kelly’s steps named after explorer and whaler James Kelly which connect Battery Point, a quaint historic village, to Salamanca. Before you leave, be sure to set your taste buds on an outstanding German Bratwurst from Silver Hill located at the southern end of the market.

Salamanca Markets

5. Feast at the Taste Festival

Tasmania really comes to life in the summer as Aussies from the mainland seek cooler climes for their summer break, and Hobart is transformed by festivals and glamourous racing yachts. From the 28th of December to the 3rd of January on Hobart’s picturesque waterfront is Tasmania’s finest food situated under the roof of the Princess Wharfs No. 1 Shed for the Taste of Tasmania, one of Australia’s most popular foodie events. With over 70 stalls representing food from nearly every region there is a lot to tingle the taste buds. From seafood to cheeses, berries, craft beers and award winning wines you won’t go home hungry or thirsty. There is something for all ages with the Kids in the Park Space displaying live performances and activities including an evening movie. More than 100 buskers and local musicians set the scene for great evenings of entertainment.

Quick tip: If you’re planning on heading down with a group of people, to ensure you’re able to dine together there is an online booking service where you can place a deposit to secure a table.

Wine tasting

6. Cheer on the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

On your marks, get set, go! Since 1945, fleets of yachts have been racing the 628-nautical mile trip from Sydney to Hobart. The Bass Strait is renowned for its high winds and challenging seas, and although the race begins on Boxing Day (In the middle of summer), “southerly buster” storms have granted the race a reputation as one of the most difficult races in the world. In the sailing community, the race is of high prestige and the international attention brings a real excitement to Tasmania. When the leaders around the headland into Storm Bay, local yachtsmen and crew join them and sail alongside as they come up the final stretch of the Derwent River. The three or four-day journey is a major feat for all the crews involved and it is a unique experience to be able to support them during the concluding stages. At the finish the yachts are moored in Constitution Dock, Hobart’s main marina for public viewing and amongst a festival atmosphere with live music, events and food. This year’s winner, Perpetual Loyal, has recently been put up for sale and is expected to fetch over $5 million.

Hobart race

Want more suggestions for travelling on a student-style budget? Check these out:

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