Travelling with children in Tasmania is a relatively simple experience with a little planning. So much in Tassie is within a few hours from your last destination, which means that days are spent connecting with one another over wildlife sightings and stunning scenery, rather than wondering if the kids will stop arguing if you strapped them to the roof racks (they won't) or if it's considered responsible parenting to leave them in the nearest Tassie Devil enclosure (it's not). Even on longer drives, there are so many places to get out and stretch those highly energetic little legs whilst you relax and breathe in that sweet, fresh air, or savour a delightful glass of Tassie pinot.
We've rounded up some of the best things to do with the kids while you're here, which means you can rest assured knowing that your superhero status is guaranteed for the journey.*
10. Pack a torch (or three) and join a guided penguin tour
What is better than prepping for a night later than actual bedtime and leaving your accommodation for an after-dark wildlife adventure wrapped in your winter woollies? Guided tours will give you the opportunity to learn more than the Penguins of Madagascar and Happy Feet taught us whilst ensuring that you don't unintentionally harm their environment.
9. Feed the fish... Lots of fish!
The Salmon Ponds is located just outside of New Norfolk, in the Derwent Valley. More than a pleasant wander around the historic garden, it's also the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere and kids of all ages will get a kick out of the feeding frenzy that occurs when you throw those pellets into the pools of Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout species as well as pools of Atlantic Salmon.
Learn about the hatchery process from this working hatchery that supports the state's inland fishery lakes and lagoons with their successful hatchery and fish rearing program. Those inclined to sit quietly for a few minutes might also be lucky enough to spot one of the local platypus that reside in the area and are known to pay the site a visit. Alternatively, kids will love the on site cafe, famous for its pancakes and crepes, while mum and dad can enjoy a well deserved glass of Tassie vino.
8. Go to the Pooseum (really!)
In the quaint little village of Richmond, you will find a small and quirky museum dedicated to, well, poo. Learn about why wombat poo is square, identify possum vs quoll scat and marvel at fossilized dinosaur poo. Kids will love the PooTube and kids corner, while grown ups take in some of the fascinating facts in the interactive display. No trip to Richmond is complete without a trip to the Lolly Shop and walk down by the convict built bridge. Extra brownie points for the playground just off the central oval.
7. Adventure through the forest with Hollybank Tree Top Adventures
This is truly a day of fun for the whole family... Kids as young as three can experience zip lining and rope climbs through the forest whilst the big kids can try the grown up versions for a full adrenalin hit. Even those with a little less adventurous spirit can participate in the adventure with segway tours, short walks and family friendly mountain bike tracks also available. Sound like something you'd like to add to your itinerary? Book ahead. Whilst the team are open in all weather (don't forget your wet weather clothes and gloves if it's wet) the experiences are generally guided, so you need to book ahead to avoid disappointment.
6. Who can find the best hot chocolate?
Hint: it's not the winning that counts, it's all about the journey! Some great places to start include House of Anvers Chocolate Factory in Latrobe, Coal River Farm in Cambridge, Amelia Espresso in Launceston and Whisk and Co. in Lenah Valley, just outside of Hobart.
5. Go deep into the belly of Earth at Hastings Caves
Be prepared to answer many, many questions about how the earth formed after this trip into the deep and not-so-dark Newdegate Cave system. Guided tours leave regularly to take you down the (two) hundred or so stairs and into the impressively cavernous space deep underground that formed tens of millions of years ago. A 45 minute tour of the cave is sufficient and once you're back in the open, take a wander around the forest reserve or a dip in the thermal pool.
4. Have a monotreme kind of day
Platypus House in the Tamar Valley is an informative, hands on experience that aims to introduce visitors to the magic of monotremes. Kids can learn more about platypus and echidnas in an interactive environment whilst viewing these often elusive animals in real life. Once you're finished, check out Seahorse World or the ever popular Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre to continue the learning experience, but be sure to stop in at one or two vineyard cellar doors so Mum and Dad can be introduced to the other wonders of the Tamar Valley!
3. Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot
Set aside at least a few hours for this experience deep in the heart of Cradle Country. Around 45 minutes from Cradle Mountain, follow the signs to Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot and you (and the kids) will be delighted to find this series of mazes and hilarious model village, built to 1/5 scale. With 8 mazes to choose from, this will keep everyone busy and engaged for hours on end!
2. Climb kunanyi/Mt Wellington
The newly rejuvenated Pinnacle Track on kunanyi/Mt Wellington in Hobart is a loved walk for locals of Hobart and takes you on a 3.4km journey through Wellington Park and on to the pinnacle of kunanyi/Mt Wellington. The track is in great condition, which means the family can take in your surroundings, rather than worrying too much about where to put your feet! Little walkers may prefer the shorter loop track which can be accessed from the pinnacle.
1. Fish and chips in the park
OK, so this one doesn't take much imagination, but aren't the simplest of experiences sometimes the most memorable? There are some great playgrounds around Tasmania if you know where to look - and there's almost always somewhere to grab some freshly caught fish and some piping hot chips wrapped in a coupe of sheets of butcher's paper. Here are some of the best playgrounds for running off the sillies before enjoying your lunch in the fresh air.
Community hub, Queens Domain - Hobart's newest and possibly largest playground is a hidden gem for visitors and very popular amongst locals. My kids especially love the climbing wall and discovery garden whilst I love that it's made to be accessible for a variety of ages and abilities, so all the kids play together.
Cataract Gorge, Launceston - take the kids on the longest single span chairlifts in the world, high up over the gorge's first basin. The park offers a local cafe, swimming pool, short hikes, a suspension bridge and is complete with resident peacocks and native wildlife.
Devonport Playground - if you're in the north west of Tassie, this is a great stop along the way. As with many of our local playgrounds, this one is near the water, so has a great outlook for mum and dad. There's also a couple of licensed cafes nearby if take away fish and chips just doesn't appeal.
Like what you see here? Let the team at the Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre take out the hassle of planning and booking your family holiday. We can work with you to create a bespoke itinerary for you and your family and make the bookings for you. On the ground we give you peace of mind of a travel agent, who knows Tassie like our own backyard. Because it is!
* Not really. Superhero status is totally up to you, but we'll do our best to make you as cool as we possibly can!