Unravel the secrets of Tasmania’s Far South, where the mountains and forest meet the Great Southern Ocean. There is a lot to see and do at the bottom of Australia! Discover charming townships, unwind on a deserted beach, explore rugged wilderness, tour a giant underground cave, float in a thermal forest pool, and enjoy a day of kayaking.
The Far South feels worlds away, but is all within a two-hour drive south from Hobart. We’ve put together some tips to help you plan your adventure.
1. Unwind at Dover
The seaside town of Dover is around an 80 minute drive south from Hobart and makes a wonderful base for exploring the vast attractions of the Far South. The pretty fishing village is located at the head of Port Esperance overlooking the small, wholesome islands of Faith, Hope and Charity.
Take your time to unwind, enjoy the scenery, walk along the beach, cast a line out, and explore the quaint township. Dover is home to boutique winery St Imre Vineyard as well as the Bakehouse Distillery, creators of ‘evoke’, the world’s first sassafras spirit.
2. Relax at Southport
If water soothes your soul, treat yourself to a cheeky getaway at The Shackeau, a beautiful two-bedroom cottage in Southport (13 km south of Dover). Did we mention the place comes with your own private infinity edge hot tub? Kick back with a glass of local pinot, gaze out at the spectacular views of the bay, and feel your worries melt away. Pure bliss! If you need a dose of caffeine after all that relaxing, you’ll find great coffee at The Rocket at the End of the Road.
3. Visit Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs
The Hastings Caves State Reserve makes a wonderful day out. Take a guided tour to experience one of the world’s great dolomite caves and learn about its fascinating formations. It is truly awe-inspiring.
Remember to pack your bathers so you can enjoy some R&R in the 28ºC naturally heated spring water pool. The swimming pool is surrounded by lush forest and there are BBQ facilities available (or grab a bite to eat in the cafe at the Visitor Centre). Enjoy the range of peaceful forest walks and keep an eye out for birds and other wildlife.
4. Walk to Duckhole Lake
The walk to Duckhole Lake, south of Dover, takes around 1.5 hours (4.2 km return) and is so delightful it’s made the list of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. The track winds through a forest of stringybarks, sassafras, myrtle, and sections of tea tree swamp, following a late 19th century sawmill tramway for much of the way. The lake itself is the epitome of tranquility (although it’s actually a flooded sinkhole).
5. Explore from the water
Explore the Far South’s scenic waterways on one of Esperance Adventures‘ daily kayaking tours. Immerse yourself in the wild beauty of Port Esperance Bay, Lune River, the Huon River and Recherche Bay, while your friendly guides tell interesting tales about the local history. All tours are easy flat water trips, with all equipment (and morning tea) provided. Families will love the Treasure Hunter Tour—paddle to your own deserted island and search for treasure!
6. Drive to the end of the road
Cockle Creek is the paradise at the end of Australia’s southern-most road. Forested hills roll right down to the water and distant peaks enhance the stunning scenery. Walk along the white sandy beach and paddle in the crystal-clear water. Find the whale sculpture and walk to the Fishers Point Navigation Light and Pilot Station ruins (2 hrs return). Wander the historic cemetery and ponder the lives of early settlers. Set up at the campsite and live the dream for a few days.
7. Explore the Southwest National Park
Cockle Creek is the southern entry point to the wild and remote Southwest National Park. The park makes up part of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area and features some of the country’s most untouched coastline, button grass plains, wild rivers, dramatic mountain ranges, and ancient rainforest. The South Cape Bay Track (4 hrs return / 7.7 km one way) offers a taste of the famed multi-day South Coast Track. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife, including special birdlife.
8. Stay for some R&R
There is plenty to see and do, so stay awhile, relax, and enjoy the glorious scenery and range of experiences on offer. Essentially Tas have a beautiful range of self-contained accommodation, including Tides Reach, Esperance Landing, Driftwood Cottages, Fair Winds, and The Shackeau. The Lune Mill River House, Ashdowns of Dover Bed & Breakfast, and The Jetty House offer peaceful getaways. Some great budget-friendly options include the Dover Beachside Tourist Park, Southport Hotel & Caravan Park, and camping at Cockle Creek.
For more holiday tips, see Exploring the Trove.
Cockle Creek: Paradise at the End of the Road
Insider Tips: Unravel the Channel’s Secrets
Coastal Paradise: 10 Beaches of the Trove
Nature on a Grand Scale: 4 Jaw Dropping Places in the Huon & Far South
6 Stunning Walks on Bruny Island
Kent Beach, Dover | @krillknight/Instagram