Ben Lomond National Park

100 reasons: North

Zipline through treetops, see stunning scenery and find hidden gems at local markets. Plus much more.

This article is part of our 100 reasons to stay in Lutruwita/Tasmania this winter guide, created in partnership with Tourism Tasmania. This article explores the 25 best reasons for the North.

26. Ben there, done that

Did you know that Legges Tor (1572m), in Ben Lomond National Park, is the island’s second highest peak? The park also has one of the state’s few ski fields so you can ski, board, toboggan or cross-country ski. This Off Season, there’s a Winter Wonderland Ski Package. Collect skis or a snowboard from the Ben Lomond Base and set off for a day. Ride the ski lifts and spend time on the mountain. Turapina/ Ben Lomond and surrounding area is on Ben Lomond Nation.

27. Fly high

Ever done a guided zipline? Hollybank Treetops Adventure in Underwood has a six-line course with the longest one at 400m. You don’t need experience; everyone is fitted for gear and trained before flying over the forest valley. The only age limit is that kids can’t be under three. When choosing your winter ziplining outfit, be sure to factor in wind chill. Here, where Rupila Mangina/Pipers River flows, is North East Nation.

28. Sunday best

Evandale Market is Tasmania’s longest-running village market. Known for antiques and secondhand-book stalls, this extensive market also sells fresh produce, crafts, preserves, plants, everything. It’s at Falls Park every Sunday 8am-1.30pm, indoors and outdoors, even in winter. “We brave the weather,” says Ginni Woof, sister of the market’s long-time organiser, Peter. At Evandale, Plipatumila/South Esk River passes through and North Midlands and Ben Lomond Nations meet.

29. Feast your eyes

There’s nothing like a good country-town bakery but Cressy’s Rustic Bakehouse really takes the cake. Expect to audibly gasp the first time you walk in. The pastries, decorated doughnuts and iced muffins taste as good as they look. Enjoy super-friendly staff, outdoor seating in the full sun or plenty of indoor seating – all warmed up by the on-site baking. Tinamirakuna/Macquarie River flows near Cressy.

30. Heaven scent

Although the time to see lavender in full bloom is summer, there are benefits to visiting Bridestowe Lavender Estate in winter. There’s no gate charge, for starters, and there’ll probably be a fire going inside. You can take a private behind-the-scenes guided driving tour or do a workshop to craft your own take-home lavender fragrance. Nearby, Pulawuta Napina/Little Forester River passes through this part of North East Nation.

Ben Lomond National Park

Credit: Melissa Findley

Bridestowe Lavender Estate

Credit: Tourism Tasmania

31. Make it and take it

Brady’s Lookout Cider, in Rosevears, brings back its Embrace the Dark cider tasting experience this winter but with extra. Over the two hours you will have a cider mill tour and a sensory tasting, but you’ll also make a couple of bottles of your own Méthode Traditionnelle cider to take home. Only for adults, and fully accessible. At Rosevears, Kanamaluka/Tamar River flows through Northern Midlands Nation.

32. Eat well

Launceston was designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2021, of which there are only around 50 in the world to date. This recognises that the city and surrounds, with more than 150 food producers and more than 200 eateries, are exceptional food regions by global standards. This Off Season, if you can, treat yourself or others to local leatherwood honey, fresh wasabi, French black truffle, clotted cream, Angus beef, wild abalone and juicy wallaby fillets from Lenah Game Meats.
Members can save 10% off the best available rate at the time of booking at Hotel Verge. T&Cs apply.

33. Let's be clear now

Close to Derby and Gladstone is the very photogenic Little Blue Lake. It’s been elevated to tourist-attraction status but, keep in mind when you’re posting photos, it isn’t a natural phenomenon. This big old unrehabilitated mining hole has filled up with water that is bright aqua because it’s low-key toxic. High mineral levels render the water unsafe so please don’t swim in it. This beguiling scar is on North East Nation.

34. Get out and go hard

Are you keen for some outdoor adventures this winter but don’t have the skills, the knowledge or the gear? Wild Tamar, based in George Town, will do what it takes to get you active and loving life in the North Tamar region. Only 35 minutes from Launceston, Kinimathatakinta/George Town and the surrounding country is ideal for river or ocean kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, scuba-diving wrecks, skydiving and spotting seals and penguins.

35. Ride Sally ride

Scottsdale has fabulous free-range pork and a top microbrewery, but also the scenic 26km North East Rail Trail stretching southwest from there to Tulendeena. The trail has views to mountains and farms but also passes through lush forested sections. The gravel surface is a fine enough grade for touring and hybrid bikes. Bicycles, including e-bikes, can be hired at Scottsdale’s art gallery. You’ll be travelling across North East Nation.

A meal at Timbre Kitchen, near Launceston

Credit: Kelly Slater

Little Blue Lake

Credit: Jason Charles Hill

Truffle bounty at Truffle Farm Tasmania

Credit: Andrew Quaile

36. Fixate on fungi

Deloraine’s Truffle Farm Tasmania invites you to get down this winter for a fun fungi experience that’s nearly two hours long. After hunting on hands and knees for the little fruiting bodies, everyone warms up around the fire pit tasting various truffle products, eating truffle-topped pizza, toasting marshmallows and sipping Tassie wine or beer. Deloraine, where Wayarupi/ Meander River travels through, is part of North Nation.

37. Graze anatomy

If you’re keen to see wildlife in its natural habitat this winter then head to Narawntapu National Park. Kangaroos and wallabies graze from dusk to dawn on the marsupial lawn at the visitor centre. You may even spot a Tasmanian devil. There’s an abundance of bird life so spend time there caravanning, camping, hiking and wandering the sand flats. Narawntapu/country between Badger Head and West Head is on North Midlands Nation.

38. Beat the blues

Mountain biking is a warming and endorphin-releasing activity so, this winter, head to Blue Derby where there are more than 125km of trails for all levels of skill and experience. They’re all free to use. Note that Blue Tier and Big Chook trails are closed for most of July and August. You can bring your own gear or hire bikes in town. These trails are on North East Nation

39. Taken at pace value

There are many exceptional walks in Meander Valley and Meander Bridge Cafe is a lovely stop. For a hike that’s challenging and rewarding, Meander Falls Track is 10km return alongside the river, or take Split Rock Track (not clearly marked) back to make it a loop. Weather permitting up on the Central Plateau, there’s an accessible boardwalk to Pine Lake that winds between gnarly pencil pines. In these mountains where Wayarupi/Meander River begins, you’re on North Nation.

40. Food from the heart

You’ll smell Turkish Tukka’s charcoal grill well before you reach the restaurant on George St in Launceston. “We serve traditional Turkish dishes. We make everything here in the shop, everything fresh,” says owner Yusuf Karazor. From this beautiful casual restaurant and takeaway space, he serves dishes he was raised on as a child. Everything is mouthwateringly delicious, but make sure you try a wrap and the baklava.

Blue Derby mountain bike trails

Credit: Rob Burnett

Grazing kangaroos and wallabies at Narawntapu National Park

Credit: S. Group

41. Spot a quoll

Spend a few hours at Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary in Mole Creek, where there’s onsite forest and natural habitat. Three daily interactive tours, included in the entry fee, feature Tasmanian devils, quolls and wombats along with education about Trowunna’s breeding programs. “Since the 1980s,” owner Androo Kelly says, “we’ve bred devils under stud conditions for 22 generations.” Private tours are available. Mamulipi/Mole Creek, the town, is on North Nation.

42. Find the truth

The REASSIGN project for the Northern Midlands highlights specific colonial estates and buildings through the retelling of tales from the time of British settlement following invasion in 1803. There are palawa perspectives included but, in most cases, you’ll need to read between the lines to realise what many of these so-called characters were really getting up to in their pursuit of empire-building on stolen land.

43. Go to market

At Harvest Market Launceston, stay warm on a chilly morning by eating fresh-cooked comfort food. Bolani Stall fries up handmade potato-stuffed Afghan bolani while Seoul Food specialises in sweet and savoury Korean pancakes. Grab a coffee from Ritual when you have a spare hand. Take home seasonal fruit and veg, handcrafted cheeses, ethically produced meat, grainy bread, tasty pastries, and even some cider, wine or mead.

44. Take a hike

Although Aboriginal-owned and -guided wukalina Walk doesn’t run in winter, you can make your own way to the 216m-high granite summit of Wukalina/Mount William, which is often decorated with Tasmanian devil scat. There are 360-degree views of the area from up there. In the open coastal heathland, further into the park, is where you’re more likely to spot kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and wallabies. Around Wukalina/Mount William National Park you’re on North East Nation.

45. Take me to the river

Have you ever walked to Cataract Gorge from Launceston CBD? Although nature is the gorge’s main attraction, especially Plipatumila/South Esk River, highlights along the way include the restaurant, suspension bridge, old power station with interpretation centre and 1972 chairlift – its central span of 308m is quite possibly still the world’s longest single chairlift span. The self-guided 5km loop from Kings Park takes two to three hours. Cataract Gorge Reserve is wheelchair accessible.

Flower stall at Harvest Market Launceston

Credit: Ideas Banq

Alexandra Suspension Bridge, Cataract Gorge Reserve

Credit: Emilie Ristevski

46. Shell-abrate

In many parts of Australia, a scallop is the neck of a blouse or a deep-fried potato cake. Here, there’s a festival dedicated to the marine bivalve mollusc. After a few years on ice, Tassie Scallop Fiesta in Bridport is back for another finger-licking good day (30 July). Come for the music, wine masterclass, chef demo, pie judging and competitive scallop splitting. Bridport, where Pulawuta Napina/Little Forester River meets the sea, is on North East Nation.

47. Try island life

Get over to Flinders Island for walking, biking, fishing, snorkelling and diving, but also sleeping in, staring out to sea and wildlife watching. Furneaux Museum in Emita is worth a visit. Walk up Mount Strzelecki, the island’s highest and often misty peak, which takes four to five hours return. Book a winter week at Sawyers Bay Shacks and car hire costs will be covered. Flinders is part of Tayaritja/Bass Strait Islands.

48. Flock to the river

Calling all bird nerds, avian appreciators and people who like to picnic in interesting places. Get on down to Tamar Island Wetlands, just a few kilometres from Launceston’s city centre. In the interpretation centre you’ll learn a lot about these vitally important ecosystems. You can also do a 4km return walk to Tamar Island, on Kanamaluka/Tamar River, along a wide boardwalk. Expect to be observed by pelicans, cormorants, swans and maybe sea eagles.

49. Northern exposure

From the beaches of Musselroe Bay you can look out to Tayaritja/Bass Strait Islands. It may not be swimming weather but there’s always birdwatching, walking and bream-fishing opportunities at Little Musselroe Bay. These beaches do have strong currents, rips and reefs so check with locals if you’re planning on surfing or swimming. The camping area is closed in winter. Layrapinthi/country at Mussel Roe is on North East Nation.

50. Wine and dine

There are more than 30 vineyards in the Tamar Valley, mainly on the western side of Kanamaluka/Tamar River. You couldn’t make a dent in that many in a day, but what about working your way through them over a winter of weekends? To find and book special Off Season offers from wineries and more in this region, head to
Members can save on Tamar River Cruises through T&Cs apply.

Wine tasting at Holm Oak Vineyards

Credit: Adam Gibson