Weird and wonderful Tasmania

Discover a side of Tassie you’ve never seen before.

Evolve Spirits Bar

Let the world evolve around you at this luxury venue on Hobart’s historic waterfront. MACq01’s Evolve Spirits Bar is a bar with a difference. Explore the growing Tasmanian distilling scene and other rare spirits, while surrounded by a fascinating collection of fossils and artefacts from land and sea. The specimens range from a giant Russian cave bear to a triceratops nose horn. Some date back as far as 550 million years ago.

Two bartenders at Evolve Spirits Bar in Hobart
A bar with a difference. Image: Tourism Tasmania and Adam Gibson.

Tunnel Hill Mushrooms

Dine in a railway tunnel with Off the table. This Tasmanian-based company works with local producers to offer delicious experiences that showcase our island offerings. Their latest experience is in partnership with Tunnel Hill Mushrooms. Learn how oyster mushrooms are grown and stored as you walk through a dark and misty re-purposed train tunnel on a railway line that ran from Bellerive to Sorell between 1892-1926. Producer Dean Smith farms three types of oyster mushrooms in this space, which he bought in 2000. The tunnel is the ideal environment due to its relatively stable year-round temperature and low light. Tunnel Hill Mushrooms supply to some of Hobart’s top restaurants, including The Glasshouse and Franklin. This experience is combined with a tasting plate prepared by David Ball, Executive Chef at The Glasshouse. Alternatively, an exclusive series of long table lunches in the train tunnel will be released soon. 

Two men in a re-purposed underground tunnel growing mushrooms
Producer Dean Smith and Chef David Ball tending to the mushrooms. Image: Off the table and Tunnel Hill Mushrooms.

Bruny Island Quarantine Station

Step back in time at the Bruny Island Quarantine Station at Barnes Bay. Currently managed by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and the volunteers of Wildcare Friends of Bruny Island, the site has had several uses in its history. It was originally established in 1884 as a quarantine station to defend against infectious diseases. It later became a place of internment for German nationals in 1914.  The station is most well-known for being the “last stop before home” for Tasmanian soldiers returning from World War I. With an influenza pandemic sweeping the world, it was a precarious time. Pack a picnic and do the fascinating heritage walk.

Bruny Island Quarantine Station
Bruny Island Quarantine Station. Image: Friends of Bruny Island Quarantine Station.

Spiky Bridge

Watch out for the unusual when travelling south of Swansea on Tasmania's east coast.  Opposite the beaches of Great Oyster Bay, the iconic Spiky Bridge was built by convicts in 1843. It now intrigues passers-by with its unusual design. It was built without mortar or cement, and field stones were laid vertically to create the spikes. It was once thought that it was designed to prevent cattle from falling over the sides of the bridge, however it’s now believed it was made to withstand harsh weather conditions. 

Spiky Bridge just south of Swansea
You can find Spiky Bridge just south of Swansea. Image: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.

Darlington Probation Station

Listen for ghosts when you sleep in a gaol cell on Maria Island. The Maria Island National Park features the World Heritage listed Darlington Probation Station. It housed convicts between 1825-1850 and is believed to be the most intact example of its kind in Australia. The site has remained relatively unchanged since the convict era. Today it offers basic bunkhouse accommodation – nine rooms with six beds and one room with fourteen beds. Heating is with a wood fired stove and there’s no power, running water or lighting in the rooms. Bring your own bike or hire one – there’s so much to explore! Access to Maria Island is via ferry from Triabunna.

Two people sitting at a table in the Darlington Probation Station
Bunkhouse accommodation at Darlington Probation Station. Image: Stuart Gibson.

Tarkine

Search for rare giants in the Tarkine/takayna rivers on Tasmania’s north-west, home to the remarkable giant freshwater crayfish. This endangered creature has shades of stunning blue on its body, lives up to 60 years and can grow up to 80cm. Surround yourself in the largest temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere. Marvel at towering tall trees above, the glistening creeks, rivers and windswept beaches all brimming with history. Don’t forget to look down too - brilliant coloured fungi from blue to orange and all shades in between are abundant in fungi season.


Brown coloured fungi on a log in the Tarkine
Image: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.
Blue mushrooms in the Tarkine
Image: Tourism Tasmania and Arwen Dyer.
White fungi in the Tarkine
Image: Sarajayne Lada.

Stillwater SEVEN

Sleep in an old flour mill and experience reinvention at its finest. In addition to dining at the popular and indulgent Stillwater restaurant, you can now sleep in a heritage-listed flour mill just a minute’s walk from Cataract Gorge in Launceston. Opening earlier this year as Stillwater SEVEN, they offer seven rooms showcasing the amazing results of reusing and recycling. They’ve combined this with the finest quality furniture and décor from Tasmanian makers – even the beds were designed in Hobart.

Red carpet hallway at Stillwater Seven in Launceston
History meets luxury. Image: Anjie Blair.
Mirror and storage nook at Stillwater Seven in Launceston
Inside Stillwater SEVEN. Image: Anjie Blair.

Henty Dunes

Be swept away by views of the remarkable Henty Dunes. Found just outside Strahan, these extraordinary sand dunes fringe Ocean Beach (Tasmania’s longest beach) and reach up to 30 metres in height in some places. They were formed by the Roaring Forties – a wind that blows uninterrupted from South America and gains speed all the way to Tasmania. For those looking for some adrenalin-fuelled fun, why not try tobogganing or even quad biking down them? Or for something a little calmer, there’s a 1.5-hour return walk to Ocean Beach, where you can explore and marvel at the wild coastline. 
Tobogganing down Henty Dunes in Tasmania
Tobogganing down Henty Dunes. Image: Jason Futrill.

Chalmers Church

Discover the fascinating history of this mysterious church with peeling white paint. Chalmers Church in Launceston officially opened in 1860. It’s a stunning example of flamboyant gothic revival style. It was designed by Tasmanian born architect William Henry Clayton after The Great Disruption of 1843 – a divide in the Church of Scotland that resulted in the Free Church and a new building. The church was named after the leader of The Great Disruption, Thomas Chalmers. Today it’s no longer a church, but a creative business space. It was given a makeover by Walker Design in 2014 and has drawn much attention and interest. 
Chalmers Church in Launceston lit up at night
Step back in time at Chalmers Church. Image: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.