Tasmania things to do: Six of the best undiscovered highlights

FLINDERS ISLAND

With mountains rising direct from the sea, white beaches emblazoned with orange lichen, fine local produce and a heady sense of space, Flinders Island is like a scale model version of Tasmania itself. The state's largest offshore island invites wandering, whether it's beachcombing to hulking Castle Rock, rounding the colourful coastline at Trousers Point, or ascending to the island's highest peak – all three hikes are listed among Tasmania's promoted "60 Great Short Walks". Dine at the water's edge at Flinders Wharf, make an appointment to check out the adjoining Furneaux Distillery, or simply pick a random west-coast beach to explore – the golden island rule is that if someone's on the beach, you may as well just head to another. See visitflindersisland.com.au

SHIPSTERN BLUFF

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Photo: Stu Gibson

Near the southern tip of the Tasman Peninsula, "Shippies'' is a place of surfing legend. With epic swells rolling in from Antarctic beginnings, it's a break only the bravest board riders dare take on, but walkers are granted a gentler outlook over this ferocious piece of nature. The track to Shippies deviates off the well-groomed Cape Raoul track, descending to the bluff's rocky shores laid out beneath tall cliffs that partially collapsed in 2017. Continue walking from Shippies and it's a short crossing to Tunnel Bay, with the eponymous tunnel eroded through cliffs at its western end.

MELALEUCA

Melaleuca is a remote locality (former settlement) in the south-west area of Tasmania. Access is only by sea via Port Davey, by air or by foot. tra18-sixbestTas
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Photo: Jason Charles Hill

An island probably shouldn't have a place this remote. Accessible only by air or on foot deep in the Southwest Wilderness, Melaleuca is best known as the start (or finish) of the multi-day South Coast and Port Davey tracks, but has enough of interest to warrant a visit on its own. The mighty Deny King – the so-called King of the Wilderness – lived and mined tin here last century and his home and relics of the mines remain. A bird hide at Melaleuca is also the best spot in the world to try to glimpse the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot. Par Avion runs day trips to Melaleuca, flying in from Hobart, exploring Melaleuca and boating out onto Bathurst Harbour and wild Port Davey. See paravion.com.au

STYX TALL TREES CONSERVATION AREA

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Photo: Tourism Tasmania

It feels entirely fitting that there's usually an awed hush in the Styx Valley. Hidden from main roads near Maydena in the state's south-west and suitably protected as the Styx Tall Trees Conservation Area, it's a place where trees stand like natural monuments. Towering mountain ash trees – the world's tallest flowering plants – grow up to 87 metres high in the valley, with walking tracks wander around their toes. See parks.tas.gov.au

BEN LOMOND

The magnificent mountain of Ben Lomond is dominated by an alpine plateau over 1500 metres high and surrounded on all sides by precipitous escarpments. It's also the main destination for downhill skiing in Tasmania. Its stark, treeless landscape is visible from much of Tasmania's north and the road to the top, know as Jacob's Ladder, is sure to leave a lasting memory. tra18-sixbestTas
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Photo: Melissa Findley

Set apart from Tasmania's other mountains, Ben Lomond rarely figures in visitor itineraries and yet it's home to Tasmania's second-highest peak and the state's major ski field. Getting here is half the fun, with the road onto the mountain contorting through a series of tight switchbacks known as Jacobs Ladder – it's one of the most spectacular stretches of mountain driving in the country. On the alpine plateau there are walks to evocatively named places such as Little Hell and Surprise Vale, while it's a surprisingly short hike to 1572-metre Legges Tor, the second highest mountain in the state. See parks.tas.gov.au

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DOUGLAS-APSLEY NATIONAL PARK

Douglas-Apsley National Park is a place of rugged river gorges, waterfalls, tall stands of eucalypts, tranquil pools and pockets of rainforest. <br />Douglas–Apsley covers an area of 16,080 hectares (39,735 acres) close to the Freycinet Peninsula and the popular beachside holiday towns of Tasmania??s mild east coast. tra18-sixbestTas
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Photo: Simon Sturzaker

Though it sits just 50 kilometres by road from ever-popular Freycinet National Park, Douglas-Apsley is a world apart in both landscape and visitor numbers. The park's star feature isn't beaches, it's gorges and waterholes, which slice through dry hills set back from the coast behind Bicheno. It's a short stroll from the main car park to Apsley Waterhole, where a swim usually beckons, while another trail loops out from the waterhole to eventually wriggle and rock-hop its way through rugged Apsley Gorge. See parks.tas.gov.au

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