9 great things to do in northern Tasmania with kids

Ah, Tasmania. It’s obviously a good spot because this was my third trip there, and it’s not particularly close to my home base of Perth at all, even if it is all part of the same country. Actually, my son kept describing Tasmania as a different country, since it’s an island apart from the mainland, but I assure him it was just another state … I don’t think he believed me!

9 things to do in northern Tasmania with kids

This trip, we were based north of George Town in what’s basically a seaside, summer holiday village, Low Head. It was gorgeous! It was a very multigenerational holiday – my son (five at the time), me, my mother, her friend, and we stayed with another of their friends who’s currently living in Low Head. It was great to get some local insider knowledge from her, and it was also really lovely to be based in just one spot – no unpacking and repacking as on my previous Tassie road trips – and to explore the local area properly. I’m always amazed at how much there is to see and do in Tasmania, and just within this small northern central area, we found so much to fill our time! So without further ado – here are our nine favourite things to do in northern Tasmania – both kid and adult friendly!

 

See the penguins at Low Head

People come from miles around to join the penguin tours at Low Head, right on the northern central coast of Tasmania where the Tamar River meets Bass Strait. And how lucky were we – our friend lives a short walk down the road from the penguins and we could stroll down here one evening to join the tour.

Visit the Beaconsfield Mine

For me, the Beaconsfield Mine was immediately synonymous with the mine collapse which made headlines around the world. For my son, of course, it was “just” a mine, and I think all young boys are a bit fascinated by mines. In fact, I just saw a piece of writing he did in his first week back at school and he named Beaconsfield Mine as the favourite thing he saw in Tasmania!

Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, northern Tasmania

Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre part of this place was great – given that we were visiting it with three women in their 70s and 80s, they were immediately taken back to their childhood and loved showing my son how they’d written with ink in school and the old irons they’d used. Outside, you can explore some of the mining equipment and they have a little gold-panning spot with (don’t tell my son – pretend) gold that everyone can find!

Echidnas as well at Platypus House

The animal-loving fact-lovers among us (well, the Australian ones at least) will instantly see why these two animals were grouped together – echidnas and platypuses are both monotremes, a very special kind of animal. More easily remembered: they’re both kind of odd, but cool. Anyway, this northern Tasmanian attraction is at Beauty Point, a little town slightly further north from Beaconsfield.

Echidna at Platypus House, Beauty Point, Northern Tasmania

A hungry echidna at Platypus House, Beauty Point

The platypuses – initially the most exciting attraction for me, because I’ve only ever seen a living one once before – were cool, but harder to photograph, and harder to get close to (fair enough … they are in water, after all). The echidnas, on the other hand, were practically a hands-on activity – they have three rescue echidnas in a huge area but when we visited they were dashing madly around having fun and looking for food (and too bad if there was a human in the way). The most fascinating

Visit the farm at Seahorse World

Seahorses are particularly weird creatures, right? I’m fascinated by them. And even more so after our visit to Seahorse World (also at Beauty Point – in fact it shares a car park with Platypus House). Apparently they farm seahorses here and export them across the world – they’re a world leader in seahorses. Who knew?!

*Useful to know: the Beaconsfield Mine, Platypus House and Seahorse World have a special joint entry past – the Tamar Triple Pass – which saves you a few dollars on individual entry fees if you’re going to see all of them. You don’t have to see all of them in one day, but it’s possible, because we did!

Take the boys to the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania

Once my son heard that there was a museum in Launceston with cars in, it was added to the must-see list. It’s pretty cute with a collection of vintage cars and old racing cars, and a floor of motorbikes too, but it’s not so large that non-car-lovers (for example, me) will get bored. Let’s just say that my son loved it, and I imagine that all boys (and men!) with half an interest in cars would get something out of it. There’s also a big donated collection of toy cars (the little Matchbox size ones) and that was probably my favourite part!

Northern Tasmania National Automobile Museum in Launceston

The National Automobile Museum in Launceston

The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is directly across the road from City Park in central Launceston, and it’s a short walk through there to the area where they keep a group of macaques. It is kind of weird to come across monkeys in the middle of a public park, but they’ve been there for ages (and are within an enclosure, don’t worry) and are fun to see.

Swim at Cataract Gorge

This was my third visit to Tasmania, and my third visit to Cataract Gorge, in Launceston. It’s a beautiful spot. Even on a busy day in the summer school holidays, there was plenty of space for us – there are a couple of cafes, and the chair lift, and great walking trails.

Northern Tasmania and the swimming pool at Cataract Gorge

Great swimming spot at Launceston’s Cataract Gorge

But the best part was the swimming pool. It wasn’t exactly a really hot day but the setting just seemed to gorgeous to miss out on. This pool is free to use (how nice is that?!) and it was just divine. The water was so clear and refreshing – three generations of us went in together (my mother, me, and my son) and it was perfect. If you’re visiting Launceston in summer, do it! (I’m pretty sure, though, that the suitable swimming season for this spot is fairly limited – I have had some cold trips to Tassie!)

Ice cream and chocolate at Grindelwald

I’m a little bit sceptical about “European villages” in Australia. Hahndorf near Adelaide, for example, is meant to be pretty German, and genuinely has a lot of Germans and people of German ancestry there, but it still seems kind of tacky to me. So when people on my Facebook page where telling me I just had to go to Grindelwald, an attraction modelled on a Swiss village (by a Dutchman, no less), I wasn’t exactly keen. However, it ended up being very much on our way home – we wanted to get home from Launceston one day on the “wrong” side of the Tamar River so we could cross the Batman Bridge again – so we stopped by.

Northern Tasmania artwork at Grindelwald

Artwork at Swiss village Grindelwald in northern Tasmania

It was nice enough, and pretty cute, especially if you’ve never been to Europe. The best part was there was lots of good ice cream and chocolate on offer, which made it thoroughly worth a stop. They also had mini-golf and a trampoline complex so it would be a great kid-friendly stop if you have time (or you can even stay there in your own little Swiss chalet!).

Breathe deep at Bridestowe Lavender Farm

I have to tell you a secret – my son thought the smell of lavender at Bridestowe Lavender Farm was a bit overpowering! I can only assume that five-year-olds have more sensitive noses, because I thought it was just divine. He was won over, however, because of their giant lavender bear (these have a story of their own – they went kind of viral in China and the farm had to put a purchase limit on them, and there were even people creating rip-off versions of them!) and the restaurant, where what sounds like normal food is combined with some form of lavender and still ends up tasting good.

Northern Tasmania - Lavender bear at Bridestowe Lavender Farm

The giant avender bear at Bridestowe Lavender Farm

I had visited Bridestowe back in 1999 and it’s expanded a lot since then – nice to see its success. I especially enjoyed seeing the oil being extracted from the lavender, and you can get right close up to the whole procedure – something I’d never thought about, but was fascinating.

Pick a winery – any winery!

This one’s for the grown ups! Northern Tasmania is full of wineries, and it would be a shame not to try a couple out! We went to Piper’s Brook as they also had a restaurant there so we could have some lunch, too, but there are so many around the area. If you have the chance, just pull into a few and see what you think.

Other northern Tasmanian itinerary suggestions

There are even more places to see and things to do in this region that we didn’t have time for. So if you have any other suggestions for this part of Tassie – let me (and future Tasmanian travellers reading this post) know in the comments!

Comments

  1. I want to see the penguins very much! I had no idea there were penguins in Australia before you shared photos of them. 🙂

    • I guess many northern hemisphere dwellers don’t know we have penguins here! We even have some just off Perth here (at a place called, aptly, Penguin Island!). But seeing so many up so close in Tasmania was a really special experience.

  2. Ooh, love Tasmania, and so can’t wait to return. Next time you go, please could I pretend to be a kid and do all the things you two go and do! They sounded such fun (ahem, can’t wait for grannies!). Super list for those with kids and thoughtful as always.

  3. So much to do in Tassie isn’t there! My daughter would love that giant purple teddy (even though she is 23!) She has a small lavender bear. Great story Amanda.

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