Your gateway to the remote natural splendour of Tasmania is its capital Hobart, where you'll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers this afternoon (flights to arrive prior to 12.30pm). 'Dive Into Culture' and explore the city's heritage as an infamous penal colony in the early 19th century. Admire the Victorian and Georgian façades that remain to this day and visit the Botanic Gardens, historic Battery Point and Constitution Dock. Ascend to Mt. Nelson next for panoramic views over the city and Derwent River. This evening, join your fellow travel companions for a Welcome Reception and dinner.
Ease into the relaxed atmosphere of this city on the river, enjoying a full day at leisure to explore on your terms. Wander through the historic Salamanca sandstone warehouses that were once the hub of Hobart's whaling industry and today house a myriad of colourful market stalls laden with Tasmanian arts, crafts and local produce. Kick back at one of Salamanca's cafés with an ale or rub shoulders with the friendly locals who delight in sharing their stories. For dinner, consider heading to the city docks in search of the best local seafood.
Leave the city behind bound for Tasmania's splendid natural beauty. Join your Travel Director for a stroll through lush rainforest to the tiered Russell Falls. Then, take the winding road to Lake St. Clair where we'll 'Dive Into Culture' and see The Wall in the Wilderness, a monumental sculpture hand-carved in rare Huon pine. Continue through the rainforest, passing the eerie moonscape of Queenstown, once the world's richest mining town. Your final destination today is the harbour town of Strahan, the gateway to the UNESCO-listed Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Here you will enjoy views of Macquarie Harbour from your hotel perched on a hillside.
Venture up the tannin-stained waters of the Gordon River, stained amber by buttongrass tannins and flanked by riverside rainforest. Continue to Sarah Island, where you'll 'Dive into Culture' and gain chilling insights into the cruelties of convict life, starkly juxtaposed against the overwhelming beauty of the island's surrounds. See Hells Gates, the notoriously treacherous entrance to the harbour, and Heritage Landing, the site of a 2,000-year-old Huon Pine. Later, travel through the mining towns of Rosebery and Tullah as you make your way to one of Trafalgar's 'Stays with Stories' - Cradle Mountain Hotel which offers incredible views of Tasmania's alpine wilderness.
Join a 'Local Specialist' this morning and discover the inspiring beauty of Cradle Mountain National Park in ways you could never imagine. Keep a keen eye out for wombats, quolls and currawongs as you embark on a guided walk with your Travel Director. Take your time to connect with the tranquil and ancient natural surrounds, tracing the purpose-built boardwalk around Dove Lake, through the wild ancient forests and alpine heathlands. Feeling adventurous? Consider a challenging hike to Marion's Lookout instead, returning via Wombat Pool.
Switch dairy for a wee dram, as you join a 'Local Specialist' for an insightful visit to Hellyers Road Distillery, founded by a group of dairy farmers. Travel to Sheffield, the 'Town of Murals' and stop at the Ashgrove Tasmanian Farm to sample the local cheeses before continuing through the Meander Valley to Tasmania's 'northern capital' of Launceston.
Your first stop today is to the nearby wilderness of Launceston's Cataract Gorge. Continue your scenic drive to Josef Chromy Wines for lunch, wine tasting and vineyard views that stretch across the Tamar Valley, one of Tasmania's prettiest settings. The flavours of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will ease you into a free afternoon to explore Launceston further, join an Optional Experience cruise on the Tamar River or simply relax at your hotel.
The floral undertones of lavender will linger long after this morning's visit to Bridestowe Lavender Estate, producer of high-quality lavender since 1922. Gain insights into the estate's history and treat yourself to some of its famous lavender ice-cream, before continuing to Legerwood Carved Memorial Trees site. Spend the afternoon following Tasmania's picturesque east coast to Freycinet Lodge, overlooking Coles Bay.
Prime your sea legs on a four-hour cruise of the Freycinet Peninsula with a 'Local Specialist'. Watch seals lazing on granite boulders, admire beautiful beaches fringed by dense bush and witness whales breaching turquoise waters (in season). You'll lay anchor at Wineglass Bay, surrounded by untouched natural beauty - the perfect backdrop to a gourmet ploughman's lunch. While on your cruise, we invite you to 'Join Trafalgar' and contribute your sightings of marine mammals and birdlife, to assist the monitoring of endangered wildlife, for the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Branch.
Journey to historic Ross, considered the finest nineteenth-century village in Australia, before traversing rich pastoral lands en route to Hobart. 'Connect with Locals' at Shene Estate, whose custodian Anne Kernke will treat you to a walking tour of the property's stunning colonial-era buildings and a Be My Guest morning tea selection of home-baked goodies in her private residence. This afternoon, your choice of sightseeing: visit Australia's largest privately funded museum, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), followed by a cruise back to Hobart on the MONA ferry or join a walking tour with a local guide for insights into Hobart's history, people and places.
'Dive Into Culture' this morning with a poignant visit to Port Arthur Historic Site, which includes a cruise around the Isle of the Dead and a guided walk of Port Arthur's infamous convict prison. Spend some free time tracing the stories of the convicts who left their mark on this former penal settlement. Your return to Hobart is filled with pinch me moments as you enjoy views from Pirate's Bay Lookout, Tasman's Arch, Devil's Kitchen and the Blowhole. As your epic encounter with Tassie comes to an end, join your fellow travellers at a Farewell Dinner in one of Hobart's best restaurants.
This morning after breakfast, we say farewell to your newfound friends as your holiday comes to an end and you are transferred to Hobart Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).