Small group tour to Discover Tasmania's wildlife
is one of 's last great wildlife strongholds. This makes it a naturalist's paradise on one of our . This makes it a naturalist’s paradise. On this guided tour for a maximum of 12 people, Wildlife-rich destinations are found at regular intervals along our route on this 16-day tour of Tasmania for mature and senior travellers. There is an opportunity to observe a variety of endemic species, like the Eastern Quoll, the Quoll are rare or extinct on the Australian mainland, but still relatively common in many parts of Tasmania. Combine this with the dramatic scenery of places like the Gordon River, Cradle Mountain, the rugged South East coast and the South West coast and any National Park creates for a visually stunning trip. We enjoy a relatively easy walk during the tour to the stunning Shadow Lake for example, near Lake St. Clair and experience the ‘real Tasmania’. Each day of this trip reveals amazing aspects of Tasmania’s ecology. By day, Wombat, Platypus and Echidna are foraging abroad and as night falls, many other animals, like the Tasmanian Pademelon, Bennett’s Wallaby and Long-nosed Potoroo appear from their hidden daytime resting places. This particular allows our to get you to the right locations to observe the shy creatures of the night.
The aim of Odyssey's is to provide access to a variety of natural Tasmanian locations where wildlife can be experienced, including visiting World Heritage areas such as the Tarkine rainforest. Where possible, ecosystems will be analysed in relation to the animals we see. During our learning about the wildlife of Tasmania we will also examine aspects of Tasmania’s Aboriginal and Early European history, as well as a look at the conservation history of this island state.
Odyssey's are limited to a maximum of 12 travellers on any one program.
Tour of Tasmania
We commence the tour of Tasmania wilderness leaving Hobart promptly in the morning to travel round to Port Arthur. This small group has a full to work through to complete these . Our first day tour is from Port Arthur, out on the water on a Wilderness Cruise to experience and learn about the Tasman National Park on the east coast and its’ rich wildlife. There is a chance to observe species like Australian and New Zealand Fur Seals, Common and Bottlenose Dolphins, migrating whales, seabird feeding frenzies, including Shearwaters, Gannets, Gulls & Little Penguins for example. We will travel in a 12.5 metre purpose-built Naiad vessel around this maritime National park. We return to Port Arthur and take time after lunch to explore the notorious Port Arthur Prison.
The following day your of group of seniors travellers departs for Coles bay but first stop is to have a day trip on . As you cross to Maria island on the early morning ferry you follow the path of the Aboriginal people, who for thousands of years made regular canoe crossings to the island they knew as Wukaluwikiwayna. Archaeological evidence suggests that more than 35,000 years Aboriginal people have lived in the homelands of the Oyster Bay nation. The Tasmanian Aboriginal people from Maria Island were known as the Puthikwilayti.
Maria Island became a penal settlement in 1825 and was soon infamous for the number of escapes across the water. The settlement, located at Darlington, was conceived as a half-way house between the extreme of hard labour at Macquarie Harbour at Strahan on Sarah Island (that the group visits on Day 9) and a stint in a road or chain gang. From 1842 Maria was used as a convict probation station, but by 1850 this mainly agricultural station was abandoned. The significance of the convict probation era at Marie Island, Darlington was recognised in 2010 by World Heritage Listing as part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. More information on World Heritage listings can be found on our page, and on the Heritage Tasmania website.
Maria Island’s landscape today almost 200 hundred years on is a microcosm of unique cultural heritage of the indigenous community and British settlement, overlain today as a National park with native Pademelons, who have always called Maria Island home, forester kangaroos, Bennett's wallabies, Flinders Island wombats, Cape Barren geese and Tasmanian native hens. Maria Island has all but one of the Tasmania's twelve endemic birds living on the island, including the endangered forty-spotted pardalote, green rosellas, and the majestic wedge-tailed eagle. Sharp eyes may spot tiny hooded plovers, sooty and pied oyster catchers, and little and fairy terns on the beaches of Maria Island during our visit. We spend the day taking a slow walking tour around the island pausing for lunch before taking the mid-afternoon ferry back. Our coach takes the tour group along the east coast to Coles bay.
Coles bay enables this tour of Tasmania to walk from the lodge in a loop following Hazards track through the National park to Wineglass Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula. Freycinet peninsula is a dramatic coastline. The eastern side of the Freycinet Peninsula has soaring sea cliffs, secluded coves, and dramatic ocean beaches shaped by the granite peaks that form Hazards range on Tasmania's east coast. We pause at the Wineglass bay lookout for photos. Whilst Wineglass bay is considered by travellers to be one of the top ten beaches in the world. Our guided tour continues on past wide deserted beaches and aquamarine shallows at Bryans and Cooks beaches on the western side of the peninsula, we learn about the aboriginal history in the area as we walk back along Hazards beach and the stories about the middens behind the dunes we past. We continue round to return to the lodge at Coles bay.
Welborough pass and Launceston
The following day, this small group tour of Tasmania heads to Launceston. We follow Tasmania's east coast for some distance and then turn inland for Launceston via Weldborough Pass. The purpose of visiting Weldborough pass is to take a short walk to view and learn about the wet Sclerophyll fern forest that once covered much more of this region. We carry onto Launceston. In the afternoon we take a short walking tour around the town to get an appreciation of the history and visiting the Victoria museum which covers Aboriginal history, colonial settlement, geology, etc., as well as Tasmania’s unique natural history.
Next, your Tasmania tour heads up to Cradle Mountain via the Tamar wetland centre and Sheffield.
This small group tour of Tasmania has this morning a guided tour of the wetlands. They are a superb site to see early morning bird life in Tasmania from. Some 60 birds species have been identified on the island including several species of duck, black swans, egrets, cormorants and swamp harriers and northern hemisphere migrants such as the common greenshank. Tamar island reserve is an important breeding site for the nationally vulnerable green and gold frog. This frog was formerly abundant in the Tamar valley but has declined significantly since the 1970s. The Tamar Wetlands also include one of the largest remaining areas of vegetation dominated by Phragmites Australis, or common reed and Swamp paperbark, Melaleuca ericifolia. From Tamar we drive on to Sheffield for lunch and to have time to walk around this town to look some 140 + murals that decorate the walls and are part of an annual festival.
We spend 2 nights in the Cradle Mountain National park. Initially Cradle mountain was called Ribbed Rock, this iconic peak was renamed the more evocative Cradle Mountain by Van Diemen's Land Company surveyor Joseph Fossey. The name was due to the 1545-metre mountain's now-familiar dipping profile between the main summit and Little Horn. Cradle Mountain and surrounds have been shaped by glacial erosion and deposition over the past two million years part of this heritage are the to view. The various glaciers that covered the area have left behind a variety of glacial features, including the valley of the Dove River that flows from Dove lake and numerous lakes and tarns. Cradle Mountain has a diverse mosaic of vegetation communities from rainforests to buttongrass moorlands. Many of these plant species in these habitats have a direct descendancy from Gondwana, including long-lived endemic conifers such as the King Billy pine, pencil pine, celery-top pine, and Tasmania's deciduous beech (fagus), which colours the hillsides each autumn.
Cradle Mountain Gondwanan heritage is further revealed through the existence of species such as velvet worms, fish in the family Galaxiidae, aquatic insects and crustaceans. Other invertebrates, such as the pencil pine moth, reveal even more ancient links to the super-continent Pangea.
Cradle Mountain contains a wide range of habitats and is home to some of the world's largest carnivorous marsupials – the Tasmanian devil, spotted-tailed quoll and eastern quoll – as well as wombats, platypus and echidna. Cradle mountain National park goes beyond spectacular views. Archaeological evidence indicates ongoing human settlement on Cradle Mountain through the last ice age. evidence suggests the Aboriginal community where using the Mountain as a hunting ground for some 3,000 years. Today's Aboriginal community continue to have a strong connection to this cultural landscape. From the 1820s to the park's declaration as a reserve in 1922, these Aboriginal homelands were visited by explorers, prospectors, trappers, hunters, timber getters and graziers. Proposals for the area varied from large mines and railways, to farms and plantations, though such activity was restricted.
The group spends time with a guided tour of the Tasmanian Devils at the Cradle mountain sanctuary and taking a walking tour around Dove lake with a focus on the areas biodiversity. In the afternoon we take time to visit the Waldheim Chalet, not only to see where Kate & Gustav Weindorfer lived but to pause and reflect on the vision of the couple in pursuing the early call for this area to be a National park and to appreciate the early work undertaken in studying and cataloguing the Flora and Fauna of Cradle Mountain.
"in January 1910, Kate Weindorfer clambered over ice-covered boulders in her ankle-length skirt and beribboned hat, sometimes crawling on all fours, to reach the summit of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain. She was the first white woman to stand on this peak. Her Austrian-born husband and fellow botanist, Gustav Weindorfer, a man bred in high altitudes, had breezed up here an hour earlier with two other bushwalkers in tow, encountering lizards, grasshoppers and a soaring eagle hunting for prey." Kindred, A Cradle Mountain Love Story by Kate Legge 2019.
Macquarie Harbour & Gordon River
This small group tour of Tasmania remains in the National park network of Tasmania, moving from Cradle Mountain National Park via the wildlife-rich walk to Pencil Pine Falls to the historic mining town of Zeehan. Our day tour today takes along the Murchison Highway, which demarks the southern edge of the Tarkine rainforest. The Tarkine is the largest area of Gondwanan cool-temperate rainforest in Australia , it is an area that featured in Tasmania's early mining history and is therefore controversial as pressure from Mining groups continues today. The area's high concentration of Aboriginal sites has led to it being described by the Australian Heritage Council as "one of the world's great archaeological regions". We find time to enter a National park to explore and understand the ecological importance of the Tarkine rainforest.
After a break for lunch this tour of Tasmania wildlife continues to Strahan on the west coast. Strahan is on the edge of Tasmania's World Heritage-listed, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers and South West National Park, they have been combined to protect one of the world’s last great temperate rainforests. During the groups time in Strahan we take a guided tour across the bay to Sarah island and along part of the Gordon river, this is expected to be visually a unique cruise with spectacular views along the Gordon river. The guided tour of Sarah island is Macquarie Harbour Penal Station, just over 1150 prisoners served time at Macquarie Harbour, of whom fewer than 30 were women. The main settlement was located on Sarah Island, but there were many outlying stations and the penal station covered a vast area. The enigma of Macquarie Harbour penal station is that, despite its fearful reputation as a site of punishment, it also functioned as a highly productive colonial shipyard. This small island was known to Aboriginal people as Langerrareroune, was called Sarah Island by the British colonisers It was in Aboriginal records a bitter staging-post for west coast Aboriginal people or Toogee to be forcibly detained en route to Flinders Island. The group then tours part way along the river on a viewing the temperate forests and gaining an understanding of the importance of Huon pine from the local .
The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is home to important archaeological sites marking the southern-most extent of human habitation during the last Ice Age.
After the groups evening meal there is an opportunity to take a trip out in the dunes to a shearwater colony to witness the return from feeding of the migratory birds along this rugged coastline, exposed to the weather.
Lake St. Clair
This small group tour of Tasmania changes location today, swapping the west coast for central Tasmania and Lake St. Clair. Having spent several days learning and observing the ecology of Tasmania, the groups arrival in Queenstown will be a shock, this is an area of Tasmania that was denuded for copper, though the native vegetation are covering the scars. We stop in Queenstown to visit the Galley Museum, Queenstown's first brick hotel, the elegant Imperial (1898) on the corner of Driffield and Sticht Streets. The museum was established by Eric Thomas who spread his remarkable photo collection through seven rooms. There are over 800 photographs, all have been collected by Mr Thomas and all record the history of Tasmania's West Coast. Each photograph is accompanied by a detailed caption recording the history of the image. As we depart Queenstown we drive past The Gravel Football Oval. To play a game on Queenstown's gravel oval has got to be the height of stupidity or a crazy brave preparedness to come off grazed and bleeding. Not surprisingly it has terrified visiting teams for nearly a century. It is located off Wilsdon Street which runs off the Lyell Highway.
From Queenstown this Tasmania tour carries on to Lake St. Clair, where we spend two nights. The Aboriginal name for Lake St. Clair is leeawuleena, meaning ‘sleeping water’, and on still days you can genuinely appreciate the origins of this name. Lake St. Clair is part of the celebrated Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park – the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Lake St. Clair, the deepest lake in Australia. The day starts with a guided tour on a boat to Narcissus Bay at the northern end Lake St. Clair. The group then has the option of a return walk or boat ride back to the Lodge. Spend the rest of the day walking to Shadow Lake on the loop track from the Lodge this is a walk with
Mount Field National Park & Styx river
Today our guided tour takes us through the various ecosystems from the valley floor to the top of Mount Field National Park, where we can explore the boulder streams and the alpine meadows. This tour is almost a recap of all we have seen during the period of the tour. As we descend from the central plateau we detour to view the giant gums of the Styx River, the rugged World Heritage scenery and great display of heathland flora, including the Leatherwood to the backdrop of the rugged Western Arthurs Range. The group then continues, returning to Hobart for 2 nights on Tasmania's east coast via Derwent Valley, Mount Wellington & if time Russell Falls.
For our last full day of our our small group tour of Tasmania leaves Hobart to visit Bruny Island. , We take guided , learning about conservation work as well as the Wildlife and fauna on the island.
On this we typically spend between 1-3 nights in each location, a range of forms of accommodation types will be used on this tour including hotels, motels and lodges.
Prices for this are indicative only at this time, based on general rates for regional Australia touring. April 2020.
Articles about Australia published by Odyssey Traveller:
- The Kimberley: A Definitive Guide
- Uncovering the Ancient History of Aboriginal Australia
- Aboriginal Land Use in the Mallee
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Adelaide and Tasmania:
- Tasmanian Road Trip: Wind Through Ancient Rainforests, Abseil a Canyon and Meet Local Fauna
- 48 Hours in Hobart
- The best convict sites in Tasmania you've never heard of
- Port Arthur Penal Settlement
- Guide to Freycinet
- Freycinet National Park
- Activity Level is introductory to moderate, since we will be visiting national parks and conservation areas and walking the trails provided
- There are no ‘strenuous’ walks on this trip and usually there are easy options available on the days we are doing longer walks
- Transport will be a Coaster mini-bus with a trailer for luggage.
- Group size restricted to 12 people.
Overview: Make your independent arrival to your Hobart accommodation. Meet your fellow travellers who are joining you on one of Odyssey’s scheduled . Tonight there is a welcome .
Accommodation: Hotel in Hobart.
Overview: This morning, our takes a 3 hour Cruise from Port Arthur to experience this dramatic Tasman coastline and its’ rich wildlife, with a chance to observe species like Australian and New Zealand Fur Seals, Common and Bottlenose Dolphins, migrating whales, seabird feeding frenzies, including Shearwaters, Gannets, Gulls & Little Penguins. We will travel in a 12.5 metre purpose-built Naiad vessel. In the afternoon we explore the notorious Port Arthur Prison. Potentially go night spotlighting for the little-known Long-nosed Potoroo.
Accommodation: Hotel in Port Arthur
Overview: Visit to Maria Island. After the ferry crossing we will explore and find out about elements of the natural heritage, the convict and industrial relics and some of the interesting rock features. We travel on the afternoon to Coles Bay.
Overview: There will be an opportunity to spend some time on a comfortable walk to Wineglass Bay along the famous and scenic Hazards Track. This is a full day’s loop walk, starting & finishing at the Lodge. Walk along the beautiful Hazard Beach and view the Aboriginal middens behind the dunes.
Accommodation: Coles Bay
Overview: Launceston today via Weldborough Pass, where we can take a short walk to view the wet sclerophyll fern forest that once covered much more of this region.
In the afternoon we walk to the Queen Victoria Museum, Inveresk, to view the amazing “Tasmanian Connections” exhibition, which covers Aboriginal history, colonial settlement, geology, etc., as well as Tasmania’s unique natural history.
Accommodation: Hotel in Launceston
Overview: Our route takes us through Tamar Island Wetland centre and Sheffield. A scenic drive through the mountains takes us to the magnificent World Heritage Marakoopa Cave where the tour is hosted by local guides. See the many limestone features that make this cave famous.
We arrive on Cradle Mountain in the afternoon.
Accommodation: Hotel in Cradle Mountain
Overview: Spend the day walking the trails of Cradle Mountain, including the famous Dove Lake circuit and the beginning of the Overland Track. Visit the Waldheim settlement where Gustav Weindorfer began his famous conservation work, which resulted in this amazing national park. Here we will see Tasmania at its natural best. Weather permitting a night spotlight walk will be attempted. Wombats, Echidna, Platypus, Tiger Quolls, Bennett’s Wallabies and Pademelons all inhabit this area.
Accommodation: Hotel in Cradle Mountain
Overview: Travel through to the historic mining town of Zeehan from Cradle Mountain today and onto to the West coast historic town of Strahan.
Accommodation: Hotel in Strahan
Overview: Take a comfortable cruise on the “Eagle” across Maquarie Harbour to the old penal settlement of Sarah Island and up the Gordon River to learn of the old Huon Pine industry and the fight for wilderness preservation.
There is an opportunity to visit a shearwater colony in the coastal dunes after dinner, subject to the time of the year.
Accommodation: Hotel in Strahan
Overview: Travel from Strahan on the west coast via Nelson falls, Donaghy’s hill the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Queenstown to Lake St Clair
Accommodation: Lake St Clair Lodge
Overview: Take an early morning boat trip to Narcissus Bay at the northern end of the deepest lake in Australia – Lake St. Clair. We have the option of a return walk or boat ride back to the Lodge. Spend the rest of the day walking to Shadow Lake on the loop track from the Lodge.
Accommodation: Lake St. Clair Lodge
Overview: In the morning we visit Pencil lake be fore we travel south from Lake St Clair to Maydena. The tour stops along the way to explore several areas of interest.
Accommodation: Hotel in Maydena
Overview: We take a drive through the various ecosystems from the valley floor to the top of Mount Field National Park, where we can explore the boulder streams and the alpine meadows. Enjoy the giant gums of the Styx River, the rugged World Heritage scenery and great display of heathland flora, including the Leatherwood to the backdrop of the rugged Western Arthurs Range.
We then depart via Derwent Valley, Mt Wellington & Russell Falls for Hobart.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hobart
Overview: For our last full day, our small group tour of Tasmania leaves Hobart to visit Bruny Island. We have a guided tour of the island learning about conservation work as well as the Wildlife and fauna on the island.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hobart
Overview: Tour ends after breakfast.
What’s included in our Tour
- 15 nights accommodation
- 15 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 12 Dinners
- Odyssey Tour Leader for the duration of the tour
- All activities including entrance fees
What’s not included in our Tour
- Travel to and from Hobart
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry