Travel Guide

Top 10 Tasmania attractions for kids

By Chloe · August 2023 · 10 min read
While it may not be one of the first places that springs to mind when you're thinking of a top holiday destination in Australia to take the kids, Tasmania, in fact, makes for a great place to visit with the whole family.

But what makes Tassie special for kids? What are the best things to do? Which are the absolute best Tasmania attractions for kids if you're looking to keep the little ones entertained? We hear all of your questions and are prepared to answer them. Here's our list of the top 10 attractions for kids in Tasmania based on a combination of customer feedback, polling, and staff picks.

10. Learn and Play at Penny Royal Adventures

Image: Penny Royal Location: 1 Bridge Road, Launceston, TAS 7250

Coming in at number ten on our list of top things to do in Tasmania for kids is Penny Royal Adventures in Launceston. Penny Royal is a fun attraction for families in Launceston with plenty of opportunities to wear the little tuckers out making it quite possibly the best place to take the kids on an Australian road trip. The adventure park is part theme-park playground with a range of activities including a cliff climbing adventure, rock climbing school, ziplining, gold and gemstone fossicking, a Brig Tamar Cruise and a ‘dark ride’.

A visit to Penny Royal in Launceston is based on the true local stories of Tasmania’s convict history and the daring escapades of bushranger Matthew Brady so you can be certain that your children will be learning while they play. You’ll likely find the parents hanging out at the trendy cellar door and wine bar featuring award-winning local wines and a tapas style menu. And you can even wash all that wine down with a wood-fired pizza at Brady’s Tavern. Stepping through the front gates of Penny Royal Adventures is a time warping experience. You’ll immediately feel like you’ve been transported back to the 1800’s with rugged cliffs, heritage stone buildings and a restored Brig Tamar that cruises the lagoon.

9. Explore Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs

Image: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett Location: 754 Hastings Caves Rd, Hastings

If you're after a more nature-based attraction away from the majority of the crowds to take the kids out for a combined dose of wonder and fresh air, the Hastings Caves and its associated Thermal Springs check both boxes. Home to an expansive and ancient cave network filled with an incredible number of impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations made of dolomite rather than the typical limestone. The Hastings Caves are visually stunning and comparable to the similar offering at Jenolan Caves in NSW on the mainland. The experience at the caves begins at the Visitor's Centre which is full of helpful staff who can take you on a guided tour of the earth to explore and learn about the well-lit caves' history and structure. While it may be a topic that's perhaps too detailed for younger kids to fully appreciate, the guides take their time to make the experience as easy to understand as possible, and the sheer sight of the formations is enough to keep the little one's mouths agape for the duration.

Throughout the tour you'll also need to be prepared to encounter a large number of steps. There are no ramps or paths for prams but it's never too overwhelming, and the presence of hand-rails makes carrying smaller kids doable without too much of a struggle. As a general rule, if your children are at least 5 years of age or older, they should be fine walking on their own throughout the tour. As far as kids are concerned, however, the caves themselves aren't the only highlight of the day, with the other half being the Thermal Pools. Don't be confused by the name; this is not some hot-spring style relaxation getaway ideal for adults to unwind, but simply a swimming pool fed by naturally-heated water set amongst some forested surrounds. The pool also has a shallower section specifically for younger kids in mind.

8. Ride the Don River Railway

Image: Don River Railway Location: Forth Road, Don

Unlike most states on the mainland, Tasmania does not have a regular system of commercial passenger trains that still function today... that is, in all parts of the state but one. The city of Devonport's Don River Railway is the last remaining bastion of rail-based transport in operation today, but it's a far cry from the clean-cut and modern electrical transport of mainland Australia's urban hubs. Harking back to the days of vintage locomotive glory, the Don River Railway's train ride offers a 30-minute, 3.5-kilometre journey aboard either a steam train (Sundays only) or vintage railcar that follows the banks of the picturesque Don River from which it derives its name. It's a ride that is run entirely by volunteers who go out of their way to make the experience as friendly and entertaining for kids as possible. The staff are obviously passionate about keeping interest in this historic aspect of rail going with the younger generation, and it shows. Kids can even have the chance enter the driver's cabin to toot the horn and drive the train at various points.

The ride itself passes through a lovely nature reserve that offers a great perspective and vantage point to take in a variety of historical local highlights, with its journey ending at scenic Coles Beach. Along the way, the drivers are always keen and willing to answer questions passengers may have and they're extremely well-versed in all aspects of train operation, construction and history as well as this part of Northern Tasmania in general. The Don River Railway is also home to a number of attractions such as a museum workshop, signal station and yard containing Tasmania's largest collection of historic trains dating all the way back to 1871. There's a multitude of engines on display here as well as a collection of roughly 20 passenger carriages, so train buffs will be well in their element.

7. Visit Seahorse World

Image: Seahorse World Location: 1A/200 Flinders St, Beauty Point

A unique Tasmanian attraction, while it could be lumped into the general wildlife park€ category, Seahorse World is special in that its main attraction are one of the most fragile and delicately beautiful creatures in the water. Seahorses have a mystical quality, and this attraction is dedicated to uncovering their secrets while preserving the balance between entertainment and education of these strange-yet-charming creatures. Seahorse World features a variety of touch pools that allow children to get hands-on with not only seahorses but crabs and other marine life as well. These animals have a very distinct and strange texture which makes feeling them in your hands a different and memorable experience, while the various other tanks in the attraction give you the chance to sample a range of other weird and wonderful marine oddities.

One of the rarer highlights of this animal attraction are the Sea Dragons, which are a distant cousin of the seahorse yet have far more striking colours. They have a blend of reds, yellows and iridescent blues which mark their incredibly fragile-looking bodies, and manage to be both beautiful and alien-like at the same time. One thing to note is that Seahorse World is most definitely more of a tour than a free-ranging, wandering experience. You'll receive a guided explanation of all the animals and their environments, and the friendly guides do a good job of bringing the complicated topic of marine biology down to a level that kids can understand. Tour sessions run every hour on the hour, and despite the fairly small size of the attraction there's enough variety in the tanks and animals on offer to make for a satisfying visit.

6. Explore Tasmazia

Image: Tasmazia, Location: 500 Staverton Rd, Promised Land

As far as the combination of uniqueness and quirkiness goes, not only in Tasmania but Australia in general, it's hard to beat the excellent Tasmazia attraction that sits roughly 40 minutes south of Devonport, or 1.5 hours west of Launceston. As you might have guessed from its name, Tasmazia is home to eight individual mazes of varying sizes and levels of complexity, but it's so much more than that; the entire complex is full of colour and kid-oriented mini-attractions that make for a variety of things to see and do all in the one location. It is, in a sense, almost like a mini-theme-park that's designed specifically with younger children in mind that don't rely on a single lick of technology to get its sense of good old-fashioned fun across.

The attraction all starts with the mazes themselves, of course, and the 8 on offer are all of a sufficient level of both variety and quality so that they don't become stale after the first one or two. These are legitimate mazes with hedges high enough so that you won't be able to cheat by looking over the top, so you'll have to work hard to navigate your way out. The experience in each is incentivised with a number of little plaques and signs with jokes and other snippets of text written on them so that there's something new to discover around every corner. In all, it's the world's largest maze complex, with the Great Maze being the kingpin and housing the Three Bear's Cottage at its centre, while others feature the likes of fairy castles, memorials, and even a centre viewing platform that provides a great view of the surrounding area as a reward. The Village of Lower Crackpot is a charming and humorous 1/5th scale replica model village that features a variety of little buildings that walk a mix between country-English style theming.

5. Zip through the treetops with Hollybank Treetops Adventure

Image: Hollybank Treetops Adventure Location: 66 Hollybank Rd, Underwood Tasmania's expansive forests aren't just pretty to look at, they also offer plenty of chances for adventure, with perhaps the best example of this for those with kids being the Hollybank Treetops Adventure Park, which is located around 20 minutes outside Launceston. The attraction features a series of zip lines allowing participants to zip from tree to tree, providing a wonderful view over the forest and its surrounds as you make your way from one tree platform to the next. While those who are skittish with heights may see some concern with this, both the staff and equipment at Hollybank put such a strong emphasis safety that you can simply embrace the sense of exploration without worry. This is a mix of scenery, fun and views that's hard to replicate, and it's all conducted with a sense of friendliness and humour, which makes it enjoyable for all ages. While the Hollybank Treetops Adventure Park comes with a minimum weight of 35kg for solo riders, tandem zip lines are doable for those with younger kids, and the unique sensation of soaring through the treetops with a family member by your side is highly enjoyable.

During the experience you'll be zipping around an average of 20 metres above ground level, with the longest individual section of zip line is roughly 100 metres long and the tallest point reaching almost 50 metres high! The journey includes sections of cableway bridging one station to the next. Each part of the tour has its own special charm, whether it's a unique viewpoint of a certain section of the forest or one of the longer zip runs that allow you to reach maximum speed, it never becomes overly monotonous or boring. The focus here is on a combination of entertainment and eco-tourism, with plenty of emphases put on conservation and preserving the environment, and it helps to drum these messages into younger kids from an early age. The entire Hollybank Treetops Adventure Park takes around 3 hours to complete, and while it's far from the cheapest item on this list, it's certainly one of the most memorable. Australia's longest zip line adventure is an enjoyable Tassie experience and well worth trying even if you or the little ones are afraid of heights.

4. Admire Old Hobart Town Model Village

Image: Logged On Location: 21A Bridge St, Richmond This enchanting little place is a miniature and authentic rendition of what Hobart used to be, and one of the unique attractions in the area. It's easy to see from the get-go that a lot of work has gone into not only carving the models but simply positioning the dolls to form realistic scenes. Kids love spotting all the quirky and unique characters around the village, many of which are striking humorous poses or are in funny, unexpected locations. It's an interesting feeling to become a giant for a while and wander around the streets of Old Hobart, admiring the various caricatures of life €œback in the day. The village sits in the little town of Richmond, to the northeast of Hobart, and is well worth a stop to stretch your legs if you're heading either out of Hobart or are on your way back in. While you'll likely only spend around half an hour or so here, its charm is undeniable and the young ones will likely love it while you'll be able to appreciate the craftsmanship.

3. Explore Tasmania Zoo

Image: Tasmania Zoo Location: 1166 Ecclestone Rd, Riverside While it might pale in size compared to the likes of larger Australian zoos and wildlife parks, such as Taronga Zoo or Australia Zoo, Tasmania Zoo is located around half an hour's drive outside Launceston, does a good job of satisfying all your animal-viewing needs, and is always a hit with the kids. Though relatively small, Tasmania Zoo still serves as home to a fair range of animals, both native Australian and exotic. Expect to come across the likes of koalas, kangaroos, monkeys, plenty of birds and, of course, Tasmanian Devils, which despite their predatory, meat-eating ways, are simply adorable! Tasmania Zoo follows a more œopen style layout than most, which allows you to get up fairly close to many of the animals. To add to that, there are various feeding sessions throughout the day conducted by the zookeepers who allow you to follow along closely to get a better view.

One of the main highlights of the zoo for children is the dinosaur walk track, which winds its way around the zoo and features a bunch large model dinosaurs that the kids will no doubt love posing with. While not fully life-size, the dinosaurs are realistically modelled and both big and well-made enough to be a pleasant sideshow to the main wildlife event. The zoo is spread out over an expanse of 900 acres of traditional Tasmanian bushland meaning there's a fair bit of walking involved to get from one end to the other. Though this can prove tiring for younger kids, fortunately, there are enough animals on display that you'll never have to wander too far to get from one enclosure to the next. As long as you're willing to temper your expectations a bit when compared directly to the larger zoos in Australia's bigger cities, you'll be able to spend a few hours with the kids at the largest animal display in Tasmania, all within easy reach of one of the state's main cities.

2. Relax at Cataract Gorge Reserve

Location: 74-90 Basin Road, Launceston Cataract Gorge has long been one of the most famous symbols of the Launceston area, carving its way through the earth and surrounded by a large and lush area of park land that has been developed over the years to cater to families. There are few other places, not just in Tasmania but throughout Australia,“ that so expertly blend stunning scenery with plenty of child-friendly things to do, but Cataract Gorge Reserve manages to do it all. The area is rich in wildlife with various animals roaming around the reserve. You might be able to spot peacocks and wallabies while you enjoy the various facilities suitable for the whole family. These include an open-air swimming pool that is ideal for the hotter months of the year, a well-maintained kid's playground, and plenty of space for both play time and enjoying a picnic or BBQ.

Perhaps the feather in Cataract Gorge's cap, however, is the massive chairlift that takes you on a journey directly over the gorge. Providing you with some wonderful views of the surrounding greenery and hills/mountains in the area, this is a great way to relax and take in some beautiful sights. The chairlift is the longest single-span chairlift in the world and the ride lasts for an impressively long time, however, if you or your kids are a little squeamish when it comes to heights or feel a bit exposed then you may want to give it a miss as it is a chairlift, not an enclosed cable car, so a single metal bar is the only safety precaution. The chairlift is far from the only way to explore the area, with a variety of scenic walking tracks winding their way around the reserve, allowing you to take in the natural surrounds at your own pace. There are both short and long tracks to choose from depending on how energetic you and the kids are feeling.

1. Visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: 593 Briggs Rd, Brighton Located around half an hour's drive to the north of Hobart, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (also known as Bonorong Wildlife Park) is a top-notch animal facility that more than makes up for in quality what it lacks in size. Originally established to solely be a spot to provide care for injured and orphaned wildlife in the region, it's grown in large part due to the efforts of its incredibly passionate and caring staff who are as generous with their time as one could ever hope for. This is reflected in almost every aspect of Bonorong that is noticeable immediately upon entering; all the paths and gardens are meticulously maintained, and the animals are obviously very well cared for if it's possible for animals to look happy, at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary they most certainly do.

If your kids are the type who enjoy getting hands-on with animals (and, let's face it, whose kids aren't?) then they'll have a ball here;. You can pet and feed a number of the animals in the park, including kangaroos, koalas, tawny frogmouth, Tasmanian Devils. Tours from Hobart to Bonorong are also available that include return hotel transfers which can make things a little easier for those visiting from interstate. Regardless of how you choose to get there, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is well worth your time, and the kids will be sure to thank you for the treat!

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