Tasmanian bubble: What the island has to offer Kiwis when borders open after COVID-19

Tasmanian bubble: What the island has to offer Kiwis when borders open after COVID-19
Photo credit: Tourism Australia

With a trans-Tasman bubble unlikely to happen until all states have managed to COVID-19 under control, the island of Tasmania is keen on its own two-way air bridge with New Zealand as soon as March.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said to allow that to happen, work is underway to bring Hobart's airport up to standard in terms of biosecurity and border forces.

It would mean Kiwis could fly direct for the first time in decades - the last time Air New Zealand flew to Tasmania was more than 20 years ago.

"Out of all of the countries that are our close neighbours, the one that we have the strongest and most likely chance of having a travel bubble operating would be New Zealand," Gutwein said on Monday.

So should a Tasmania-New Zealand travel bubble indeed open, how could Kiwi holidaymakers spend a weekend on the island?

Five things to do on a holiday in Tasmania 

Explore Hobart, the charming capital

Wander among the city's sandstone colonial architecture, drive through wilderness to the summit of Mount Wellington (which looks a bit different to the one in Auckland) or take in the view at one of Hobart's acclaimed eateries or wine bars. 

Tasmanian bubble: What the island has to offer Kiwis when borders open after COVID-19
Photo credit: Tourism Australia/Newshub

No trip would be complete without a visit to The Museum of Old and New Art. Jump on the ferry in the city centre to arrive at the multi-tiered museum cut into sandstone cliffs, and check out its collection of provocative art.  

Meet the Tassie locals   

Just like any Australian town, certain stereotypes and images may come to mind when you imagine the locals - but you've probably got that wrong about Tasmania. The island is a natural haven for Australian wildlife. Bennett's wallabies, seals, penguins and wedge-tailed eagles can be found without venturing too far from the cities. 

Hobart city from Mount Wellington Lookout at sunrise
Hobart city from Mount Wellington Lookout at sunrise Photo credit: Tourism Australia

Maria Island is a known wombat haven, rare white wallabies call Bruny Island home and the iconic Tasmanian devil who - whilst nocturnal and shy - can be found at wildlife parks across Tasmania like Bonorong or the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo.  

The Southern Lights  

Tick seeing the Aurora Australis off your bucket list by visiting Tasmania between May and August for the best chance of catching them.

Flinders Island Wombat
Flinders Island Wombat Photo credit: Tourism Australia

The Southern Lights, which flicker in bright shades of green, blue, purple and red can be seen from a range of south-facing locations such as greater Hobart, Bathurst Harbour and the Central Highlands. 

Forget the stubbies

There's a local beer in Tasmania called Boag's. Now while I couldn't possibly suggest what that could be short for, what I can say is the island is also home to one of the world's best whiskeys.

Aurora Australis
Aurora Australis Photo credit: Tourism Australia

With crisp fresh air and water, you can get a taste of some of Australia's best whiskey in Tasmania's burgeoning distillery industry. Located in the rugged wilderness of the Tasman Peninsula, the cosy McHenry Distillery produces a range of smooth, uniquely Australian spirits. 

Something completely different

Hobart is home to Australia's only floating wood-fired sauna - the Floating Sauna Lake Derby. This traditional sauna offers visitors the chance to relax and connect with nature, and take a cold plunge directly off the pontoon into the freshwater.  

Bruny Island.
Bruny Island. Photo credit: Tourism Australia

Then there's Tasmanian Air Tours' scenic flights company, which offers a fleet of three, four and five-seat helicopters offering tailored trips to explore interests in wilderness and cultural experiences, food and wine, whiskey and gin. 

Before you have a case of Tas-Mania, as yet, there hasn't been any confirmed interest into flights in and out of Tasmania. But once the option becomes more viable, it's possible that as many as five airlines could compete for the market.