If you cross Bass Strait from Melbourne to Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania and you have children on board, we’ve mapped out day one of your holiday for you. The kids will worship the ground you walk on, and your Tasmanian holiday will be off to a fabulously harmonious start. Get the maps out of the glove box (or set your GPS coordinates more likely) and let’s go. You can thank us later!
Children on Holiday: Day to Remember
For the sake of this exercise, we’ll assume you are travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry with your car. If you haven’t eaten breakfast on board, that will be your first task of the day. Next take the children to the park or the beach to let off some steam. Try Mersey Bluff, where you can incorporate your first Tasmanian lighthouse sighting. And speaking of steam, we’d like to introduce the first of the day’s attractions… Don River Railway in Forth Road, only 10kms from central Devonport.
At Don River Railway on Forth Road, Don (a suburb of Devonport) you can see a display of steam and diesel engines from various eras in Tasmanian rail history. There’s an extensive workshop and a museum with historical railway artifacts and photos, including a coin-operated model train that children will love. The feature attraction is a half hour return ride on a vintage train to Coles Beach and back. Tours operate every hour from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily.
When you can drag the kids away from Don, tap 500 Staverton Road, Promised Land into the GPS and prepare to be amazed. Two attractions in one, Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot is a winner with families. You could spend all day wandering the mazes, inspecting the miniature houses and uncovering quirky novelties around each new corner. If breakfast doesn’t tide you over, Tasmazia has a wonderful pancake cafe offering more to eat and drink.
Don’t Lose Your Marbles
From Promised Land, drive the short distance to Sheffield, the Town of Murals. There’s lots to see here, and you’d be wise to plan a sleep-over to explore everything on offer. But if you only have today and you want to impress the children, please take them to World of Marbles at 34 Main Street.
The World of Marbles shop, gallery and demonstrations will also appeal to adults; but the kids will go wild over the marble runs. Make sure there’s pocket money saved for the the snazzy Tom Bowlers and toys for sale.
Playing marbles is bound to make you hungry, and any child with a sweet-tooth is in luck in Sheffield. Also in Main Street you’ll find Fudge n Good Coffee, where they’ll let you sample their ever-changing range of fudge for free. You won’t want to leave Fudge n Good Coffee empty handed though. You’ll also be tempted by their gourmet pies, milkshakes and freshly baked cookies.
From Sheffield, another short drive will see you in Railton, where the magic really starts for the day. Grab a town map from one of the shops and follow the Topiary Trail. You’ll be astounded at the variety of ways a hedge can actually be trimmed. And please, whatever you do, don’t leave Railton without visiting Fibre Optic Magic and Looking Glass Cottage at 18 Foster Street. Perfect at Christmas or any time really.
Day Trip: Things to Do in Tasmania
Continuing the magical theme, return to your car once again and drive to Latrobe. We won’t suggest more food for children (okay… Cherry Shed, La Dolce Vita, House of Anvers…) but we will suggest you rev your engines at Kart Magic at 10 Speedway Drive. Suitable for all ages and driving abilities, Kart Magic is the perfect way to complete a very big day of action designed for children.
Of course, adults are welcome to take advantage of this article; or any of the others we’ve previously published in the Things to Do With Children in Tasmania series. Why should kids have all the fun?
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