Tasmania is the perfect roadtrip destination with so much stunning variety to see in such a compact area. Whether you’re after snow-capped mountains, white sandy beaches, moss-covered rainforests, historical ruins or bustling markets, you can find it all on the Apple Isle!
How Long Do I Need For a Tasmanian Roadtrip?
How long do you have? You could easily have a nice, relaxed roadtrip over a month. Two weeks will let you see all the highlights and even if you only have a week, you could still see a good chunk of Tassie.
With a week, I’d suggest sticking to Hobart + either the west or east coast sights on a road trip. Bay of Fires, Wineglass Bay and Port Arthur on the east coast or Strahan and Cradle Mountain on the west coast.
Sights to See in Tasmania
Here are some highlights of Tasmania to visit and a few accommodation recommendations, ranging from hotels to cottages and glamping!
East Coast Road Trips in Tasmania
Bay of Fires
Located on the north-east coast of Tassie, the Bay of Fires is known for it’s clear turquoise waters and orange-lichen covered granite rocks. Binalong Bay is the closest mini-town, but know that it doesn’t have any shops or restaurants, so pick up some food at St Helen’s on the way in. St Helen’s is a lovely little coastal town that can also be used as a base as it’s only 15 minutes from Binalong Bay.
While exploring the coast, head up to The Gardens, find the hidden beach at Honeymoon Point, walk on sand that squeaks at Taylors Beach and explore the hidden lagoons at on either side of Skeleton Bay Reserve at Binalong Bay.
Accommodation Recommendation: Bay of Fires Bush Retreat (Glamping), Binalong Bay
Freycinet National Park
Full of lovely turquoise bays overlooked by pink granite mountains with plenty of hiking trails to explore. Shuck oysters fresh from Great Oyster Bay or visit one of the wineries between Bicheno and Swansea.
Wineglass Bay is a big drawcard in the area. You can hike to a nearby lookout for the best views over the curved bay.
Just a little south, you can catch a ferry from Tribuanna to Maria Island for historic ruins, more hikes and beaches and some very cute wombats.
Camping is allowed within the park, otherwise there are plenty of accommodation options in Coles Bay on the edge of the park, or stay in nearby Bicheno or Swansea.
Eaglehawk Neck & the Port Arthur Peninsula
An easy day trip from Hobart but an overnight stay is recommended.
The historical Port Arthur convict ruins are a big drawcard to the area but if you’re staying nearby, be sure to go back for their nightly ghost tours or end of the month paranormal investigation tour.
Along the peninsula you’ll also find a number of rock and cave formations including Remarkable Cave, Devil’s Kitchen and Cathedral Rock. At Eaglehawk Neck you’ll find the Tessellated Pavements, a series of naturally-forming square pans that make a great spot for a photo at sunrise.
Stay right across the road at Lufra Apartments which also offer meals and have a tavern on site.
Pro tip: Drop into the bakery at Dunalley Bakery on the way back to Hobart for some delicious bakery treats. Also, keep an eye on the bridge over the canal on the outskirts of Dunalley, which operates as a swing bridge when boats need to go through.
The quaint town of Richmond is full of historic sandstone Georgian buildings but most people come here for the beautiful Richmond Bridge. It was built between 1823-1825 and is the oldest (in use) bridge in Australia. It’s also the longest stone-span bridge in Australia. Only 25km from Hobart, it’s worth a day trip or pop-in after coming back from Port Arthur.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Located 30 minutes north of Hobart, Bonorong is a great place to see Tasmania’s wildlife up close. You can even spend a little extra to be able to spend some one-on-one time with a wombat, tawny frogmouth (bird) or sugarglider. I can’t believe how soft and fluffy sugargliders are, their fur is like touching air! You’ll also find Tasmanian Devils here and some friendly kangaroos.
Visit in summer (late Dec & Jan are best) for the best views as the rows of lavender bloom across the landscape.
There are two lavender farms in Tasmania, Bridestowe Lavender Farm is the best known and just 45 minutes north-east of Launceston. You can purchase a number of lavender-infused items in their shop (the lavender drops are amazing!) or tuck into some lavender-laced goodies at their cafe.
The other lavender farm is at Port Arthur Lavender, where you can walk amongst the lavender bushes or relax in their cafe. Be sure to try their lavender hot chocolate!
Hobart & Surrounds
Hobart is just absolutely lovely. It’s full of historic buildings, lovely waterside restaurants and just has this charm that makes you fall in love with the city.
Be sure to be here on the weekend so you can visit the massive Salamanca Markets. For a small city, these markets are huge! You’ll find lots of local crafts in the stalls and nearby historic buildings around Salamanca Place.
Be sure to visit Maldini for fantastic Italian food or Honey Badger for delicious desserts!
This suburb, just around the corner from Salamanca, is full of lovely historic Georgian and Victorian mansions and cottages. Drop into Jackson & McRoss bakery & cafe for some delicious treats or pop across the road and explore Annick’s antique shop. Another great Italian restaurant here is called De Angelo or grab a meal at the Prince of Wales pub.
Accommodation Recommendation: Grande Vue Private Hotel, Battery Point
MONA – Museum of Old & New Art
Either drive there, it’s just north of Hobart, or catch the ferry from Hobart’s waterfront. This quirky museum is full of interesting exhibits from walls of vaginas, to waterfalls spouting the words of live internet searches.
Like beer? Head to the Cascade Brewery set in, of course, a beautiful historical building, where you can sample their brews and learn about the brewing process.
Mount Wellington is the imposing pile of rocks you can see from nearly any point in Hobart. Pop up there for spectacular views of the city, you might even see snow in the cooler months!
Also known by the local Indigenous name Kunanyi, you’ll also find an information centre up the top which also makes a great spot to defrost. Even in warmer weather, take a jacket!
Like local produce, scenery and wildlife? Then head to Bruny Island! You’ll find artisan cheeses, oysters, seafood, berries, fudge, wine, whisky, gin, beer and a selection of cafes and restaurants. Bruny Island is also home to fur seals, fairy penguins, albatross, wedge tailed eagles, white wallabies and many endemic species.
Mount Field National Park
This stunning national park is just 1.5hrs from Hobart and home to rainforests, waterfalls, hiking trails and even ski and snowboarding slopes in winter!
The drawcard here is Russell Falls. It sits at the end of a 20 minute rainforest walk (wheelchair accessible) through giant fern trees and moss-covered everything. If you like stairs, head up the steep hill to an area behind Russell Falls, that leads to the beautiful Horseshoe Falls.
West Coast Road Trips in Tasmania
One of the top tourist destinations in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain sets you right in the middle of the Tassie wilderness, surrounded by craggie peaks often dusted in snow, stunning lakes and lots of fern and moss. Also wombats. Wombats, people!
Cradle Mountain has something for everyone, there are difficult multi-day hikes all the way down to lazy walks by the shore. Walking around Dove Lake takes around 3 hours and is considered fairly easy. Or if you walk 20 minutes to the right of the Dove Lake car park, you’ll find the famous boathouse, often seen in tourist photos.
You’ll also find plenty of wildlife around Cradle Mountain, including wombats, echidnas, pademelons (small wallabies) and normal-sized wallabies, along with a huge array of birdlife.
Wombats tend to be seen more in the late afternoon and at night. Be careful when driving around the area as they do frequently walk along the side of the road. One of the best and easiest places to see them is around Cradle Mountain Lodge near the entrance to the park. Around the lodge and across the road you’ll find plenty of wombats, particularly in the late afternoon as they come out to feast on button grass
Accommodation Recommendation: Highlander’s Cottages (see first photo below). Special mention to this place which was one of my favourite places to stay in Tasmania. Set in the bush, each little cottage is surrounded by moss & lichen-covered trees where plenty of wildlife come over to say hello, including a cute little pademelon who brought all his mates back the next day as I had fresh fruit scraps for them. The cottages also come with their own wood fire.
Strahan sits right on the mid-east coast of Tasmania with not much around it, but for a small (very cute) town, there’s a lot to see. The town is right on the massive Macquarie Harbour. You can take cruises from here up the Gordon River, which is known for its famous reflections. Many cruises also stop off at Sarah Island, a former convict settlement with lots of ruins dotting the small island. Salmon farming in the harbour and local Huon pine sawmills mean you can get some amazing fresh salmon and some unique wood pieces from the famed Huon pine, which only grows in Tasmania and is one of the rarest and best woods for boat making due to its waterproof properties.
Accommodation Recommendation: Risby Cove Hotel & Apartments (amazing waterfront views such as the blue boats photo above.)
In The Middle of Tasmania
If you’re driving from Launceston to Hobart, these sights are worth a stop on the way, including Bonorong Wildlife Park, mentioned earlier.
Woolmer’s Estate & Brickenden
If you like the Georgian-era, convict history, or just pretty country houses and gardens, pop into the UNESCO-listed Woolmer’s Estate, just half an hour south of Launceston. The National Rose Garden, holds over 3000 roses bushes set in a 17th Century French garden design and is best seen throughout summer or in mid-November when they hold a rose festival (check their site for the exact date) and if you’re here in September-early October you might find the cherry blossoms in bloom.
Fun Fact: I stopped in here as my 3x great grandfather was one of the convicts that worked on this property in the 1830’s.
Halfway between Launceston and Hobart is another site full of convict history. The main street is lined with lots of colonial buildings filled with antique stores and specialty shops. Heading out of town you’ll find the beautiful, convict-built Red Bridge and just across the road you’ll see the Foxhunter’s Return, another convict-built building that now has a pretty good book shop in its cellar (entry from the side). It’s here that my 3x great grandfather was locked up in overnight, after a hard day’s work.
Own Car or Car Hire?
If you’re from Victoria or roadtripping from other areas in Australia, you might be tempted to take your car over on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, which runs morning and night trips between Melbourne and Devonport. For a long road trip this may be a better option but if you only have a week, the price will be roughly the same as flying and hiring a car and you don’t have to waste 2 days on the ferry (9.5hr crossing). For example, for one sedan with one passenger, you’d be paying around AU$450 return to get yourself and the car over on the ferry. Add an extra $200+ for each extra adult passenger. This also doesn’t include accommodation on the ferry, which is extra, or no charge to just sit where you can find a seat.
On the other hand, you can hire a Mitsubishi Pajero from Thrifty for a week, for around AU$340!
All this just brushes the surface of places to see in Tasmania but gives you a good overview of areas to visit on your holiday to the Apple Isle!
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