So I’m guessing you’ve clicked on this post because you’re either venturing to Tasmania, or you’d like to! You might have already booked your flight and your hire car and all you need now is an epic itinerary for the journey…
Firstly, can I just say you’ve made a brilliant decision. Take it from me, Tasmania is amazing and you’re going to have an incredible time! The best thing about this island state is that the journey is just as beautiful as the destination, which makes a road trip the best way to explore.
It goes without saying that you can’t experience and see everything in Tasmania in such a small space of time, but this 10 day road trip itinerary will undeniably give you a taste of what the island state has to offer! The guide differs slightly from my own route in that I’ve taken out some things that I didn’t entirely enjoy, and have added a few things in that I wish we had seen! Below is a complete interactive map of the suggested route.
Arrive in Launceston
On our first day in Tasmania we landed bright and early at around 7:30am. We headed straight for the Cataract Gorge, which is a 15 minute drive from the city center. You could easily spend an entire morning here; there are various hikes, a free public swimming pool and the worlds longest single-span chair lift ($15 return ticket).
You can then spend the rest of the day exploring the city and surrounding areas. Launceston is a fairly small city, so it’s worth noting that if you’re spending less than 10 days in Tasmania (and if your flight lands early) you can easily combine Day 1 and 2 of this itinerary together by exploring Launceston in the morning before heading to the Bay of Fires in the afternoon.
The Bay of Fires
From Launceston, head east and prepare yourself for an epic adventure! A road trip is definitely the best way to explore Tasmania. Every twist and turn brings stunning scenery! Pristine beaches, rugged mountain ranges and impressive national parks are amongst the views that will come from every direction.
If you need a break on your way towards the east coast, stop off at Halls Falls, where you can take the short walk to the falls. Then head towards Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires, known for its striking-orange rocks. Many people mistakenly believe that the name derives from these rocks, but it was actually given its name by Captain Tobias Furneaux who saw the fires of Aboriginal people on the beaches! The white sandy beaches you’ll find in this area are just stunning. You won’t want to leave!
Overnight: St Helens / St Marys
The Freycinet National Park
On the way down the coast you can take your time exploring the Great-Eastern drive; an incredibly picturesque coastal drive which begins in St Helens and ends in Orford. Driving along this track will provide you with opportunities to stop and explore the many secluded white-sandy beaches on offer!
There’s so much to see in the Freycinet National Park that I would recommend spending a full day in this area. There are a range of hikes available, ranging from short walks to full-day hikes (and wild Bennetts wallabies roam the area so keep an eye out for them!) We took the short 10 minute walk to Sleepy Bay and the 2 1/2 hour Wineglass Bay lookout walk, where you can even make your way down to the bay itself. Afterwards, drive to Cape Tourville Lighthouse for a beautiful view of the Hazards mountain range.
Overnight: Coles Bay / Swansea / Orford
Head further south to the Tasman Peninsular, where there are a range of places to explore! At Eaglehawk Neck you can visit a variety of rock formations including The Tasman Arch, Devils Kitchen and the The Tasman Blowhole before making your way towards the Tessellated Pavement.
Afterwards, check out the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo in Taranna to learn about the Tasmanian Devil. Conservation is vital for this endangered species that are found in the wild only in Tasmania. Complete your day by visiting the World Heritage listed Port Arthur and learn about the history of what once was a penal settlement.
Overnight: Taranna / Port Arthur
On the way to Hobart stop at the quaint and charming town Richmond. I love Tasmania’s laid-back little towns and Richmond is definitely one of them! Spend a short time exploring Richmond Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in Australia.
Tasmania’s capital and Australia’s second oldest city Hobart is known as being a walkable one. There are many areas to explore, starting with Salamanca Place, which is lined with Georgian sandstone warehouses that have been turned into restaurants, pubs and galleries. Don’t miss the weekly Salamanca Markets on Saturdays where you can buy some fresh local produce!
Explore the waterfront, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), the Botanical Gardens and Battery Point, which is the most historic part of Hobart.
Mt Field National Park
If you need any more time exploring Hobart, this can be done in the morning! Afterwards, drive to the top of Mt Wellington and take in the incredible view over the city and its surroundings.
In the afternoon, drive to Mt Field National Park, which is a haven for any waterfall lover! This national park offers three waterfalls; Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls. The former can be reached in a leisurely 10 minute stroll from the car park, whilst the latter takes a couple of hours. Explore at your own pace!
Overnight: Mt Field National Park / Bronte Park / Hamilton / Fentonbury
Strahan / Montezuma Falls
This day can be spent exploring Strahan and/or Montezuma Falls. It might be worth choosing one of these to visit, otherwise you’ll have a very long day of driving! You can also decide to stop off at the Lake St Clair on your way to the area for a range of short walking opportunities.
Strahan is a harbour-side town located on the edge of the Tasmanian World Heritage wilderness area, which makes it an ideal place to explore nature. Here you can take a ride on a Gordon River Cruise. Montezuma Falls is the highest waterfall in Tasmania and can be reached by a three hour return hike.
Ideally, you should try and spend the night as close to Cradle Mountain National Park as you can, especially if you’re planning to do the summit hike the next day!
Overnight: Strahan / Queenstown / Rosebery
Cradle Mountain National Park
Set off early for Cradle Mountain! The Cradle Mountain National Park is an area you definitely shouldn’t miss on your Tasmania road trip. One of the highlights is the view of the menacing mountain from Dove Lake! You can choose from a range of short or long hiking tracks within the rugged and wild alpine landscape. We hiked to the summit, which is estimated to take between 6-8 hours.
Find out more about Cradle Mountain here.
Overnight: Cradle Mountain
Again, you might not have time to explore all of these areas – just do as much as you can!
Stanley is somewhere I wish we could have visited on our road trip in Tasmania. It is located in the north-west, and you can either take the short but steep climb or take the chairlift ($16 return) up The Nut for 360 degree views of this coastal village.
Taking its name from a nearby penguin rockery, Penguin is another of Tasmanias little towns! It even hosts a 10-foot penguin. I mean… who can resist a photo opportunity with a huge penguin!? If you plan on spending the night here, check out Penguin Point, where you can spot Little Penguins retreating to their burrows at sunset.
Devonport is Tasmanias third largest city, and the location in which the Spirit of Tasmania ferry docks. Being only an hour away from Launceston makes it the perfect place to spend the night before catching your flight the next day.
Depart from Launceston
Leave Devonport and reluctantly make your way back to Launceston airport to depart Tasmania… maybe even shed a tear at the prospect!
Top Tips for your Tasmania road trip
- Check the weather and take appropriate clothing – the weather in Tasmania is known for being unpredictable, so it’s best to go prepared for all types!
- Book ahead – if you’re thinking of visiting in a busy period (summer) then book your accommodation ahead. We visited in January and had trouble with booking. There are annual events that also will have an affect on this.
- Get to the supermarkets on time – it’s worth finding out where your nearest supermarket is and what time it closes! We found that many close quite early around 5/6pm, so make sure you’ve stocked up!
- Get a National Park Pass – to save time and money if you’re visiting a few of the islands national parks (which you more than likely will be). You can find out about them here.
Are you heading to Tasmania soon? What are you most looking forward to? I hope this has helped you with planning your own Tasmania road trip. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share or comment in the section below!
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