Tasmania may be sparsely populated, but it is rich in wildlife, wilderness reserves, and a strong sense of community long forgotten by the more traditionally celebrated tourism hotspots on the mainland of Australia. While many locals look beyond the shoreline for adventures of their own, outsiders seek the very isolation, calm and laidback lifestyle the island possesses. This is undeniably one of Australia’s premier tourism destinations – an unsung hero, if you will.
If you have a keen sense of adventure, Tasmania is renowned for its’ pristine wilderness reserves, wildlife, dramatic coastline and tasty fresh produce. But to have the best Tassie experience, you need to be in the know. You won’t find the information you need in a guidebook beyond a few mediocre restaurant recommendations and ‘tourist hot spots’. So here’s my open love letter to Tasmania, an encouraging guide to send you on your way for your very own Tasmanian Road Trip…
Did you Know?
- Tasmania has the world’s cleanest air
- Over 45% of Tasmania is protected in National Parks
- Although it looks small on a map, Tasmania is comparable in size to Ireland
- Most of Tasmania’s population reside in the South East and North coasts
- Tasmania is the most mountainous state of Australia
- The saying “four seasons in a day” is very true here
If you’re travelling from “the mainland” of Australia, bring your vehicle or motorhome across the Bass Straight by booking a ticket on the Spirit of Tasmania. The crossing can be a little rough at times, but it’s all part of the experience.
If you prefer to arrive by air, there are flights in and out of Launceston, Hobart, Burnie and Devonport from Melbourne. Sydney and Brisbane also fly into Launceston, with Canberra and the Gold Coast additionally available for flights into Hobart.
There really is no better way to experience and explore Tasmania than by car. There are no passenger trains in Tasmania, buses are slow and limited, and internal flights are only available by private charter making them impossible expensive.
The 10-Day Tasmanian Road Trip Loop
Day 1 – Arrive Devonport to Launceston
Arrive in the morning after an overnight ferry crossing on the Spirit of Tasmania. Jump straight in the car and head to Launceston, Tasmania’s second largest city filled with stunning architecture, local boutiques and a great coffee culture. Be sure to visit Josef Chromy’s vineyard to sample some of Tassie’s top wines, explore the Cataract Gorge, and have a delicious seafood evening meal at Hallams Waterfront. Be sure to reserve a table, they’re often booked well in advance! If seafood is not your style, check out the other 9 of the top 10 restaurants in Launceston.
Day 2 – Launceston to Freycinet
Arrive in Freycinet in the late morning to begin a short hike in the Freycinet National Park on the east coast of Tassie. Here you will see the famed Wineglass Bay. Afterwards head to Swansea to spend the night. If you have more time, be sure to include the Bay of Fires and Bridestowe Lavender Estate – another two Tasmanian favourites.
Day 3 – Swansea to Port Arthur
Be sure to visit the Port Arthur Historic Site (portarthur.org.au) for a look at Tasmania’s darker history as you learn of the convict era and the 1996 massacre. From there you can enjoy the nearby Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park in Taranna, followed by ocean kayaking for the more adventurous types (roaring40skayaking.com.au).
Overnight: Port Arthur
Day 4 – Hobart
If you time it right, you’ll arrive in Hobart on a Saturday morning to attend the famed Salamanca Market to enjoy some local fresh produce and trinkets galore. While in town be sure to tour the Cascade Brewery (cascadebreweryco.com.au), drive to the top of Mt Wellington (mtwellingtondescent.com.au), and visit MONA (mona.net.au).
Day 5 – South-East Coast
Down in the South-East Coast be sure not to miss the Hastings Caves and Tahune Air Walk. After a day of exploring, spend your night in the small town of Dover and enjoy some true Tasmanian hospitality.
Day 6 – Strahan
Strahan is renowned for being home to some of the best Tasmanian wilderness. Be sure to take your time here at a slow pace and book yourself a seat on the Gordon River Cruise.
Day 7 – Strahan
After all that driving, you’re bound to want a break. take an extra day in Strahan, Cradle Mountain, or Stanley – all great options to take a day to enjoy the scenery.
Day 8 – Cradle Mountain
Did you know you’re standing in a National Park home to one of the world’s most renowned hiking trails? You’ve come all this way so make it worthwhile. Spend a second full day hiking around the trails in Cradle Mountain.
Overnight: Cradle Mountain
Day 9 – Stanley
Often overlooked, the seaside town of Stanley is a quaint little place to visit and spend your last day relaxing in Tasmania. If you’re still feeling adventurous, take the steep hike up the Stanley Nut instead of opting for the chairlift.
10 – Reluctantly head home
Tasmania, or simply Tassie to locals, is one of the world’s most underrated destinations. Since Hobart was dubbed the Lonely Planet city of the year (worldwide) in 2013, tourism has been on the increase. Be sure to arrive here before the rest of the world does – it’s just a matter of time.
What Not To Miss
- Bay of Fires
- Bridestowe Lavender Estate
- Cataract Gorge
- Cradle Mountain
- Freycinet Peninsula & Wineglass Bay
- Gordon River (by day Cruise)
- Hastings Caves
- Mole Creek Karst
- MONA – museum of Old & New Art
- Port Arthur
- Salamanca Place (Market on Saturdays only)
- Stanley Nut
- Tahune Forest Airwalk
- Mt Wellington
Top 10 Activities
- The Overland Track
- Flying Fox at Hollybank Treetops Adventures
- Hang Gliding
- Bicycle Touring
- Scuba Diving
- Wild Life Watching
- Trout Fishing
- Vineyard Hopping
When To Go
Summer is the obvious preferred season to visit with the state coming to life with many events to suit all tastes. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in late December is incredibly popular, also coinciding with the Taste Festival – a 7-day celebration of Tasmania’s produce and culinary talent.
Launceston’s premier event is Festivale – held in February each year and offering a sample of Tasmania’s best produce and artistic talents.
Summer is also the best chance to tackle Tasmania’s best walks – the Overland Track and South Coast Track.