Adventure

5 Tasmanian Road Trips Perfect For Anyone That Froths A Good View

Tasmania is now open (to most of us). This lush southern paradise is a veritable wonderland for everything from scenery and adventure to food, promising travellers total sensory satisfaction. And the best way to experience this magical state is by hiring a car and hitting the road.

A few years ago, I decided to take a solo birthday trip somewhere I’d yet to visit: Tasmania. It promised excellent hikes, cosy stays in nature, incredible food and the possibility to see a mix of scenery in the span of a short few days. 

It very much delivered on my expectations. In five days, I’d bushwalked Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair national park, stayed at a cute Airbnb in an area renowned for mountain biking trails, made my way down the east coast from the Bay of Fires to hike to the iconic Wineglass Bay and spent two days feasting my way through Hobart. 

But there was so much more I could have done – and that’s the beauty of Tassie. It’s so easy to drive this spectacular island, that a seemingly infinite combination of holidays are possible. 

Here are five Tasmanian road trips to get you started, but you can combine many of these depending on your timeframe.

#1 The northwest to west: Launceston > Deloraine > Cradle Mountain > Strahan

 

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Arriving into one of Australia’s oldest cities, Launceston is definitely worth exploring (check our guide, here). Then it’s time to head to Tassie’s central north food bowl. 

Sitting at the base of the Great Western Tiers, artsy and charming Deloraine is also extremely photogenic. Bisected by the winding Meander River (where you might spot platypus), you’ll find historic streets scattered with Georgian and Victorian buildings, cafes, bakeries and art and craft stores. 

The area surrounding Deloraine is teeming with goodness for your pit-stop list.

For food: the award-winning Ashgrove Cheese shop (currently closed for renovations); the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm for an entire menu centred around raspberries; Melita Honey Farm for Tasmania’s famous Leatherwood honey; Tasmanian Truffles, home to Australia’s first black truffles; 41° South Tasmania, an inland salmon farm, wetland and ginseng plantation with walking trails; 3 Willows Vineyard for a cheese platter and wine; or Hazelbrae Hazelnuts, one of Australia’s largest hazelnut groves.

For nature: Mole Creek Caves is where you’ll see underground streams, glow worms, stalactites and stalagmites). If you plan to stay a couple nights in the area, check out Liffey Falls, a classically beautiful cascading waterfall.

After your adventures in this fertile playground, you can easily make the 1.5-hour drive to the absolute must-do, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair national park.

 

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Beyond the mountains, head to the wild west coast of Tassie, an area many tourists miss. Tackle suspension bridges and see giant ferns to reach the impressive Montezuma Falls, Tassie’s tallest at 104 metres.

Then it’s onto Strahan, full of convict-era history at the gateway to the World Heritage listed Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, and take a river cruise or go rafting while you’re there. It’s also where you depart for the West Coast Wilderness Railway, as close as you’ll get to the Hogwarts Express.

#2 The northeast: Launceston > Tamar Valley > Binalong Bay 

 

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After appropriately experiencing Launceston, make headway for the Tamar Valley wine region. You’ll be spoiled with ample vineyards to explore, where local drops are paired with local cheeses. A must stop en route is the town of Grindelwald, which is legit like a trip to Switzerland.

After you’ve had your fill, head for the Bridestowe Lavender Farm – but perhaps time your visit in January for the best chances of seeing the lavender in full bloom. If you do go in summer, give Hillwood Berries a look on the way, where you can either pick fresh berries or visit the farmgate cafe.

Then you can head towards Binalong Bay, your gateway to the renowned Bay of Fires. There are two optional stops en route: For adrenaline junkies, stay in Derby for its famed mountain bike trails and for those keen on waterfalls, check out St Columba Falls.

#3 The east coast: Bay of Fires > Bicheno > Freycinet National Park > Orford and Maria Island

 

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Explore the Bay of Fires and St Helens area, with martian-like coastline of flame-coloured rock formations that run for 50 kilometres along the white-sand beaches of Tassie’s east coast. You can take a mountains-to-sea mountain bike ride on the 42-kilometre Bay of Fires trail, or jump on a boat with an eco tour. 

Then you’ll be headed south to Bicheno, where you can catch penguins waddling ashore, eat the freshest of seafood right next to the boat ramp (known as the Gulch), and check out the Bicheno Blowhole.

From here, it’s a short half hour drive to Coles Bay where you can base yourself before hiking to Wineglass Bay. One of Tassie’s most iconic spots, this breathtaking view in the Freycinet National Park will stick with you for life. There’s two options you can take here: hiking down to the bay itself — with striking white sand and electric blue water — or hiking to the top of Mt Amos, which is more difficult but affords an epic view.

 

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Leaving the peninsula, you’ll pass through Swansea, where you should definitely stop off at the charming Kate’s Berry Farm. With her hugely popular Just Desserts Cafe, you’ll chomp on delicious bites while overlooking both rows of cool-climate berries and breathtaking views across Great Oyster Bay back toward Freycinet National Park.

Further south in Orford, explore the stunning beaches, as well as cliff-top and forest walks. From here, you can catch a 30-minute ferry to the beautiful Maria Island – a national park blessed with mountains, beaches, convict history, the stunning painted cliffs and wildlife galore.

Bonus: If you’re headed from Orford toward Hobart, stop off in historic Richmond to drink in some of Tassie’s heritage, like Australia’s oldest bridge and oldest still-standing Catholic Church.

#4 The southeast: Port Arthur > Hobart > Bruny Island 

 

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The Tasman National Park is heaven for hikers (check out the gorgeous Cape Raoul and Cape Hauy tracks). The peninsula is also where you’ll find one of our country’s most significant convict-era sites: Port Arthur. This historic area is definitely worth taking a tour for.

A 1.5-hour drive away, you’ll land in Hobart, Tasmania’s big city and cultural capital. This is where you’ll eat and drink til you burst, visit the Salamanca Markets and Mt Wellington, and immerse yourself in the weird and wonderful at MONA (please note, the museum section is temporarily closed). 

Just a short ferry ride away, Bruny Island offers another excellent escape just off the coast of Tasmania. The island is a beautifully preserved natural environment with beaut views and teeming wildlife.

#5 The central south: Hobart > Huon Valley > Cockle Creek

 

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Then it’s onto the Huon Valley – both cider country and a verdant expanse that reaches to the southernmost tip of Australia. The Huon River and the surrounding wineries and farms from Huonville to Franklin, Port Huon and Geeveston make this picturesque area a (tasty) must. Before Huonville, stop in at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed for delicious food and cider.

A short drive away, detour into the creative hub of Cygnet, a town full of musicians, dreamers and artists, or take it further to pretty Woodbridge to eat at Peppermint Bay.

Either way, you’re headed to the farthest point south one can drive in Australia: Cockle Creek. On the fringe of the Southwest National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, you can go hike crazy on the multi-day South Coast Track on the edge of the world.

Sound good? Here are 15 unforgettable things to do in Tasmania.

(Lead Image: Bridestowe Lavender)