Tasmania frequently rates as one of the most desirable travel destinations in the world, and when you think about all there is to see and do in this incredibly vast island state, it’s little wonder why.
Home to raw natural beauty, unspoilt wilderness, secluded beaches, rugged coastlines, majestic mountains, heritage-listed national parks and exceptional culinary experiences, there’s nothing that Tasmania doesn’t do and do well.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, perhaps it’s time you headed to Australia, crossed the Bass Strait and embarked on an unforgettable road trip around Tasmania, seeing and discovering all it has to offer for yourself!
After spending a month on the road travelling all over Tassie (as it is more affectionately known), here is a guide to just a few of the absolute must-see stops for your own epic road trip adventure!
Whether you fly to Tasmania or hire a car, the most likely place to start is Hobart. The state’s eclectic and vibrant capital, Hobart, has an incredible food and wine scene, a picturesque waterfront, a provocative art movement and the majestic Mount Wellington towering above it all. From the city, you can very easily take a day trip out to some of the most incredible wineries and vineyards for a wine and culinary experience unlike any other.
A short drive from Hobart city is the historic town of Richmond. Nestles in the Coal River Valley with its beautiful stone buildings, expansive vineyards, orchards and farms, Richmond has a decidedly quaint and romantic feel to it and is a hub for those wine and food lovers among us! Be sure to visit Australia’s second most photographed bridge and stop off at any one of the gorgeous wineries along the way.
The Tasman Peninsula
There are so many sights worth stopping along the Tasman Peninsula as you make your way south of Hobart in the direction of Port Arthur. The Peninsula is a paradise for nature lovers; home to never-ending expanses of rugged beauty, dramatic coastal scenery and a myriad of naturally-occurring phenomena such as the Tessellated Pavement, Blow Hole, Devils Kitchen and the Tasman Arch.
The small town and former convict settlement of Port Arthur is officially Tasmania’s top tourist attraction. At 60 km south east of Hobart, it’s easily accessible by car and can even be covered during a day trip from Hobart. In addition to its convict history, the World Heritage site of Port Arthur was also the site of a very dark day in Australia’s recent history. So while it is an absolutely fascinating place to visit, it is fairly sombre too (read more about that here
). Be sure to take in the stunning scenery and views from the Peninsula and the crumbling ruins and (reportedly) haunted buildings on site too!
After a short 40 minute drive from Hobart, board the vehicle ferry across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and within 20 minutes, you’ll find yourself among some of Tasmania’s most beautifully preserved natural environments and an abundance of wildlife. Don’t miss a spectacular half-day wilderness cruise
around the island, where you’ll have the chance to capture some truly stunning photographs of towering cliffs, long sandy beaches, deep sea caves and maybe even a few cheeky seals, dolphins and whales!
Head over to Tassie’s Wild West coast and at the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, you’ll find the harbour-side village of Strahan. Sitting pretty on the shores of the immense Macquarie Harbour, Strahan is the access point for the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and is an unbeatable hub for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Be sure to take a boat cruise
along the Gordon River for an unforgettable journey through the wilderness, and visit Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour for a walk back through time as you traverse one of Tassie’s most notorious convict prisons.
Stanley and ‘The Nut’
Travel north from Strahan to Tasmania’s north west coast to discover the town of Stanley, sheltering in the shadows of the enormous flat-topped volcanic plug known simply as The Nut. Stanley is known for its fish and chips so why not indulge in a plate or two while you contemplate the best way to scale The Nut. If you’re in need of a workout, you can climb the winding path to the top, and if you’re a little more in the ‘rest and digest’ mode, you can take the open chairlift ride to the summit. Either way, be sure not to miss those spectacular 360 degrees views!
A visit to Cradle Mountain is a true highlight of any trip to Tasmania, so it goes without saying that it’s an absolute must for any road trip itinerary too. Located in the central highlands area of Tasmania, it is the starting point for the world famous Overland Track, an incredible six day hike through breathtaking mountain terrain to the majestic Lake St Clair. If that’s not your cup of tea, it also boasts a plethora of walks and hikes that can be tackled in a few hours or less. One of my personal favourites is the two hour walk around Dove Lake which provides unadulterated views of the rugged jewel of the area, Cradle Mountain.
Lake St Clair
At the southern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is Lake St Clair. Surrounded by forests and teeming with wildlife, Australia’s deepest lake is perhaps also its prettiest. Take in the serenity with a leisurely lakeside stroll or delve deeper into the forest and say hello to Australia’s native flora and fauna.
A unique natural formation located only 2 minutes from central Launceston in northern Tasmania, Cataract Gorge is a popular destination particularly in the warmer months. With a cafe, restaurant, swimming pool, sprawling lawns, dense forest, and a footbridge and chairlift across the river, it’s hard to believe this reserve exists in the hustle and bustle of the city. Entrance is free so do as the locals do and make the most of a day hanging out at the Gorge!
Gateway to the Freycinet Peninsula and stunning Wineglass Bay, this seaside town situated on Tasmania’s beautiful east coast will completely steal your heart. With a backdrop of the sheer pink granite peaks of The Hazards Mountain Range, uncrowded sandy beaches and the sparkling waters of Oyster Bay, it’s impossible not to be smitten! Explore the Freycinet National Park and discover Wineglass Bay for yourself. The hike to the lookout is a bit of a trek but the views make it completely worthwhile. After, descend down to the perfectly curved beach, have a picnic lunch and share your afternoon with some friendly kangaroos.
So what do you think? Allow at least seven days and add a Tassie Road Trip to your Australian bucket list STAT!
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