What struck me most in the seven days of my Tasmania road trip, was the diversity of the landscapes. On an island of only 68,401 km² (26,410 mi²), the most southern state of Australia contains everything from rugged mountains to beaches that could be mistaken for tropical islands (until you feel the water temperature). There’s so much to see and do in the Apple Isle, especially if you are a nature lover, that you are going to need a minimum of a week to fit in the brightest highlights. This Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary will ensure you tick off all the must-sees on your bucket list.
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Tasmania road trip itinerary notes:
Before we pack the car and get going, here are a few things you should be aware of:
- This Tasmania road trip itinerary is best for summer travellers, as it does not account for snow and ice conditions or National Park closures over colder periods.
- Even in the height of Summer, Tassie weather can be cool, wet and generally unpredictable, particularly in Strahan. Make sure to pack some warm layers and wet weather gear.
- The itinerary assumes that you will start and end in Hobart. If you’re taking the Spirit of Tasmania from the mainland, you might start the itinerary on Day 4 at Cradle Mountain or Day 5 Launceston and follow on from there.
- Entry to Tasmania National Parks requires a Parks Pass. If you plan to visit the National Parks mentioned in this itinerary – Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair and Freycinet – consider the Holiday Pass which is $80 per vehicle, valid for 2-months. See more on Park Pass options here.
- Eat lots of fresh seafood!
Arrive in Hobart, pick up your hire car and explore the city. You may like to start with a trip to the top of Mount Wellington to scope out the amazing view of your new surroundings.
If it happens to be a Saturday, you are in luck! The Salamanca Markets run 8.30 am to 3.00 pm and are a perfect way to enjoy any time you have left before you depart from Tasmania. The Markets are the ideal place to pick up soulful souvenirs of your Tasmania holiday.
Don’t forget to drop by the supermarket and stock up on your favourite road trip snacks.
Driving distance: Local driving distance depends on accommodation location and chosen activities.
Stay: Travelodge Hobart
We begin with the second-longest drive of the journey by heading straight to Strahan on the Tasmanian west coast. Throughout this drive, you will begin to get a sense of how diverse Tasmania’s landscapes are. Make sure to stop and stretch your legs at Lake St Clair. Also, my biggest regret for this trip was not taking the time to stop at MONA (Museum of Old & New Art). You will be passing by Australia’s largest privately funded museum as you leave Hobart, giving you the perfect opportunity to stop in and explore.
Driving distance: 300km (approximately 4.5hrs without stops)
Stay: Strahan Village
Take a Gordon River day cruise on the Lady Jane Franklin II to explore some of Tasmania’s UNESCO Wilderness World Heritage Area. Included in the cruise are two landings with walking tours, one in the ancient forests of the wilderness area to get up-close and personal with thousand-year-old trees and the diverse wildlife. The second landing is at Sarah Island, a former penal colony. The theatric, story-telling format of the Sarah Island tour make learning this part of Australian history an entertaining experience.
Follow your cruise with a drive to Cradle Mountain.
Driving distance: 150km (approximately 2hrs)
Stay: Cradle Mountain Hotel
Explore Cradle Mountain area on foot via the numerous hiking trails. The 6km circuit of Dove Lake is a relatively easy walk, skirting the beautiful lake on a combination of boardwalk and well-graded track. If you are up for a more challenging hike, try the Summit Trail which is approx. 13km. The track has some very steep sections and in places, the trail is hard to make out so take a map. The hard slog is worth it for the spectacular views at the top.
Continue your journey to Launceston.
Driving distance: 150km (approximately 2hrs)
Stay: Leisure Inn Penny Royal
Take a leisurely stroll through Cataract Gorge to start your day. The scenic river gorge is just 1.5km from Launceston CBD, in fact, you can walk there along the Tamar River in about 15-minutes. Explore King’s Bridge-Cataract Walk, which was originally built by volunteers in the 1890s and take a ride on the world’s longest, single-span chair lift.
After a morning in Launceston, continue driving to Freycinet National Park. I recommend splurging on a stay in Freycinet Lodge for this evening, to enjoy as much time as possible within the National Park. This is a beautiful spot to watch sunsets overlooking Coles Bay, with a glass of local wine.
Driving distance: 200km (approximately 2.5hrs)
Stay: Freycinet Lodge
This morning, start early on the Wineglass Bay trail. You can go as far as the lookout, which has stunning views over Wineglass Bay (2.6km return, Grade 3) or continue down to the beach (6km return, Grade 3). Either way, you will have to endure the steep climb up The Hazards on which the lookout is perched. Make sure you pack plenty of water and snacks for your hike. Alternatively, take a half-day kayak tour to explore Freycinet National Park by water.
Stay: Freycinet Lodge
Depart Freycinet early for the drive back to Hobart, as there is plenty to do along the way. Below are a few suggestions. Depending on your flight time, you may even fit them all in:
- Wine tasting at cellar doors around the Freycinet area.
- Stopover in the historic town of Richmond which claims Australia’s oldest stone span bridge.
- Pick berries at Sorell Fruit Farm.
- Take a tour at the UNESCO World Heritage Listed – Port Arthur Historic Site for more convict tales, Australian history and bucolic setting.
- Drop into the Port Arthur Lavender Farm, which you will find blooming between December and January. The farm is open 7-days (excluding Christmas Day).
Driving distance: 360km (approximately 5hrs) if you choose to do all of the above activities
Tasmania road trip map
You can grab a copy of this map to use and adapt for your Tasmania road trip by clicking in the top right-hand corner and saving a copy in Google MyMaps.
Enjoy your cruise around the Apple Isle with this Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary and don’t forget to eat your weight in fresh seafood! If you have any feedback or recommendations, please drop me a comment below.
Peace, love and inspiring travels,