Planning a trip to Tasmania? The small island is jam packed full of enchanting waterfalls perfect for practicing your travel photography, mountains screaming out to be climbed and many of Australia’s best trails to explore. You’ll probably feel a bit overwhelmed at all of the things to do in Tasmania at first; which is where this Tasmania road trip itinerary comes in! After three weeks road tripping the island and extensive research, I have put together this ultimate Tasmania itinerary, which accounts for the very best national parks, mountains, lakes and culture in the Australian state.
This Tasmania itinerary begins in Devonport and loops around in a circle; this is presuming you’ll be taking the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne with your own vehicle. If you have your own car already, this is the most cost-effective option, despite the high ferry cost! If you don’t have a car, fear not, lots of companies in Hobart offer great rental prices. If you’re planning on flying into Tasmania, just begin this Tasmania itinerary in Hobart and follow the loop around from there!
Are you ready for the ultimate Tasmanian Road Trip?
Stop 1. Devonport
Arrive in Devonport bright and early! There isn’t a huge amount to do in Devonport apart from some pretty beaches; although a great morning coffee stop is ‘Café S’il Vous Plait’. If you are feeling energised and ready to take on Tasmania after some caffine, move straight to stop 2…
Stop 2. Latrobe
Known as ‘The Platypus Capital of the World’, Latrobe is a popular place to spot the rare mammal. Take part in a platypus tour, where you will be taken to the best spots to spot the animal, or just try and spot one in the wild yourself!
Stop 3. Sheffield
Sheffield is a distinctly unique little town. In a community spirit unlike anywhere else I’ve ever experienced, the town is adorned in murals depicting its history. Find out the story of all of the village’s local characters by going through its street art. There’s also quirky cafes aplenty and a really interesting antique shop to browse in this funky town!
Stop 4. Liffey Falls
Your first nature stop! Liffey Falls are gorgeous waterfalls up a gravel road. A short walk from the car park to the falls ensures that they are very secluded, and the roaring water makes for a perfect picnic backdrop! Also on site is a ‘big tree’ – it’s huge.
Stop 5. Mount William
Drive Eastwards towards Mount William in the North Eastern corner of Tasmania. Mount William is aneasy 45 minute hike (one way) to a summit that offers amazing views of bushland and coastline.
And if you’re lucky, you might catch one of these cuties in the car park…
Stop 6. Bay of Fires
Head South from Mount William to the Bay of Fires. Named in this way because Western settlers saw fire coming from the beaches as they approached, the area is known for gorgeous sandy coves and azure waters. Binalong Bay was my favourite little town in the area, with amazing tropical-feeling beaches and a small town community.
Stop 7. Freycient National Park
One of Tasmania’s most iconic photographs is that of Wineglass Bay in Freycient National Park. A great way to see the bay is to climb Mount Amos, which offers a panoramic view of the surroundings and the bay itself. You can also hike to the beach of wineglass bay, where you can enjoy a dip in the cool waters as a reward!
Stop 8. Tasman Peninsular
Onwards to the Tasman Peninsula! There’s three capes you can traverse here. We did the Cape Pillar two day hike, which does have extraordinary views at the end but does feel very long. Other shorter hikes are Cape Raoul and Cape Huay, which both provide stunning sea views.
Stop 9. Port Arthur
Port Arthur is a significant Australian heritage centre. It tells the story of the convict settlers of the area, and was also the site of the worst mass-murder in Australian history. It’s an area steeped in history that’s vital for understanding of Australia’s convict past.
Stop 10. Hobart
It’s time to touch down in Tasmania’s capital! Hobart is a hidden gem, a wonderful city bursting with culture and holding immense beauty. Make sure you have enough time to explore the docklands, which on a sunny day look wonderfully idyllic and inviting; and maybe have fish and chips (or in my case, chips and aioli, mmm!) on the seafront. The Tasmania National Museum and Art Gallery is located in Hobart and is free entry. It contains a few interesting exhibitions – including a really informative one about bushfires – and a section about Aboriginal Tasmania which is well worth a look – and if you’re British, probably make you very very ashamed of your country.
MONA may be what makes Hobart famous, and although it’s kind of pricey to get in, it’s a museum unlike no other, challenging you to really think about life and the world.
And you can’t visit Hobart without catching a sunset or sunrise at Mount Wellington. One of my favourite bits of travel advice ever was “if you can see the top of Mount Wellington when you get to Hobart, stop whatever you’re doing and get the hell up there”. ThanksDavid, a volunteer at the Devonport tourist information centre. Drive right up to the peak and be AMAZED at the view spreading out beneath you. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.
If you’ve got a bit of time, try to catch sunrise as well! There’s a scout hut you can stay in at the Mount Wellington park that takes a bit of finding (not recommended in dark) but is a cosy and wonderful place once reached.
Stop 11. Bruny Island
Bruny Island offers coastal walks, scenic views and great food and wine. There’s nothing quite like the scenery of the island; and there’s an adventure here to suit everybody.
Stop 12. Mount Field
If you like waterfalls, head to Mount Field. The national park excels in waterfalls and trees, with a 2.5 hour loop taking you to some of Tasmania’s finest of both. A drive up a gravel road is the scenic Lake Dobson, which is great for a swim and has many scenic spots to chill out and read, write or photograph at.
Stop 13. Lake St Clair
Beautiful Lake St Clair is the deepest lake in Australia. There are many hikes you can do from the national park (it’s also where the overland track finishes); we chose Mount Rufus, an everchanging hike with a beautiful peak, great views and varied terrain making the walk back really interesting!
Stop 14. Strahan
Heading to the West Coast, Strahan is a port town known as one of the world’s most beautiful seaside towns. There’s lots of boats to look at and a couple of expensive cruises (way out of our price range) and the restaurants are supposed to be great. Word of warning – check the hours of them, many shut after lunch leaving IGA the only option!
Our favourite thing about Strahan was actually the fact we found free warm showers, but we may have just been there on an off day…
Stop 15. Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain may have been the main reason you came to Tasmania. Its jagged peaks have certainly inspired many an explorer to the island, and heaps of people dream about scaling the mountain one day.
The Cradle Mountain summit hike wasn’t something I was planning on doing. But for some reason, on the day, I found myself on the top of that thing. It was the scariest experience of my life. I’m so glad I did it, but it’s really not for the faint hearted (it was much scarier than Huashan, the supposed most dangerous mountain in China). You have been warned!
There’s lots of walks from the Cradle Mountain national park, the summit being the most difficult but also by far most rewarding. Be sure to leave plenty of time if tackling the summit!
Stop 16. Stanley
Now it’s time for the North Coast! Stanley is a gorgeous little seaside town where everything looks astonishingly perfect. I highly recommend breakfasting at Moby Dick’s before climbing up The Nut, an ancient volcanic crater. Then, of course, treat yourself at one of the many ice creameries lining the quaint high street. If it’s warm, the beach is lovely, with calm, kind of warm waters and beautiful views. It’s my favourite swim spot in Australia!
Stop 17. North Coast
Finish your Tasmania road trip by checking out some of the North Coast highlights, including the beautiful beaches of Boat Harbour Bay, bustling Bernie and Penguin, where if you’re lucky you might see fairy penguins darting on shore at dusk.
Stop 18. Devonport
Back to where you began! Get to Devonport in good time for your Spirit of Tasmania return to Melbourne this evening.
Have you ever been to Tasmania? What were your favourite bits if so? Is this Tasmania road trip itinerary useful? Let me know in the comments below!
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