It’s little wonder why a Tasmania road trip has made its way onto many travellers’ bucket lists. Packed with breathtaking landscapes and historic towns, Australia’s smallest state – in particular, its stunning East Coast – is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts, budding photographers, families and everyone in between. 

There’s no better way to discover Tasmania than by hiring a car or motorhome and embarking on an epic road trip, but where to start, you ask? We’ve mapped out the ultimate self-drive Tasmania itinerary so you don’t miss a thing.

Places to Visit on a 2-Week Road Trip Along Tasmania’s East Coast

  1. Hobart
  2. The Tasman Peninsula
  3. Swansea & Bicheno
  4. St Helens
  5. Launceston

Days 1 – 4: Hobart

Your first stop upon landing in the Apple Isle is Hobart, the state’s arts and culture capital. Hobart also happens to be the second-oldest city in Australia, so it’s unsurprisingly filled to the brim with heritage architecture and fascinating historic sites. The city also offers a whole host of unique attractions, so you’ll need to spend a few days here to experience it all.

The Neck lookout on Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia. Photo by Tamara Thurman on Unsplash

Things to do in Hobart

  • Museum of Old and New Art (MONA): for art buffs, MONA is unmissable when in Hobart. Built along the River Derwent, this monolithic museum is renowned for its quirky and occasionally controversial exhibitions. Take a day to browse the expansive collection and enjoy a glass of wine at Moorilla Estate on your way out.
  • Cascade Brewery: if beer is more your thing, take a tour of Australia’s oldest brewery. Follow it up with a tasting of Cascade’s finest ales, a spot of lunch and a stroll through the picturesque Cascade Gardens.
  • Salamanca Place: undeniably Hobart’s most iconic street, Salamanca Place is famous for its 19th-century sandstone architecture and vibrant Salamanca Market on Saturdays. The market is packed with stalls offering fresh produce and flowers, handmade homewares, artisanal crafts and more. This is a great place to pick up souvenirs or supplies for your upcoming drives.
  • Bruny Island: just a half-hour drive from the city centre, this picturesque haven is reachable only by ferry. Boasting peaceful secluded beaches and some of Tassie’s finest local produce, a day trip to Bruny Island should be at the top of your list of things to do in Tasmania. Tantalise your tastebuds with an elaborate cheese platter at Bruny Island Cheese Company or pop into Get Shucked Oyster Farm for a fresh seafood experience. Before you leave, take the time to hike up the steps to the scenic lookout at The Neck; the isthmus bridging the north and south parts of Bruny Island is one of Tasmania’s most Instagrammable spots.

Days 5 – 6: The Tasman Peninsula

On day 5, depart for the Tasman Peninsula, a short one-hour drive from Hobart. The Peninsula is home to a plethora of natural wonders, as well as convict sites with years and years of history. Opt to stop into Eaglehawk Neck to admire unique rock formations including the Tessellated Pavement, Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen, and be sure to take any of the short, yet incredible walks in the region.

Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia. Credit: Cecil L | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Things to do in The Tasman Peninsula

  • Porth Arthur: travel further south to reach the former convict penal settlement and now UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed historic site. Take a tour of the site to learn about Port Arthur’s past life and take in the heritage architecture. For superstitious souls seeking a thrill, come back after sunset for a lantern-lit Ghost Tour of the grounds.
  • Tasmanian Devil Unzoo: animal lovers will want to stop at the wildlife park in Taranna for an immersive, up-close experience with the little Tasmanian devils, as well as other critters, like wallabies, brushtail possums and more. There is also a botanic card, boasting an impressive collection of unique Tasmanian plants.
  • Federation Artisan Chocolate: if you’re more interested in catering to your sweet tooth, pop across the road to the chocolate factory for some tastings. See how the artisan Bean to Bar chocolate is made during a Meet the Maker tour and, of course, don’t leave without getting a box of chocolates (or two) to snack on during the rest of your road trip.

Days 7 – 10: Swansea & Bicheno

Next up in your road trip is the Great Eastern Drive, where the magic of Tasmania’s East Coast really shines. Dotted with spectacular national parks, charming seaside towns and stretches of pristine coastline, this drive is one of the most popular Tasmania road trip routes – and rightfully so. The drive starts in Swansea, a quiet coastal village approximately two hours’ drive from the Tasman Peninsula, known for its old-school charm and historic richness. 

Once you’ve had your fill of Freycinet, drive another 30 minutes north to the beachside town of Bicheno. It’s a great spot to base yourself for a couple of days, with no shortage of things to do in the surrounding area.

A popular destination between Tasmanians and tourists alike, Bicheno offers plenty of activities to keep you busy, particularly if you’re hoping to get in the water and try out some water activities, particularly scuba diving or boat riding at Governor Island Marine Reserve.

Beach in Bicheno, Tasmania, Australia. Credit: Geoff Whalan | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Things to do in Swansea & Bicheno

  • Kate’s Berry Farm: if the unparalleled views of the Freycinet Peninsula aren’t enough to entice you, the breakfast menu at the farm certainly will. Treat yourself to a stack of mouth-watering pancakes loaded with fresh berries picked from the farm and topped with homemade ice cream. The berries are also made into jams and sauces you can sample; don’t forget to pick some up from the store before you leave.
  • Spring Vale Vineyard: a 5th generation family-owned vineyard, Spring Vale is open for wine sales and tastings every day from 11 am to 4 pm. Sample tasty reds whites at the intimate, heritage-listed cellar door and be sure to take a bottle home or two with you.
  • Mount Amos: for sensational views of the bay, embark on the three-hour return hike up Mount Amos and have your camera ready for that perfect postcard shot. Fair warning, however, this hike is physically challenging and requires a good pair of sturdy shoes – sneakers just won’t cut it.
  • Freycinet National Park: this oasis of untouched wilderness is one of the most visited places in Tasmania and is home to the famous Wineglass Bay. The bay is only accessible by foot, but it’s well worth the two-and-a-half-hour return journey for a glimpse of the gracefully curved shore and azure waters. Nature-lovers may want to book a campsite, or if that’s not your thing you can lock in some accommodation in the neighbouring town of Coles Bay. Make sure you book early; Freycinet accommodation is always in high demand, especially in the warmer months.

Days 11 – 12: St Helens

On day 12, make your way further north to reach the town of St Helens, the gateway to the Bay of Fires. The glorious beaches along this 50-kilometre stretch of coast are lapped by brilliant turquoise waves and littered with burnt red rocks. It’s the perfect opportunity to take one last ocean dip before venturing inland.

Things to do in St Helens

  • Devil’s Corner Cellar Door: visit for a taste of fine food and wine during an immersive wine experience. Bring your own picnic rug to sip on a glass of fine wine while enjoying the sun on the Tasting Deck or indulge in Tasmania’s freshest seafood at Fishers of Freycinet.
  • Douglas-Apsley National Park: the free form swimming hole is perfect for a dip on a hot day or simply for relaxing and recharging batteries. Birdwatchers might spot a variety of Tasmanian species flying around and plant enthusiasts will love the diversity of beautiful trees, flowers and rare plants.
  • Serpentarium Wildlife Park: open every day from 11 am to 4 pm, the Serpentarium Wildlife Park is an indoor reptile exhibition, home to several species including the green anaconda and the carpet python. After meeting all the little critters, stop by Rio’s Cafe for a warm coffee and a snack, and get a souvenir so you never forget your day in St Helens.

Days 13 – 14: Launceston

Make the two-hour drive to Launceston, the final leg of your Tasmania driving holiday. A city where traditional meets modern, Launceston is known for its sweeping valleys and mountains, tasty local food and charming, laid-back atmosphere. Plus, it is only a 30-minute drive from Tamar Valley, a popular Australian wine region you’d be remiss not to visit during your Tassie road trip.

Cataract Gorge, Tasmania, Australia. Credit: Long Road Photography | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Things to do in Launceston

  • Cataract Gorge: a river gorge just 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre, Cataract is Launceston’s main attraction and one look at the stunning views it overlooks is enough to understand why. Be sure to stop by the Gorge restaurant for a modern Australian lunch or dinner or, if you’re not that hungry, get a coffee at the Basin Cafe instead.
  • Franklin House: Tasmania’s 1st heritage property to be preserved by the National Trust, the house that once belonged to wealthy businessman Britton Jones is now an emblematic museum that you can visit to go back in time to the 1800s. After wandering through the museum, grab a snack from the tearoom and enjoy it while sitting under a 180-year old oak tree.
  • Tamar Valley: as the oldest wine-growing region in Tasmania, Tamar Valley is a must-visit whether you’re a wine connoisseur or don’t know the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Shiraz. With over 20 vineyards to choose from, you’ll certainly find your new favourite during a wine tasting tour in the valley.

Drop off your rental car and check in for your flight; it’s time to head home. You’ve only just scratched the surface of this exquisite state and with so many top Tasmania destinations left to explore, we don’t doubt you’ll be back for another bite of the Apple Isle. Book your flights to Tasmania with Webjet and hire a car or motorhome today!


Feature image: Wineglass Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula. Credit: Shaun Versey | CC BY-SA 2.0

Author

Ashleigh Hobson is a writer with a bad habit for dropping everything to travel the globe. No stranger to a gap year, she’s explored more than 30 countries with plenty more destinations on her hit list. When she’s not planning her next adventure or trying (and failing) to teach herself Spanish, you’ll find her dancing, drinking far too much coffee and hanging out with her cats.

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