Tasmania is a tiny state with an incredible amount of things to explore. Full disclaimer, this road trip will not take you to see everything the state has to offer. Instead, this trip focuses on the East coast primarily. I have not properly visited the wild west coast, and I did Cradle Mountain on a separate stand alone trip. That being said, most tourists focus their efforts on the East Coast as this is the home to Tasmania’s most impressive and post card worthy sites.
You can start this road trip in either Launceston or Hobart as it is a circuit. We flew in and out of Launceston as that was cheapest for us, so this itinerary will be based around our own experiences. The trip is broken into sections, so you can easily pull what you want out of these suggestions. I also hyperlink to stand alone posts which contain even more in depth information about each section.
We flew in and out of Launceston as that was the most economical for us. We picked up our rental car at the airport and spend a night in the town before heading off. There are some cool little bars and restaurants in town, but overall, Launceston isn’t something we would write home about. It does make a good base to stock up on whatever supplies you need for your upcoming trip.
One notable attraction, however, is Cataract Gorge. The gorge and it’s parklands are home to walking trails, parks, a swimming pool, cafes, and a cable car. Everything is free with the exception of the cable car. Jacob loved riding the cable car, and if we had more time, we would have definitely taken advantage of the swimming pool. You could definitely kill several hours here if required.
Section 1 : Tamar Food and Wine Trail
If you are a wine lover then you don’t want to miss this side road trip. The Tamar valley is located a stones throw away from Launceston and is home to one of Tasmania’s many great wine growing regions. This particular region is mostly known for its white varieties (pinot is also grown here, but the region around Hobart is more renowned for its pinot noir) as well as sparkling wine.
Even if you are not that into your wines, there are other attractions to keep you busy. Families with kids will especially love the Hillwood Berry Farm (pick your own berries!) and Platypus House and Seahorse World.
Find more details on the Tamar Food and Wine Trail, check out our post.
Section 2: Down the Center
From Launceston, follow highway #1 down to Hobart. About half way through the drive you will see signs for a short detour to the town of Ross. I highly recommend a quick stop over in the historic town of Ross. The town is full of beautiful historic buildings. It’s a good place to stop for a picnic.
City Break : Hobart
Hobart is the thriving and energetic capital of Tasmania, and it has etched out a name for itself as a center for great food, wine, and culture. We recommend spending at least two full days in Hobart in order to check out the main attractions.
You can read about our recommendations for 48 hours in Hobart in this post.
Section 3 : Tasman Peninsula
The Tasman Peninsula is your stop for history and wild nature. We recommend spending one or two nights here. You could easily spend all day (or two) exploring the historic site of Port Arthur so I can guarantee you will not get bored. There are also plenty of short little walks and viewpoints to explore around the peninsula.
You can read our full review of the Tasman Peninsula in this post.
Section 4 : East Coast
The fabulous east coast. This is the reason why many visitors come to Tasmania. Food, wine, and white sand beaches. It’s a spectacular stretch of coast line and you could easily spend several days to a week exploring.
This is where you will find Wineglass Bay, Maria island, and the Bay of Fires. We spent 5 nights exploring the east coast which was enough time to see everything, but we could have easily have spent more time exploring the almost deserted white sand beaches and eating fresh fish from the fish and chip shops.
Read about our full east coast road trip itinerary in our post here.
Section 5 : Inland to Launceston
Expect windy roads, thick forest and a loss of mobile reception. This road is not for the feint of stomach, and I have to admit, I did get a bit car sick as we wound our way through the forest from St Helens to Launceston. Luckily there are a few little nature walks and cute country towns that are worth a stop, so you have an opportunity to stretch your legs and calm your stomach.
End : Launceston
This was the end of our journey, but you could always continue on to explore cradle mountain and the wild west coast.