6 Best Road Trips in Tasmania

Tasmania is the smallest state in Australia but punches well above its weight in what it has to offer. From the rugged mountains in the north west to white beaches on the east coast and a rich history as a penal colony, Tasmania can cater to all travellers of all ages. Here are the best road trips in Tasmania. 

East Coast Drive: Tasmania’s Scenic Coastal Route

  • Starting Point: Hobart
  • Ending Point: Launceston
  • Distance: Approximately 523 km
  • Recommended time: 5-8 days

Tasmania’s east coast drive from Hobart to Launceston is by far the most popular road trip in the state. From Hobart, you can travel to Freycinet National Park via the towns of Sorcell and Triabunna. From the latter, you can take a ferry to Maria Island and explore the painted cliffs.

Once you reach the national park there are many activities to do such as fishing, walking trails, rafting and kayaking. You can also check out Mount Amos to get spectacular views over Wineglass Bay. There are camping facilities available within the national park or the nearby Coles Bay if you want something more modern. 

Next stop Bicheno where you can stop by and encounter the famous Tasmanian Devil at the East Coast Natureworld. As you head further north you will approach the Bay of Fires which have beautiful red rocks on the beach. If you are there in summer time be sure to take a dip in the ocean. 

The last leg of the trip is to Launceston, Tasmania’s second largest city.

Clear blue ocean water and rocks on shore. the rocks have red running through them
The Bay of Fires famous red rocks. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Great Western Tiers Drive: Tasmania’s Scenic Mountain Route

  • Starting point: Launceston
  • Ending point: Devonport
  • Distance: Approximately 191 km
  • Recommended time: 1-3 days

This is the perfect road trip for you if you love mountains. This drive takes you through the Western Tiers, a series of mountains in Tasmania’s north west. Starting from Launceston, head to Deloraine. This town is known for its arts and crafts as well as its visitor centre. 

Nearby is the town of Mole Creek which has a series of caves that you can explore. Mole Creek and Deloraine both serve as a great base to explore the nearby mountains such as Quamby Bluff, Devil’s Gullet and the Great Western Tiers highest mountain, Ironstone Mountain which has an elevation of 1444 metres. 

If you have kids with you, it’s well worth visiting Tasmazia and The Village of Lower Crackpot. This hit attraction has 8 mazes and a model village built to ⅕ scale. The trip ends in Devonport, a town in the North of Tasmania. You can visit the arts gallery or head to Lillico beach to watch the penguins. Speaking of Penguins, there’s a big penguin in the nearby town of penguin. 

Scenic view of Cradle Mountain with water in foreground and mountain in background
Cradle Mountain forms the northern end of the wild Cradle Mt – Lake St Clair National Park, itself a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Tarkine Drive: Tasmania’s Wilderness Experience

  • Starting point: Stanley
  • Ending point: Smithton
  • Distance: Approximately 226 km
  • Recommended time: 2-3 days

The Tarkine drive is a must for anyone wanting to get closer to nature. This north west Tasmanian road trip takes you through rugged coastlines to rainforest and great plains further in-land. These reasons alone truly warrant the Tarkine drive as one of the best road trips in Tasmania.

Stanley and Smithton are fairly close to each other so this road trip is more of a loop. Stanley is home to The Nut State Reserve. The Nut is a massive rock formation which offers stunning views. You can hike to the top or take a chairlift. 

The next stage of the road trip takes you to the coast with highlights such as Bluff Hill Point, Edge of The World and Sarah Anne Rocks at which point you begin to loop back around via the in-land route. 

You will soon find yourself at the Balfour Track Forest Reserve. You can stretch your legs on a 3 hour leisurely walk through this rainforest. You can also enjoy the sheer vastness of this part of Tasmania at Dempster Plains. On your way back to Smithton you will cross the Tayatea Bridge where you can see the beauty of Arthur River. 

white 4wd coming down a hill on a dirt path
Western Tasmania has a rugged coast line

Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail: Food and Wine Journey in Tasmania

  • Starting point: Deloraine
  • Ending point: Smithton
  • Distance: Approximately 210 km 
  • Recommended time: 2-3 days

The Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail takes visitors through some of Tasmania’s most scenic landscapes, including the rugged coastline, rolling hills, and lush forests.

Along the way, visitors can stop at various local producers and businesses to sample some of the region’s best food and drink, including cheese, wine, beer, and fresh seafood. The trail also passes through several charming towns and villages, providing opportunities to explore local markets, galleries, and shops.

This road trip crosses over with some of the others mentioned here and there is no set in stone route to take but generally if you start in Deloitte, work your way up to Devonport and travel onwards to Smithton, you will be able to indulge in all of Tasmania’s culinary delights.

Some favourites on this tasting trail include:

  • Hazelbrae Haznuts – Hagley
  • Dixie Blue Gelato Café – Deloraine
  • The Truffledore – Lower Barrington
  • Blue Hills Honey – Mawbanna
  • Levan Valley Vineyard – Gunns Plains
  • Communion Brewery – Burnie
  • Hursey Seafoods – Stanley
  • La Cantara Artisan Cheeses – Smithton

The Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail is a great way to experience the natural beauty and culinary delights of Tasmania, and it’s popular among both locals and tourists.

variety of honey products from blue hills honey
Beekeepers producing premium honey sourced from the pristine takayna / Tarkine wilderness of Tasmania since 1955.

Southern Trove & Bruny Island: Tasmania’s Southernmost Scenic Route

  • Starting point: Hobart
  • Ending point: Cockle Creek
  • Distance: Approximately 246 km 
  • Recommended time: 3-4 days

This drive takes you through the Huon Valley and on to Bruny Island in Tasmania’s gorgeous south. The trip incorporates a great deal of things such as nature, adventure, food and drink.

If you are travelling to Bruny Island first, it is best to head to Kettering from Hobart where you can catch the ferry to the island. Bruny Island is one island separated into two parts, North Bruny and South Bruny. In between there is a long, thin stretch of land called the neck which has a lookout and is truly an Instagram worthy spot for a photo. Also on the island is the Inala Jurassic Garden and showcases plants that were around during the age of dinosaurs!

After taking the ferry across you can begin travelling south through the Huon Valley and will pass through Geeveston and can go as far as the road takes you to Cockle Creek. For those who like adventure, Tahune Airwalk and Hastings Caves are must see attractions.

If you are after some food and beverages, Willie Smith’s Organic Cider and The Old Bank Of Geeveston are fantastic options.

thin stretch of land surrounded by ocean either side
Bruny Island Neck is an isthmus of land connecting north and south Bruny Island.

Convict Trail: Discover Tasmania’s Convict History

  • Starting point: Campbelltown
  • Ending point: Port Arthur
  • Distance: Approximately 304 km 
  • Recommended time: 3-5 days

Tasmania was once a penal colony for the British Empire in the 19th century. Over 70,000 convicts would be sent there. Thankfully those days of a life of hard labour are over and nowadays you can explore what life was like for these people on the convict trail. 

The first stops along the convict trail are in the towns of Campbell Town and Ross. t the convict brick trail, there are bricks in the ground with the names of convicts, their crime and their sentences. Many of the crimes would be considered petty crimes nowadays. In Ross, there is the Ross Female Factory Historic Site. This would be one of four female convict factories built in Tasmania.

Maria Island is also a great stop to learn more about the convicts. The Darlington convict settlement is located here.

The next stop is Richmond Gaol. An old convict era prison. There are tours available which show you the terrible conditions in which prisoners here lived in. You can travel further south where there are other convict related historical sites such as the coal mines at Saltwater River and perhaps the most well known of them all, The Port Arthur Historic Site.

an old church with no roof
The Port Arthur Historic Site is one of Australia’s most important heritage sites and tourist destinations. Located on the scenic Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula in the south east of Tasmania, it offers a unique and essential experience for all visitors to the area.
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