So, you’re crossing over to the ‘Apple Isle’ in search for the world’s freshest air, tasty produce and rugged landscapes? Firstly, take me with you?! Secondly, let me just say that this part of Australia is both super underrated and undisturbed. Maybe because of it’s small population (just over half a million) or is it because beautiful Tasmania is separated from the rest of Australia by the Bass Strait? Either way, I was actually pleased to find that this Australian state was so quiet, as I ended up witnessing an abundance of wildlife, landscapes with no human civilisation visible as far as the eye could see and had a break from traffic on the roads for once!
What’s also so great about Tassie is its size. You’ll find you won’t have to drive for very long until you reach a completely new and magnificent sight; i.e. it’s perfect place to road trip around!
Below you’ll find the exact itinerary I followed for a week in September beginning and ending in Hobart:
Jetstar frequently has cheap flights from your nearest capital cities to Hobart and Launceston. I secured a great deal that was about $85 one way direct from Brisbane to Hobart! Make sure you book your car rental in advance, so once you arrive at the airport, you can pay for it, grab the keys and start your road trip immediately. You really don’t need a large, fancy car to get around; the cheaper ones will do just fine! Make sure you order a GPS, though. As much as I wanted to throw it out the window after listening to her voice for seven days straight, you cannot survive a Tassie road trip without one!
Day 1: Fly in to Hobart
Start your adventure by flying in to Hobart, Tasmania’s capital and pick up your rental car. Without wasting anytime, head straight to the Port Arthur historical site, which is about an hours drive from the Airport. This World Heritage area is the best preserved convict site in Australia. Immerse yourself in Australia’s history as you wander through some 30 buildings, ruins, gardens and restored homes, take a Harbour Cruise or even a ghost tour if you’re game enough! Entry costs $37 and includes the cruise and walking tour. Next, get back in the car and head for the Tasman National Park where you’ll find the Tasman Arch, Blow Hole and Remarkable Cave as well as a beautiful walk that will show off some pretty impressive rock formations along the coastline. The walk begins just down from the arch and takes about 45 minutes return.
Stay: Airbnb in West Hobart
Day 2: Cradle Mountain
Hit the road at the unappealing hour of 5am to ensure you get to Cradle Mountain early enough to spend a whole day exploring what was probably my favourite part of Tasmania. We drove straight to our accommodation, Pepper’s Cradle Mountain Lodge, where you’ll find the Enchanted Forest and King Billy tracks to name a few. It’s no wonder how the Enchanted walk got its name; the forest is so magical and mysterious. These walks around the hotel are quite short and easy and range from about 20-40 minutes. Wander around the hotel’s pond and eventually I am sure you’ll spot some wild wombats that will be too busy eating to worry how close you get to take photos!
Next, buy your Tasmanian National Park Pass and drive down the road to the Dove Lake Circuit. This walk will take you around the lake, through the Ballroom Forest, under snowcapped mountains and waterfalls and then ending near the Boatshed. I can safely say this is one of the most beautiful walks I have ever done as the biodiversity in the area is just unlike any I have seen before. The walk is easy and will only take about 2 hours return (maybe allow a bit of extra time as you’ll want to take 5,000 photos!)
After all that exercise, treat yourself to the private sanctuary at the hotel’s Waldheim Spa. Warm up in the spa bath, relax with a spectacular view and rejuvenate in the sauna!
Day 3: Launceston
Have a bit of a sleep in as you won’t find much to do in Launceston to be completely honest! The drive is about 2 hours from Cradle Mountain and I recommend stopping in at the Cataract Gorge first up. You’ll find peacocks presenting their blue and green feathers, a bouncy suspension bridge, cafe, and my favourite, the chairlift. Wander around the gorge and take the chairlift back as you leave! Then, head into the CBD where you’ll find the city park’s Japanese Snow Monkey display. This will keep you entertained for a very long time, I can guarantee! Check in to your accommodation or do a spot of shopping before eating at the Prickly Cactus for some life changing Mexican food and dirt cheap Margaritas.
Day 4: Bay of Fires
Head towards the East Coast for about 2 and a half hours before reaching the Bay of Fires. Orange lichen covers the granite boulders that line the beaches along the west coast around the Binnalong Bay area. You could spend a decent amount of time hopping from rock to rock and driving around the area admiring the clear waters that caress the white sandy shoreline. We drove a further hour or so down to Coles Bay where we had lunch before checking in to the most architecturally impressive accommodation you’ll find in Tasmania. Take some cheese, bread and wine to the Aplite House, listen to good music, watch the sunset and admire your surroundings.
Day 5: Freycinet National Park
Just a half an hour drive from the Aplite House is Freycinet National Park. Most tourists wouldn’t come to Tassie without exploring this slice of paradise, namely Wineglass Bay. Make a pitstop at Honeymoon Bay before driving down to start your hike uphill for that classic view over Wineglass Bay. You can take the Mount Amos route if you’re up for a steep 3-4 hour challenge, or follow the way I went along the Wineglass Bay walk. It only takes about 1-1.5 hours return and the view is well worth the thigh burn and heavy breathing! You’ll find other day walks, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing and sea kayaking among a few activities to do in Freycinet. We then drove on for another hour before reaching Swansea for lunch and checking in to the lovely Piermont Retreat on the beach for the night.
Day 6: Bruny Island
Wake yourself up early, get back in the car and drive about 2 and a half hours down to Kettering to board the ferry with your car over to Bruny Island for the day. The ferry just takes 20 short minutes and costs $33 return for a car and departs every hour or so. Head to Adventure Bay where Captain Cook landed, walk up the stairs to view the famous ‘Neck’ or drive to the other end of the island to the lighthouse. This was by far the best place on the island to me as the land was luscious, and the view were unbeatable. Bruny is also well-known for its produce, so head to the Cheese Co., Berry or Oyster Farm as well as the House of Whisky to sample some good food. Make the drive back in the early afternoon to Hobart and get yourself to the Hobart Hideaway Pods for the night. You will not be sorry! See my detailed post here of my stay.
Stay: Hobart Hideaway Pods
Day 7: Hobart
Hopefully you’re game enough for another early wakeup call to catch the sunrise over Hobart from the top of Mount Wellington (I wasn’t as the weather was terrible). Drive about half an hour to the top, wear 10 layers to avoid potential frostbite and admire that damn fine view over the city. If today is a Saturday, get yourself back into the city to the Salamanca markets for some freshly brewed coffee, breakfast and shopping.
We then drove out to the well-known MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) that comes highly recommended by locals and tourists alike when visiting Hobart. While the cafe had great food, we paid the entry fee and do be honest quite quickly regretted it. I have finally realised I am not one for outrageous ‘art’; I’ll just put it at that and move on. Head back into the city to Salamanca where you’ll find great cafes, restaurants and pubs for dinner before checking in to your last hotel and relaxing before an early morning flight home.
Stay: Salamanca Wharf Hotel
HAVE YOU VENTURED TO TASMANIA BEFORE? WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR TRIP?
View more of my Tasmania posts here!
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