A Ten Day Tasmanian Road Trip
August 7, 2019
by Megan Bonnett
Tasmania is the most amazing little island off the south coast of Australia. Often overlooked, it’s a must-see. Earlier in the year, I rented a camper van with two of my friends and we completed a once in a lifetime road trip around this amazing place for 10 days. And I think it’s safe to say, it’s the best way to explore the island.
It was a great experience and I want to share the route we took with anyone thinking of planning a Tasmanian road trip. The route we drove includes all the must see places on the island.
Our flight from Melbourne to Hobart left at 6am and by 9 o’clock in the morning we were at the Wicked Camper HQ to pick up our van. We loaded up our stuff and headed on the road. We drove to Salamanca Square and had the most amazing breakfast in the sun. There’s plenty of independent cafes and restaurants where you can get a massive feast and a delicious coffee whilst soaking in the atmosphere.
With Salamanca Square ticked off the list, we paid a visit to Kmart and Coles to stock up on supplies for the road trip. We bought all the essentials:
- Blankets (Tasmania gets a LOT chillier than mainland Australia)
- Air freshener (3 people in 1 small van needs a little help staying fresh)
- A few crates of beer (most important)
- Lots of snacks and food (think pot noddles, cans of soup, crisps and cereal bars – anything you can keep that doesn’t need to go in a fridge!)
Luckily for us, the van we rented came with a small gas stove, a sink, cool box and some camping chairs so we didn’t need to buy any of these things ourselves. With a boot full of supplies, we drove straight to the Tasman National Park view-point to see the Blowhole, Devils Arches and Devils Kitchen before driving to a campsite at Port Arthur.
We dined at the Fox and Hound pub, which is an adorable country pub in the heart of Port Arthur and does some amazing heart-warming dishes.
Day 2 Port Arthur → Coles Bay
We woke up bright and early and cooked up a quick breakfast at the campsite kitchen. We tried to stay in campsites that had proper kitchen areas as much as possible – trying to cook scrambled eggs and cups of tea for 3 people on a tiny gas cooker can take a very long time!
After breakfast, we drove to the Remarkable Cave where you can climb down to the water and enjoy the view of the ocean, and the amazing, natural cave formations.
We then had a coffee at the Lavender Farm – it wasn’t the best time of year to visit the beautiful lavender fields of Tasmania (winter was coming) but it was still a great little stop to break up the drive.
For lunch, we pulled up at Orford Beach for some pot noodles before getting back in the van for the drive to Coles Bay where we stayed for the night.
Day 3 Coles Bay → Bay of Fires
From Coles Bay you are only a short drive to the world renowned Wineglass Bay. It’s a 3 hour round hike up to the viewpoint, down to the bay itself and back again but it is well worth it. It’s stunning, and definitely a must see for anyone visiting.
There’s also plenty of other sights in the area that you can drive to after Wineglass Bay. Must sees are the lighthouse and Sleepers Bay which are all inside Freycinet National Park.
After a quick stop in Bicheno for lunch, we went onto the Bay of Fires region. We went just as the sun was beginning to set so got to see the rocks in the most beautiful setting. We camped our van in Cosy Corner campsite which is a quiet little area right on the coast.
Day 4 Bay of Fires → Launceston
At 6am, our alarm went off to watch the sunrise at Cosy Corner beach We took our camp chairs down to the water, our blankets and thermos flasks filled with coffee. It was a beautiful and peaceful morning on the deserted beaches but unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the sunrise because of the clouds. Still well worth the early morning rise though.
After a campsite breakfast fit for a king, we drove to the Little Blue Lake and then onto Sideling Lookout. Nice little areas to get out of the van and stretch your legs on the way to Launceston.
We arrived in Launceston in the afternoon, we went for a walk around the town – and nestles into a pub for the evening and enjoyed dinner and a drink.
Day 5 Cataract Gorge → Cradle Mountain
Cataract Gorge is a great day out. There’s a small cafe on site, various walking trails you can follow and a chair lift that gives you an amazing birds eye view of the gorge. There’s even a pool for those visiting in the summer months. We spent a few hours walking around and exploring the Gorge before driving to our next stop of Cradle Mountain.
Day 6 Cradle Mountain
We woke up with sunrise, and headed to Cradle Mountain. By 8.45 am we had started our hike which took 6 hours 15 minutes in total. The height of Cradle Mountain is a whopping 1545 meters and offers the most amazing views I’ve ever seen.
🚨 PSA: The summit terrain consists of large boulders which you have to scramble over. If you are not a confident climber you can stop at a lookout bunker and then start your descent down the mountain without having to do the summit.
Over 6 hours later, we made it back to the bottom of the mountain range. We showered and stumbled to the nearby lodge for a big, well-deserved feast!
Day 7 Cradle Mountain → Mount Field National Park
Mount Field National Park is filled with amazing things to do. Short walking trails to mighty waterfalls, a forest full of the tallest trees in Australia and after sunset, you can walk to the coves and see some glow worms light up!
Day 8 Mount Field National Park → Bruny Island
To get to Bruny Island you need to drive back through Hobart, into Kettering and up to the ferry port. The first thing you should go and see when you drive onto the island is what is known as the ‘neck’. This is where the north and south islands connect. A short walk will take you up to an amazing viewpoint of the whole island.
We camped at Adventure Bay which has an amazing long beach that you can walk along, and some local pubs and diners that offer great food. Bruny Island is also the home of the extremely rare white wallaby. If you walk around Adventure Bay at dusk or dawn, you might be lucky enough to see one!
Day 9 Bruny Island → Hobart
Before you leave Bruny Island make sure you also check out Cloudy Bay, the Lighthouse and the amazing chocolate and fudge shop! You’ll be grateful for the sweet treat when you’re on the van ride back to mainland.
We arrived back in Hobart by late afternoon.
Day 10 Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to visit for any Tasmanian visitor. There’s a large open space at the back of the sanctuary where you can walk around and feed Kangaroos, enclosures with animals such as the Tasmanian devils, enchidas and koala bears that have all been rescued by the team at the sanctuary.
It’s a great day out where you can get close and personal with some amazing Australian wildlife, and it’s only a short drive from Hobart town center.
There you have it! Ten days in Tasmania done right, to tick off all the great sights of this beautiful island. I hope you have the most amazing trip. 👋