Tasmania road trip: an itinerary for a two-week adventure in nature

Head off on an adventure and explore the wonders of the Apple Isle with our Tasmania road trip guide—a two-week itinerary of where to go and most importantly, where to stay.

Despite being a small island, Tasmania is a destination that packs a heavy punch. Bursting at the seams with waterfalls, ancient rainforests, and white sand beaches, and buzzing with a recent awakening of festivals, culture, and art, plenty of rewards awaits the traveller willing to venture further than the capital of Hobart.

Despite being a largely isolated island, known for its untamed wilderness, Tasmania is a surprisingly accessible destination. Highlights of the island are all within a two-to-three hour drive, and a well-connected network of roads makes it easy to road trip throughout even the most remote corners of the State.

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Megan Jerrard is a full-time travel blogger at Mapping Megan, a niche adventure travel blog with a focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery, and incredible journeys. She visits off-the-beaten-path destinations and loves discovering hidden attractions in otherwise popular cities.
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Start your Tasmania road trip in Hobart

Most trips to Tasmania will start in Hobart. This is a vibrant and energetic harbour town, where modern galleries and museums sit inside colonial sandstone buildings and 19th-century pubs rub shoulders with a trendy gourmet food scene.

You’ll spend two nights in Hobart, with one day for exploring the city, and another for taking a day trip to explore the nature of the south. Aim to arrive early in the morning on your first day, so you have plenty of time to explore Hobart itself.

If you coincide your arrival to be on a Saturday, you’ll be able to take in the famous Salamanca Markets, where over 300 stalls showcase local arts, crafts, and some of Australia’s finest fresh produce (treat yourself to breakfast or lunch). The markets are open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Though even once the stalls have cleared, the boutiques, galleries and restaurants at Salamanca Place are still open seven days a week.

Just before sunset, enter ‘Pinnacle Road’ into your GPS and drive to the summit of Mt Wellington. Locals call this ‘The Mountain’, and from the observation platform at the top, you’ll be greeted with sweeping panoramic views over the city.

Block off day two for a day trip from Hobart; there are ample opportunities to choose from depending on your interests. History buffs can spend the day at Port Arthur, nature enthusiasts can head south to the Huon Valley, and wildlife fans can take the ferry for the day to Bruny Island and their unique white wallabies.

Where to stay in Hobart before setting off


If you’re looking for luxury accommodation right on the waterfront, Macq 01 is a hotel experience built around telling the stories of Tasmania’s colourful characters and unique history. Each of the plush suites has been inspired by a famous Tasmanian identity, and include artwork and artefacts that help immerse you in their story. Each room comes with a balcony, and the views over the harbour are outstanding.

Macq 01 Hotel

9.8 Excellent (3545 reviews)

Escaping Civilization on Maria Island

An hour and 15 minutes from Hobart is the sleepy fishing town of Triabunna; the gateway for reaching the wildlife haven of Maria Island. Escape civilization and visit an island full of natural wonders.

You’ll stay in Triabunna for two nights, with the chance to explore the town (the marina is full of shops, galleries, and fantastic seafood), before spending the next day on Maria Island. Most travellers completely miss the island, though that’s well and truly their loss.

A short half an hour ferry takes you over to the island, where you can spend the full day exploring isolated white sand beaches, ruins of convict settlements from the 1800s, and fossilized sea cliffs. This is the only island in Tasmania to be protected as a National Park and is one of the best places to encounter wildlife like wombats, Forester kangaroos, and Tasmanian Devils in their natural habitat. There are no cars or shops on the island, so pack a lunch.

Skip going to jail


While accommodation is available on Maria Island, your choices are camping, or staying in bunk beds in the old convict jail. If you’re after something more comfortable, you’re better off staying in Triabunna. Orford Bue Waters is a comfy hotel 10 minutes out of Triabunna. Sitting right on the junction of the Prosser river and the Tasman sea, you will be in the perfect location to enjoy both the town and nature.

Orford Blue Waters

8.0 Very good (301 reviews)

Explore Freycinet National Park

Driving further north, it’s an hour and a half to get to the infamous Freycinet National Park. You should make the drive first thing in the morning, though don’t hurry; driving along the coast means there are many secluded beach pull-offs along the way.

Entrance fees are charged for all Tasmanian National Parks at $22 per vehicle (per day). But since you’re visiting so many National Parks on this road trip, it would be more economical to purchase the Holiday Parks Pass, which allows unlimited entrance over a period of eight weeks for $56. You can buy a Parks Pass online from the Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service.

This region is known as a mecca for bushwalking, and you should plan to dedicate a whole day for exploring Wineglass Bay and the Hazards Mountain Range. An iconic crescent-shaped beach flanked by two mountain ranges, and a narrow forested isthmus, if you’re only interested in a short walk you can take the 40-minute climb (it’s steep) to the Wineglass Bay Lookout, for stunning views over the postcard-worthy landscape.

For those more adventurous, at the top of the lookout is a track which leads actually down to the beach, and while the lookout itself is always quite crowded, as soon as you start on the Hazards loop trail, 95% of the tourism disappears. This is a full day walk; a five-hour loop that will take you through secluded beaches, forests, bays and mountains. If you’re not keen on spending the whole day bushwalking, you can experience the park by sea kayak, scenic flight, or quad bike.

Splurge on a beautiful coastal pavilion


While Freycinet Lodge has a range of room types, from comfortable one-room cabins to premiere spa cabins that overlook the forest, for something truly unique, book into their newly opened Coastal Pavilions.

These luxury eco cabins have been wholly constructed from local Tasmanian pine to seamlessly blend into the landscape, and feature curved floor to ceiling glass windows for a private view out over Great Oyster Bay and Freycinet National Park.

With plush interiors and a large wrap around deck with outdoor tub, kick back after a long day of hiking with a glass of local wine. Breathe in deeply as you smell all of that incredible Tasmanian pine! There is no Wi-Fi or cell connection in these Pavilions, so it’s a chance to completely disconnect and immerse yourself in the scenery.

Freycinet Lodge

Top rated
Coles Bay
9.0 Excellent (2155 reviews)

Book a Budget Stay in Coles Bay


If you don’t have the cash to splurge on a stay in a Coastal Pavilion, the Big4 Iluka On Freycinet offers a much more budget-friendly alternative for accommodation in the National Park.

In the heart of Coles Bay, basic cabin style accommodation is on offer here, with two-bedroom units that provide plenty of space for the whole family. With one Queen bed and two sets of bunks, each cabin will make you feel right at home, especially with its living and cooking facilities, free parking, and an outdoor balcony that looks out over Great Oyster Bay.

Big4 Iluka On Freycinet

Coles Bay
8.0 Very good (39 reviews)

Stay in a safari tent on a secluded beach


From Freycinet National Park, it’s a short one hour drive up to Scamander. You’ll be staying here for one night to take in the iconic Bay of Fires the next morning, though while most people base themselves in St Helens, Scamander is a hidden gem which presents the unique opportunity for glamping in safari tents next to a wild ocean beach.

On the drive up from Freycinet, be sure to stop at East Coast Nature World in Bicheno; this is a sanctuary for Tasmanian wildlife and you can easily spend a few hours exploring the 150-acres of parkland and lagoons. You’ll come face to face with unique Tasmanian wildlife like the spotted quoll and can watch as the baby Tasmanian Devils are fed. There’s a cafe on site for lunch before heading to your accommodation, Scamander Sanctuary Holiday Park.

The real highlight of Scamander Sanctuary Holiday Park are the African style safari tents, that channel a luxury camping experience, even though it’s a budget stay. These tents are built into a raised wooden platform and are fully self-contained. You’ll sleep under a canvas while listening to the waves crash ashore.

Though you won’t have to sacrifice any of the creature comforts of home; the tents include a fully-equipped kitchen, air conditioning, as well as private bathrooms. Take a night walk down to the beach at Winifred Curtis Reserve; as the sun sets it’s likely you’ll have this huge stretch of wild ocean coastline completely to yourself.

Scamander Sanctuary Holiday Park

9.6 Excellent (293 reviews)

Discover the Bay of Fires

An hour north of Scamander is the stunning Bay of Fires, and you’ll spend your day exploring this region of the coast. This is a conservation reserve known for its sugary-white sand beaches, impossibly clear water, and orange granite boulders which are so large you can walk across them. The region extends for 50 kilometres from Binalong Bay north towards Eddystone Point, so taking the coastal road allows you to pull over as you wish, explore small secluded beaches, and pick your own self-guided walks.

Stay in a seaport hotel


After spending a full day in Bay of Fires, it’s a three-hour drive to get to Launceston, where you’ll base yourself for one night before moving on to Cradle Mountain. Peppers Seaport is a luxury accommodation choice in the heart of the city right on the city wharf.

The building is actually designed to resemble a ship, and sitting on the old dock, you can walk outside and be instantly on the water. Rooms here are stylish, contemporary and modern, and most include waterfront views. There is free Wi-Fi, though parking is an additional $10 per day cost.

If you get into Launceston early enough, you can spend a couple of hours exploring the city. While it might be a small city, it is one of the oldest in Australia and oozes historical charm. A quick walk will take you past landmarks and attractions like Customs House, Albert Hall, Chalmers Church, and the city Clock Tower, all of which showcase stunning colonial architecture.

The Queen Victoria Museum is an interesting stop, with an exhibition dedicated to Tasmanian wildlife that displays rare artifacts from the days of the now extinct Tasmanian tiger. Or you can simply head to City Park, which is home to a resident group of Snow Monkeys.

Peppers Seaport

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (3567 reviews)

Experience a night in a 19th-century convent


For more budget-friendly accommodation in Launceston, book into the Auldington. Offering basic, but clean rooms in what was once a 19th-century convent, this is a great option for a central location, that’s not going to break your wallet.

Rooms are nothing fancy, but they are spacious and modern, with everything you need—air conditioning, private ensuites and a DVD player. The high ceilings give each room an even bigger sense of space, and historic design elements have been preserved throughout the building.

Hotel Auldington

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (2042 reviews)

Tasmania road trip must-visit: Cradle Mountain

One of Tasmania’s biggest attractions is Cradle Mountain National Park, and with good reason. Allowing direct access to the alpine wilderness of the island’s north, here you’ll have the opportunity to hike through ancient rainforests, and if travelling in the winter, see wombats padding through the snow and visit glacial lakes with views of dramatic and rugged mountain ranges.

Cradle Mountain is a two-hour drive from Launceston, and along the way, you can stop at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm for some of their famous raspberry pancakes. Spending two nights in Cradle Mountain will give you ample time for taking in the highlights, like the two-hour walk around Dove Lake, or for something with fewer crowds, tackling the Cradle Mountain Summit. You can also walk sections of the iconic Overland Track; normally a six-day walk that connects Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair National Parks, basing yourself in the park allows you to walk sections of the track and come back, without having to commit to the whole track.

A dose of luxury in nature


Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is a luxury lodge within the National Park.. It’s a five-star hotel with a mountain lodge feel and trendy modern rooms that look right out onto the wilderness. Rooms are cozy and warm, each with their own fireplace, and armchairs you just sink into. There is an on-site luxury spa, buffet breakfast included with each booking, and on-site dining options that include both a fine dining restaurant and a more relaxed Tavern Bar & Bistro.

Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge

Top rated
Cradle Mountain
8.8 Excellent (2292 reviews)

Go for rustic chic on a budget


Cradle Forest Inn is a more budget-friendly choice, though one that also channels the mountain lodge atmosphere. More of a traditional Inn, the interior is modern chic rustic, with a big emphasis on incorporating natural wood into the wall panelling. Rooms are basic, but clean and comfortable, with a TV, air conditioning, and kitchenette facilities.

Cradle Forest Inn

Top rated
Cradle Mountain
8.6 Excellent (809 reviews)

The Wild West

Tasmania is known for its incredible landscapes, but one place to truly immerse yourself is in the wild country that is the island’s west coast. Compared to the millions of travellers who visit Hobart annually, the West Coast hardly features on travellers’ itineraries.

Granted, it is a remote region, and very much out of the way, but a two hour drive from Cradle Mountain will place you in Strahan, where you’ll have the chance to take a cruise through a UNESCO World Heritage Area (Gordon River Cruises), a luxury train through an ancient tangled rainforest (West Coast Wilderness Railway), hike to thundering waterfalls (Hogarth Falls), and visit a treacherous ocean beach (Ocean Beach).

You’ll spend three nights in the quaint fishing village of Strahan, and spend a full day for the West Coast Wilderness Railway, a full day for the Gordon River Cruise, and then another day exploring Ocean Beach. This is the longest beach in Tasmania, and gets the full force of the screaming winds of the Roaring ’40s, being the first piece of Coast the Southern Ocean meets.

Swimming here is not safe due to the intense winds and strong currents, though it is a spectacular sight to see sand flying through the air, waves crashing violently to the shore, and stumbling across a graveyard full of enormous whale bones.

Stay in a Quaint Fishing Village


For upscale accommodation in Strahan, stay in Risby Cove. This is a boutique motel with one- and two- bedroom suites on the waterfront, with comfortable, clean rooms, and local Blackwood decor. Your rate includes free Wi-Fi, free parking, and all rooms come with a kitchenette, which consists of a fridge, kettle, and microwave.

Risby Cove

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (286 reviews)

Overlook the harbour


Nestled on a hill looking down over the harbour, Strahan Village offers a wide choice of accommodation that ranges from 19th-century rustic cottages on the waterfront to modern split level rooms with a bedroom and living space, and balcony overlooking Macquarie harbour.

While the village has distinct old-time charm and a warm colour scheme, you still have access to all the contemporary amenities you need, including free parking, Wi-Fi, a minibar, and a full-service restaurant.

Strahan Village

8.2 Very good (2170 reviews)

Back to Hobart to end your Tasmania road trip

Hard to believe it’s been two weeks! It’s now day 14, and time to make the four and a half hour drive back to Hobart. Book your flight for late afternoon / evening to give yourself plenty of time for the drive.