Affectionately known as Tassie to most Aussies, Tasmania is Australia’s largest island off the mainland. This beautiful region is known for its rugged wilderness, breathtaking scenery, fresh seafood and plethora of fabulous food and wine producers.
Along with my two friends, Amy and Sarah from Mooski Adventures, we set off on a 6 Day Girls Tasmania Road Trip in our Mitsubishi Triton thanks to Europcar. Starting in Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city, we made our way up the east coast along the Great Eastern Drive, finishing up in Tassie’s second major city, Launceston.
Check out our 6-day Tasmania Road Trip Itinerary below that will take you to some of the best Tasmania highlights from Hobart to Launceston!
Tasmania Road Trip Route Map: The Great Eastern Drive
Day 1: Explore Hobart
With an eclectic art scene, Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, is well-known as the host for the annual Dark Mofo Festival. Dark Mofo is held during the winter solstice when the city is painted red, and locals and visitors alike come together to celebrate the dark through modern art expressions, music and spectacular food.
Our Tasmania Road Trip was planned to coincide with Dark Mofo. We spent the first two evenings experiencing the events and performances on offer during this epic three-week-long fiesta – and it lived up to the hype! The Winter Feast and Dark Path were a highlight for us. Also worth checking out is the Night Mass, The Burning and the Nude Solstice Swim.
Things to Do in Hobart
Salamanca Markets – It’s worth planning your visit to Hobart on a Saturday so you can wander around the iconic Salamanca Markets – one of the most loved markets in Australia. It features over 300 artisan stalls lined along Salamanca Place with amazing local street performers every Saturday from 8:30 am to 3 pm.
MONA (The Museum of Old and New Art) – After the markets, wander down to the waterfront and hop on the MONA ROMA. The camouflaged high-speed catamaran will take you to the museum, and the ferry ride itself is quite a show – upgrade to the Posh Pit for an ultra-luxe experience!
Be sure to allow at least 3 hours to wander around MONA. We easily could have spent all day there. The museum is set over three underground levels, and there are quite a lot of world-class interactive exhibits, such as the Mine, Siloam and Pharos. It’s worth checking out their website and planning your visit in advance.
Afterwards, head up to the MONA rooftop, where you’ll find the excellent Moorilla Wine Bar and Cellar Door, The Source Restaurant and a beautiful green space called The Lawn, which features communal tables, bean bags and food trucks.
Mount Wellington – If Mount Wellington has decided to peek its head out of the clouds, then it’s worth jumping in the car and heading up there for sunset. Unfortunately, we weren’t blessed with the best weather in the evening, so we decided to kick off our Tasmania road trip itinerary with a sunrise visit instead. Due to ice on the road, we weren’t able to make it to the top, so we stopped at a viewpoint a little further down where we enjoyed spectacular sunrise views out towards Bruny Island.
Where to Stay and Eat in Hobart
The Ibis Styles in Hobart was the perfect place to start our Tasmania road trip, as it was only a short five-minute walk from the waterfront and Salamanca Markets. The upper levels offer fantastic views over Hobart city, and the city-scape lap pool was definitely a highlight. The coffee and cocktails on offer at Mr Good Guy Bar + Kitchen were also top-notch. For other good food and coffee options nearby, we loved Daci & Daci Bakers and Straight Up Coffee and Food.
Day 2: Hobart to Orford
Driving time: approximately 2 – 3 hours, not including stops.
Stop 1: Clay Target Shooting & Lunch at Twamley Farm
Make an early start on your Tasmania road trip and set your GPS towards Twamley Farm, Buckland. Pre-book a Sunday Lunch and Shoot package for a unique experience. You’ll spend the morning at the Clay Target Shooting Range with champion shooters Glenn and Cheryl, followed by an amazing campfire-cooked lunch, featuring delicious local produce, lovingly prepared by Gert and Ted.
Twamley Farm also offers beautiful BnB-style accommodation in a converted old Barn, glamping tents or the ‘Farm Pod’. Other activities on offer also include trout fishing, farm-hand experiences, bird watching, hiking and mountain biking.
Stop 2: Port Arthur
Continue the drive onto Port Arthur, a historic convict settlement located on the Tasman Peninsula. Spend the afternoon exploring the historic site and surrounding gardens. If you feel up for a night time activity, it’s worth checking out the Port Arthur Ghost Tour, a highlight-filled with tales of paranormal activity and unexplained events that occurred at the penal settlement in the late 1800s.
Stop 3: Orford Town
Continue up the east coast to Orford where you’ll spend the evening. Orford is a coastal village with beautiful beaches and views over the historic Maria Island.
Where to Stay and Eat in Orford
We stayed at the Eastcoaster Tasmania in Orford and were treated to a fabulous seafood dinner at their beautiful waterfront restaurant. The food alone was reason enough to stay an extra night!
Day 3: Orford to Bicheno
Driving time: approximately 1.5 – 2 hours, not including stops.
While there are so many beautiful bays and beaches to stop along the Great Eastern Drive between Orford and Bicheno, the highlight is undoubtedly Freycinet National Park – the jewel of Tasmania’s coastline and home to the iconic Wineglass Bay. I highly recommend making this spot a priority on any Tasmania road trip itinerary as there is so much to do there.
Freycinet National Park
Before arriving, I recommend you pre-arrange a National Park permit to save time. Depending on how long you allow, there are a few options for hikes to do in the National Park – here’s our top three:
Wineglass Bay Lookout – For an amazing view over Wineglass Bay that’s not too far from the carpark, head to the Wineglass Bay Lookout. Being the shortest route, this hike is usually much more crowded with tourists. Allow 1-hour return.
Wineglass Bay Beach – Continue from the Lookout toward the pristine beaches of Wineglass Bay for a half-day trek option. Allow 2.5 hours return.
Mount Amos – For an even more stunning view over Wineglass Bay and the surrounding mountain ranges, Mount Amos is not for the faint-hearted and requires a lot more experience. The hike involves a steep uphill rock scramble, scaling several large boulders and is not recommended during wet or damp conditions. Allow at least 3 – 4 hours round trip.
Other Things to Do Around Freycinet National Park
If you have some extra time and want to extend your Tasmania road trip itinerary to 7 days, I would highly recommend spending an extra day exploring Freycinet National Park to experience some of the other activities on offer:
- Take a leisurely boat cruise around the National Park to Wineglass Bay
- Check out Cape Tourville Lighthouse
- Visit Devils Corner Winery cellar door
- Stay at one of the many luxury eco-retreats around Coles Bay
- Sample the freshest cultured oysters at the Melshell Oyster Shack
Where to Stay and Eat in Bicheno
We stayed at the beautiful Cod Rock Point, situated right on the coast at Bicheno. It was a beautiful spot, and we easily could have spent longer than one night but there was still so much to do on our Tasmania road trip itinerary, so we hit the road early the next morning.
Day 4: Bicheno to St. Helens
Driving time: approximately 1 hour, not including stops.
After fueling up at the Blue Edge Bakery, we set off towards Binalong Bay, the only settlement town along the well-known Bay of Fires coastline. The Bay of Fires was once named the World’s “hottest” travel destination in 2009 by Lonely Planet and it’s not hard to see why.
Bay of Fires Boat Tour
After 4 days of taking in the spectacular views along the Great Eastern Drive from our car rental, we wanted to switch things up and opted for an off-shore view of the famous ‘red rocks’, courtesy of Bay of Fires Eco Tours. We did the most popular Gardens Explorer Tour, which took us along the pristine coastline. We learnt all about the history of the area, how the rocks get their dark orange colour and pointing out the diverse array of sea-life along the way. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale.
Walk Along the Bay of Fires Cosy Corner Beach
After the boat tour, take a leisurely walk along Cosy Corner Beach. See the Lichen-covered boulders up-close against the beautiful white sand beaches.
Sunset at Binalong Bay
We found Binalong Bay to be the best spot to view the sunset. The evening hues paint the iconic red boulders in spectacular colour.
Tip: Head to Skeleton Bay Reserve and wander out along the rocks to find a good vantage point.
Where to Stay and Eat in St. Helens
We stayed at the beautiful Bay of Fires Apartments located on the main street of St. Helens and conveniently located around the corner from an amazing little coffee shop called Lifebuoy Café and Quail Street Emporium. Also, check out Nina Restaurant, located below the Bay of Fires Apartments.
Day 5: St. Helens to Launceston
Driving time: approximately 2.5 hours, not including stops.
The drive between St. Helens and Launceston is dotted with many farms, artisan food producers and wineries. This was one of our favourite days during our Tasmania road trip as there was plenty of good food and wine tasting involved!
Stop 1: Pyengana Dairy
Pyengana Dairy produces award-winning artisan cheeses and dairy products. Stop off for a gourmet cheese platter overlooking the green pastures of the dairy farm.
Stop 2: St Columba Falls
Just a short 10-minute walk from the carpark, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of St Columba Falls.
Stop 3: Clover Hill Wines
Clover Hill is a premium sparkling house located around 30 minutes’ drive from Launceston. Their recently built modern cellar door offers breathtaking views over their beautiful vineyard. This was a great last stop for a tasting before finishing up our Tasmania road trip in Launceston for the evening. Bookings are recommended.
Where to Stay and Eat in Launceston
We stayed at The Sebel Launceston, which was conveniently located in the centre of town and only a few minutes’ drive from Cataract Gorge. We enjoyed dinner at the Bluestone Kitchen & Bar, which serves seriously good modern Asian-style food. It was possibly one of the best meals we had during the entire road trip!
Day 6: Explore Launceston
Spend the final day of your Tasmania road trip exploring around Launceston. Be sure to book an evening flight so you have a full day!
Cataract Gorge – A natural formation located only minutes from central Launceston. Allow at least an hour to wander along the pathways around the gorge.
Drive Along the River Tamar – After visiting the gorge, take a drive along the western side of the Tamar River towards Batman Bridge. There are many great wineries to stop at along the drive. Cross the river at Batman Bridge and head back to Launceston along the Eastern-side of the river.
Moore’s Hill Estate – Tasmania’s first solar-powered winery that is completely off-the-grid. We stopped in at this boutique family-owned winery for a wine tasting and gourmet lunch by the fire and felt great knowing that we were virtually saving the environment while doing so.
Additional Tips for Your Tasmania Road Trip
Getting There – Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tigerair all offer daily flights to Hobart and Launceston from most major Australian cities. I recommend using Skyscanner to compare airfares and departure times for all airlines and book the best option.
Getting Around – Tasmania was made to be explored by car! Having a car gives you the freedom to set your Tasmania road trip itinerary (or follow ours) and stop wherever you want. All the roads we took during our road trip were sealed and driving in Tasmania is very easy. Click here to get 15% off any booking of 5+ days with Europcar.
Best Time to Visit – Any time of year. There are many things to do in Tasmania during summer, winter, spring and autumn. Be aware that summertime is the peak tourist season. Expect the major tourist sites to be a lot more crowded than other seasons. We felt that visiting during winter was perfect as there were fewer crowds and we got to experience the Dark Mofo Festival.
Don’t forget to bring – Warm clothing in winter, such as puffer jackets and beanies. Bring hiking gear if you plan to hike in Freycinet National Park.