In this blog, we give you all the must-see spots to stop in during your road trip in Tasmania!
State at 200 kilometers south of the Australian mainland, Tasmania is definitely the “road trip country” thanks to its wild nature and its varied landscapes! From the beach to the mountains to the bush, Tasmania has plenty to offer. You will also be able to enjoy some of the larger cities like Hobart or Launceston which have a lot to offer.
The state of Tasmania has an oceanic climate and you will experience much more distinct seasons than on the main island. In summer, the mercury hardly rises above 24°C! For the winter, a lot of rain is often expected and some places can even be covered with snow when the temperatures drop!
Why go to Tasmania in a van?
Going on a road trip in a van means taking another step towards your freedom! Freedom to choose your schedule without check-in or check-out constraints but also freedom of movement and the possibility to sleep in incredible places. Moreover, in Tasmania, you will find many free campsites. These are often located in beautiful landscapes, so the van allows you to fully enjoy these spectacular scenery.
The island is also quite small, a vehicle allows you to move from one point to another very quickly! If you’re going to the much wilder West Coast, make sure your vehicle holds up well!
How long to leave?
For us the ideal duration would be 2 to 4 weeks! The island may be smaller compared to other states, but it is still full of hiking, activities and landscapes that are worth a long look.
In which season to go ?
Tasmania can be discovered in any season. However, the winters can be quite cold, so we advise you to go there in summer, during the good season. However, be prepared because even in summer the weather can be very changeable! In summer or winter, just be prepared and equipped to face the cold or the weather changes. We also advise you to bring good hiking shoes to make the most of your stay!
Must-see places in Tasmania
Hobart is the capital of the state of Tasmania and has its own airport. If you arrive in Tasmania by plane, this is most likely where you will land.
As soon as you arrive, you can’t miss Mount Wellington, which overlooks the city. Only 20 minutes away by car, you can explore it on a hike or get on a bike to discover it.
Every Saturday, you can stroll through the famous Salamanca Market. More than 300 stalls offer fresh local products, handicrafts or food on the spot! It is a real meeting place between producers and consumers that allows you to soak up the Tasmanian vibe in the heart of its capital. The next day, the Farmers Market takes place for seasonal products just as fresh!
Only 20 minutes from downtown Hobart, the Museum of Old and New Art is well known for presenting art without taking itself too seriously. It’s up to you to go and discover what some call “the most immersive and unique experience he has had in a museum”. Please note that in order to visit the museum, you must make a reservation beforehand. You can do it on the MONA website.
Tasmania and its national parks are the ideal landmark for all hiking enthusiasts. We present several that will delight you! Before you start, it may be good to know that most national parks, being protected areas, have an access fee. We therefore recommend that you purchase a pass in advance, which will allow you unlimited access to all of Tasmania’s parks over a given period. Indeed, paying for the entrance of each one could be quite a burden on your budget.
Mount Field National Park
Mount Field National Park is the oldest national park in Tasmania. It contains the most photographed waterfall in the state: Russells Falls which flows on three different levels. There is a short hike of 1.4 kilometers, easy to do and accessible to people with reduced mobility, to get to this beautiful place. If you go there at nightfall, you will be able to see the exceptional show given by hundreds of glow worms.
You can also see in this park swamp gum trees which are the tallest tree species in Australia. These can reach up to 100 meters in height and are considered the second largest flowering plant in the world! We recommend you take the Three Falls Circuit but we recommend you do it in reverse so that you can walk down the steps rather than up them and finish with the highlight, Russell Falls. During this walk you will have the luxury to cross two other waterfalls as well as large magnificent trees in a luxuriant vegetation.
Tasman National Park
We also recommend a trip to Tasman National Park. You can visit the site of Port Arthur, a former prison from the 1800s where British prisoners were sent. Many exactions have taken place from this place that you can also visit at night. On a lighter note, you can take one of the many hikes offered by the park, including the Cape Raoul hike, which takes in Ship Stern Bluff, a world-famous surfing site. We also recommend taking the hikes to Cape Tourville or Sleepy Bay to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Only 30 minutes from Hobart by ferry or two hours by car, Bruny Island is a must-see in Tasmania. And for good reason, this place is one of the only places in the world where you can see white wallabies, especially on Adventure Bay. At this place, whales are also sometimes visible in the open sea.
This place is definitely the landmark of Australian wildlife, in addition to wallabies and whales, you will surely have the chance to see colonies of sea lions or even dolphins.
For those with a sweet tooth, stop by the Bruny Island cheese company, a cheese store that will delight your taste buds. There is also a chocolate company in the area for those with a sweet tooth!
To discover the surroundings of this large island, you can also take a cruise that will allow you to appreciate the more impressive rock formations of Bruny Island. On board these cruises, you will also have the chance to observe a dense fauna: eagles, dolphins, sea lions and even whales when the season is right! It is therefore an unmissable activity on the island!
To learn more about Tasmania in the 1820s, we recommend a visit to Richmond, where many buildings date back to this period. This charming little town 30 minutes from Hobart also has the advantage of being located in the center of the Coal River Valley, a growing Australian wine region. Here you can see the famous Australian Heritage Richmond Bridge. The sandstone of this one was transported on the building site with the help of handcarts drawn by the convicts. After visiting the Richmond Gaol, Australia’s oldest prison, one of whose inmates is said to have inspired a Dickensian character, you can discover more of Tasmania’s wildlife at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, 20 minutes from Richmond. The funds generated by this Sanctuary are used to proactively address environmental and community issues.
This island will offer you a good compromise between the beautiful landscapes of Tasmania and its sometimes dark history. This is the location of Darlington Probation Station, a World Heritage-listed Australian convict site, which you can now visit.
After learning more about this part of history, you can take in the sights at the beautiful Painted Cliffs. These small cliffs are ribbed with beautiful colors thanks to the water seeping into the sandstone. These are also marked by the erosion caused by the waves that hit them during high tide. That’s why it’s important to check the tide times so that you can get there safely during low tide.
The walks in the area are beautiful but can be quite long, so we recommend renting a bike to make it easier for you!
Freycinet National Park
Another national park not to be missed is the Freycinet National Park. It is mainly known for the exceptional charm of Wineglass Bay. Indeed, the few images you may have seen of Tasmania must have been of this beautiful bay with its white sand, clear water and wine glass shape. Many hiking trails are also present and allow you to explore this very old natural park. Not to be missed, located not far from the beautiful Coles Bay, the Hazards, a magnificent mountain range visible from the beach of the same name.
Equidistant between Hobart and Launceston, Bicheno is a small beach town where it is pleasant to stop. You can observe penguins in their natural habitat or enjoy the quality seafood caught in the city’s harbor. You can also visit the Bicheno Blowhole, a geyser caused by ocean waves hitting the interior of the cave below. The spectacle of nature is different with each swirl!
Bay of Fires
Named by the British navigator Tobias Furneaux when he discovered the bay in 1773 because of the fires lit by the aborigines, this place is breathtakingly beautiful with its magnificent beaches and characteristic orange lichen. Stroll along the various hiking trails in the area and stop to enjoy the beaches that will never cease to amaze you.
Located between St Helens and Launceston, Derby was the richest tin mining town in the world. It is now home to one of the world’s first mountain bike networks, the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails. It is a 125 kilometer long path designed especially for bikes! On the Blue Derby website, you can consult many itineraries that will allow you to discover more about the landscapes of the region while doing a sporting activity.
Our favorite in Derby is the Floating Sauna Lake Derby. To be booked well in advance in view of its success, this sauna is heated by wood fire and offers a breathtaking view of the lake. A moment of relaxation guaranteed after riding on the Derby mountain bike trails.
The second largest city in Tasmania, Launceston is located not far from the Tamar Valley Wine region, renowned for beverages such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. There you can explore the Cataract Gorge Reserve where you can experience the gorge on a water tour. You can also enjoy the view of the First Bassin with the longest single span chairlift in the world! This city is also classified as a UNESCO city of gastronomy and its Saturday farmers’ market, the Harvest Market Launceston, is one of the best in the country!
Just two hours from Launceston, be sure to visit the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. St. Clair National Park. You will be delighted by the diversity of landscapes: ancient rainforests covered with moss, snow-covered peaks or wild alpine moors and glacial lakes. Cradle Mountain is in a multi-faceted location. Intrepid hikers will be able to climb to the top to perceive the magnificent panorama from the sky! This park has many hikes for all levels. The legendary one is the Overland Track. This hike is no less than 80 kilometers long and requires 6 days to complete. From Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, you will be immersed in the alpine heart of Tasmania! In this park, you will always be close to Tasmanian devils, platypuses and echidnas. A must for wildlife lovers!
You now have a nice overview of the stages of your road trip in Tasmania! For a road trip even more adapted to your desires, contact us so that we concoct the perfect itinerary for your adventure!