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Road Trip in Tasmania : Perfect for Beginners ?

Road trip in Tasmania

In the south of Australia lies a small island of 68,000 km², often forgotten by tourists: Tasmania. Does this name vaguely ring a bell? It’s normal, that’s where the Tasmanian devil resides (our dear friend Taz from the Looney Tunes)! In addition to hosting unique wildlife, the smallest Australian state stands out for its diverse nature. From rugged mountains to white sandy beaches, through forests where trees reach heights of nearly a hundred meters, Tasmania has its fair share of surprises.

Today, Manon shares with you the reasons that make Tasmania an ideal destination for a van adventure, especially for beginners like her on the road. She also provides practical advice to ensure your journey goes smoothly.

Why Take a Road Trip in Tasmania ?

The Beloved Place of Australians

After ten days of exploration between Sydney and Melbourne, my friend and I chose to extend our journey by flying to Hobart for an additional ten days in Tasmania.

Our decision was partly motivated by the recurring praises of Australians about their “Tassie“. They unanimously describe it as a must-visit place to fully discover Australia. Some had explored it thoroughly, while others had never set foot there but harbored the strong desire to do so one day. We were even told it was a “little New Zealand”. Indeed, many French people who have discovered Tasmania express the desire to continue their adventure by obtaining a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand.

An Escape off the Beaten Path

Tasmania, a land far from traditional tourist circuits, reveals a new facet of Australia. While many mainland Australians choose this island for their holidays, we noticed a less pronounced presence of backpackers during our ten days on the roads.

Moreover, you can quickly find yourself alone in the world.

For example, one day we stopped for a meal in a small town – the only one for many kilometers around. There, only an old grocery store resembling a gas station offered its products individually. The atmosphere evokes a bygone era, as if time were suspended in a past marked by conflicts. The neon lights flicker timidly, a half-torn mosquito net adorns the entrance, and the shelves display products as if they were the last remnants of humanity. A moment worthy of a vintage cinema scene, where our amazed looks spoke volumes, while the little lady prepared our snacks.

A Palette of Different Landscapes

This unique atmosphere gives Tasmania all its charm. Vast expanses of nature stretch as far as the eye can see and offer a different spectacle at every turn.

During our journey from south to north, from Hobart to Cradle Mountain, we had only the desolate plains and a few sheep as companions. The yellow-brown tones of the dry grass made us feel like we were in a desert. Then, at Cradle Mountain National Park, we were surrounded by mountains, a more rocky and lunar scenery, but still with large lakes, meadows, and rainforests. The contrast was just as striking when we reached the east coast. There, we found the iconic maritime landscapes of Australia, with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters.

And that’s Tasmania: landscapes all different from each other, just a few hours’ drive apart.

What are the Advantages of a Road Trip in Tasmania for Beginners?

Human-Sized Distances

Tassie stands out for its compactness compared to the rest of Australia. With only 364 kilometers from north to south and 306 kilometers from west to east, this island is remarkably accessible in terms of distance. In just about ten days, we were able to visit most of the island’s highlights.

Driving in Tasmania also proves to be a different experience compared to the mainland. The journeys are much less mentally taxing due to the shorter distances. The longest journey we undertook lasted only four hours, crossing almost the entire width of the island.

Accessible Roads

Coastal and rural roads are remarkably uncrowded, allowing for a calm and peaceful drive. They generally pass through farmland and small villages. While overall, the roads are well-maintained, some roads may be dirt and bumpy, so be sure to check your route in advance.

However, it’s important to remain vigilant, especially on mountain roads where the turns can be tight and the weather conditions changeable. Also, watch out for our animal friends!

A Land of Freedom for Wild Camping Enthusiasts

During our journey, we discovered an abundance of freecamps, a real asset for those who aspire to live in nature – or for the more budget-conscious among you. At each stop, we diligently consulted our favorite app to find these free resting places scattered throughout the island.

The most memorable is the Sloop Reef campsite located at Bay of Fires. It offers breathtaking views of the ocean with direct access to the beach. However, it’s worth noting that this is a full adventure: there are no toilets or showers available. In those moments, our ability to improvise becomes our best ally.

Practical Information for a Road Trip in Tasmania

Which Van to Rent for Tasmania?

My friend and I opted for a rental through Vanz Travel. It was 100% personalized. The company listens to you and responds very quickly to your questions. They even advise you on visits and itineraries based on your desires!

Regarding the vehicle, we chose the most economical option: the converted van from Spaceships. In addition to comprehensive insurance, we added options such as an extra duvet (more than necessary to face the cool temperatures of Tasmania) and tables and chairs (making the experience much more comfortable). We didn’t have any specific criteria. We just wanted a van of modest size, easy to park and drive. In terms of autonomy, a small fridge was an additional asset.

We booked our van well in advance, which earned us attractive prices! I highly recommend you do the same.

Things to Do Before Embarking on a Road Trip in Tasmania

Before embarking on the Tasmanian adventure, here are three essential steps to get off to a flying start!

Download Essential Apps for the Road Trip in Tasmania

We relied on several apps that proved essential during our journey. Especially CamperMate to locate freecamps and AllTrails for hiking.

Buy the Pass for National Parks

In Tasmania, like in the rest of Australia, access to national parks is paid. You can pay at the entrance of each park: about $44.75 per vehicle or $22.35 per person – excluding Cradle Mountain.

But if, like us, you plan to visit several parks, it’s recommended to opt for the “Two Months Pass”. For $89.50, you get unlimited access to the various parks. This pass covers the entire vehicle, making it very advantageous when traveling in a group in a van! You can buy it online or at tourist information centers.

Additionally, don’t forget to place it visibly in your vehicle in case of inspection!

Plan Your Road Trip in Tasmania with Vanz Guide

To plan our itinerary, we relied on the comprehensive Tasmania Guide from Vanz Travel. This guide allowed us to organize each day based on must-see sites and recommended activities. An essential tool if you’re unfamiliar with the island and don’t know where to start!

Article written by Manon from