Are you planning a Tasmania road trip? Lucky you! Tasmania is one of my favourite places in Australia, maybe even my favourite one after Fraser Island. And a road trip is the best way to visit Tasmania. Nature lovers can only fall in love with the wilderness of island. From a stunning coast to great mountain hikes, it has a lot to offer. This Self-Drive 7-Day Itinerary will take you all around the island to see the best of Tasmania in 7 days with the most beautiful landscapes and wildlife encounters.
At the end of the article, I’ve detailed places that aren’t included in the 7-day Tasmania itinerary, as suggestions in case you have more time. You’ll also find a map to make it easy for you!
How long to drive around Tasmania?
In this post, I have detailed our Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary. There are a lot of things to do in Tasmania, and 7 days is the minimum time I recommend to drive around the island.
If you have less than 7 days in Tasmania, I recommend focusing on one area:
- You can organise a three-day Tasmania itinerary in the South of the island to visit Hobart, Port Arthur and Freycinet National Park. If you have more time, add Bruni Island to your itinerary.
- You can focus on Craddle Mountain, my favourite highlight during our Tasmania road trip. You’ll probably save driving time if you fly to Launceston.
If you have more than 7 days in Tasmania, it’s perfect. You can use this itinerary as a base and pick a few destinations I mentioned at the end of the article. Ideally, I would have planned to self-drive Tasmania in 10 days. This would have given us the extra time to go to the north-west of the island and also explore Bruni Island.
How we organised our Tasmania road trip
We were a group of five for this trip. We rented a car (for three, sleeping in tents) and a van (for a couple) from Hobart airport. We did wild camping sleeping in our vehicles or in tents and using the facilities provided at the places we’d visit in the morning. Wild camping was tolerated as long as we were discreet and not trespassing. The best is to find free camping zones using an app. When in town or in a national park, we’d sleep in a campsite.
Our objective was to drive around Tasmania to see as much as we could in one week, focusing on nature and wildlife.
Some would visit Tasmania for a foodie experience. I wasn’t at all having that in mind for our trip: we mostly ate two-minute noodles while being on the road. Tasmania does have a good reputation for cheese here in Australia, as well as good wines. It’s surprising that a French didn’t give it more attention, isn’t it? Well, maybe next time! If you’ve visited Tassie for its foodie reputation, don’t hesitate to share your experience below!
Tasmania Road Trip: Self-Drive 7-day Itinerary
Day 1 &2 | South of Tasmania: from Hobart to Port Arthur
We went along the coast from Sorell to Dunalley.
We exited the Arthur Highway to stop quickly at Tasman Blowhole and Devils Kitchen. These lookouts are very close to the road, no need to hike.
It was not possible to camp at Port Arthur so we had to stop just before.
We visited Port Arthur on our second day. It is a historic place with an old jail. Don’t be disappointed: it is not a town, and there is no port! It is like an open-roof museum with great views. The tour includes a cruise, which is great to enjoy the scenery a bit more and to learn about the history. We learnt a lot about the convicts and some parts of Australian culture that we hadn’t heard of before. Half a day was enough to attend the guided tour, enjoy the cruise and walk along the ruins. It cost us approx. $40. I would recommend doing it for those interested in learning more about the Australian culture.
Day 3 | East Coast of Tasmania: Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park and Bicheno
For our second night, we slept at Coles Bay.
Freycinet National Park is one of my two highlights of Tasmania (Cradle Mountain is the second). The lookout on the immaculate beach is breathtaking. We walked up there and then down to this beach we could admire from above. It was beautiful… Allow at least a few hours to hike in Freycinet. If you have more time, you can walk further to make a loop.
Unfortunately, we had a limited time as we wanted to reach Bicheno before sunset.
In our guidebook, Bicheno was described as a fishing village with penguins coming at night.
The town has no particular charm as you could expect from a fishing village – which was a bit disappointing. We could hear the penguins on the beach and, after a lot of patience, we finally spotted a few! That was a great moment.
We slept at a campsite in Bicheno.
Day 4 | East Coast of Tasmania: Bay of Fires
With its red rocks and blue water, this part of the coast is gorgeous. It reminded me of the Pink Granit Coast at home in Brittany (France). The water was as cold.
We spent the night between the coast and Launceston, before arriving to close to the big town.
Day 5 | Launceston and the Gorge
We decided not to spend too much time in the city as we were all more interested in exploring more natural areas. We went to the gorge nearby. It is incredible to have such a big natural gorge next to the town.
We were not surprised to find out it wasn’t wild nature at all: there were showers, barbeques and pools in the park. We hiked in the area. Nothing too incredible, but still a nice stop on the road. My friends enjoyed it more than I did, for some reasons. Maybe I was already too impatient to reach Cradle Mountain to appreciate the mild wilderness of the Launceston Gorge fully. Not remote enough to my taste.
I wish we could have used this day to explore the north-west of the island instead, but it was too challenging to fit in our itinerary.
Those curious about the fascinating seahorses may want to visit Seahorse World* while in Launceston.
We slept between Launceston and Cradle Mountain.
Day 6 | Cradle Mountain
I had been waiting for a very long time to see Cradle Mountain. And I was lucky: the weather was perfect. It was my favourite place in Tasmania. I would consider coming back there for more hiking – maybe one day the Overland Track, who knows?
There are many hiking options in Cradle Mountain. We chose to do one going up (5-hour walk) and one at the bottom around Dove Lake (1.5-hour walk).
It is very different from the other sceneries we see when we travel in Australia. Cradle Mountain is a real alpine mountain. Those who went on a trip to New Zealand before wouldn’t share my feeling. But after a few years in Australia, I am happy to enjoy something different than the beautiful beaches – although a nice beach is always a great option, of course.
We slept between Lake St Clair and Hobart.
Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake
This is the part I removed from our 8-day road trip to convert it into a 7-day itinerary. I left it there in case you’re planning an 8-day itinerary. But you may want to skip Launcestown and Lake St Clair to free time to check out the north west of Tasmania. That’s what I’d do if I was re-doing this trip.
On the way to Lake St Clair, we quickly stopped at Queenstown. We all had a weird feeling there, as the town is abandoned and could be used to shoot an episode of the Walking Dead. We stopped for the night between Queenstown and Lake St Clair.
At Lake St Clair, we did a hike in the forest that finally led to the lake. I love hiking, but I wasn’t impressed by this one. It wasn’t bad, and I would have been happy to do it if I were living in the area. Otherwise, there are many better things to do in Tasmania when you are on tight timings.
Day 7 | Back to Hobart
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
Since I am aware of how harmful it can be for animals to be kept in captivity, I tend to avoid zoos or activities of that type. I see sanctuaries differently: they rescue injured animals and keep them only if they cannot survive in the wild. The ones that can survive are released. Park fees support animal rescues. And there is also a strong focus on educating the visitors.
My friends wanted to stop to see Tasmanian Devils as they had never seen them. I wasn’t very interested as I had already seen them at the Sydney Reptile Park – a park that was doing a lot to support the research to try to save the species.
I almost didn’t visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary but I don’t regret following my friends in the end as I managed to get a unique behind-the-scene encounter with a young penguin that had been rescued the night before. We also had the opportunity to feed the kangaroos/wallabies and pet a rescued koala. A big cliche when you’ve been in Australia for a long time… but first-time visitors love it.
Visit of Hobart
Mount Wellington will give you the best views of Hobart, and it’s easy to access by car. A must-do if you are in Hobart!
Hobart is a small town; half a day is enough to see it all. From what I’ve heard, that’s where the foodie experience can be at its best. So check out the restaurants before you leave.
More ideas for your Tasmania road trip
What I didn’t do during this Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary
The North West of Tasmania
In 8 days, we didn’t have time to explore the North West. I’ve heard a lot about it. It seems stunning. If I were doing the same trip again, I would skip Launceston (my friends wouldn’t agree here…) to be able to go to the North West.
Bruny Island, at the South of Hobart
We didn’t go to Bruny Island for time and budget reasons. It was too hard to fit in. The island is good for hiking and also for cruising around to look for seals and penguins. Check out this day tour* to get an idea of what awaits you on Bruni Island.
Mt Field National Park
I love waterfalls and this national park has impressive ones. With more time, I’d add this one to the trip.
Scuba Diving in Tasmania
No one in our group was a diver back at the time of our trip so this activity didn’t even come into our minds. If I were planning a trip to Tasmania today, I would consider diving there. It is reputed for having very clear, temperate waters. It would have a very different dive from what I am used to in Queensland.
I’ve seen images of the scalp forest, the playful seals and the leafy sea dragons. All this on the east coast. How amazing does that sound?!
If you’ve dived in Tasmania, don’t hesitate to share your experience in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!
Cradle Mountain: Hiking the Overland Track
The Overland Track has an international reputation. It is Australia’s first alpine hike going through incredible wild landscapes and including some challenging areas. It takes six days to do it. It has always been in my mind since I’ve discovered Tanzania. The hikes we did at Cradle Mountain reinforced this envy to see more of it. We were very lucky with the weather and had a splendid sun and blue sky – the place is stunning.
Will I do the Overland Track? Maybe. It’s still in my mind. It can be done as a self-guided tour or as a guided tour.
Keep in mind hiking is a cheap activity for short distances. Overnight hiking in an alpine area is different: you’ll need to pay for equipment, accommodation, park fees, transport, etc. Agencies would quote just under $1,000 for a self-guided adventure and around $2,000 for a guided tour (with the luxury of carrying a lighter backpack!).
If you’ve done the Overland Track, don’t hesitate to share your experience in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!
South West of Tasmania
This place is very remote and untouched. There is no road going there, and hiking takes days. Those who have the budget for it ($400 to $500) can join a day-tour that will fly them there (click here for more info*). Still on my dream list!
Map of my Tasmania Self-Drive 7-Day Itinerary
Tasmania is an island located in the south of the Australian mainland. The two largest cities are Hobart in the South and Launceston in the north.
Be careful with the season when you are planning your trip: it gets a lot colder in Tasmania than on Australia’s mainland!
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