1 Week Self-Drive Itinerary for Tasmania
The idea of road trip around Tasmania with our "uni crew" had been thrown around for a few years. It started off as hypothetical trip when we noticed advertising for Tasmania, but over the years it became something that sounded like a really fun idea, so last Christmas we decided that 2016 would be the year we stopped talking about it and finally did it. This was big talk considering we had never been able to get a trip longer than a weekend off the ground due to competing work/uni/travel schedules but when a flight sale came up we managed to find a week in September that suited all of us. Then came the fun part- planning it! We were lucky enough that one of our uni friends had gone to school in Hobart and her husband was a so we got plenty of good advice, combined with what we had seen on blogs and instagram we came up with a jam packed itinerary. And I mean jam packed! The following itinerary doesn't really allow for much rest and relaxation (other than hours in the car) but it does mean you will get to experience a lot of what Tasmania has to offer including, but not limited to, stunning hikes, native animals, beautiful beaches, convict history, caves, delicious cheese and wine.
Fly into Hobart and pick up a hire car from the airport and drive to Richmond, 20 minutes from the airport. Grab a curried scallop pie (apparently a Tasmanian specialty) from Richmond Bakery for lunch before exploring the cute little town, including the lolly shop, prison and convict built bridge. On the drive back into Hobart, stop by Puddleduck Vineyard for a wine tasting (they have an express tasting for only $5!). Later in the evening grab some dinner in Salamanca.
Drive to Mount Wellington (20 mins from Hobart) and do one of the hikes, we did the Junction Cabin Walk which I would recommend as you get varied sights, including great views of Hobart. The walk is about 2 hours return and was quiet easy. After the hike, drive to the top and take in the views (rug up, its very windy!). After some nature, its time for some art. Head to Modern Museum of New and Old (MONA) which is a 45 minute drive from Mt Wellington. Lunch is a little expensive at MONA but they have some nice picnic spots so pack your own lunch before checking out the unusual art.
|View from the top of Mt Wellington|
A one hour drive from Hobart to Tasmanian Devil UnZoo. On the way make a pit stop at Fossil Bay Blowhole and Lookout. The blowhole is a little lackluster but the lookout gives you a great view of the ocean crashing against the cliff. At the Devil UnZoo you will have a chance to get hands on with some local wildlife (including kangaroo feeding and an interactive bird talk), as well as learn about the preservation efforts to keep the Tasmanian Devil population alive and well. From the UnZoo its a short drive to Port Arthur, a former convict settlment and a world heritage listed site. As part of your entry you get to do a boat tour around the port and walking tour of the ground where you will learn the history and the conditions the convicts used to live it. Port Arthur is also the sight of Australia's biggest massacre, however the guides only quickly touch on this because this is not why people come to Port Arthur and because those impacted by the 1996 massacre still work on the sight and out of respect to them it is not part of the "attraction".
From Port Arthur, make the 3 hour drive to Coles Bay and stay the night.
|Tasmanian Devils feeding at the Unzoo|
From Coles Bay, the drive to Freycinet National Park is only 10 minutes giving you most of the day to enjoy the park. Take a packed lunch and snacks (there are grocery stores in Coles Bay) as there are no places to buy food in the park. To get a nice view of Coles Bay, do the Cape Tourville Walk (one Tasmania's Great Short walks) which is a easy 20 minute walk. From there drive to Wineglass Bay car park (where you might spot some wallabies) to begin the walk to the lookout. The walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout is another walk featured on Tasmania's Great Short walks and is a 2.5 kilometer moderate walk. Its not an easy walk, so once you reach the lookout take your time to rest and take it the views (and try to make out the wineglass shape the bay is named after). You can finish up the park here or make the descent down to Hazards Beach (listed as the 2nd best beach in Australia). The hike down to the beach is only 30 minutes but the climb up back to the car park can take up to two hours. If you are fit enough, I would recommend going down to the beach and having a nice picnic there, you might even be lucky enough to spot some dolphins like we did.
|Wineglass Bay Lookout|
The drive from St Helens to Cradle Mountain is just under 4 hours so an early start is required today. I recommend a stop at Campbell Town, 1.5 hours from St Helens to stretch your legs and stock up on supplies for lunch and dinner as you won't get the opportunity at Cradle Mountain. One of the most famous walks at Cradle Mountain is the Dove Lake Circuit and I would highly recommend this as you get such a mix of things: beautiful views of the lake, spot waterfalls in the mountains and walk through the rainforest floor and arid grounds flatter grounds. The walk is not hard but took us about three hours (with frequent stops for photos and lookouts). Stay the night within Cradle Mountain and you have a good chance of spotting some possums and pademelons.
|Overlooking Dove Lake|
Start the morning with two short, easy walks (about 40 minutes in total), Pencil Pine Waterfall walk and Enchanted Walk (another featured on Tasmania's Great Short Walks) to soak up some nature before hitting the road again. From Cradle Mountain, drive 1.5 hours to Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm to feast on a delicious desserts featuring Tasmanian grown raspberries. Its then a 40 minute drive to Cataract Gorge Reserve in Launceston. Take a walk over the suspension bridge which crosses the gorge and walk up to one of the lookouts. Make sure to make some time to watch the peacocks and wallabies.
Make the drive back to Hobart for the night (2.5 hours).
Spend the morning walking amongst the treetops at Tahune Airwalk, a 1.5 hour drive from Hobart. There are a few different bridges and walks you can check out and they also have cable gliding available (unfortunately it was closed for renovations when we were there). From the treetops to underground, drive 1.5 hours to Hastings Cave and join a tour of the caves there. This is a nice addition to the itinerary as its something a little different to what we have seen so far. Make sure you check the tour times the day before so you can plan your trip accordingly. Hastings is also home to natural springs and your ticket gives you entry to their thermal pool and walks to see the natural thermal springs.
Drive back to Hobart and if you feel like checking out the nightlife and some dancing, check out O Bar.
Our eighth day fell on a Saturday and if your does too then checkout Salamanca Markets, which boasts a variety of stalls selling produce, hot food, art, clothes and souvenirs. From the markets head to Zoodoo Zoo. The entry to this wildlife park is only $25 and includes a "safari" where you are greeted by friendly camels and zebras and get to feed some hungry emus, a lion feeding and several animal talks. There is also an open farm area where you can interact with some smaller animals.
|Hot and cold oyster platter at Barilla Bay|
I made a video diary of our trip so you can see the full itinerary in play!