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When considering options for travelling around Tasmania, a common question people ask is “How long does it take to drive around Tasmania?

The simple answer to this is: It depends…

  • It depends on what you want to see.
  • It depends on whether you’ve been to Tasmania before.
  • And, it depends on whether you want to do the east and west coast, or just one. 

As you can see, this question opens a large can of worms, but I’m going to do my best to answer it in as much detail as possible.


How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Tasmania

If you’re planning on driving around Tasmania, I always believe it’s best to have more time than you need, rather than too little time. 

This will allow you to drive around Tasmania peacefully, stress-free and be able to stop and pause as you like, to take in all the wondrous nature and history that surrounds you. 

I know various travellers who:

  • Have spent over a month driving around Tasmania and still didn’t get to see all the things they wanted to see. 
  • Were content and happy after travelling just a week

I think it’s really at your own discretion how long it will take you to drive around Tasmania.

Below, I will calculate how long you’re likely to need to travel around Tasmania, as well as the number of days I recommend you start with. 



Driving Around Tasmania (The East & West Coast)

The East Coast – Driving Tips

According to Google Maps, it would take around 15 hours to drive the east coast of Tasmania (with no stops, breaks or traffic). 

With the addition of stops, breaks and traffic, it could take you nearly double this amount of time. 

On the east coast, Google shows that it takes at least 10 hours to drive from Bruny Island, through the city of Hobart and to the Bay of Fires (613km), and a further 4.5 hours to drive from the Bay of Fires to Launceston & surrounds. 

Because of this, I personally suggest adding 1-2 extra days to your trip, just to allow for driving and rest time (which I am very sure you’ll need). 

The last thing you want is to feel exhausted rather than refreshed because you didn’t plan for driving time between destinations.


How Many Days Should You Allow?

Ok, so you want to know how many days you’ll need to travel through Tasmania along the east coast?

Well, let’s take a moment to do some maths, in a hypothetical situation.

For starters, we know that we need to allow a minimum of 15 hours driving time along the east coast.

During your drive, you may be considering stopping at the following sites and destinations:

  • Day trip to Bruny Island (1 day)
  • Exploring Hobart (2-3 days) Especially if wanting to visit MONA Art Gallery or Mt Wellington. 
  • Exploring Port Arthur & Surrounds (1-2 days)
  • Driving time to Freycinet National Park and staying overnight (including a stop at Maria Island on the way) (1-2 days)
  • Spend a day of fun exploring St Helens Mountain Biking Trails & The Bay of Fires and camp overnight (1 day)
  • Drive from Bay of Fires to Launceston (3 hours), with stops on the way (1 day)
  • Explore Launceston & Surrounds (2-3 days)

Based on this (and to be conservative), I would highly recommend that you spend at least 7-14 days exploring the east coast.

There is so much to see and do, so you’ll be selling yourself short if you do anything less than this. 

Obviously, this may need to increase or decrease based on the number of stops you plan to have. And, although you may feel tempted to pack in as much as you can within a short period of time, please don’t.

Tasmania is a one of a kind destination, with wondrous landscapes, rich history and a range of adventure activities to enjoy. Why not spoil yourself and make the most of it!



The West Coast – Driving Tips

If planning to drive around the west coast of Tasmania, you will need to plan for A LOT more driving time. 

This is because the roads and highways throughout the west are not simply straight and flat. Instead, they wind their way through the rugged landscapes of the surrounding National Parks.

Without any stops, breaks or traffic, Google suggests that it would take a total of 20+ hours to drive around the west coast of Tasmania (from top to bottom).

This is because it takes 5 hours alone to drive from Launceston to Gunns Plains Caves, and a further 14.5 hours to drive from there to Stanley (in the north west), down to Strahan, and through the Franklin Gordon National Park to Hobart. 

Again, this is without taking any breaks, therefore it could even take you double this amount of time to drive around the west coast of Tasmania.

If doing the west, I would suggest adding an extra 2 days to your trip, just to account for all the driving.

To me, the west is all about rejuvenating relaxation, cleansing amongst nature and taking time out away from the rest of the world.

If you start feeling stressed because you haven’t allowed enough time, that’s a complete contradiction to why you’re travelling there in the first place.  



How Many Days Should You Allow?

So, we now know that we should plan for at least 7-14 days to drive around the east coast of Tasmania. But how many days should we allow for the west?

Let’s take a look using a similar method. 

For starters, we know that we need to allow a minimum of 20 hours driving time to get from Launceston, to the north, and down along the coast to Hobart. 

During your drive, you may be considering stopping at the following sites and destinations:

  • Explore Launceston & Surrounds (2-3 Days)
  • Driving and stopping at Mole Creek Caves & surrounds on your way to Cradle Mountain (1 Day)
  • Go hiking or just simply relax at Cradle Mountain (2+ Days)
  • Drive from Cradle Mountain to Stanley (4 hours) with a visit to the Gunns Plains Caves or Table Cape Tulip Farm on your way (1-2 Days)
  • Explore Stanley & the Nut (1 Day)
  • Drive from Stanley to Strahan (Approx 4 hours) with stops in the national parks along the way. Stay overnight in Strahan (1-2 Days)
  • Take down time to explore the town of Strahan, go sand boarding at the Henty Dunes, river cruising or white water rafting along the Franklin River (2 Days)
  • Drive to Lake St. Clair National Park (camp overnight) (1 Day)
  • Drive to and explore Mt. Field National Park or continue on through to Maydena Bike Park (2 hour drive) for some mountain bIke riding (1 Day)
  • Go abseiling at Gordon Dam (1 hour drive) and head back to Hobart (1 Day)
  • Explore Hobart & Surrounds (2-3 Days)

Based on this (and to be conservative), I would recommend that you spend at least 14-20 days exploring the west coast. 

Again, it depends on which national parks and attractions you want to visit in Tasmania. There may be some opportunity to shorten your trip, if you’re not planning on visiting all the sites above. 

But the reality is that there’s so much stunning scenery to take in throughout your journey, that you’ll want to have time to soak it in and appreciate it.

Related Articles:


Tasmania road trip | How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Tasmania

In Summary:

How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Tasmania?

In short, to drive around Tasmania (the entire state), I would suggest allowing a month or more to comfortably enjoy it. 

This will give you time to do the east and west coast, and enjoy various stops along the way, and allow time for rest.

Of course, this will vary depending on which sites you want to see and the pace you want to drive at.

If you don’t have a full month available to drive around Tasmania, or are planning to do a shorter trip (say 7-10 days), you may want to choose just one to explore.

That way you can take your time and won’t be driving under pressure.

Also keep in mind that the slower you travel, the lower the cost per day will be. This is because you won’t be trying to cram as many activities and sights into a short period of time. 

I hope that this article has helped to answer your question on “how long does it take to drive around Tasmania?”. If you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch.

For more Tasmania travel information, check out our articles below:


Need to hire a car for your trip around Tasmania?

Check out the range of cars available at Rentalcars.com.

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