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Tasmania Road Trip: An Easy 10 Day Self-Drive Itinerary

Yay, you’ve made it to Tasmania! Welcome.

What a glorious holiday you’re about to have.  Below, I’ll run you through a 10-Day Tasmania Road Trip (Self Drive) Itinerary containing some of the most important things to see in Tasmania over 10-12 days. 

I hope that this will give you some guidance on how to see the main highlights, in a relatively short period of time. 

For more information about Tasmania, you can also read our online Tasmania Travel Guide. 

DAY 1 – 3: Hobart

(3 Days, 2 nights) 

Starting in Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city, you’ll have 3 days to explore this glorious city and its many sites and sandstone buildings. 

If you plan to visit sites nearby such as Bruny Island or Richmond, Hobart will be the perfect base. 

Top Accommodation in Hobart:

 

 

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Top Things to See in Hobart

1. Hobart Convict Penitentiary 

Visiting Hobart’s Convict Penitentiary will give you an insight into the city’s brutal convict history. The site consisted of a large 1830’s building which was once used as a chapel, jail and court for male convicts. It also contains an execution yard and gallows.

After the transportation of convicts stopped, the grounds were used as Hobart’s Old Gaol (in 1857) and then a Supreme Court. These days, it is mainly used as a site for day tours. 

2. Battery Point

Battery Point is a charming suburb located a 10 minute walk south of the Hobart city centre and waterfront. 

It’s best known for its narrow laneways, colonial-era weatherboard cottages, quaint streets and rich stories of Hobart’s historic past.

Once a poor man’s village, Battery Point has transformed into a fashionable suburb with old world charm, premium real estate, rustic vegan cafes, tea and smoothie houses, artisan bakeries, gift shops and old world cottages renovated into guest houses. 

Simply walk up Kelly’s Steps from Salamanca place and you’ll find it! Also ensure to walk along its main street – Hampden road. 

 

3. Kelly’s Steps

The site of “Kelly’s Steps” is an architectural landmark in the city of Hobart.

Named after early Australian explorer and whaler James Kelly, the steps connect the suburb of Battery Point to Salamanca Place. 

They were constructed back in 1839 when Battery Point was on a cliff face that overlooked wharfs of Sullivan’s Cove. However, the stone from these cliffs was quarried to create the warehouses that once lined the wharfs of Salamanca Place. 

 

4. Salamanca Market

Only a short stroll from the city centre, Salamanca Market is a fantastic place to explore.

With over 230 stalls from arts, designers and local producers and numerous galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes, it’s a shopper and foodie’s delight. 

The Salamanca market is free and open weekly, from 8:30am-3pm on Saturday. 

This surrounding area is also known for its restored Georgian sandstone warehouses that were built by convicts between 1835 to 1860.

 

5. MONA Art Gallery

MONA Art Gallery is one of the most famous art museums in Tasmania, with 3 different levels of underground galleries and a large range of controversial and unusual artwork on display. 

You’ll also need to climb 99 steps to reach the entrance of the gallery. 

In addition to the art gallery, on site you’ll also be able to enjoy nearby wineries, brewery, bars, restaurants, library, cinema, accommodation pavilions, a cemetery and even a tennis court. 

The main way to MONA Art Gallery from Hobart is to catch the 30-minute ferry from Brooke Street Pier. Entry costs are around $27 AUD. 

 

5. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG)

Located on Hobart’s historic waterfront, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is the second oldest museum in Australia. It’s also free to enter!

Within the museum, you can join a free guided tour or browse through the galleries at your leisure. 

 

6. Mount Wellington / Kunanyi

Another top place to visit in Tasmania is Mount Wellington (also known by some as Kunanyi). 

Hike or drive up the main road to the Pinnacle to witness breathtaking views of Hobart, Derwent Valley and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The view is just as spectacular at night as during the day.

Mount Wellington is also a popular destination for city views, mountain biking and rock climbing. 

 

7. Franklin Square to Tasman Bridge 

In the heart of the city, sitting between the CBD and historic Sullivans Cove lies Franklin Square.

In 2016, the park underwent significant refurbishments to attract people wanting to relax and partake in active events. There is also a giant chess board you can play with. 

Another good tip is to walk around to Tasman Bridge and take in the views at night. It can be quite a beautiful site to see from various lookout points. 

Creepy fact: Supposedly it’s one of the greatest suicide spots in the city.

 

8. Bruny Island

If you’re an animal lover, ensure to organise a trip out to Bruny Island.

On the island, there’s a diverse range of animals to see on and surrounding the island. 

You can also walk to Truganini Lookout, which is a popular place to witness the narrow isthmus of sand connecting the north and south sections of the island. 

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DAY 4: Hobart to Port Arthur

(3-4 hour drive with stops) 

Day 4 will consist of driving approximately 2 hours to Port Arthur from Hobart, with a 1-2 hour stop over in the historical town of Richmond

The Historic Town of Richmond

The main sites to visit whilst in Richmond include:

  • Richmond Bridge
  • Richmond Gaol
  • St. John’s neo-Gothic Church
  • St. Luke’s Anglican Church

The Richmond Bridge is a heritage listed bridge located on the B31 (“Convict Trail”) in Richmond, about a 25-minute drive from Hobart.

It is the oldest stone span bridge in Australia and since 2005, it has been recognised as a place of historical significance and added to the Australian National Heritage List.

The Richmond Gaol was built during the convict era in Richmond (around 1825) and is the oldest intact gaol in Australia. It even predates the establishment of the penal colony at Port Arthur in 1833.

If you appreciate old church architecture like I do, you may also like to check out St. John’s neo-Gothic Church and St. Luke’s Anglican Church.

Just simply taking a moment to pause and walking around this charming town can be an enjoyable experience of its own.  

Richmond Bridge Tasmania

Port Arthur & Surrounds 

Just a 60-90 minute drive southeast of Hobart, lies the historical town of Port Arthur. In a past life, Port Arthur was a historic convict/penal settlement. 

These days, it is one of the most popular places for tourists and locals to gain an insight into Tasmania’s turbulent past and admire the 30+ historic buildings that remain there. 

You’ll definitely want to allow a minimum 3-4 hours, or even stay overnight in this glorious town.

Click here to read more detail about Port Arthur and things to do there.

As you drive your way to Port Arthur, you’ll drive past the natural wonder of Tessellated Pavement and across Eaglehawk Neck. 

Ensure to allow time to stop here and admire the unique rock formations. 

On your way into Port Arthur, you can also venture to the various lookouts along the east coast of the Tasman National Park including:

  • Cliffs Lookout Point
  • Tasmans Arch
  • The Blow Hole
  • Fossil Bay Lookout

Top Accommodation in Port Arthur:

 

DAY 5 – Spend a Day Exploring Port Arthur

(1.5 Days, 2 Nights) 

Top Things to See


1. The UNESCO Coal Mines Historic Site 

Once you’ve settled into Port Arthur, take a 25-30 minute drive north-west to visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Coal Mines Historic Site.

This was Tasmania’s first operational mine and was developed to reduce the colony’s dependence on imported coal from New South Wales.

It is also known as a place of great punishment for the “worst” convicts from Port Arthur. Here, you’ll be able to browse leisurely through the coal mines on foot and also visit the museum, where entry is free.

If you’re feeling courageous, you can also join an evening lantern-lit “ghost tour” of the ruins. 

Travellers Tip:

  • If travelling through Port Arthur first, you can pick up printed guides of the Coal Mines from the Visitor Centre at the Port Arthur Historic Site.


2. Tasman National Park

Within Tasman National Park you will see incredible natural sites including:

  • Towering dolerite cliffs that rise 300 meters from the sea
  • Islands shimmering offshore
  • Waterfalls that tumble their way into the ocean 
  • Contorted rock formations as a result of strong wind and water forces 
  • The Remarkable Cave
  • Waterfall Bay and 
  • The Devil’s Kitchen

There are also a ton of lookouts that you can drive to including Cliffs Lookout Point, Tasmans Arch, Blow Hole and Fossil Bay Lookout.

A nature lover’s dream!

 

3. Three Capes Track

If you’re feeling adventurous or need a cleanse, Port Arthur is the starting point of the legendary 48km Three Capes Track.  

This walking trail will take you from Port Arthur to Cape Raoul, Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy and takes around 4 days / 3 nights to accomplish.

Although it’s designed to be an achievable experience for most ages and fitness levels, it is not for the faint hearted. 

For more information, ensure to check out our more detailed article on Tasmania sites below:

DAY 6 – Drive to Freycinet National Park

(3-4 hour drive)

It’s now time to head on to the stunning Freycinet National Park.

Drive along the east coast of Tasmania, and if interested, make a stop in Triabunna to take the ferry across to Maria Island.

Maria Island is commonly overlooked by tourists, yet it has so much to offer including hiking, wildlife and the incredible geology and rock formations of the Painted Cliffs & Fossil Cliff. 

Click here to read more about Maria Island, and whether it’s something you’d like to add to your itinerary. 

 

Related Articles:

 

DAY 7 – Explore Freycinet National Park

(1.5 Days, 1 Night) 

Freycinet National Park is world heritage-listed and known as one of the oldest and most beautiful nature reserves in Australia.

Top Accommodation in Freycinet National Park:

 

 

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Top Things to See in Freycinet National Park

Here you can spend time cleansing amongst nature and hiking through secluded bushland, bays and lookouts including:

  • Wineglass Bay & Lookout  (one of the top beaches in Australia)
  • The Hazards (three pink granite cliff faces that rise steeply out from the sea)

In Freycinet National Park, you can also go kayaking, paintballing, camping, jump on a river cruise or even take a scenic flight.

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DAY 8 – Drive to St Helens & Stay at Bay of Fires

(1 Day, 1 Night) 

Today will be all about mountain bike riding and witness the incredible landscapes of the Bay of Fires. There will be some driving between destinations, but nothing extravagant. 

Top Accommodation Near the Bay of Fires:

 

Top Things to See:

1. St Helens Mountain Bike Trails 

Located in the largest town on Tasmania’s east coast, the St Helens Mountain Bike Trails contains some of the most scenic mountain biking trails in the world.

The two most popular trails are the:

– Bay of Fires Trail

The Bay of Fires trail is an adventure like no other. Starting high up in sub-alpine terrain, you’ll make your way through stunning mountain ranges and coastline, with spectacular views of the Bay of Fires. You then finish the ride with a final descent into the pure white sands of Swimcart Beach. 

– The Stacked Loops

There are 8 loops at Flagstaff ranging from beginner (green) to intermediate (blue) trails as well as the Townlink, a multi-user, dual directional trail that connects the township of St Helens to the Trailhead at Flagstaff and two blue descents. 

Bay of Fires - Tasmania East Coast

2. The Bay of Fires

The Bay of Fires is a common tourist attraction and camping spot along the east coast.

Known for its colourful orange-red rocks along the shoreline, it is truly an impressive sight to see – especially at sunset! This incredible landscape is also known to have a strong Aboriginal significance too.

Click here to learn more about the Bay of Fires and St. Helens. 

DAY 9 – Drive from Lake Derby to Launceston

(2-3 hour drive – not including stops) 

Today will be a big driving day, with lots of stops along the way. 

 

1. Lake Derby Floating Sauna

Start the day with a cleansing and refreshing sauna at Lake Derby. What an incredible way to start the day – with some HEAT!!

You may want to book in for a morning or lunch session so that you have the rest of the day to take your time driving into Launceston. 

After spending your morning indulging in the lakeside sauna, it’s time to start the drive to your first stop, Bridestowe Lavender Estate.

 

2. Bridestowe Lavender Estate

Bridestowe Lavender Estate is actually one of the largest lavender farms in the Southern Hemisphere, and a place where you can get a vast range of spectacular photos and goodies. 

Although Bridestowe Estate can be visited all year round, it’s particularly famous in December – January when the lavender fields are in full bloom.

On site, you can also explore the ornamental gardens, farm, native bushland, cafe, distillery and gift shop. Also ensure to try their famous lavender ice cream!

Visit the Lavender Estate in Tasmania's East Coast

3. Tamar Valley Wine Region

As you get closer to Launceston, why not take a moment to enjoy a cheeky glass of pinot or sparkling amongst the vineyards and scenic landscapes of the Tamar Valley. 

If two of you are driving, you may even be able to visit two or more wineries for a wine tasting. Just remember to drive safe and keep under the alcohol limit!

Some great wineries to check out include: 

  • Swinging Gate Vineyard
  • Goaty Hill Wines
  • Josef Chromy Wines
  • Tamar Ridge
  • Holm Oak Vineyards
  • Iron Pot Bay Vineyard

Read more about wineries in the Tamar Valley here

 

4. The Swiss Town of Grindelwald

Now that you’re all “wined” up, it’s time to head south to Grindelwald, a small swiss-themed village in the outskirts of Launceston. 

If you’ve never been to Europe before, this is the perfect place to pretend that you have. 

Within this little gem you can: 

  • Simply drive through and admire the cool vibes of this town
  • Park your car and walk around the town observing the unique building architecture
  • Go shopping within the arcade and many gift stores
  • Relax in one of the local cafes
  • Try the 18-hole mini-golf course
  • Hire a paddle boat or go canoeing on the lake

Once you’re satisfied with your stopover in Grindelwald, it’s time to finish the drive and enjoy the rest of your day in Launceston.

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DAY 10:  Stay in & Explore Launceston

(1.5 Days, 2 Nights) 

Yay, you’ve made it to your final destination – Launceston. 

Top Accommodation in Launceston:

 

Top Things to Do in Launceston:

This lovely riverside city in northern Tasmania, Australia is most known for its panoramic views, walking trails, sculpted gardens and chairlift over Cataract Gorge. 

Only a short 15-minute stroll from Launceston’s city center, the wild and romantic Cataract Gorge is a stunning place to end your 10 day itinerary around Tasmania. 

Click here to read more about Cataract Gorge (scroll to around the middle of the article). 

Other activities that you can do in Launceston include:

  • Queen Victoria Museum (Exhibits on history, science and more)
  • City Park (Established park with a monkey enclosure)
  • James Boag Brewery (A historic brewery offering tours, food and drinks)
  • Tasmania Zoo
  • Country Club Tasmania (A club with dining, pools and golf)
  • Penny Royal Adventures
  • Franklin House (19th Century estate with gardens and tours)
  • Harvest Market

Here are some other activities you can check out:

BONUS DAY!

 

DAY 11:  Cradle Mountain Day Trip 

(4 hour drive)

If you have time to allow for an extra day in your itinerary, I would highly recommend organising a trip to Cradle Mountain.

One of the most popular destinations in Tasmania, I’m sure you’ll enjoy staying the extra day to tick this baby off your bucket list. 

Cradle Mountain is a MASSIVE national park that ranges all the way from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair National Park. 

Depending on when you go, you can expect to see:

  • Glacier-carved crags (steep rugged cliffs)
  • Glittering lakes
  • Beech tree forests
  • Alpine habitats and
  • The stunning, 1,616-meter-high Mount Ossa (the highest point on the island), 

If you are short on time or you don’t have access to a car, I’d suggest booking a day tour. Especially given that Cradle Mountain is a 2+ hour drive to and from Launceston (4 hours minimum drive time).

You can check some of them out below:


In Summary – Tasmania 10-Day Itinerary 

I hope that this article has helped to give you guidance on the key things to see in Tasmania in 10 days. And, if you have an extra day handy, why not add on an extra 1-2 days to explore Cradle Mountain.

This 10-day itinerary is great for those wanting to drive from Hobart to Launceston along the east coast, with various stopovers at places like Maria Island, the Bay of Fires and many other sites along the way. 

To print a PDF copy of this 10-day itinerary, enter you details below and we’ll email it straight to your inbox.

You can also check out some of other Tasmania-related articles below.

Related Articles:

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Hey guys, I’m Ash & welcome to Adventure Travel Pro!

As a seasoned traveller, I share knowledge, advice and inspo for newbie solo travellers and thrill seekers.

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