We recently spent 3 weeks in Tasmania on a self-drive holiday. We had been advised that by travelling in an anti-clockwise direction we would not be bothered with traffic as most holiday makers choose to travel clockwise.
We chose to spend at least two nights in each destination and more in others. Whilst many travellers spend 10 – 14 days in Tasmania I believe if you have the time, it’s worth taking it a little slower.
If your flight arrives in morning or early afternoon it’s a simple drive up to the Freycinet Peninsula as Hobart Airport is north of the city. We chose to stay at Swansea but if hiking is your thing then staying at Freycinet Lodge or, for those who love luxury, Saffire Freycinet is the way to go. At your first National Park stop it is worth purchasing a two-month Park Pass as you will no doubt be in and out of numerous National Parks so it is a great cost saver.
From there, St Helens is a great stepping off point to visit the Bay of Fires.
A winding but scenic drive then took us to Launceston, a couple of full days (3 nights) there to explore the city and complete the Tamar Valley drive. There are a number of wineries in this area with some lovely restaurants for lunch.
We then spent some time based from Devonport which allowed us time to explore the north western coast. There is a lovely little town called Penguin that is half way between Devonport and Burnie that I would recommend staying in. From there it’s an easy drive to The Nut and the holiday town of Stanley. If you are there late September to mid-October there is a tulip farm just out of Wynyard (Table Cape Tulip Farm) that is well worth a visit.
From there we made our way down to Cradle Mountain. Well worth at least 2 full days (3 nights) but more if you like walking. There are some lovely walks of varying distances all easily accessible from the Cradle Mountain Visitors Centre. There is a free shuttle bus available for National Park pass holders which drops off & picks up at regular intervals so you can leave your car parked at the visitor centre. If you stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain or a cabin in the Cradle Mountain Discovery Park (as we did), it’s an easy, short walk to the Visitors Centre.
Our next stop was Strahan on the wild west coast of Tasmania. We only spent two nights there and on our full day did the Gordon River Cruise. A wonderful day out, particularly if you’re a nature lover with an interest in history. The tour included a visit to Sarah Island, the infamous convict penal settlement. I wished we had allowed another day to also take a trip on the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
Our longest drive then to Hobart where we spent our last 5 nights. It’s a lovely city but the weather can be changeable. There is plenty to do & see based from there and a must is a visit to Bruny Island if for no other reason than to taste the wares there. We did a fabulous day trip with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. They have a range of tours & we chose the Bruny Island Traveller which was a tasting experience & well worth it. Another town worth a visit for morning tea or lunch is Richmond which boasts the oldest stone span bridge in Australia, just a short drive from the city.