Kick off your Tassie adventure flying into the capital, collecting your vehicle on arrival at the airport. From here, explore Hobart at your leisure. The city offers a contrasting blend of heritage, scenery and culture, from its world-class art gallery the MONA to the historic houses of Battery Point. A must-visit in Hobart is the precinct of Salamanca Place, which is famed for its galleries, theatres, craft shops and restaurants in 1830s Georgian warehouses. Conveniently, it’s a few streets from your hotel so exploring is a breeze.
After a restful sleep, on day two it’s time to hit the road on the four-and-a-half hour drive to the quiet town of Strahan, stopping in Queenstown on the way. This stretch will take you through the awe-inspiring Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, so you might want to allocate a bit of extra time for stopping and taking photos of the lush forest, rivers and waterfalls. Queenstown is an old mining town surrounded by a barren landscape from copper mining and tree logging in the early 1900s. The resultant moonscape is a stark contrast to the lush forests you’ve just travelled through. Take an underground mine tour or check out the local history museum before reaching Strahan, nestled on the shores of the Macquarie Harbour. Strahan is known for its long stretches of ocean beaches and towering sand dunes.
Spend the night in the heart of Strahan in a cosy cottage in Strahan Village, before experiencing one of the big bucket list items of Tasmania—Cradle Mountain National Park. With the next two nights at Cradle Mountain Hotel, you’ll have a little more time to explore the region with an optional cruise along the Gordon River before travelling north to Zeehan. Nicknamed ‘Silver City’ after discoveries of tin, silver and lead in the 1800s, Zeehan attracts geologists from across the globe due to its unique geological structures. It’s a great fishing spot if you’re so inclined and it offers beautiful views from the top of Mount Zeehan.
Drive to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, home of course to Cradle Mountain, the rugged jewel of the park. There are plenty of hikes to choose from, from short distances to longer treks. All walking routes offer stunning scenery, leading through the beautiful old-growth rainforest. The Lake St Clair section of the park is a walker’s paradise with pleasant lakeside and forest strolls, and in spring and summer, wildflowers are in full bloom.
On day five, depart Cradle Mountain and head east to Mole Creek in the upper Mersey Valley (cheese aficionados will know the area) before reaching Launceston. The area of Mole Creek is responsible for 35 per cent of Tasmania’s honey, as well as being known for its spectacular caves. A two minute drive (or 15-minute walk if you’d like to stretch your legs) away is Cataract Gorge, a unique natural formation.
Pyengana via Scottsdale is the next port of call for day six of your journey, where cheese lovers will enjoy a stop-off at Pyengana Dairy, home of Australia’s heritage farmhouse cheese. Visitors can see the cheese makers in action and relax with a gourmet platter overlooking the picturesque dairy farm.
Continue east to the little bayside town of St Helens, where you can visit the Bay of Fires Coastal Reserves near Binalong Bay. The Bay of Fires has been recommended by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s best travel destinations, famed for its white beaches, blue waters and granite rocks covered in bright orange lichen.
On day seven, travel to the small resort town of Bicheno before continuing south through Coles Bay to Freycinet National Park. Being a fishing town, Bicheno has a bounty of fresh seafood from crayfish, abalone to Australian salmon so it’s an ideal lunch stop for seafood lovers. Once you’ve reached Freycinet National Park, you’ll have two nights here to explore, and visitors can’t miss seeing Wineglass Bay in all its glory. Walk to lookouts, relax in the sun on the beach, or take a cruise to fully appreciate the region.
On your way back to Hobart, make a stop at one of the local wineries or berry farms near Swansea. Soak in the views as you cross the famous Derwent River on the Tasman Highway to reach Hobart. If time permits, travel back to Hobart via the historic village of Richmond, which was originally established as an important military staging post and convict station, linking Hobart with Port Arthur. Beautiful old Georgian homes dating back as early as the 1920s are now house galleries, tea shops, craft boutiques and museums.
Finish your Tasmanian holiday by having dinner in Hobart and toasting to the epic adventure just had before venturing to the airport the next day.
Visit all of the must-see destinations of Tasmania including the unspoilt beaches of Tasmania’s East Coast, Cradle Mountain in the north and the bustling cities of Launceston and Hobart.
Day 1: Hobart Collect your vehicle on arrival in Hobart. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Hobart. Stay overnight at Travelodge Hobart.
Day 2: Hobart to Strahan (300km) Travel across the heart of Tasmania through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Stop in at Queenstown then continue on to the quiet town of Strahan, situated on Macquarie Harbour. Overnight at Strahan Village.
Day 3: Strahan to Cradle Mountain National Park (138km) This morning take an optional cruise along the Gordon River (own expense) before travelling north to Zeehan, a booming mining town in the early 1900s. Drive to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, renowned for its walking tracks with spectacular mountain peaks and lakes. Stay the next two nights at Cradle Mountain Hotel.
Day 4: Cradle Mountain National Park Time at leisure today to explore Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park.
Day 5: Cradle Mountain National Park to Launceston (142km) Depart Cradle Mountain and travel east to Mole Creek. Continue on to Launceston and visit Cataract Gorge. Overnight at Best Western Plus, Launceston.
Day 6: Launceston to St Helens (160km) Depart Launceston and travel to Scottsdale. Near Pyengana take a walk to St Columba Falls and pick up some local cheese. Continue east to the small bayside town of St Helens. Visit the Gardens and the Bay of Fires Coastal Reserves near Binalong Bay for stunning beaches. Overnight at Tidal Waters Resort, St Helens.
Day 7: St Helens to Freycinet National Park (108km) Travel to the small resort town of Bicheno before continuing south through Coles Bay to Freycinet National Park. Stay the next two nights at Freycinet Lodge, Coles Bay.
Day 8: Freycinet National Park Time at leisure today to explore all that Freycinet National Park has to offer. Walk to the lookout, relax on the beach or take a cruise (own expense).
Day 9: Freycinet National Park to Hobart (185km) Depart Freycinet and perhaps make a stop at one of the local wineries or berry farms near Swansea. Cross the Derwent River on the Tasman Highway to reach Hobart. If time permits, travel back to Hobart via the historic village of Richmond, with many treasures of Tasmania’s colonial past. Overnight at Travelodge Hobart.
Day 10: Hobart Return your rental car today.
- 9 nights accommodation
- 9 days car rental with GPS
- Co-pilot self drive kit
- Breakfast provided in some locations.
This article originally appeared in the Spring edition of Our Generation.