In part one of our Tasmanian road trip, we took you from Hobart to Launceston around the east coast. Now, after a few days seeing the sights of Launceston, Skyscanner Australia will take you back to the state capital via the opposite coast, allowing you to enjoy the Western Wilds of Tasmania.
This road trip is planned for seven days, but that includes taking frequent breaks and stopping off to enjoy the scenery. If you’re short on time, it’s possible to do the trip a bit quicker, but we’ll leave it to you which of the highlights you choose to skip.
Day 1: Launceston to Devonport
Driving time: 1 hour 20 minutes
After seeing the sights of Launceston – including, but not limited to, seeing Cataract Gorge, touring the local brewery and visiting the various art galleries and museums – it’s time to start your road trip by heading north-west to Devonport, Tasmania’s third largest town.
Alternatively, if you haven’t had time to visit Tamar Valley, head north from Launceston and enjoy its many attractions on the way. Follow the Tamar Valley Wine Route and pick up a bottle of cool-climate wine from one of the many cellar doors, visit the wetlands or go to West Head for Seahorse World or Platypus House. Alternatively, head south of the city and drop in at Josef Chromy (featured in the image below) for their famed sparkling wine.
Once you arrive in Devonport, relax with a gin or whisky at the Southern Wild Distillery, enjoy sea views (and lighthouse views) while you eat at Drift or get takeout and have a picnic on Coles Beach.Compare cheap flights to Launceston
Day 2: Devonport to Cradle Mountain
Driving time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Spend the morning looking through antique stores and boutique shops, the Don River Railway, or head just out of town to the House of Anvers chocolate factory before getting on the road and heading south to one of Tasmania’s major highlights, Cradle Mountain. Take a break for a coffee in Sheffield and wander the mural-laden streets before taking up residence by the mountain in the Cradle Valley.
If you’ve got the energy, head to the hiking trails and explore the beautiful countryside, its mountain peaks and alpine lakes. Alternatively, book a tour with Devils@Cradle to see the famous Tasmanian devils up close. Or do both, saving the devils for a night tour, when the nocturnal marsupials are most active.
Day 3: Cradle Mountain to Tullah
Driving time: 45 minutes
Start the morning with a walk and enjoy the benefits of getting back to nature in perfect isolation. Today’s drive is short to allow you to tackle a longer walk or a couple of the shorter ones in and around Pepper’s Cradle Mountain Lodge. The Enchanted Walk is the perfect escape into a mossy wonderland – flanked on both sides by ancient native trees and well pathed for those that prefer to take their morning strolls at a leisurely pace.
If you’re keen to get on the road, take a detour to Waratah and enjoy lunch in the heritage-listed Bischoff Hotel while enjoying the view of the Waratah Falls. A walk to the falls is a 90-minute return trip and is a great way to burn off that indulgent lunch.
Tullah continues your re-acquaintance with nature. Head back into the forest for some arboreal healing, have a rest by the lake or hire a mountain bike and get lost in the hills.
Day 4: Tullah to Strahan
Driving time: 1 hour 10 minutes
After breakfast, spend a bit of time exploring the quaint attractions of Tullah. Take a trip on the Wee Georgie Wood Steam Railway, a throwback to the olden days that still makes regular trips for tourists, or walk to nearby Montezuma Falls – Tasmania’s highest waterfall.
From Tullah, we’re heading just over an hour along the coast to Strahan (pronounced ‘Strawn’). This coastal town is the jumping-off point to explore Bonnet Island (and its penguin colony), a historic steam train journey along the West Coast Wilderness Railway or embark on a cruise on Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River.
Accommodation options are plentiful with many unique offerings. In Lettes Bay, you can stay at Captains Rest, a historic waterfront cottage with its own jetty. Its interiors are cosy and opulent – think claw-footed baths and wood fires – making it the perfect place to relax and read a book after a couple of busy walking days.
If the idea of solitude doesn’t appeal, you can stay the night on a yacht with communal facilities. Stormbreaker has two private cabins and an eight-bunk cabin (think of it as a floating hostel) with shared toilets, showers, saloon and galley. Staying on the yacht has the advantage that you can also book an overnight tour that takes you to Sarah Island to see the former penal colony, the towering Huon pines and the Gordon River.
Day 5: Strahan to Queenstown
Driving time: 45 minutes
Today we’re making the trip from Strahan to Queenstown, mirroring the journey of the West Coast Wilderness Railway on the edges of Mount Dundas Regional Reserve.
The drive is a short one, but it might take you a long time with all the nearby stops. Queenstown is surrounded by walking trails, lookouts and waterfalls. Take your pick from Nelson or Horsetail Falls, stop at Iron Blow or Spion Kopf Lookout and walk the trails at Mount Jukes or Kelly Basin.
The town itself is small and charming, with its original streetscape, historic Railway Station and Empire Hotel the jewels of the town.
Day 6: Queenstown to Mount Field
Driving time: 3 hours
By now, you may think you’ve seen some of the state’s best sights, but there’s more to come. Three hours on from Queenstown is Mount Field, one of Tasmania’s (if not Australia’s) most diverse national parks. On the way, stop at Hamilton to experience life on a working sheep farm.
The national park has huge variety, with different forest types at different altitudes, calm lakes and picturesque waterfalls, plus an opportunity to cross-country ski through the park in the cooler months.
Set off nice and early to give yourself time to explore the area. From the Russell Falls car park, you can take a ten-minute trek to the waterfall or enjoy one of the longer walks that takes in Horseshoe Falls, Lady Barron Falls and the Tall Trees Circuit.
Day 7: Mount Field to Hobart
Driving time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Mount Field has more to explore, with another area of hiking trails near Lake Dobson. Take one of the short trails through the swamp gum section – the world’s tallest flowering plant – or head to Pandani Grove to see a variety of alpine growth. If you’re early and lucky enough, you might spot a platypus swimming in the lake here.
On the way back to Hobart, take time to enjoy the journey. For a look at early settler life, take a break in New Norfolk, a historic town filled with antique stores that also has the state’s oldest church, what claims to be the country’s oldest hotel and Willow Court, which was once Australia’s oldest continually run asylum.
When you get to Hobart, there’s plenty to see and do. Tasmania’s largest and oldest city is famous for its waterfront dining, its markets and Mona, Museum of New and Old Art. If you’re up for more driving, day trips to Port Arthur, kunanyi / Mt Wellington and Bruny Island are well worth considering.
As we’ve come to the end of a packed itinerary, you may want to reward yourself by splurging on a special hotel that doesn’t have a huge price tag, such as the Alabama. This boutique hotel has its own bar, lounge and plant-filled lobby, is environmentally-friendly where possible and sits in the middle of the CBD.