So you want to road trip Tasmania eh? I have exactly two things to say about that: First, I’m dripping with envy. Second, I have the PERFECT Tasmania road trip itinerary for you!
You need two things to make this epic Tasmania itinerary work: 1) a set of wheels (we’ll cover how to snag those) and 2) at least 4 days free (though closer to 10 days is ideal to self drive the entire loop). If you can check those two boxes, read on for the perfect road trip planner – complete with a day-by-day itinerary, accommodation suggestions, and pro tips for the trip.
I have been traveling around the world full-time since 2016. After almost 70 countries and 6 continents, Tasmania is STILL one of my absolute favorite travel experiences in the entire world. I fell in love with Tasmania, and created this guide to help YOU do the same.
That’s a lot of info to digest so bookmark this post so you can come back to it later.
Ok, ready to dive in? First up, let’s get you set with something to drive:
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Get Wheels for Your Tasmania Road Trip
Every road trip requires a great set of wheels. There are basically three options on the island:
Option 1 – Bring Your Own Car on the Ferry
The Spirit of Tasmania sails between Port Melbourne in Victoria and Devonport in Tasmania. The journey across the Bass Strait takes between 9 and 11 hours, and can be done via overnight or day sailings. Shared and private cabins are available, and pets are welcome onboard! Check out the official sailing calendar for exact times and fares.
2021 Update: to celebrate the opening of Tasmania, the Spirit of Tasmania announced they will let passengers bring their car for free from March to June 2021.
Option 2 – Rent a Car
Probably the simplest solution, and definitely the most popular, is to simply rent a car and either camp or stay in hotels or B&Bs along the route. Both Hobart International and Launceston Airport have loads of rental car companies to choose from, but you’ll want to be sure to reserve in advance because inventory on the island can run low during peak periods. I recommend using Discover Car Hire’s handy search engine to easily search and price compare car hire options from different companies.
Option 3 – Rent a Campervan or RV
My personal favorite way to road trip is in an RV or campervan! Sure, it costs a little more for the rental, but think of what you can save on accommodation!
Campervans and RVs are very popular on the island, so there are many rental companies to choose from. Personally, I suggest using Motorhome Republic’s search engine to see what inventory is available for your dates.
Alternatively, if you’re bargain hunting, some readers have pointed out that a new company called Outdoorsy is operating peer-to-peer rentals now. Think of it like Airbnb, but for RVs!
Tasmania Itinerary (10 Days)
In my opinion, 10 days is a solid amount of time to set aside for your Tasmania itinerary. That’s why this post has been designed around a 10 day itinerary, which takes in the highlights of the island without rushing too much.
Have more or less time than 10 days? You could extend this itinerary to 14 days by slowly down (there’s a lot to take in!). For those of you in a rush, you’ll also find a 5 day road trip itinerary at the end of this post which is based off this 10 day itinerary.
Ok, let’s dive in:
*Pro Tip*: Join this excellent Tasmania Facebook group. It’s run by my Tassie friend Andrew and filled with insider tips.
Day 1: Hobart
Since Hobart is both the main airport for the island and the base for most campervan and car rentals, many people will start and end their Tasmania road trips here.
Several companies rent RVs and campervans directly at the Hobart airport. So, if you want, you can hit the road right after you land, get your RV, and stock up on those road trip essentials at any of the many super-center stores on Hobart’s outskirts.
But, as excited as you may be to get out into the wild, I would suggest to make sure to build in some time to take in this incredible city as well. Check out the pretty neighborhood Battery Point, take a stroll to browse fresh produce or grab some ice cream at the Salamanca Market, and be sure to spend an afternoon exploring the thought-provoking MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).
Where To Stay in Hobart
- Top Choice: The Henry Jones Art Hotel
- Best Mid-range Hotel: Hadley’s Orient Point
- Best Budget Option: Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse
Day 2: Freycinet National Park
From Hobart, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive to Coles Bay, the launching point for exploring Freycinet National Park: a must-see spot for any Tasmania road trip.
If you’ve got a campervan, you can arrange ahead of time to snag to campsite within the park itself.
If not, no worries: you can stay in Coles Bay or in the several private campgrounds outside the park.
Spend a couple nights here exploring the park.
Take in the famous vistas of Wineglass Bay. But here’s a pro tip: don’t just stop there like many tourists! Be sure to take the quick hike down to the beach itself. Better, yet, spend a day doing a hiking loop through the park.
And watch out for wallabies on the beach!
Where to Stay near Freycinet National Park
- Top Choice: Freycinet Lodge
- Best Mid-range Hotel: Freycinet Waters
- Best Budget Option: Swansea Motor Inn
Day 3: Bay of Fires
From Freycinet, head north and make a quick stop to check out Diamond Island north of Bicheno (be prepared to wade through water, as the tide often covers the sandbar giving access to the island!).
Then continue north for a couple hours and be sure to arrive at the Bay of Fires before sunset.
Here you’ll be able to witness white sand butting up against stunning rock formations covered in a red moss that makes the scene look simply otherworldly.
You can free camp in the park or overnight in nearby St. Helens or Binalong Bay:
Where to Stay Near the Bay of Fires
- Top Choice: Tully Cottage B&B
- Best Mid-range Hotel: Bay of Fires Bush Retreat
- Best Budget Option: Homelea Accommodation
Day 4-5: Cradle Mountain
Build in time for the 4+ hour drive to get to Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Claire National Park. If you have extra time, consider detouring for a short day trip to visit Launceston or to check out the stunning purple fields at the Bridestowe Lavendar Estate.
At 1,545 meters, Cradle Mountain, may not be the highest mountain in Tasmania, but it’s jagged peaks make it by far the most imposing and most famous. If you’re planning to scale the mountain, be sure to start early in the day and be prepared (the final ascent is more difficult than you might expect – something I found out the hard way!).
If you’re not up for that, no worries mate: there are dozens or gorgeous trails for all skill levels around the park and World Heritage-listed Dove Lake. You’ll want to set aside at least one full day of your Tasmania road trip to take it all in. In fact, if you have extra time, I suggest building in an extra day just to explore all the walking trails around Lake St Clair.
Note that if you’re planning to book accommodation, options are very limited so this is one place you definitely want to reserve ahead:
Where to Stay Near Cradle Mountain
- Top Choice: Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge
- Best Mid-range Hotel: Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village
- Best Budget Option: Discovery Parks – Cradle Mountain
Day 6: Strahan
Your legs will probably be a bit tired at this point, so venture to West Coast of Tasmania to relax a bit in the fishing village of Strahan.
This charming port town is the gateway to Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
Take one of the many day cruises on offer to visit this incredible rain forest (yes, a rain forest in Tasmania!) or just spend the day soaking in the relaxed atmosphere of this remote settlement.
Where to Stay in Strahan
Day 7: Mount Field National Park
It’s a long drive back to Hobart, so break it up by spending your last night camping at the wonderful Mount Field National Park (there’s some hotel offerings available too if you don’t have a campervan or tent).
Go for a few easy hikes to view the many beautiful waterfalls (the highlight of which is Russel Falls).
And be sure to head back into the jungle after dark, when thousands of glowworms light up the night!
Where to Stay Near Mount Field National Park
Day 8-9: South Bruny Island National Park
Drive south, take a short car ferry, and spend your final two days exploring Bruny Island.
More like two islands separated by a sandbar, this national park offers up plenty of Instagram-worthy photo spots!
Where to Stay on Bruny Island
- Top Choice: Adventure Bay Retreat Bruny Island
- Best Mid-Range Hotel: 43 Degrees Bruny Island
- Best RV Campground: Captain Cook Holiday Park
Day 10: Return to Hobart
On the last day of your Tasmania Itinerary, head back to Hobart.
If you didn’t get to hit it up at the start of your road trip, be sure to check out the Museum of Old and New Art before you wrap up your trip!
Tasmania 5 Day Road Trip
Ok, so maybe you only have a short time for your Tasmania road trip. Perhaps you are a Tasmanian local doing a short staycation in Tasmania, or just looking to see part of the island.
Fortunately, in 5 days you have just enough time to squeeze in the highlights of a Tasmania road trip!
This 5 day Tasmania itinerary may be a bit rushed, but it’s possible to manage if you’re up for it! See the Tasmania 7 Day Itinerary for more info on these road trip stops.
Stop 1: Freycinet National Park
You’re tight on time, so pick up your car or campervan and plow through the 150 minute drive to the Freycinet Peninsula. Be sure to stop by the visitor centre and, of course, be sure to check out the Wineglass Bay Lookout!
Stop 2: Bay of Fires / Launceston
If you don’t mind a bit of driving to see one of the best sites in Tasmania, you’ll have enough time to hit the Bay of Fires during the afternoon and still make it to Launceston, Tasmania’s second largest city, before nightfall.
Stop 3-4: Cradle Mountain
Wake up on Day 3 and get an early start on the drive to Cradle Mountain. Then you’ll want to really build in some time to soak in the park. This is the one part of the itinerary that you definitely don’t want to rush!
Stop 5: Hobart OR Devonport
If you’re flying out of Hobart, make the four hour drive back to town in the morning, giving you just enough time to visit MONA in the afternoon of your last day.
Or, if you’re leaving the island by ferry, head north to Devonport and learn about some incredible shipwrecks at the Bass Strait Maritime Center.
Other Stops for Your Tasmania Road Trip
There’s a lot to see in Tasmania, and your specific road trip itinerary will depend a lot on your starting and ending points. So feel free to mix up these itineraries and improvise a bit!
Here’s some other major Tasmanian points of interest to consider for your road trip itinerary:
- Mount Wellington – You can take in incredible views of the city of Hobart from atop this mountain.
- Port Arthur – This former penal settlement is now an open-air museum.
- Richmond – A photogenic historic town just outside Hobart.
- Maria Island – Check out the gorgeous painted cliffs on this beautiful island off the east coast of Tasmania.
- Queenstown – A rugged town with a quaint main street on Tasmania’s western side.
Tasmania Road Trip FAQ
Tasmania is such an excellent road trip destination because it is relatively compact, there are so many things to do, and it’s easily possible to create several loops that allow you to take in multiple sites without ever having to double back on territory you’ve already covered!
Here’s a quick guide to some of the practicalities of creating your own Tasmanian road trip itinerary:
How do I rent a car in Tasmania?
It’s fairly easy to rent a car in Tasmania.
I recommend shopping prices over at the Discover Cars search engine.
Unlike some other sites, they have no hidden costs, no booking fees, and free cancellation. Plus they have lots of inventory in Tasmania.
What do I need to know about driving in Tasmania?
Tasmania’s roads are modern, well-paved, and relatively easy for driving.
Driving in Tasmania is done on the left.
Most foreign drivers licenses will work just fine in Tasmania, but check this site to be sure you’re in the clear.
Additionally, be sure you have a plan for insurance for your road trip!
How do I arrange an RV or Campervan hire in Tasmania?
It’s pretty easy to hire an RV or Camervan for your Tassie road trip. Just note that you’ll definitely want to make your reservation in advance as the inventory on the island is limited (it IS an island after all)!
Personally, I recommend starting your search by checking prices at Motorhome Republic.
Why Motorhome Republic?
It’s the largest motorhome rental company on Earth, and they have a TON of great inventory in Tasmania. Plus, their have by far the best search interface and easiest booking process of any of the site I’ve seen.
Ready to book your campervan for Tasmania?
The great thing about Motorhome Republic is that it helps you search a variety of campervan rental companies across Tasmania, so you can always be sure you’re getting the best RV for your trip.
What about accessing the national parks?
Any of these Tasmanian road trip itineraries listed above will require you to obtain a National Parks Pass for entry into the various parks throughout the island.
You can purchase a pass here on the official website, or many campervan rental agencies will sell them to you when you pick up your vehicle.
Where can I camp in Tasmania?
Whether you’re in an RV, campervan, or tent, Tasmania has an incredible offering of camping sites, including both free sites and paid campgrounds that often offer services like laundry, kitchens, showers, and more.
Check out this map to see all of the campgrounds on offer in Tassie.
But, be aware that some of the best campgrounds can book up early, so make reservations if you can!
Do I have to camp to enjoy a Tasmania road trip?
No matter where you are in Tasmania, there’s sure to be plenty of incredible hotels and hostels on offer all along the way.
Head on over to Booking.com to price out some accommodation near the locations you plan to visit.
Airbnb is also a viable option in much of Tasmania. If it’s your first time using Airbnb, you can get $40 off your first booking using this link!
What side of the road does Tasmania drive on?
The left. Driving in Tasmania is on the left hand side of the road!
How do you get to Tasmania?
The best way to get to Tasmania is to fly into Hobart, which has lots of quick flight connections from Melbourne, Sydney, and elsewhere in Australia.
Want to learn how to book cheap airfare? Check out my guide to how to find cheap flights.
If you’re bringing your own car or campervan to Tasmania, it might also make sense to take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne, which takes 9-11 hours.
How can I spend 3 days in Tasmania?
3 days would give you enough time to visit either Hobart and Bruny Island, or Wineglass Bay plus the Bay of Fires. Both are good 3 day Tasmania itineraries if that’s all you have, but I highly suggest spending at least 5 days to truly take in Tasmania!
When is the best time of year to take a Tasmania road trip?
While Tasmania is gorgeous in any weather, its southern location means that it can be quite cold in the winter months.
That’s why peak season for travel are the summer months of December to February.
You’ll most likely want to plan your road trip for those months (or just before or after that window).
Even then, it can get chilly at night, so be sure to bring a coat!
Have questions about your Tasmania road trip? Need a Tasmania itinerary for a different set of time? Or have any tips to offer fellow travelers? Scroll to the bottom and leave a comment!
And, if you loved this article, be sure to check out our awesome list of the 19 Things to do in Newcastle, Australia. It’s written by a local and loaded with tons of hidden-gems!
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