Tasmania is an isolated little island south of mainland Australia. It’s an outdoor lovers paradise, with plenty of world-class camping and hiking opportunities and an abundance of wildlife. Even from the comfort of your car, you’ll notice how diverse the island is. The natural landscapes range from jagged mountain peaks to murky rainforests to rugged coastlines, and serene beaches. It’s safe to say that our Tasmania road trip was one of the absolute highlights from our trip down under.
We loved the island so much that we started drafting this Tasmania itinerary guide before we even left. Our goal is to help you have a fantastic trip as well, but to be honest, even if you stop reading right now, you’ll probably have a good time. It’s truly a magical place where new adventures seem to wait around every corner. There’s little to no chance you’ll regret going, even if you come unprepared.
That being said, it’s always good to plan a bit ahead, and we are, of course, here to help. So throughout this post, we will provide our honest opinions on the self drive route we personally took, as well as the activities we chose. We’ll tell you what we particularly enjoyed, what we didn’t like so much, and what we regret missing out on. You’ll get our complete and personal Tasmania itinerary, with suggestions on where to spend the most time (hindsight helps!), and we’ll also guide you about where to stay each night.
As an added bonus, we’ve thrown in a few of our personal travel videos as well. Hope you enjoy the post!
Extra Posts About Tasmania
We have way too much Tasmania content for a single article. The itinerary you’re reading here is, therefore, only part of a series of blog posts about this fantastic island. Make sure to check out whichever other entries are relevant for you! We are still working on a few posts, but so far, we’ve published the following:
Tasmania Travel Guide – FAQ About All You Need To Know Before You Go
We have an abundance of tips and tricks to share with you. You know, all the things we would have liked to know ourselves before we went. Examples of what we cover are camping vs. hotels, when to visit Tasmania, how to get to the island, how to get around, which sim card provides the best coverage, what to expect from the weather, and how to save money on visiting the beautiful national parks. We highly recommend you read that post once you are done here!
Stay tuned to read more about:
Our 14 Favorite Highlights of Tasmania (coming soon)
The Complete Guide to Free Camp Sites in Tasmania (coming soon)
Tasmania Road Trip - What’s included?
Back to the present! Throughout this Tasmania itinerary, we’ll specifically highlight what to see and do (on a day per day basis), where to sleep, as well as where to add-on extra days to the road trip if you have more time. For any other questions you might have, you should check out our related posts. You are, of course, also very welcome to throw us a question or comment at the end of the article!
You can use the menu below as a quick overview of the itinerary. Click on any of the headers, and you’ll magically be brought to the relevant section.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the size of this table of contents. We’ve included every little subheader to help you use it as an overview during your planning. We promise, once you read through the post, it’ll all make much more sense!
- Day 0: Arrival in Tasmania
- Day 1: Bay of Fires
- Day 2: Freycinet National Park
- Add-on Day A: Extra time in Freycinet NP
- Add-on Day B: Explore the Tasman Peninsula
- Add-on Day C: Visit Maria Island
- Travel Video: Beaches of Tasmania
- Day 3: Hobart
- Add-on Day D: Extra time in Hobart
- Add-on Day E: Explore Bruny Island
- Day 4: Mount Field National Park
- Day 5: Franklin River, Lake St Clair, and the Lyell Highway
- Day 6: Cradle Mountain National Park
- Add-on Day F: Extra time in Cradle Mountain NP
- Day 7: Leave Tasmania
Why visit Tasmania?
If you aren’t entirely convinced about visiting Tasmania, we are pretty sure our little travel video will help push you in the right direction. All the clips are from our personal trip and, trust us, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to capture the beauty of the island. Just point and shoot, and the natural wonder of Tasmania will work its magic for you.
Psst… you may need to click the video twice if you’re on a mobile device. Oh, and you can find many more travel videos on our dedicated page!
Our suggested Tasmania itinerary
The itinerary we lay forward in this section is based on 7 full days. However, we spent double that ourselves, in a campervan, and weren’t bored for a second. Throughout the guide, we’ll make sure to highlight where you can spend extra time, or which side trips you can add on if you have more days available. Towards the end of the post, we have even included an overview of how a sample 14 day itinerary would look like! If you have less than 7 days, we don’t recommend you try to see everything. In that case, just pick your favorite part of the itinerary and stick to one or two areas of the island.
Depending on whether you take the ferry, or fly (and which city you land in), you may start your trip from either Devonport, Launceston or Hobart. Luckily, that really doesn’t matter because this is a flexible Tasmania itinerary. It is a round trip, and it can start and end in any of the aforementioned cities. On our personal trip, we traveled to the island by ferry, and so our itinerary starts in Devonport. If you arrive in Launceston, the itinerary is actually the same because it’s right nearby. However, if you arrive in Hobart (the capital of Tasmania), you’ll have to start from Day 3, work your way through to Day 7, and then start over from the top. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, we promise it is! Keep on reading, and all your worries will disappear.
You’ll also be happy to learn that the round trip can be made in any direction – clockwise or counterclockwise. In our experience, it doesn’t make a shred of difference which way round you do it. If you want to spice things up, feel free to make the trip in reverse!
If you follow the standard 7-day itinerary, you’ll cover a total of 1.100 kilometers (680 miles) with a daily average of around 150 kilometers (93 miles). Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Tasmania is a relatively small island, which is good news for you because then there’s more time to explore each place of interest. However, do expect a lot of small detours, which can quickly make these numbers grow.
Here’s how the full route looks like from out in space:
Day 0: Arrival in Devonport
We don’t recommend starting out with a long day on the road straight after arrival. It’s better to have plenty of time to shop and just ease into your new temporary island home. That’s why we refer to this day as “Day 0”. However, if you are on a tight schedule, it is possible to get going right away. We’ll leave that up to you – just skip ahead to Day 1 if you are in a hurry!
If you didn’t bring a car from the mainland, your first task will be to pick up your new wheels at the rental office. With that out of the way, it’s important that you start out doing some shopping. The biggest island-wide grocery store, with the broadest selection, is called Woolworths. There is one in every major town, including Devonport, Launceston, and Hobart. Get in there and stock up. Proper grocery stores are few and far between, so better get all the proviant you need for a few days, at least.
Our personal Tasmania road trip started when we arrived by ferry in Devonport. The city itself isn’t particularly interesting, except that it has a few beautiful beaches with the possibility of an exceptional sunset. From Bluff Beach, or anywhere along the canal, you’ll be able to see the Spirit of Tasmania ferry leave or arrive, and that’s actually quite an impressive sight. Especially if you are lucky to catch it at sunset.
Where to camp in Devonport?
We can recommend Mersey Bluff Caravan Park. Call ahead and book if you need a powered site, but otherwise, it’s first come, first served. We took a chance and just showed up. To our amazement, the kind receptionist told us we were the very first people from hundreds on the ferry to make it there. The campsite is located a short walk from the beach and has all the usual amenities you could expect.
A similar option is Discovery Parks, which is also centrally located. We recommend you book in advance.
Where to stay in Devonport?
Budget: Stony Rise Cottage
We stayed here for a single night before leaving Tasmania. It was a great, no-frills, B&B experience. The negatives are that toilets and showers are shared, and you need to drive for 7-8 minutes if going to town. However, the price is right, the bed was soft, and the owners are friendly hosts.
Upscale: The Grand On Macfie
Day 1: Bay of Fires
You wake up fully rested and hungry for adventure. Finally, your epic Tasmania road trip can get underway! You are pumped… and you get an early start because the rental car is freshly fuelled, and you’ve made sure to stock up the day before.
Here’s the plan for the day:
Bridestowe Lavender Estate
Your first stretch is rather long, so it’s advisable to pick up a cup of coffee for the morning’s drive. In Devonport, we can recommend Laneway Café, where we had an excellent flat white and a great breakfast. After leaving town, the first stop is Bridestowe Lavender Estate, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) East of Devonport. Hopefully, you are in Tasmania somewhere between early December and late January, because here the lavender will be in full bloom and ready for harvesting. Imagine long lines of purple lavender disappearing into the distance, towards the distant mountains, and yourself strolling casually down the field with a lavender ice cream cone in one hand, and your loved one in the other. You can easily spend a few hours here because you won’t be able to stop snapping those Insta-worthy photos. Just be careful you don’t drop the icecream as poor Nick did.
Check out this quick 2-minute video from our visit!
You may need to click twice on the video if you are on a mobile device. If you liked what you saw, check out all the other travel videos we’ve got.
If you are not lucky enough to arrive during lavender season, you’ll have to make do with second prize: Wine tasting. There are plenty of wineries in the surrounding area where signs on the road will read: “Cellar door.” That’s Aussie (and English) for “Come taste our sweet, juicy drops of exquisite grapes – for free.” Australian rules on drinking and driving permit a BAC of 0.05, meaning even as the dedicated driver, you are allowed to taste a few sips. There are plenty of vineyards in the area, so just take your pick as you drive through. However, if you want a proper tour of a winery, make sure to call and book ahead. May we suggest you combine this with lunch?
St Columba Falls
Before getting to the Bay of Fires (your final destination for today), you can stop by a famous waterfall known as St Columba. It’s a short walk from the carpark through what is likely to be your first encounter with the rainforests of Tasmania.
Bay of Fires
As you make your way towards the Bay of Fires, do be a little careful following the suggested route from the GPS. It might suddenly get a bright idea and try to divert you away from the A3 highway. Don’t play along with that. Stay on A3 all the way, especially if you are driving a campervan. Don’t worry, the route is scenic, and Tasmanian “highways” are more interesting than you might expect. If you are lucky, you may spot one of the island’s native animals. Just try not to run it over, please.
Eventually, you’ll make it the east coast. Big, beautiful beaches await you in the Bay of Fires, presumably named so for the red moss growing everywhere on the rocks. Soak up the ocean breeze, bask in the sun (if you are luckier than us with the weather), and take a long walk on one of the spectacular beaches.
Where to camp in the Bay of Fires?
There is a good selection of free, government-run campsites in the Bay of Fires. All of them are located down the so-called Gardens Road, starting near Binalong Bay. We suggest staying at Cozy Corner North or South. There is also the option of Sloop Reef, with its exceptional location, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have a toilet. All the campsites are free and operate on a first-come, first-served basis. In high season you should try to arrive early, although it is probably possible to squeeze in somewhere regardless. As these sites are free, expect long-drop toilets and non-potable water. The lovely beachside locations more than make up for the shortcomings, though!
If you would like to book a more commercial campsite, head south to St Helens and prebook with BIG4 St Helens Holiday Park.
Where to stay in the Bay of Fires?
Day 2: Freycinet National Park
Today you’ll be driving south along the coast towards Freycinet. In terms of driving, the day is relatively short, which is great because it means you’ll have more time to explore the beautiful national park.
Remember, you need a permit to enter national parks in Tasmania. When you are done reading this itinerary, you should check out our FAQ post for all the details.
Here’s today’s route:
Most importantly, you need to make it to Wineglass Bay. The carpark is located around 2 hours from the Bay of Fires, in the heart of Freycinet NP. Here you have two great hiking options with the possibility of a superb add on.
Mount Amos - tough hiking option
You can hike all the way up to Mount Amos – a strenuous climb that will take you most of the day. It’s important you only attempt this summit if the weather is top-notch, and you are in equally top-notch shape. The route does involve some scrambling towards the end, so it’s essential that you are a confident hiker. The view from the top is supposedly epic. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have time to give it a go on our visit.
Wineglass Bay Lookout - short hiking option
Alternatively, you can do like we did and hike up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout. The view of Wineglass Bay will be similar, although you are only halfway up the mountain. However, it is much more crowded, so much, in fact, that we only spent a few minutes there. It’s a great vista for sure, so you aren’t likely to be disappointed. Expect the walk to be steep in places and take around 30-45 minutes each way.
Wineglass Bay Beach
At the top, you can add on an extra hike down 1.000 steps to Wineglass Bay Beach. That should take you around half an hour. You’ll have to return the same way back up, then taking around 45 minutes as you climb up from sea level. Just know this: Your efforts will be rewarded! The beach is absolutely stunning. Imagine a pristine white sandy beach, in the elegant form of a crescent moon, with the backdrop of lush jungle and tall mountains. It must be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. If you have an extra hour, you can walk the entire length of it and back, or you can just take a leisurely dip. The beach is unpatrolled, but you should be able to judge the conditions from other swimmers (or the lack thereof). Don’t be afraid of asking the locals!
In the nearby town of Bicheno (which you passed through on your drive from Bay of Fires), there is a curious natural attraction known as the Bicheno Blowhole. It’s essentially waves coming in, splashing through a narrow channel in the rock, blowing water high into the air. Worth a visit – if nothing else than to laugh at all the other stupid tourists getting soaked by surprise waves
See wild penguins
In Bicheno, you can also be lucky to see a bunch of wild penguins. Each evening, at dusk, they come back from a long day at sea in the cover of darkness. You shouldn’t try and find them by yourself, as you are likely to scare them, blind them, block them, step on their young, or otherwise intrude in their wild ways. Instead, you should join a Penguin watching tour, where the provider knows what they are doing, uses special red lights to look at the penguins, and where cameras are not allowed. The go-to company would be Bicheno Penguin Tours, which operate all year round. Depending on the season, there may be hundreds of the cute little fellas!
This is another area in Tasmania where you can get your grape on. One place with a cellar door, and a great view, is called Devil’s Corner. They also serve fresh seafood and wood-fired pizzas on their estate.
Swallow some local oysters
Or chew them? There is actually no right way to eat oysters, just do it your own way. We recommend using a fork to make sure the beast is loose in the shell, “drink” it and chew a few times before swallowing. It’s okay if you don’t like it much… Most don’t. But you won’t know if you haven’t tried! A famous place to sample some local Tasmanian oysters is Melshell Oyster Shack. If you are worried about the taste, make sure to have a glass of sparkling wine handy! It does wonders to clear your palate.
Cape Tourville Lighthouse
We stumbled upon this lighthouse by chance, but are very happy that we did. Actually, it’s not so much the actual lighthouse, but the surrounding area that is spectacular. There is a dedicated 15-20 minute walk on the nearby cliffs, and the views out to sea are just incredible.
Where to camp in the Freycinet National Park?
We stayed at the free, first-come, first-served, government-run, campsite called Friendly Beaches. It was excellent. There is a camp manager on duty, and he seemed to help people find a spot even when it was full. We came early and got an excellent spot right near the beach. It was a beautiful place, as you can probably tell from the picture below.
Where to stay in Freycinet National Park?
Add-on Day A: Extra time in Freycinet National Park
The area around Freycinet National Park is incredibly beautiful. We highly recommend you spend more time here if possible. You won’t have time to see all the above-mentioned in a single day. Especially not if you also want time to relax, take a long walk on the beach, or go for a swim.
Add-on Day B: Explore Tasman National Park
Additionally, you can drive south along the coast to the Tasman Peninsula and the Tasman National Park. There are some great sights to see and experience down there, and even more beautiful beaches to explore. It’s also located quite close to Hobart, which will be convenient later.
One popular place of interest on the Tasman Peninsula is the so-called Tessellated Pavement. You can’t spend a whole lot of time here, but it’s an interesting stop. If you love photography, you may be able to snap some lovely photos at sunrise when the colors are just right, and the crowds are still sleeping.
The Remarkable Cave
If you are visiting this cave at high tide, you’ll see the waves crash all the way through. On the other hand, visiting at low tide will allow you to walk through the cave and reach a small beach on the other side. It technically requires you to jump the fence, but we won’t tell if you don’t. Just promise us to be careful not to be surprised by the sudden rise of the tide!
The walk to Cape Raoul is listed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Walks, and for a good reason. We only hiked part of it, but we sure liked what we saw. Check out the picture below and see if you don’t agree. It took us about 45 minutes to reach that view, going through a pretty forest on the way. If you want to get all the way to Cape Raoul itself, expect to spend several hours each way. Another great hike in this area is, supposedly, the multi-day hike: “Three Capes Track.” If you do that one, make sure to share your experience with us in the comments below!
Port Arthur is a historic village, which used to be a penal settlement. Nowadays, it’s an open-air museum and worth a visit if you are into (Australian) history. It’s a World Heritage site and is open every day. Unfortunately, it is not exactly cheap.
Where to camp in Tasman National Park?
Lime Bay Camping is a great, inexpensive, choice in the Tasman National Park costing just 13 AUD for 2 people and a vehicle. It’s basic, government-run, and first come, first served. Payment is based on an honesty-system, and you need to bring exact cash. You’ll have to traverse a lengthy gravel road to reach the campsite, but it’s not overly bumpy, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded for your effort. It’s located in a beautiful bay, and you should be able to go for a swim.
Alternatively, if you need power, water, or a proper shower, you can book a site at the more commercial NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park.
Where to stay in Tasman National Park?
Add-on Day C: Visit Maria Island
As you can probably tell from the number of itinerary add-ons, the east coast of Tasmania is a spectacular place. Another possible add-on to your itinerary here is Maria Island. We didn’t make it there ourselves, unfortunately, but we have only heard good things. We wouldn’t hesitate to visit, especially if you want to explore a little bit more off the beaten track. However, because we haven’t been to Maria Island ourselves, regretfully we won’t be able to share any great tips or tricks with you.
Travel Video: The Beaches of Tasmania
Wondering what kind of scenery you can expect on the east coast of Tasmania? Check out this travel video focusing on all the beautiful beaches on the island!
You may need to click twice on the video if you are on a mobile device. Make sure to turn on the sound. If you like what you see, check out some of our other travel videos as well!
Day 3: Hobart
Today’s drive will depend on whether you took any of the suggested add-ons above. Any, or all, of them would make the drive shorter. In case you didn’t deviate from the plan, there’s about 2.5 hours on the road, or 180 kilometers (110 miles). The drive sticks mostly to the coast, until it turns west inland, and eventually takes you to Hobart – the capital of Tasmania.
Embrace big-city life
Okay, the title is slightly misguiding. Although half of Tasmania’s population lives there, Hobart is not a large city by any measure. However, from what you are used to over the last few days, you’ll suddenly have a lot of opportunities you could take advantage of. How about dining in a real restaurant, finding a pub for happy hour, or getting your clothes laundered? During our visit to Hobart, we loved being civilized for a while, for example, by having 3 daily flat whites from The Stagg. When you are there, try their raspberry and coconut bliss balls as well… They were, well, blissful!
If you are in Hobart on a Saturday, Salamanca Market is a must-visit. It’s essentially a huge farmer- and crafts market located close to the harbor of Hobart. It somehow transforms the city, going from a quaint, half-empty province town to a bustling metropolis. There are people everywhere, and although that may not exactly sound desirable, we actually enjoyed the lively atmosphere.
There are some great offers on fresh fruit and vegetables, and some delicious street food to sink your teeth into as well. It’s also the perfect place to find a local souvenir or just browse the goods with an ice cream in hand while listening to live music. We quickly got fed up and went back into hiding in our hotel, but we only have happy memories from the few hours we did spend there.
Mount Wellington towers above Hobart and is visible from most of the city. Drive your way to the summit for perfect views over Hobart and the surrounding area. It was, in fact, one of the very best views we saw in all of Tasmania. And that is saying a lot! The road up is narrow and winding, but safe enough and well worth the effort. Once there, you can enjoy 360-degree views, and if snapping photos with the hundreds of other tourists don’t cut it for you, you can go on a hike. There are plenty of walking tracks on Mount Wellington, so just take your pick!
Where to camp in Hobart?
We won’t recommend you camp in Hobart. Consider it a good opportunity to sleep in a real bed instead. That’s what we did, and we assure you, it felt gooood. However, if you are hell-bent on roughing it the whole way around Tasmania, that’s totally fine with us. You can head over to Discovery Parks – Hobart or Barilla Holiday Park then, just remember to pre-book. Both are just a 15-minute drive from town.
Where to stay in Hobart?
In terms of hotels, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Hobart. Maybe not compared to world metropolises such as London or New York, but you’ll definitely have plenty of choices compared to anywhere else in Tasmania. Here are our suggestions:
Budget: The Tasmanian Inn is where we stayed in Hobart. We can’t say it was a perfect stay. You get what you pay for, but it got the job done. The highlight was the pub downstairs with daily happy hour and surprisingly good food. The main drawback was noisy rooms and shared toilets and showers.
Upscale: MACq 01 Hotel is an even more central and much more luxurious option.
Add-on Day D: Hobart and Surroundings
You have the option of adding on extra leisure days in Hobart. There’s not that much to see and do, but maybe that feels nice for a change? Alternatively, if your legs are already starting to itch, you can spend extra time hiking around Mount Wellington.
Add-on Day E: Bruny Island
If you decide to go to Bruny Island, it will mark the southernmost point on your Tasmania road trip. And we suggest you go. It’s a beautiful little island with a bunch of interesting stuff to see and do. It’s easy to get there as well. From Hobart, it’s just a 30-minute drive to the ferry, and the crossing takes around 10 minutes. You don’t even need to prebook a spot for your car, and departures run several times an hour.
Taste the island
Penguins at the Neck
As you can see on the map above, there’s a narrow stretch of land connecting the northern part of Bruny Island with the southern. This place is known as the Neck, and for some reason, penguins love it. There is a protected area for them to nest, and each day they return from the sea with food for their chicks. Be ready at sunset to catch a glimpse of them, braving the surf and storming in from the ocean. Even if you, like us, aren’t lucky enough to spot any, the view from the associated lookout point is a pretty neat consolation prize.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse
We dropped by the Cape Bruny Lighthouse but thought a tour was a bit too expensive. We walked around the area but didn’t like it anywhere near as much as Cape Tourville Lighthouse in Freycinet. However, this is probably your best option for getting inside a lighthouse in Tasmania.
Where to camp in Bruny Island?
There are two great options when it comes to government-run campsites. We’ve actually slept at both since we stayed two nights in Bruny Island. The first one you’ll pass is right by the Neck, and so it’s the perfect choice if you are planning on “hunting” for penguins. It’s called the Neck Reserve Campground, costs just 10 AUD for two people and a vehicle, and is within walking distance of the Neck along a beautiful, wide, beach. It’s first-come, first-served, and like most other government-run sites, the amenities are quite basic.
The second choice is to the far south of the island and is called Jetty Beach Campground. It’s located in a tranquil bay and features an incredibly calm beach with some lovely scenery. We walked out into the shallow waters, and after just a few minutes, a huge manta ray swam right up to us to say hello. Scary but cool best describes that encounter.
It too costs 10 AUD and is first-come, first-served. It’ll probably be less busy compared with the Neck, though.
The final camping option is the more commercial Captain Cook Holiday Park in Adventure Bay. However, we would only recommend this option in case you need a powered site.
Where to stay in Bruny Island?
The campsites in Bruny Island really are placed in great locations, so it would be a shame not to visit them. However, if you aren’t camping, there are options for you too. On Bruny Island, there aren’t many hotels, but you will find a number of holiday homes. Here are two suggestions:
Budget: Captain Cook Holiday Park
Day 4: Mount Field National Park
Depending on whether you added on Bruny Island to your itinerary, you’ll be driving towards Mount Field National Park from there or from Hobart. Either way, today won’t be a particularly long driving day. Here’s how it plays out on the map:
Kayak with a Platypus
On the way to Mount Field NP, you have the possibility of kayaking down the Derwent river looking for the elusive Platypus. An awesome creature, but unfortunately, we didn’t hear about this until too late, and the tour was fully booked. Maybe you’ll be luckier!
Russell Falls & Horseshoe Falls
The highlight of the day will be Russell Falls. From the carpark of the Mount Field NP visitors center, it’s a quick 15-minute walk through the dense rainforest. You can then continue up a long series of stairs to reach the Horseshoe Falls a further 15 minutes ahead.
Glow-worms & stargazing
Near Russell Falls, we spotted a sign informing us that we would be able to see glow-worms in the area. So naturally, we had to come back when it got dark to take a look. We did find the glow worms, but honestly, they were pretty difficult to see. Even more difficult was the walk in complete darkness. We don’t regret going, though. There was something adventurous about feeling our way through the rainforest in absolute darkness with only the sound of the waterfall keeping us company. We haven’t seen such blackness since we explored the caves under Budapest.
Then when you gazed up through the canopy, one of the most beautiful starlit skies we have ever seen presented itself. You could see the Milkyway in all its glory, and we were even blessed with a few shooting stars.
Where to camp in Mount Field National Park?
There is a campsite associated with the Mount Field NP Visitor Centre simply called Mount Field Camping which is also within walking distance to Russell Falls. This really came in handy when we went to look for glow-worms in the night. It’s another government-run campsite costing just 16 AUD for 2 people and a vehicle. There’s a camp manager on duty and limited space, so it would be good to arrive early. We are not exactly sure what happens when they fill up, but we wouldn’t want to take the chance.
An alternative campsite is located further along the itinerary at Tungatinah Lagoon. It’s a free option, run by a Tasmanian Hydro Power company. We’ll write a little more about that on day 5. It could cut a few hours off of that day’s lengthy drive. A third option is to drive even further up to Lake St Clair, where there is an affordable government-run campsite. Doing this will save you even more valuable time on day 5. Of course, that would mean you couldn’t look for glow-worms after dark at Russell Falls. There is no perfect solution to this, so keep on reading and try to judge whether you would rather have more time on day 4 or day 5.
Where to stay in Mount Field National Park?
There really aren’t many options in this area, except for a few privately-owned holiday homes. Here are two places to consider:
Budget: National Park Hotel
Upscale: Duffy’s Country Accommodation
However, if you struggle finding accommodation, you could sleep another night in Hobart instead. Russell Falls is only a little over an hour away from town, so it is possible to see it as a day trip.
Day 5: Franklin River, Lake St Clair & the Lyell Highway
Get ready for a long but scenic day on the road. On the map below, we are presuming you slept near Russell Falls, however, do keep in mind the option of extending day 4 by going to one of the next campsites.
As you can see, this is by far the longest day on the itinerary. You’ll spend almost the entirety of it on route A10, also known as the Lyell Highway. It winds itself gracefully through fruit orchards, rainforests, and jagged mountains before taking you all the way to Cradle Mountain National Park. It’s probably the most scenic stretch of the entire Tasmania road trip.
Tungatinah Lagoon is a man-made lake used by Hydro Tasmania, where the company has established a small, free, campsite. You can pitch your tent or park your campervan, right on the shore of the lake for a scenic view. Don’t expect much in terms of amenities, in fact, there is just a single toilet. We drove past the place randomly and found time to make lunch on the shore and go for a quick dip. Despite the lovely weather, the lake was freezing cold. We hadn’t considered this beforehand, but it occurred to us then and there that this would have been a good place to sleep instead of at Russell Falls. It was a nice, quiet spot, and it would help save valuable time on day 5. Do keep this in mind as we continue the itinerary.
Lake St Clair
The next stop is Lake St Clair. This is a popular spot, with lots of other tourists. You can walk down to the lake, which, although quite scenic, is nothing special. What the place is most famous for is being the start or endpoint of the Overland Track, a multi-day hike through the Tasmania Highlands between Cradle Mountain NP and Lake St Clair. We had actually thought about doing that hike, but it turned out that you need to book permits many months in advance. This is also a place which you could use as an overnight stop, instead of Russell Falls. The government runs an affordable campsite here called the Lake St Clair Tourist Park, and they also have some bunkbeds for those without camping equipment.
Franklin River Nature Trail
We’ve mentioned Tasmania’s 60 Great Walks previously, and this is another one of those. If you haven’t yet had the chance to walk through a dense rainforest on the island, we highly suggest you do it here. However, as we had already seen plenty of that scenery, we didn’t find it that interesting and didn’t complete the full 40-min loop.
Frenchman’s Cap Track and the swing bridge
The Frenchman’s Cap Track is another, strenuous, multi-day hike that is supposedly even tougher than the Overland Track. Don’t worry, the whole trek is not part of this Tasmania itinerary, just the first kilometer or so. This is mostly of interest to you if you didn’t complete the Franklin River Nature Trail above. In our opinion, while similar, this alternative offers a better view of the river. You can walk the first bit of the hike until you reach a long swing bridge crossing the Franklin River. Snap a few photos and be on your way again.
Donaghys Hill Nature Trail and Viewpoint
We heard about this place on an information sign at a random roadside stop. The photo below is taken there. It stated that the walk to the Donaghys Hill Viewpoint would be very much worth our time on a clear day. As you can see, we had just that, but unfortunately, we were out of time at this point. It does take around 45 minutes to reach the viewpoint, so keep that in mind.
The next possible stop on your Tasmania itinerary is called Nelson Falls. As the name suggests, it’s a waterfall. This is one of the most popular ones on the island, so if you like waterfalls, it might be worth prioritizing. There is a bit of a walk to get there, so it’s not just a stop where you can pull over and go get it over with. For this reason, and due to our time management issues, we skipped this stop as well. We have seen more than our fair share of impressive waterfalls in Iceland recently, and they are just really hard to beat.
Iron Blow Lookout
If you are looking for a quick stop along the road, make sure to pull up when you get to the Iron Blow Lookout. It’s an old copper mine which has been decommissioned and now features a beautiful lake. In fact, the whole area around there is copper mine territory, and there are still active mines operating.
Strahan + River Cruise
Now we didn’t include Strahan on the map above. It’s a bit of a detour, and frankly, you won’t have time if you are following this itinerary to the point. However, if you chose to sleep at Lake St Clair instead, or if you have a full extra day, it will be possible for you to make it. It wasn’t a big draw to us personally, but we heard a lot of good things about the Gordon River Cruise that departs from there. We don’t blame you if you want to go on a scenic, wilderness, cruise, on a river that winds itself through the rainforest. Just make sure to have the time for it, because a road trip can quickly turn stressful if you need to race from stop to stop.
Cradle Mountain National Park
You’ll probably arrive quite late in Cradle Mountain National Park and will have time for nothing else than getting some grub and going to sleep. It’s important that you are well-rested because tomorrow you’ll hopefully be doing some proper hiking. Time to pray for clear weather!
Where to camp in Cradle Mountain National Park?
Being the most visited National Park in Tasmania, there are surprisingly few camping options available. That’s fine, as long as you make sure to pre-book early. We stayed for a few nights at Discovery Parks Cradle Mountain, and it was great. It is a commercial campsite, so it does cost a fair bit more than the government-run ones we were getting used to, but at least you get a good location and some great amenities to go with that. The price is around 50 AUD for a standard site.
Where to stay in Cradle Mountain National Park?
Remember, Cradle Mountain NP is a highly popular place. Make sure to arrange accommodation well in advance. Here are two suggestions:
Budget: Waldheim Cabins is, in our opinion, your very best option in Cradle Mountain NP! The government runs a few very basic and incredibly small cottages which are placed inside the park. Availability isn’t great, so make sure to book early. It’s worth the effort because staying inside the park has plenty of advantages. For one, you have easy access to the various hiking trails, and you can get started much earlier than everyone else. However, the most important point for us is that the wildlife of Cradle Mountain NP really likes to wake up around dusk when all the day visitors have left. We saw so many cute and fluffy wombats, and they might just have been the highlight of our entire Tasmania road trip. Photo coming up on day 6 below! The smallest cabins can accommodate 4 people and costs just 95 AUD. There’s a kitchen inside the hut, with refrigerator and stove, but a shared toilet outside.
Upscale: Cradle Mountain Hotel
It is also possible to stay further away from the park and visit on a day trip. You could do this from as far away as Devonport or Launceston. We do recommend you try to stay as near to the park as possible, though. The weather in the mountains is most often clear in the morning, so getting an early start is best.
Day 6: Cradle Mountain National Park
Cradle Mountain National Park has the potential to be your favorite place in Tasmania. However, it can just as easily be a huge disappointment. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about that because it will depend almost entirely on the weather gods. First of all, though, a few practicalities about Cradle Mountain NP might come in handy for you.
You are not allowed to drive inside the national park by yourself; instead, there are shuttle buses taking people from the visitor center to the hiking trails. Their schedule depends on the season, but generally, they start driving around 8 am and stop at 7 pm. If you miss the last bus, you are walking out, which may take you a few hours. Stay updated on their website. There are plenty of buses for everyone, and all you need to do is show the driver your national park permit. Remember, we talk about the smartest way to obtain a national park permit in our separate Tasmania Travel Guide FAQ.
Secondly, there aren’t any real supermarkets or grocery stores close to the national park. It’s located in a quite remote area. The only place we found to pick up groceries was a small kiosk associated with Discovery Parks. You could buy alcohol there as well, but only if you stay at the campsite.
Thirdly, it is a good idea to write your hiking intentions in the visitor books placed at the shuttle stops. You’ll notice most people skip doing this, but better safe than sorry is a good mantra to remember here. If something happens to you in the mountains, or you get lost, it’s nice to know someone will come looking for you, right?
Here’s a short video we recorded in Cradle Mountain NP
You may need to click twice on the video if you are on a mobile device. If you liked what you saw, check out some of our other travel videos as well.
Cradle Mountain Summit
The highlight of a trip to Cradle Mountain NP would be summiting Cradle Mountain itself. Reaching 1.545 meters, or 5.000 feet, this is a proper mountain. And that’s where the weather really comes into play. Located in a highly mountainous region, Cradle Mountain NP is subject do changing weather conditions, and the longest hikes should only be attempted in the best of weather. Even with a clear forecast, you should stay aware of clouds suddenly starting to form in the distance to avoid getting stuck in a thunderstorm. If you hear thunder, it might already be too late!
Here’s a little infographic telling you what to do in such an unfortunate situation.
If you are lucky with the weather, you can attempt to summit Cradle Mountain. It’s a 6 to 8-hour long hike, so it’s essential with an early start. Bring lots and lots of water, a packed lunch, and remember sunscreen. It’s really only for experienced hikers, as it’s a very steep ascent, including a bit of scrambling towards the top. That being said, most people can handle it, and you should not be overly worried. Just come prepared!
If the summit of Cradle Mountain sounds a little too daunting, or if you don’t have a full day, Marion’s Lookout is a great alternative. This is the only hike we managed to get done ourselves. The day we were there, the weather was clear in the morning, but a thunderstorm was forecast for the afternoon.
Marion’s Lookout is actually on the way towards the summit. We just didn’t want to risk going further up the mountain. It’s also part of the famous Overland Track, so you’ll get a small taste of that as well.
The majority of people who can walk for extended periods should be able to handle the hike. However, do be aware that it’s no walk in the park. You’ll be climbing continuously for several hours, and it’s very steep in places. There’s even a small section with chains you need to hold onto.
Bring a packed lunch to enjoy at the very top. Nothing like a great view to go with a snack.
Crater Lake & Wombat Poo
Marion’s Lookout can be taken as a loop, starting at Ronny Creek Shuttle Bus Stop and ending at Dove Lake. Doing it like that is highly recommended. On the way, you’ll pass by two beautiful mountain lakes known as Crater Lake and Wombat Poo (imagine the color of the water). Expect the full loop to take around 3 hours, depending on how much time you spend on the top.
This is the most famous and the largest mountain lake in the national park. It is also the final stop for the shuttle bus. You can walk on relatively level ground, all around the lake. This is a great and easy alternative to Marion’s Lookout, especially if the weather isn’t spot on.
Wildlife & The Waldheim Cabins
Having booked a night at Waldheim Cabins, we got to stay inside the national park after all the other guests left. It was great. We saw 5 or 6 cute little wombats up close and countless wallabies. They all come out to play around dusk, so make sure to head out for a walk in the evening. We spotted our first wombat just 2 minutes after leaving the front door! Who knows, you may even be lucky to spot a Tasmanian Devil.
If the photo above doesn’t convince you to book at least one night at Waldheim Cabins, we don’t know what will!
Other things to do in Cradle Mountain NP include visiting the Tasmanian Devil Zoo, going for a helicopter ride, or joining a canyoning trip. There are also various tours offered on an ad hoc basis by the visitor center. When we visited, they had a sunrise tour and a wildlife spotting tour. We suggest you call them up and ask what they have in the works for your visit. We didn’t find the information online that reliable.
Add-on Day F: More hiking around Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain National Park is definitely a place where you could spend a few extra days. There’s an abundance of hikes in the area, and it could be necessary to wait around for good weather. We were there for three days ourselves, and even that, unfortunately, wasn’t enough time. The weather never got quite good enough for us to attempt summiting Cradle Mountain itself. Hopefully, you are luckier!
Day 7: End Your Tasmania Road Trip Full of Happy Memories
On this day, the adventure is, unfortunately, over. You might be able to squeeze in a small hike in Cradle Mountain NP in the morning, but after that, it’s back on the road for the last time, driving to Devonport.
Congratulations! You have made it all the way around the magical island of Tasmania. We hope you have enjoyed your visit, and if not, sorry mate, there must be something very wrong with you!
14-Day Tasmania Itinerary
That’s it for your 7-day Tasmania road trip. As you will have discovered, we included day 0, as well as 6 add-on days. That way, the trip can be extended up to a length of 14 days. We can safely say that if you have the time, you won’t regret spending it all in Tasmania!
In case you do have more time, this is a quick summary of how a 14-day Tasmania road trip would plan out:
Day 1: Arrival in Devonport
Day 2: Bay of Fires
Day 3: Freycinet NP
Day 4: Freycinet NP
Day 5: Tasman Peninsula
Day 6: Maria Island
Day 7: Hobart
Day 8: Hobart
Day 9: Bruny Island
Day 10: Mount Field NP
Day 11: Lake St. Clair
Day 12: Cradle Mountain NP
Day 13: Cradle Mountain NP
Day 14: Leave Tasmania
And here it is on the map:
If you’re really fortunate, you might just have even more time to spend in Australia. Good thing the country is enormous then! How about an epic road trip in a totally different part of the country? Australia is famous for its driving routes, the most well-known of which is probably the stretch between Adelaide and Melbourne (via the Great Ocean Road). Other great road trip ideas include Cairns to Brisbane, Brisbane to Sydney, or Sydney to Melbourne.
You might even combine the four to create the mother of all road trips! You won’t get bored, because each region is so diverse you’ll feel like you’re driving through different countries.
Everything else you need to know about visiting Tasmania
As we mentioned in the very beginning, this post got a little too long, so we’ve had to split it up. Head over to our dedicated Tasmania Travel Guide for everything else you need to know about visiting Tasmania! It includes plenty of practical stuff, such as when to visit Tasmania, how to get there, which tele-company offers the best coverage, what kind of weather to expect, how to book national park passes, and much more.
As always, you are also very welcome to throw us a comment below. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have, and we are always looking for feedback to our posts. You can also reach out via social media, e.g. on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. We promise to reply as soon as we can!