We *might* have mentioned that road trips in Tasmania are one of our favourite Australian travel experiences, and that we love to take our car on Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne to Devonport so we can drive straight off at the other end and begin our Tassie Road trip itinerary!
But many people ask us what to do and where to go once there!
Inspired by the driving itineraries available on Spirit of Tasmania’s Road Trip planner (seriously, check them out – everything is done for you!) we’ve put together an East Coast Tassie Road trip itinerary that we think is perfect for experiencing many of Tassie’s treasures over seven days. This adventure takes in some of our favourite locations around the state, and is a real mix of the highlights that Tasmania is so famous for – a pristine coast, delectable food and wine, history and culture, and of course, friendly and welcoming (and enterprising) locals!
We are calling this Day 0 because we love taking an overnight sailing from Melbourne to Devonport on board Spirit of Tasmania and beginning Day 1 of your holiday upon your arrival. You can even finish work / school that day, then drive to Station Pier in Port Melbourne to board the ship and begin your trip! Load your vehicle with everything you want and need, no excess baggage fees here!
If you take an overnight sailing, we recommend watching the sunset from the outdoor decks. See the Melbourne skyline fade into the horizon as the ship cruises into Bass Strait, then head inside for all of the entertainment and dining options available! Grab dinner at TMK (Tasmania Market Kitchen) and if you have kids, let them run around the play areas. Then catch a movie in one of the onboard cinemas, or have a drink in the lounge where there is usually some live music. Nothing better than starting the trip with some local Tassie wine!
Then get a good night’s sleep in one of the private cabins and as the ship sneaks into Devonport early the next day, be ready to drive straight off and begin your Tassie Road trip itinerary!
Day 1 – Devonport to Launceston – 102km
The beauty of today is that you will get an early start and be able to make the most of your first day in Tassie. It’s an easy drive from Spirit of Tasmania’s pier in Devonport to Launceston, and a great stop along the way is at Ashgrove Cheese in Elizabeth Town.
Ashgrove are open 7 days a week for visitors to see the farm where the famous dairy products are made, and taste the creamy ice-cream, bottled milk, cheeses, cream and butter. In our books, there is no better way to start a Tasmanian adventure!
Arrive into Launceston and head to Cataract Gorge, one of Launceston’s best attractions. Just a two-minute drive from the city centre, the Gorge is a natural formation with so much to see and do, you can easily spend much of the day here. Walk the Kings Bridge which spans the gorge itself, grab lunch at the café, and if it’s warm, enjoy the swimming pool. Walk the historic pathway along the cliff face looking down onto the river, and if you stay until dusk, meet some of the local wild wallabies.
Day 2 – Launceston > Tamar Valley > St Helens – 170km
We recommend driving to the coast via the Tamar Valley Wine region and stopping at one of our favourite wineries there, Josef Chromy.
Just 15 minutes out of Launceston you will find yourself in a beautiful landscape of premier vineyards and at Josef Chromy you can wine and dine on some of the best produce in the state.
They also hold incredible events including Jazz nights and Sunday markets!
TIP: Load up on cases of wine! You can fit them all in your car and simply take them back to Melbourne without restriction!
Continue towards the coast and the amazing Bay of Fires stretch of coastline. St Helens, 15 minutes drive south of Binalong Bay, is a beautiful little fishing village and the ideal place to base yourself for the night.
Go for a walk along the Bay of Fires beaches – you will be dazzled by the pristine white sand, turquoise waters and fiery-red boulders along the coast. We took it one step further when we were there and went diving in the gulch for abalone, but we must be honest, the water was pretty chilly!
Day 3 – St Helens – Coles Bay (Freycinet National Park) – 108km
It’s time to really experience Tassie’s East Coast. The Great Eastern Drive hugs the coastline all the way south and there truly are some amazing gems along the way.
The drive from St Helens to Coles Bay offers plenty of reasons to stop and a few of our favourites include the town of Bicheno and its dramatic blowhole, Spring Vale Wines, and East Coast Natureworld – to meet the local Tassie devils of course.
Arrive into Coles Bay in time to check out Muirs Beach, just one of the unspoiled beaches in this pristine and stunning region.
Day 4 – Coles Bay (Freycinet National Park)
We think this part of the world deserves a couple of nights stay to really take advantage of all there is to offer here.
Get up before dawn and tackle the well-designed walk up to the lookout over famous Wineglass Bay. It is a 1.5 – 2-hour return trip and worth every single minute for the views over the iconic beach.
You can stretch it out further by walking down to the beach itself.
Go kayaking! Paddling the sea on gorgeous Oyster Bay under the spectacular pink-hued ‘Hazards’ ranges is truly a bucket list experience.
Finally, don’t miss the seafood! Drop into Freycinet Marine Farm to taste oysters as fresh as they come.
Day 5 – Coles Bay to Hobart – 206km
Time to tear yourself away from this little piece of paradise and hit the road again, and it’s time to get your head around some of Australia’s most significant history.
We absolutely recommend visiting Port Arthur if you are ever in the region, and we think it is worth the 3-hour drive today.
Get up early and hit the road, and you will be in Port Arthur by lunchtime. Spend the rest of the day at the Port Arthur Historic Site, soaking in the incredible convict history, stories and buildings, trying to wrap your head around the reality of such a place.
Stay in Port Arthur overnight so you can do the ghost tour at Port Arthur Historic Site – if you dare!
Day 6 – Port Arthur to Hobart – 100km
Try and time this day to be a Saturday and you will arrive in time for the Salamanca Markets!
Browse the many stalls of local food, arts and crafts and soak in the atmosphere that these iconic markets enjoy.
Wander some of the historic streets around Salamanca Place, take a stroll around the docks, full of history and characterful buildings, and then board the MONA ferry for a transfer to one of the most unique experiences in the country!
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) was designed to be viewed from the water and it won’t be the first time you will gaze at something with your mouth open! Open your mind, embrace the experience and enjoy!
If you have time, don’t forget the many amazing restaurants and bars that Hobart is so famous for this evening. Hobart is an easy place to stroll around if you are based in the city centre so make sure you get out to enjoy it if you can!
Day 7 – Hobart to Devonport – 281km
Enjoy a lazy breakfast in Hobart and perhaps one more wander of the city’s heritage streets lined with boutiques, galleries and cafes. The drive to Devonport is around 3hrs 20 minutes but leave time to stop along the way.
Gems like the historic town of Ross are more than worthwhile, with its heritage bridge, sandstone buildings and convict history – not to mention a great bakery!
Arrive into Devonport in time to check into your Spirit of Tasmania sailing – check in opens 2.5 hours prior to departure, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy the final day of your driving adventure.
Set sail on Spirit of Tasmania back to Melbourne, enjoying the hospitality one more time and a relaxing end to your Tasmanian experience.
Are there any places you would add to a Tassie Road Trip Itinerary or like to know more about visiting in Tassie? Let us know in the comments and we can hopefully help!