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How To Plan The Ultimate Tasmania Road Trip

A Tasmania road trip is one of the best ways to explore this incredible island. However, navigating the wildlife, weather and winding roads takes some careful planning. From safety tips to seasons this guide covers everything you need for a stress free Tasmania road trip. 


Before you can start your Tasmania road trip, you need to get there first. Tasmania is an island located around 240 kilometres (150 miles) to the south of mainland Australia. This means (assuming you’re a visitor and not a local) there are two options: flying or ferry.

Ferry from Melbourne to Devonport

The Spirit of Tasmania operates across the Bass Strait from Geelong, Melbourne to Devonport. Prices for the ferry vary depending on the season, number of passengers and if you’re taking a vehicle.

Flying to Hobart

Whether you struggle with seasickness or you were nearly sick at the ferry cost (this was us!) then your best option is to fly to Hobart the capital of Tasmania. The flight takes around 1 hour and can cost as little as $50 – depending on the season. We flew with Virgin from Melbourne to Hobart in April 2023 and our return flights cost $250. You will also find great deals with Jetstar.

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view from campervan window of lush greenery and blue skies in Tasmania

If you are renting a vehicle for your Tasmania road trip, compare the cost of renting in Victoria and then taking it over on the ferry VS renting once you arrive in Tasmania. Depending on the time of year it may prove cheaper to rent your car or campervan in Melbourne, then travel on the ferry to Tassie. For us, it was cheaper to fly from Melbourne to Hobart then rent our campervan from Hobart.


As a minimum we’d suggest 7 to 10 days however, in reality, you could spend weeks driving in Tasmania and still never get bored. There is that much to explore and enjoy! There are a few points we recommend you consider that could impact how long you’d need for a Tasmania road trip.

These include: 

  • Stops and activities: Do you plan on hiking, camping or kayaking? Visiting museums or taking part in tours? The activities you hope to do will determine where you stop and how long you spend in each destination. 
  • Travelling Companions: If (like us!) your Tasmania road trip involves travelling with little ones, you’ll also need to factor in toilet, snack and playground stops. Your driving days may also be shorter to work around nap or bed times. 
  • Accommodation Availability: During peak travel seasons or in popular tourist areas, accommodation can book up quickly so you’ll need to plan in advance. If you’re travelling off peak or camping, this will allow more freedom as you can book accommodation as you go.
  • Rest and Relaxation: While there is so much to see and do, its vital you don’t cram in too much otherwise your Tasmania road trip will be exhausting. Avoid burn out with scheduled downtime to recharge. This will also help you appreciate the journey more as you’ll avoid rushing from one stop to the next. 
  • Weather Conditions: We found the West Coast Vs the East Coast is night and day when it comes to weather. This will also impact how long your road trip may take. Heavy rain, extreme heat or even snow can impact road conditions in Tassie. This then means potential delays or changes in your itinerary.
  • Budget and Expenses: It’s no secret Australia is expensive, so our final tip is to consider your budget as this will likely dictate the length of your trip. We have a rough guide on how much to budget for accommodation, food, fuel and activities below.
road bend with mountains and clouds in background


To be honest, we believe there is no best or bad time for a Tasmania road trip. Each season has its own advantages (and disadvantages) such as:

Spring: September to November

Many would say Spring is the best season for a Tasmania road trip. This is because:

  • Landscape: The landscape will transform into vibrant colours as flowers bloom and greenery flourishes. Flower fan? You can’t miss the Bloomin’ Tulips festival in Wynyard which runs for around three weeks from September – October. 
  • Weather: If you’re planning your Tasmania road road trip between September to November you can expect temperatures similar to Autumn with averages between 7°C and 18°C. The slight difference is the wind – Spring is the windiest time of year in Tasmania. This can be tricky for towing a caravan as well as tent camping. 
  • Crowds: Fewer crowds than Summer, but still busier than Autumn or Winter. 

Summer: December to February

Although this is considered “high season” so you can expect hiked prices, there are still a few great reasons to plan your road trip in Tasmania during this time:

  • Weather: This is when you’ll find the sunniest and driest days. Average temperature ranges between 17 and 23°C (62-73° F) so it isn’t near as hot as mainland Aus. 
  • Daylight Hours: During this time Tassie has the longest daylight hours than anywhere in Australia – sometimes up to 15 hours of daylight! This is ideal for driving in Tasmania as well as giving you more time for hiking, finding campsites, beach time and more. 
  • Lavender Fields: A definite highlight of the Summer months is the spectacular lavender in bloom in December and January. Head to Bridestowe Lavender Estate (the largest lavender farm in the Southern Hemisphere) during this time for this famous phenomenon and those insta-worthy photos! 
lavender fields at sunset in Tasmania

Winter: June to August

When you can expect four seasons in one day regardless of the time of year, why not plan your trip for the cheapest, quietest time? There are a few reasons why Winter may appeal as the perfect time for a Tasmania road trip:

  • Snow: Snow in Australia? Yes, really! During the Winter months Mt. Wellington, Ben Lomond, and the Tasmanian highlands receive a dusting of snow. This may put people off visiting as they expect road disruptions (which are actually rare!) so you can enjoy the snow-covered landscapes in peace.
  • Whale Watching: Another bonus of driving in Tasmania in Winter is that it’s the best time for spotting the majestic Humpback whales along the East Coast. From May to July, Great Oyster Bay off the Freycinet Peninsula is a great spot for whale watching or Frederick Henry Bay where you can spot the passing whales while still on dry land. 

Autumn: March to May

We planned our Tasmania road trip for during this time for a few reasons:

  • Temperature:  Firstly, the temperature. The average temperatures are between 8.9 – 17.3°C (48 – 63.1°F). This meant the weather was neither too hot nor too cold for hiking or sleeping in a van (especially with a toddler in tow!)
  • Crowds: We also found this an ideal time for driving in Tasmania as the roads were quieter. You won’t have the same crowds as you will in Spring and Summer, making driving, parking and finding camping spots easier. 
  • Harvest season: Autumn is also harvest season, so is the best time of year for foodies and wine fans (like us!) who want to indulge in local produce.
  • Cost: Finally, it’s cheaper! For flights, vehicle hire, campsites and activities proved cheaper during this “shoulder” season in comparison to the busier Summer months.
woman holding child on sandy beach



After travelling mainland Australia in a campervan as well as New Zealand in a campervan, we knew this was the best, budget-friendly option for our road trip, especially as we were travelling with a toddler. Campervanning in Tasmania means your bedroom, kitchen and transport is all rolled into one – your own wee home on wheels!

In both New Zealand and Australia we previously hired our van with Travellers Autobarn and cannot recommend them enough! Not only is their customer service excellent, but their vans are well equipped, reliable and affordable.


Alternatively, hire a car and book accommodation around the island. A car may be cheaper on fuel, it’s easier to park in busy destinations and it means you can enjoy the home comforts of hotels instead of campsites. Although car hire is cheaper than a campervan, you’ll need to factor in the cost of eating out for each meal plus accommodation on top.

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We met a couple at the airport in Hobart who had just finished their own five week Tasmania road trip on bikes. Thanks to the quiet roads, ample campsites and outstanding scenery it is an epic destination to explore on two wheels. 


If a car + hotels sounds too expensive, but a campervan sounds too intimidating, a caravan is a great in between. Choose one campsite for a few days to use your caravan as a base then use your car for day trips to explore locally. Cars are much easier to park, use less fuel and it saves moving campsites every night.

man driving car with views

Do you need a 4wd for Tasmania?

The short answer is, no. We were concerned that by hiring a campervan we’d be restricted on where we could drive without four wheel drive but we had no issues. While there will always be areas off-road and remote, getting around Tassie is easy enough without hiring a 4wd. A


There are three main starting locations – Devonport, Hobart and Launceston. Each has unique reasons to begin there but no matter where you choose, we can promise you’ll have a memorable road trip in Tasmania. 


If you arrive in Tasmania on the ferry, you will start your Tasmania road trip in Devonport. This means you are in the perfect location to begin exploring the Cradle Mountain National Park, one of the island’s most iconic destinations. The park offers exceptional hiking trails, pristine wilderness, and breathtaking mountain views.

If you plan on hiking, it’s maybe best to start your road trip here while you’re refreshed and ready, not exhausted from a week on the road! It also means if you’re running out of time towards the end of your trip you won’t be rushed and can enjoy the hikes at a leisurely pace or wait out any bad weather.


Most people choose to begin their Tasmania road trip in the capital city – Hobart. Not only is it convenient for the airport but due to higher demand, there is more choice and better deals on car hire. 

We also chose to start our road trip in Tasmania from here as it meant we could stock up on supplies such as food for the week and any last minute camping essentials. Once you’re on the road, major supermarkets are harder to find. 

The city of Hobart itself has lots to see and do including:

  • Visit the world-famous MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)
  • Take a drive or hike up to the summit of Mount Wellington
  • Visit the Bustling Salamanca Markets (every Saturday 8:30am – 3:00pm) 

From Hobart, you could then head clockwise (like we did) to Mt Field National Park which is around an 80km drive then continue up the West Coast. Alternatively, head down to the Tasman Peninsula to the picturesque Port Arthur Historic Site (around 110km from Hobart) before continuing up the East Coast. 


There is also an airport in Launceston, so you can start your Tasmania road trip from here too. You can fly directly to Launceston from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide or Perth. Alternatively, you can connect through Melbourne from other destinations. 

It’s an ideal location if you want to start your Tasmania road trip with a spot of wine tasting as it’s near the Tamar Valley wine region, known for its vineyards, and gourmet food experiences. Our favourite campsite in Tasmania was also here, called Old Mac’s Farm

From Launceston you could then head to the West Coast via Cradle Mountain (around 150km drive) or head to the East Coast to Bay of Fires (around 200km) and continue your Tasmania road trip from there. 

aerial view of windy road in Tasmania


If you have 7 days in Tasmania or more, we recommend you do a full lap of the island. Not only because you will be rewarded with the most epic Tasmanian road trip, but because your vehicle rental will be cheaper if you drop off and pick up in the same place. Some rental companies charge a “one-way” fee if you start and finish in different locations. 

Although there is so much to see and do, as a general guide the main highlights (with driving distances) are as follows:

  • Start: Hobart > Mt Field (80km)
  • Mt Field > Strahan (250 km)
  • Strahan > Cradle Mountain (140km) 
  • Cradle Mountain > Stanley (410 km) 
  • Stanley > Launceston (235km) 
  • Launceston > Bingalong Bay/Bay of Fires (240km)
  • Bay of Fires > Coles Bay/Freycinet National Park (130km)
  • Coles Bay > Port Arthur (240km)
  • End: Port Arthur > Hobart (110km) 

During our own road trip in Tasmania we had to skip Stanley and head from Cradle Mountain to Launceston. We then headed straight from Coles Bay to Hobart, skipping Port Arthur as we were short on time.

Check out our 7 day Itinerary for Tasmania which covers this route in more detail. It includes all the hikes, highlights and hidden gems we squeezed into our week on the island. 


From our lap of Tassie, these were our highlights, feel free to use this as your Tasmania road trip bucket list! 

  • Hobart: Summit of Mt Wellington | MONA museum | Salamanca Markets
  • Mt Field National Park: Hiking Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Tall Trees and Lady Barron Falls
  • Strahan: Gordon River Cruise | West Coast Wilderness Railway
  • Cradle Mountain: Dove Lake Circuit walk | Wombats at Ronnie Creek
  • Stanley: The Nut | Godfrey’s Beach
  • Tamar Valley: Wine, wine, wine! 
  • Bay of Fires: Free Camping at beaches
  • Freycinet National Park: Wineglass Bay Lookout | Honeymoon Bay | Coles Bay


If you have less time on your hands, instead of a lap of the island you may want to just focus on one of these popular Tasmania road trip routes. These road trips are also ideal if you prefer to find a base (whether camping or hotel) and explore the island on day trips. 

Great Eastern Drive

From: Orford to St Helens | approx 175 km | 2 hours 15 mins
Best Tasmanian Road Trip for: Beach Lovers

This is the ultimate East Coast road trip in Tasmania. Do not be fooled by the drive time of 2 hours and 15 minutes, you could easily spend weeks in this region. After completing this route ourselves, we’d argue it is our favourite Tasmania road trip route with beaches, wineries and wildlife round every corner.

Highlights include:

  • Freycinet National Park with its famed Wineglass Bay
  • The historic town of Port Arthur, and the charming coastal towns of Bicheno and St Helens. 
  • Beautiful beaches like Spring Beach in the South or Bay of Fires in the North. 
  • Wildlife such as wombats and wallabies on Maria Island or the penguins heading ashore in Bicheno. 
blue skies and wineglass bay Tasmania

Western Wilds

From: Queenstown to Launceston | 450km 
Best Tasmanian road trip for: Adventure seekers

Swap the rest and relaxation of the East Coast for the remotene Western wilderness. This Tasmania road trip begins in the village of Queenstown known as the gateway to the West Coast. Then you’ll head on to Strahan where you can swap your car to hop onboard a Gordon River Cruise or West Coast Wilderness Railway.

Highlights include:

  • The historic mining town of Queenstown
  • Cruise the ’99 Bends’ between Derwent Bridge and Queenstown. 
  • A stunning Gordon River Cruise or ride along the West Coast Wilderness Railway
  • The Spray Tunnel just outside Zeehan that dazzles with glowworms
  • Explore the Tarkine Wilderness region, don’t miss Arthur River – the most westerly settlement in Tasmania. 
  • Admire The Nut in Stanley via the iconic chair lift
  • Explore the natural beauty of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
  • Finally, finish up in Launceston, the second-largest city in Tassie and one of the oldest in all of Australia!
gordon rive cruise in tasmania

The Heartlands

From: Kempton to Launceston | 220km
Best Tasmania Road trip for: Those who prefer the road less travelled

As you may have guessed, The Heartlands is used to describe the central and northern parts of the island. This Tasmania road trip will take you deep into the “heart” of Tasmania where you will venture along Heritage Highway, through the Central highlands and into the Meander Valley. If you’re Scottish like us there are so many highlights that will make you feel right at home along this route including distilleries and Australia’s oldest golf course, established by Scottish settlers. 

There are several options, towns and routes within this region, but a few highlights include: 

  • If you’re Scottish like us you cannot miss the town of Kempton famed for its distillery and the Kempton Festival Big Day Out where you can witness the iconic Tasmanian Sheep Racing Championship. Also the tartan street signs of Bothwell that are a wee nod to the town’s Scottish heritage. 
  • Ratho farm, Australia’s oldest golf course dating back to 1800s. 
  • Beautiful Liffey Falls 
liffey waterfalls in tasmania


We’ve included the main distances and times for driving in Tasmania below; however, it’s important to take these driving times with a pinch of salt. If you are driving in Tasmania in a campervan or towing a caravan, it’s best to add around 20% extra time on top to account for the narrow,windy roads. You’ll also come across steep hills and inclines, which can be more challenging for campervans and trailers. As well as slower climbing speeds, you’ll need to pull over more often to let others pass and fuel up more often too.

From Hobart to…

  • Launceston:  203km | 2hours 25 minutes
  • Stanley : 403km | 4hours 45 minutes
  • Cradle Mountain: 318km | 4 hours 25 minutes
  • Strahan: 300km 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Coles Bay: 194km | 2hours 35 minutes 

From Launceston to…

  • Stanley: 224km | 2hours 40 minutes
  • Cradle Mountain: 138 km | 2hours 20 minutes
  • Strahan: 270 km | 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Coles Bay: 175 km | 2 hours and 5 minutes

From Devonport to…

  • Hobart: 281km | 3hours 20 minutes
  • Launceston: 90 km | 1 hour 15 mintues
  • Stanley: 126 km | 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Cradle Mountain: 107 km | 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Strahan: 224 km | 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Coles Bay: 255 km | 3 hours 5 minutes
beach with road running parrallel


Download our free road trip packing list so you are well prepared for a safe and stress free Tasmania road trip. This interactive PDF checklist works on both mobile and desktop so you’ll never leave home without a road trip essential again! Check out our other free downloadable tools such as our budget tracker and camping checklist on our resources page.

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Road Trip Packing List - Black Campervan On Road


  1. Don’t drive: Whether driving in Tasmania sounds too intimidating or you simply want to enjoy all the wineries carefree, you can always book a bus tour instead. Enjoy a road trip without the stress of planning or driving with this 7 day Tasmanian Highlights tour which includes Mt Field National Park, Lake St Clair, Cradle Mountain and Wineglass Bay. This 6 day Tasmania tour also includes all meals, accommodations as well as the unmissable highlights!

  2. Road Conditions: Between major towns road conditions are smooth and well maintained but elsewhere unsealed roads are common. Some forbid rental vehicles and these roads can also be treacherous after heavy rain. 

  3. Buy & Display your National Parks pass: As well as remembering to buy your Parks pass before you set off, it’s important you remember to also display it. If you are found parked in a national park without one, you may incur a fine. The funds raised from the passes are put towards maintaining the roads, car parks etc so we all must contribute.

  4. West Coast Rain: Due to the island’s unique geography, the cold Antarctic air meets with the steep rising West Coast Range, so you can expect LOTS of rain on the West coast. On average, 2400mm per year (mostly between April and September) with Strahan experiencing up to 20 rain days per month in the middle of winter (compared to 7 in Hobart). Don’t let this ruin your Tasmania road trip, pack your waterproofs and plan enough time for delays or disruptions.

  5. Google Maps is your friend (and the enemy!): One of our most used apps for backpackers. Star the highlights we’ve mentioned then you can download the maps to use offline, but note that while it is quick and convenient, it isn’t always correct. We found during our road trip in Tasmania we ended up on unsealed roads, dead ends and even a hiking path at one point. Trust your instinct and stick to the main roads where possible. 

unsealed road in tasmania

6. Wildlife: Many of Tassie’s native animals are nocturnal. This means you’ll need to be cautious when driving at dawn and dusk as this is when the wildlife such as quolls and devils are more active. Don’t swerve if you see an animal, but brake carefully (if it is safe to do so.) For information for what to do for sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, go here.

7. Save on Fuel: Some supermarkets offer a discount off your fuel if you spend over a certain amount. For example, Woolworths offer 4c off per litre at Ampol when you spent $30 or more on a groceries 

8. Stay Left: When driving in Tasmania you must stay left, as is the rule in Australia. You also need to park facing the direction of traffic which earned us a cheeky fine in Melbourne, as this is not law in the UK!

9. Mobile Coverage: While major towns have good mobile coverage, some remote areas may have limited or no signal. Download maps and directions before your trip.

10.Responsible Traveller: It’s vital when driving in Tasmania that you are a responsible traveller. Leave campsites and carparks as you found them (or even better!) don’t leave litter, avoid feeding the wildlife and always take your three for the sea. Many roads pass through pristine wilderness areas and National Parks. Respect the environment and follow Leave No Trace principles.

We hope this guide has helped you feel informed and excited about your Tasmania road trip. With its stunning natural beauty, friendly locals, and photo opportunities round every corner driving in Tasmania promises an incredible adventure. Let us know in the comments how your driving holiday goes and if you have any top tips we’ve missed!


When Darren the WordPress wizard & excel enthusiast met Lauren the storyteller and wannabe wanderluster, a grand adventure was bound to happen. Through Faramagan they document their tales (and fails) with a refreshing and unfiltered approach. By avoiding adulthood one adventure at a time, they hope to inspire others to do the same.

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