Are you planning a road trip in Tasmania? Lucky you! Tasmania is one of my
At the end of the article, I’ve listed places that aren’t included in this 7-day Tasmania self-drive itinerary as suggestions in case you have more time. You’ll also find a map to make it easy for you! Keep in mind that we did this itinerary in the summer, which I think is the best season to visit Tasmania. Some places were still cold, so make sure you bring warm clothes with you. If you plan to visit Tasmania during colder months, you may have to make changes to this itinerary as snow and ice will impact your road trip.
How long does it take to drive around Tasmania?
In this post, I’ve detailed our Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary. Tasmania has a lot to offer, so I recommend a minimum of 7 days to drive around the island. You’ll find all the details below to optimise your time on the island.
If you have less than 7 days in Tasmania
I recommend focusing on one area:
- You can organise a three-day Tasmania itinerary in the south of the island to visit Hobart, Port Arthur and Freycinet National Park. If you have more time, add Bruny Island to your itinerary.
- You can focus on Cradle Mountain, my highlight during our Tasmania road trip. You’ll probably save driving time if you fly to Launceston.
- To cover more ground in a short time, you could fly to Hobart and leave from Launceston.
If you have more than 7 days in Tasmania
That’s perfect. You can use this itinerary as a base and pick a few destinations I mentioned at the end of the article. Ideally, I would have planned to self-drive Tasmania in 10 days. This would have given us the extra time to go to the northwest of the island and also explore Bruny Island. We went back to Tasmania for a 14-day road trip in a van a few years later and loved it!
How we organised our Tasmania road trip
We were a group of five for this trip. We rented a car (for three, sleeping in tents) and a van (for a couple) from Hobart airport. To keep our Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary cheap and flexible, we found places where we could sleep in our vehicles or tents. It’s quite easy when you use WikiCamps or CamperMate (a free app). When in town or a national park, we always found a spot as we were travelling off-season (avoid Easter and summer holidays).
Responsible travel tip: Leave the site cleaner than you found it. If you see any rubbish, it’s good practice to pick it up even if it’s not yours.
Our objective was to drive around Tasmania to see as much as we could in one week, focusing on nature and wildlife.
Some would visit Tasmania for a foodie experience. I didn’t have that in mind for our trip: we mostly ate two-minute noodles while on the road. Tasmania does have a good reputation for cheese here in Australia, as well as good wines. It’s surprising that a French person didn’t give it more attention, isn’t it? Well, maybe next time! If you’ve visited Tassie for its foodie reputation, don’t hesitate to share your experience below!
Details of stops on our Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary road trip
Day 1 and 2 | Southern Tasmania: Hobart to Port Arthur
We drove along the coast from Sorell to Dunalley. We left the Arthur Highway to quickly stop at Tasman Blowhole and Devils Kitchen. These lookouts are very close to the road, so there is no need to hike. If you have time for a hike, I’ve heard good things about Cape Raoul and Cape Hairy.
Unfortunately, camping is not permitted at Port Arthur, so we had to stop just before.
On our second day, we visited Port Arthur, a historic site with an old jail. Don’t be disappointed, as it’s not a town, and there is no port! It’s like an open-air museum with great views. The tour includes a cruise, which is fantastic for enjoying the scenery and learning about the area’s history. We learned a lot about the convicts and some aspects of Australian culture that we hadn’t heard of before. Half a day was enough to take the guided tour, enjoy the cruise, and walk near the ruins. It cost us approximately $40. I would highly recommend it for those interested in learning more about Australian culture.
Day 3 | East Coast of Tasmania: Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park and Bicheno
We stayed the second night at Coles Bay.
Freycinet National Park is one of the most visited places in Tasmania, and it’s easy to understand why it attracts crowds. It was one of my two highlights of Tasmania; Cradle Mountain being the second. The lookout on the pristine beach was breathtaking. We hiked up there and then down to the beach that we had admired from above. It was beautiful… Allow at least three hours to hike in Freycinet to climb Mount Amos or to visit Wineglass Bay. If you have more time, you can continue walking to make a loop.
Unfortunately, we had limited time as we wanted to reach Bicheno before sunset.
According to our guidebook, Bicheno was described as a fishing village with penguins that come out at night.
The town did not have any particular charm as you would expect from a fishing village, which was a bit disappointing. We could hear the penguins on the beach, and after waiting patiently, we finally spotted a few. It was a great moment, but I wished there was more information about the best way to spot penguins in Bicheno.
We stayed at a campsite in Bicheno.
Day 4 | East Coast of Tasmania: Bay of Fires
This part of the coast is stunning with its red rocks and blue water. But don’t let the turquoise colours of the water fool you: it’s cold!
We spent the night between the coast and Launceston, before getting too close to the big town.
Day 5 | Launceston and the Gorge
As we were all more interested in exploring natural areas, we decided not to spend too much time in the city. We went to the nearby gorge. It’s incredible to have such a big natural gorge next to the town.
We weren’t surprised to find out it wasn’t wild nature at all. There were showers, barbecues and pools in the park. We went for a hike in the area. Although it wasn’t too incredible, it was still a nice stop on the road. For some reason, my friends enjoyed it more than I did. Maybe I was already too impatient to reach Cradle Mountain to fully appreciate the mild wilderness of the Launceston Gorge. It wasn’t remote enough for my taste.
I wished we could have used this day to explore the northwest of the island instead – where you can see penguins in the wild – but it was too challenging to fit into our itinerary.
For those curious about fascinating seahorses, Seahorse World* is worth a visit while in Launceston.
We slept between Launceston and Cradle Mountain.
Day 6 | Cradle Mountain
I had been waiting for a very long time to see Cradle Mountain, and I was lucky that the weather was perfect. It was my favourite place in Tasmania, and there was really something special about it. I would consider coming back here for more hiking, maybe one day on the Overland Track – who knows?
There are many hiking options in Cradle Mountain. We chose to do one that went up to Marion’s Lookout via Crater Lake (a 5-hour walk) and another at the bottom around Dove Lake (a 1.5-hour walk). On another trip, I climbed all the way to the Cradle Mountain summit and also walked to Hanson’s Peak for stunning views.
Cradle Mountain is very different from the other sceneries we see when we travel around Australia. It is a real alpine mountain. Those who have been on a trip to New Zealand before may not share my feeling. But after a few years in Australia, I am happy to enjoy something different to the beautiful beaches – although a nice beach is always a great option, of course.
We slept between Lake St Clair and Hobart.
Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake
This is the part I removed from our 8-day road trip to convert it into a 7-day itinerary. I have kept it here in case you plan to follow an 8-day itinerary. However, you might want to consider skipping Launceston and Lake St Clair to have more time to explore the northwest of Tasmania. That’s what I would do if I were redoing this trip.
En route to Lake St Clair, we made a quick stop at Queenstown. We all felt a bit eerie there, as the town seemed abandoned and could be a filming location for an episode of The Walking Dead. We spent the night between Queenstown and Lake St Clair.
At Lake St Clair, we went on a hike through the forest that led us to the lake. I enjoy hiking, but this one didn’t impress me much. It wasn’t terrible, and I would have been content to do it if I lived in the area. However, when you have limited time in Tasmania, there are many better things to do.
Day 7 | Back to Hobart
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
As I am aware of the harm captivity can cause to animals, I generally avoid zoos or similar activities. Sanctuaries, on the other hand, are different: they rescue injured animals and keep them only if they cannot survive in the wild. The animals that can survive are released, and the park fees support animal rescues. There is also a strong focus on educating visitors.
My friends wanted to stop to see Tasmanian Devils as they had never seen them. I wasn’t particularly interested as I had already seen them at the Sydney Reptile Park – a park that was doing a lot to support the research to try to save the species. It’s more fun to spend time in nature to try to see iconic Australian wildlife – Tasmania is a perfect place for this!
I almost didn’t visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary during our Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary. But I don’t regret following my friends there as I managed to get a unique behind-the-scene encounter with a young penguin that had been rescued the night before. They also give the opportunity to feed the kangaroos/wallabies and pet a rescued koala. It is a big cliche when you’ve been in Australia for a long time… but first-time visitors love it.
Visit of Hobart
Mount Wellington offers the best views of Hobart, and it’s easily accessible by car. If you’re in Hobart, it’s a must-do.
Hobart is a small town, and half a day is enough to walk all around the city. However, if you like museums, you’ll need more time. From what I’ve heard, the foodie experience is at its best there, so be sure to check out the restaurants before you leave.
More ideas for your Tasmania road trip itinerary
What I didn’t include in this Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary
Quickly, you will realise that seven days isn’t enough for the perfect Tasmania itinerary. So, if you want to make it longer, or if you’re going to Tasmania for the second time and you want to check out something different, here are some recommendations to add to your itinerary:
The northwest of Tasmania
With only seven days in Tasmania, we didn’t have time to explore the North West. I’ve heard a lot about it, and it seems stunning. If I were doing the same trip again, I would skip Launceston (my friends wouldn’t agree here) to go to the northwest of the island. If you cannot make it west, the north coast near Devonport is worth visiting if you’d like to see penguins in Tasmania – I loved the experience on my second trip!
Bruny Island, south of Hobart
We didn’t go to Bruny Island due to time and budget constraints. It was hard to fit into our seven-day itinerary in Tasmania, even though you can join a day tour from Hobart*. I’m glad we went back later. The hiking and scenery during the Pennicott Wilderness Journeys cruise* to see seals were fantastic.
Mt Field National Park
Although I love waterfalls, surprisingly they weren’t my favourite thing when we visited Mt Field National Park on our second trip to Tasmania. However, I was very impressed by the beauty of the tarns.
Scuba diving in Tasmania
No one in our group was a diver at the time of our trip, so this activity didn’t even cross our minds. If I were planning a trip to Tasmania today, I would definitely consider diving there. It has a reputation for having very clear, temperate waters and would offer a very different dive experience from what I am used to in Queensland.
I’ve seen images of the kelp forest, playful seals, and leafy sea dragons. All of this on the east coast. How amazing does that sound?!
Cradle Mountain: hiking the Overland Track
The Overland Track is well-known internationally as Australia’s best alpine hike, going through incredible wild landscapes and including some challenging areas. You’ll need to allow six days to complete the hike. It has always been on my mind since I researched information to create our Tasmania itinerary. The hikes we did at Cradle Mountain reinforced this desire to see more of it. We were very lucky with the weather and had splendid sunshine and blue skies. The place looked stunning.
Will I do the Overland Track? Maybe. It’s still on my mind. It can be done as a self-guided tour or as a guided tour.
Keep in mind that hiking is a cheap activity for short distances. Overnight hiking in an alpine area is different: you’ll need to pay for equipment, accommodation, park fees, transport, etc. Agencies would quote just under $1,000 for a self-guided adventure and around $2,000 for a guided tour (with the luxury of carrying a lighter backpack!).
Have you thought about hiking Australia’s highest mountain in New South Wales? You may want to read these important tips before you go to Mount Kosciuszko!
Southwest of Tasmania
This place is very remote and untouched. There is no road that leads there, and hiking takes days. Those who have the budget for it ($400 to $500) can join a day tour that will fly them there (click here for more info*). So far, the best option I’ve found is a multi-day kayaking trip, but it’s well over our budget for a trip to Tasmania. It’s still on my dream list!
Planning your Tasmania 7-day itinerary? The best way to do this road trip is by renting a van. If the nomadic lifestyle doesn’t sound fun to you, the map below shows where we stopped at night, so you can look for hotels in these areas.
Map of my Tasmania self-drive 7-day itinerary
Tasmania is an island located in the south of the Australian mainland. The two largest cities are Hobart in the South and Launceston in the north.
Again, be careful with the season when you are planning your trip: it gets a lot colder in Tasmania than on Australia’s mainland.
Did you find this article helpful? Spread the word, add this to 7-day Tasmania itinerary to your Pinterest board: