A week in Tasmania sounds like a long time. Truth is, it’s probably about right, and if you are a hiking fans, extra days would allow you to hike some national parks. One thing I am unable to do here was to raft the Franklin River, which takes anything between 6-10 days. A reason to come back.
Tasmania is very picturesque. Beautiful green sceneries everywhere combined with blue coastal lines. Great seafood, decent steaks. Delicious oysters especially on the east coast. I did a loop of the whole island, about 1,900kms in 6 days. Here’s my itinerary, route (google maps links) and photos taken along the way.
Day 1 – Hobart to Port Arthur – 125km
Started easy with just over 100km of driving on day 1. First stop is Richmond, which is an old town just right outside Hobart. It is home to the oldest bridge in Australia, an old prison (you’ll see the theme… it’s old prison everywhere in Tasmania) and some very well preserved old buildings. Lunch was at Clemens Hill for nice grilled salmon!
Passed through Sorell, there’s really not much there to see before reaching Dunalley. I was still full but couldn’t resist the temptation for a seafood basket at Dunalley Fish Market and man it was worth the A$10, quantity and quality wise. Next was the Pirate Bay Drive. There’s a lookout point here that overlook the Tasman Bay, at which there’s a coffee shop truck which I didn’t stop by and couldn’t find it the next day. It would have been a fantastic photo!
Next was the blowhole at the Eaglehawk Neck which was ok before reaching Port Arthur. I got to the historic prison (see what I meant?) at about 4pm, which gives me the cheaper entry price of A$20 (vs normal A$37). Interesting place, big complex. I stayed overnight near Taranna. In hindsight, I think the best spot for overnight is Nubeena given that it’s close to stores and restaurants.
Day 2 – Port Arthur to Coles Bay – 230km
First affair of day 2 is to visit the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo. I must admit I used to think the Tasmanian Devil is a fictional cartoon character. They’re real! Saw a couple of devils, fed the Kangaroos.
There’s really not much after that. I made another stop at Dunalley for lunch at Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed, a great place for seafood with a view.
Afternoon tea and crepes was at Kates Berry Farm where you can get some jams and manuka honey.
You should also stop by Freycinet Marine Farm for fresh oyster and uni!
There’s not much in Coles Bay, which is known for the Wineglass Bay Beach and the Freycinet National Park. I hiked up to the lookout, it was ok. I guess it’s that time of the day where the light wasn’t right, but I reckon if you go down to the beach it would be nice. The sunset here is also quite nice. Do note that stores in Coles Bay close at about 5pm and there’s probably only 1 restaurant around that closes at 8pm!
Day 3 – Coles Bay to Launceston – 380km
Things get a bit more interesting today with almost 400km of driving. After a quick stop by Pasini’s Cafe in Bicheno for breakfast, made my way to St Helens. This is the Bay of Fires area, which has some of the nicest trek in Tasmania, not that it interests me. The drive from St Helens all the way to Eddy’s Point was supposedly very nice, but unfortunately some of them are gravel road and the liability of any accident with the rental car in gravel road of A$9,900 is simply way too much. I did visit Binalong Bay on the way which has a very nice stretch of beach, but very cold water. Lunch was at Blue Shed in St Helens.
Don’t miss the drive from Pyengana to Derby, which has a stretch of green sceneries with forest, farmland and hills along the way.
There’s also the lavender farm in Bridestowe that you can go visit.
George Town in Tamar Valley is next en-route to Launceston. I would say that the sceneries on the other side of the Tamar Valley from Launceston to Beauty Point is much better (see Day 4). Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania. Quite big, some nice old buildings, and the Cataract Gorge just a couple of minutes from the city centre.
Day 4 – Launceston to Strahan – 470km
Today is the longest drive with almost 500kms, the main reason is a visit to Stanley and the Nut which is a 140km detour. Started with a stroll around Launceston city centre and Cataract Gorge, the drive start on the western side of Tamar Valley. Beautiful sceneries from this which I think better than the eastern side.
Next was Devonport, a coastal town where the Tasman ferry to Melbourne operates from. Stopped by Bizzi Bee for lunch takeaway, great fish and chips!
Then it’s a short drive to the town of Burnie before continuing to Stanley. The drive on this part is real nice. See for yourself.
Unfortunately the wind was very strong so when I get to Stanley I can’t get on the cable car to go to the top of the Nut. It resembles the Table Mountain in South Africa or the Uluru from afar right?
Afterwards, the drive to Strahan was so so, nothing special, just driving through forests. Guess the only other thing that attracted my attention is the Rosebery Mine. I used to do a lot of works for the company that owns and operates the mine so I can somewhat relate to it. See how the Mine is literally located next to the main road!
I can’t remember why I chose Strahan to spend the night, but man, it was freezing cold. It’s a small town where you can do cruises and scenic railway, but I’m kinda done with those. Caught up with a friend, got some sunset photos, but that’s pretty much it. It is extremely cold in Strahan compared to the rest of Hobart, for whatever reason. It was high single digit centrigrade when I was there, with strong windchill, so be prepared if you’re going. Also, only Telstra works here, so no Vodafone or Optus.
Day 5 – Strahan to Hobart – 300km
Today is all about driving. There’s not much between Strahan and Hobart really, unless you go and hike around the Franklin-Gordon National Park. First and only sizeable city in between is Queenstown, which is about 30mins from Strahan. Queenstown is a small mining town, old looking, quite charming really. If you come from Strahan, the view of Mt Lyell copper mine from the road is interesting. The drive as I were leaving Queenstown is amazing. It’s basically an uphill winding road where you feel like driving on a cliff. It was raining hard so the sky is grey which add to the dramatic sceneries.
After that there’s the Nelson Fall and Derwent Bridge, which is a small town near the Lake St Clair National Park. Stopped by for tasty roast beef lunch. Other than that there’s not much until Hobart.
Day 6-7 – Hobart and Huonville – 160km
The last 2 days were spent exploring Hobart on foot as well as doing a scenic loop around Huonville and the Mt Wellington Lookout. The Huonville loop is worth doing, beautiful green sceneries, coastal lines, and it’s relatively short drive.