SELF DRIVE TASMANIA : 14 DAYS ITINERARY
Always ready for a road trip, and this one looks like it is going to be amazing. You can not hire happiness, but you can always hire a campervan that is pretty much the same… That’s is what we did, we had our van ready to go and we were more than ready also! I did this journey with my couple in February on a Toyota Townace that made our journey perfect! Well… I say that I traveled with my partner but we were almost every day traveling with other backpackers we met on our way, that like us, just wanted to make the best of their Self drive Tasmania itinerary!
Where is Tasmania located?
Located in the south of Australia, it is the only island state of the country. Talking about the size it is approximate of the size of Ireland or Sri Lanka and almost two times the size of Taiwan. It counts with the purest air in the world!
Is Tasmania safe?
Australia is one of the safest countries in the world, so its island is not going to be less. Really safe for a group of female travelers or for a solo female traveler as well. In the cities, the streets are empty at 9 pm, so I do not recommend going at midnight on the empty streets, although it is safe, you never know, and we have to take the basic safety measures always.
When is the best month to go to Tasmania?
When talking about Tasmanian weather… you never know, you could have the 4 seasons in one day or even in one hour. Taking that into account, be ready with your swimsuit and raincoat regardless of which season you go. But perhaps you have better chances of good and more stable weather in summer, from December to February, being February the busiest month on the island.
How do you get to Tasmania?
You have two options: By boat or plane? Regarding the price, both options are quite similar. But it exists a big difference in the duration of the trip: By boat? 9 hours from Melbourne. By plain? 2 hours from Sydney and 1 hr from Melbourne.
The good thing about the boat is that, if you have your own car, you could go with it on the boat for a very reasonable price.
How to travel in Tasmania?
As you may know, Australia is not famous for its public transport, due to its huge distances between towns and cities, communications are not very good. In this case, Tasmania is not an exception.
Traveling between the main cities in Tasmania is possible by bus (it is expensive and takes a long time).
By Car or Campervan
I advise buying a car while on the island if you are going to be traveling around for a while and if you could buy a van to live in it would be awesome (save accommodation cost).
As an advice, if you are thinking to hire a campervan for a self-drive Tasmania road trip, I recommend using Camplify. It is a platform that connects travelers with private owners of campervans. Here, the prices and fees are lower than in the main campervan hiring companies. We hire a campervan in Devonport and the result was excellent.
In Hobart, I will highly recommend you hiring Bikes. We hired the bikes in Bike hire and it was perfect, besides the amiability of the owner, the bikes were really good and you can enjoy special discounts with them in different tourist attractions in Hobart: Mount wellington bus and Ferry from Bellerive to Hobart.
If you are based in the cities, you can easily buy a bike through gumtree!
Do I need a National park pass?
Tasmania, besides its main cities, it’s all a big national park. And you need a national park pass to go to all of them. There are different types of passes depending on the duration: 24 hours, weekly…
Which one do I advise? If you are planning to go to 3 or more days in national parks, it is worth it to pay the Holiday pass (8 weeks) as the price of each day independently is more expensive than the whole holiday pass for these 8 weeks. With the holiday pass, all the national parks are covered.
Holiday pass for the Tasmanian national park: 60 $ per vehicle.
One day pass: 20$ approximately
Tasmania Self drive Road trip
14 days itinerary
Day 1: Arrive at Devonport & Night camping in Grindelwald
Devonport- Tamar National Park- Grindelwald: 76 km
After being a while thinking of this day, finally, we are here, waiting to pick up the van that would come with us on this road trip in Tasmania. We were really excited, an incredible 14-day journey was waiting for us.
Not much to talk about Devonport as we just took the van and immediately went to discover nature in the surroundings instead of staying in the city. That same day, we cross the Tamar National Park and head off to Grindelwald (the swiss village).
I have to say that it was shocking to find this type of village in the middle of rural Tasmania. You would never expect it. This was one of the unexpected things we found on our Tasmania road trip.
Things to do in Grindelwald?
Tasmania is famous for its wineries and Tamar valley is full of them. If you are a wine lover it is a good place to stop and have a wine tour & tasting. Although I love wine, the wineries in this area are not for a person traveling on a budget. So… this time, I skipped them and decided to spend time walking around the lake of Grindelwald church.
a) Visit the Swiss town in Grindelwald: Could you imagine going through the country roads of Tasmania and coming across with a swiss bakery? But incredible things happened and in Tamar valley, there is a small Swiss town with its swiss restaurant, bakery, lake, and church! There is where we spend our time, a good walk around the lake and a great place to relax.
Dat 2: Grindelwald & night in Bicheno
From Grindelwald to Bicheno: 180 Km
I woke up in Grindewalf and headed to Bicheno, it took us 2 hours and a half. The views while driving are stunning! In Bicheno, we stayed on a free camping spot that we saw in Camper mate. Our free camping site was located in front of Lagoons Bay, besides an excellent spot for surfers, it had an impressive landscape of countryside ending on the beach.
We spend the night here and rest for the next incredible day in this small place of the island.
*Note that during the whole 14 days of our Self-drive Tasmania itinerary we used camper mate on our search for incredible camping spots to sleep in.
Day 3: Bicheno & Night in Bicheno
We woke up in our cozy campervan on the beach. It was very cold. Although it is summer in Tasmania, we were really surprised as temperatures are really low in the early morning and evening. That morning, we had an amazing snorkeling experience in Diamond Island!
Things to do in Bicheno
a) Snorkeling in Diamond Island: Beautiful island from land but even more beautiful under the water! Take your snorkeling gear and let the adventure begin!
Besides Diamond island, spend some time discovering the beaches of this incredible place.
Day 4: Coles Bay & Night in Coles Bay
From Bicheno to Coles Bay: 35 km
After a morning swimming on Bicheno beaches, we head off to Coles Bay! I was really excited to arrive here, I knew it was going to be amazing! Here, is where the trekking to Wineglass bay was going to start.
First things first, once arrived at Coles Bay we bought the National Park Pass. As I already mentioned if you are planning to visit 3 or more national parks it works it to take the Holiday pass for 8 weeks. Also, do not forget to prepare your lunch packs for the trekking.
Once we had everything ready, we found another free camping spot to camp in Camper mate. Hot dinner and rest till the next day!
Day 5: Freycinet national park trekking & Night in Coles Bay
Yes! Finally, I was going to see the awesome wineglass bay! First of all, you have to know that there are several trekkings to do in this National Park.
There are some overnight trekking which we could not do as we did not have a tent and you can not go with your van inside the parks…
Anyway, the best trekking in here is a one-day hiking so…thats what we did: the Wineglass Bay circuit WOW. Of course, you get to the wineglass lookout and the sights are stunning. Also, do not forget to put into your bag sun cream and swimming gear, there are 2 beaches in the middle of the trekking where I guess you will probably go for a swim…
Things to do in Freycinet National Park
a) Mount Amos Trekking: Supposed to be the best views of Wineglass Bay, but the hike is quite difficult. We were told by rangers that it is really important to have very good shoes and be fit enough as there is a place where you have to climb. Let’s go brave travelers!
Duration of the trekking: 5 hr
b) Wineglass Bay circuit: As I already mentioned, simply incredible. Take your time and enjoy the silence of nature and the beauty of the sights. It is really amazing!
Duration of the trekking: 4,5 h
c) Overnight Walks: All the way around the national park, obviously, you get to see all the beautiful places here (that are a lot ). You only need a tent and your own camping gear. Have fun on your adventure!
Duration of the trekking: 10 hr – 12 hr
Day 6: Maria Island & Night in Triabunna
From Coles Bay to Triabunna: 100 km
I woke up in the early morning to hop on the ferry that was heading to Maria Island. There is only one ferry that takes you there but comes and goes many times, till 5 pm (that is the last ferry going back from Maria Island). You can check the timetables and book the ferry here. It departures from Triabunna, a small town where we camp on our way back from the island.
We were expecting a lot from the island and it did not disappoint us. Incredible nature, a lot of wildlife (especially wombats) and beautiful beaches.
Things to do in Maria Island
a) Hire bikes and cycle around the island: There are a lot of different paths and routes to discover on the island. If I were you, this would be my option, you will be able to discover more of Maria island rather than walking, and believe me, Maria island is not small! If you have your own bike, you could take it with you on the ferry paying 10 $. And to respect the environment and wildlife, no cars are permitted on the island.
b) Overnight in Maria Island: Even though most of the people do a one day trip to the island, you still have the option to stay on the island during the night. You could choose between taking your own tent and camping gear and camp in nature or to stay in the shared rooms they have available. In this last option, you still need to bring your own camping gear, food, and linens, they only provide you with a couch.
c) Painted cliffs: The main attraction of the area, the painted cliffs, a beautiful natural formation of multiple colors in front of the ocean.
d) Convict cells: If you want to learn more about the history of this island, go and visit the convict cells and learn a little bit more about Australia.
Day 7:Port Arthur historic site & night in Port Arthur
From Triabunna to Port Arthur:101 Km
We head from Triabunna pretty early to make the most of our day in Port Arthur ( south of Tasman Peninsula ). I was really excited for this day as we were going to deeply learn what happened on this island in the XVIII & XIX century. It was really interesting and I highly recommend to spend one day resting from the cycling tours and trekkings and spending one night learning about the history of the island.
Things to do in Port Arthur
a) Port Arthur Historic Site: It is worth it to spend the day (some hours of the day) visiting the site. You will get to see and enter in most of the buildings and ruins left in all the enclosure and also, understand what was going on there. This will give you a clear idea of everything.
Price of the ticket to entry Port Arthur Site: 40$ Adults / 18 $ kids
b) Port Arthur ghost tour: For the braves, book your ghost tour! It is true that it is another tour in the same place, but…it completely changes at night. This is the third most haunted place in Australia and if you believe in ghosts it is really scary. The tour is full of real stories and scary events in Port Arthur historic site, experience it if you are brave enough!
Price of the ticket to entry Port Arthur Site: 27$ Adults / 15$ Kids
Besides these two tours mentioned, there are a lot more tours available to enjoy the site, choose the one you think will make the most of your day here.
Day 8: Trekking Cape Raoul & Shipstern Bluff/night in the Tasman Peninsula
Before preparing your itinerary you have to know that in Port Arthur you have the option of doing a 4 days / 3 nights incredible trekking. We did not choose to do it as it is really pricy for a backpacker budget. It cost around 500$ per person for the 4 days ( this including accommodation in cabins, there is no option of free camping with your tent ).
What we did, is choosing one part of this long trekking and had an amazing one day trekking in the cliffs.
Things to do in the Tasman Peninsula
a) Trekking in Cape Hauy: It is the last part of the full circuit trekking. Pros? You will see the typical Tasman Peninsula landscape. Cons? There are a lot of stairs!
Trekking duration: 4 Hr
b) Trekking in Cape Raoul & Shipstern Bluff: Two different trekking that could be done in 1 day. Both are very very beautiful and Shipstern Bluff one of the spots with the biggest waves in Australia!
Trekking duration: 7 Hr (3,5 hr each)
c) 4 day/3 nights circuit: I have not done it but people that have done it, really recommend it.
Day 9 & 10: Hobart
From Tasman peninsula to Hobart: 91 Km
Finally, arrived in the well-know city of Hobart. A place that really surprises me on our self drive Tasmania road trip, due to its colonial buildings and interesting gastronomy.
To visit this city in 2 days, we decided to hire bikes. It is incredibly well designed for bike lovers with great bikes-paths to every tourist attraction in Hobart. Even in the high season, you are not going to find a lot of tourists on their bikes or a lot of traffic, so I really advise to use this means of transport to visit the city.
Price for renting bikes in Hobart: 50 $ per day
Things to do in Hobart
a) MONA: Art in Tasmania? Here you have! This museum of modern art won’t leave you indifferent. Full of abstract art pieces, I could have spent hours and hours trying to understand every part of this museum. Approximate time in the museum? From 2 hours to 5 hours, depending on how deeply you analyze each piece of art.
Even if you are not a museum fan, I would not miss this one. The inside of the museum is really really interesting but the outside is incredible. In the outside, you can enjoy a chill-out area with a stage where different music bands will delight you. You will also enjoy astonishing views of Hobart.
They also have their own Winery! Winery tour or wine tasting sounds like a perfect idea!
Besides that, the way to the museum is really beautiful, 13 km (one way) from the city center, following all the time the water path.
Advice for backpackers: Take a sandwich and eat it before going to the museum, drinks, and food in extremely expensive as you can imagine.
Ticket: 30 $ (Free after 5 pm)
b) Cascade Brewery: Following the Hobart Rivulet path, 5 km from the city center to the Brewing ( straight path and totally worth it for its beauty ). Willing to start learning about the gastronomy of this incredible part of the world? First things first: Local Beer!
Great brewery with interesting stories and curious local beers. My favorite? The dark one!
Beer tasting: 16 $
Brewery tour ( 1hr and a half ): 30 $
c) The bike walk
Crossing the huge bridge from Hobart to Bellerive you will find out this bike’s path through the coast. Awesome scenic view of Hobart at the end of the Tasmanian sea. The walk could last from 1 hour from the city center till 3 hrs, depending on your cycling speed and stops.
On your way back, I would advise taking the Ferry that crosses the bay, the ferry back departs from Bellerive.
Tip: If you hire your bikes with Bike Hire, the Ferry ticket for your way back will only cost you 10$
Ferry ticket: 10 $-20 $
d) Mount Wellington (1271 m): Beautifull view of the city and a good way to spend your morning. How we did this? We took the bus from the pier to the top of Mount wellington. Once there, we had lunch on the top ( don’t expect too many fancy restaurants there, we just prepare our own sandwich and had a little picnic on the top), getting ready to descend with our bikes. The way down is hard ( at least for me ), it is very steep and you are on the road ( some cars passing you) but the views make everything totally worth it.
e) Surf in Kingstown: 10km south from Hobart, you will find this calm and surf town with very good spots! Do not miss it!
Also, if you are lucky, from the beach there you could enjoy SOUTHERN LIGHTS!!! In this case, we were really like as one of our Tasmanian mates lended us a telescope and we did not miss anything that happened in the sky that night.
Day 11: Bruny Island / Night in Bruny Island
From Hobart to Kettering: 33 Km
Time to leave the city and head to this paradisiac island. Kettering is the place where you will need to drive to pick up the ferry to Bruny Island. Contrary to Maria Island, you have the possibility of entering the car to Bruny Island witch, if you have the option, I recommend it. The island is huge!
You do not need to book the ferry ticket in advance, there are continuously going and the boat can take a lot of cars at once.
I would recommend you to spend 1 night on Bruny island, sunsets are stunning.
Things to do in Bruny Island
a) Bruny Island Cheese company: First things first, 15 minutes drive on a straight line from where the ferry drops you you will find this precious Cheese factory with a stand with a great variety of beers. They have beer tasting and cheese tasting. In our case…we went for the cheese tasting and I had my favorite dark beer (similar to Guinness).
b) The Neck lookout: Probably the most famous picture in Bruny island and one of the most typical in the Tasmanian postcards. Take your time to enjoy this uncommon landscape.
c) Bruny island lighthouse: Located down south of Bruny Island, 1hr and a half from where the ferry drops you. There is a short trekking which is highly recommended.
d) Labillardiere Peninsula Circuit: Forest and cliffs, that is what makes this walk special. It can be a long track, so if you do not have enough time, go to the office and they will show you the other options you have.
Duration of the trekking: 6 Hr return
e) Surf in Cloudy beach: Best surfing spot on the island. Great waves and beautiful beaches!
Day 12: Drive to Cradle Mountain & Night in Cradle Mountain
From Kettering to Cradle Mountain:352 Km
Woke up in Bruny Island, a quick swim in the frozen water of the Tasman sea and ready to go! Cradle Mountain was waiting for us. We spend the whole way driving and stopping in the amazing spots during the journey that Tasmania has to offer. Incredible! Once we arrived, we went to Cradle Mountain Visitor Center to make up our treks for the next day and rest for the next day!
Day 13: Trekking in Cradle mountain summit & Night in Cradle mountain
A really big day was waiting for us today, we were going to hike till the summit of Cradle mountain. If you are planning to do the same, please take into account the weather conditions. In the mountain and especially in Tasmania the weather could change every 5 minutes, that’s why you really need to get constant updates if you are planning to do the Summit. The way to the top is hard, it is not an easy walk at tall. Actually it is not a walk, there is no path and it is semi-climbing for 1 hour more less. But it is really really worth it!
Once we got to the top, WOW. We couldn’t be happier. It is just INCREDIBLE. The views of all the mountains and lakes there…
If you have the option to do the Summit, do not hesitate it is really worth it!
Also…on our way to the top we came across two Tiger snakes, one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.
Trekking duration to the Summit: 8 hr return
Day 14: Trekking in Cradle mountain & End of the road trip
From Kettering to Cradle Mountain:77 Km
Our last day of the trip but still we made the most out of it. Although we were really tired from Cradle Mountain Summit, we did 3,5 hours walk in the morning before heading back to Devonport. We started in Roys peak ( the left side of the national park). We visited the house that was built by the first man who discovered this area. I was feeling as in Tarzan film, the house was all made of wood and inside of a beautiful forest. Take your time in the forest, it is really beautiful to see how the fungi of different colors grow up!
Trekking duration to the Summit: 3,5 hr return
After our last Trekking, we took the car and went back to Devonport where our incredible Tassie Adventure got to an end.
# of total Km’s done: 1,045 Km
To be honest, one of the best road trips I have done so far. Tasmania has everything, mountain, forest, gorgeous beaches, good surf, cultural sites, and interesting history. Get ready for your next journey and start planning your self drive Tasmania road trip.
I hope you have all the information needed to prepare your road trip in Tasmania, If you still have any doubt, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you out with anything. Also, If you want to know the approximate budget for this road trip, e-mail me and I will help you determine the budget needed.
See you soon Nomadics & let’s keep on traveling!
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