Driving through the wilderness in Tasmania
Whether you hire a car when you land at Hobart or Launceston airport, or bring your own by sea on the Spirit of Tasmania, you’ll be glad you’ve got wheels when you visit Australia’s only island state. It’s a remarkable place to explore on a driving holiday.
Tasmania is a feast for the senses. The world’s cleanest air to breathe in. Spectacular scenery to soak up. Divine food to sample. Peace and quiet. And, above all, a wonderful fusion of old and new that rewards you with new discoveries around every corner.
If you’ve got at least two weeks up your sleeve, then the best way to take in Tasmania by car is to tackle the coast-to-coast route—a circuit that ticks off many of the most famous natural, historical and cultural icons on the island. Starting in either Hobart or Launceston, the circuit takes the historic Port Arthur, where you really get a sense of the nation’s convict history. There’s Freycinet National Park and the Bay of Fires, breathtaking collusions of brilliant white beaches, emerald waters, lagoons, granite rocks and wildflowers. There’s Cradle Mountain in the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area. And so much more along the way.
Whichever route you choose in Tasmania, you’ll be spoilt for choice with an abundance of great local food and wine. Smaller towns ooze old-school charm, with many quaint accommodation options that really round out the Tasmanian road tripping experience.
And don’t forget to allow a few days in both Hobart and Launceston, too. Both have some must-see attractions that can easily absorb you, from the architecture to art galleries, gorges, to mountaintop lookouts.
Checklist for driving in Tasmania
If you’re driving around Tasmania, don’t forget to allow plenty of time to get out of your car and explore the natural wonders. Also, while it may look like getting from A to B in Tasmania looks pretty easy on a map, the reality is that many roads wind through the wilderness and really slow you down.
It’s a great idea to plan your route, do your research about the local sights, and give yourself plenty of time to really enjoy it all. Here are some tips for the perfect driving holiday in Tasmania:
- Go in the summer months. If you can, plan your road trip to Tasmania from October to March—unless you’re made of hardy stuff and can handle some fairly icy conditions!
- Carry a current road map and check conditions. While the distances aren’t that great, you can pass through some fairly remote and rugged wilderness in Tasmania.
- Driver reviver. Remember to give the driver a break every two hours.
- Check your car before setting off. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip ahead—check tyres, water, oil and fuel. Check your spares, too If you can, get your car serviced before you go.
- Carry a satellite phone or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), particularly if you’re heading into the wilderness or planning some big bushwalks.
- Make sure your car insurance is up-to-date. Before you set off on a Tasmanian road trip, check your car insurance policy. If you’re towing a caravan, you’ll want to make sure it’s insured too.
Once you’re ready to go, share your itinerary with someone you trust, and then buckle in and enjoy the ride!