By Telma and Thomas | 11 August 2016 | Australia | Travel Guides

Our road trip itinerary guide to Tasmania is filled with tips and advice on things to do, see and how to travel Tasmania on a budget. This itinerary is aimed at people thinking about self-driving the East Coast.

Often forgotten by travellers, Tasmania, abbreviated as Tas or called “Tassie”, is located 240 km/150miles to the south of the Australia mainland. Its history, stunning sights, unspoiled natural environments, heritage sites and beautiful landscapes, makes Tasmania one of the world’s most picturesque islands and without a doubt the ultimate traveller’s dream, attracting mostly hikers and bush-walkers. If, like us, you like to explore and reflect on Australian’s colonial past, Tasmania is definitely the place to visit. There is so much of its history and convict past that is left intact, it is impossible to avoid contact with it during your visit. The presence of Tasmania’s convict heritage is strong, so prepare yourself for some harsh reality.

tasmanian road trip

Tasmania Self Drive Itinerary 

Tasmania is incredibly beautiful and the scenery is breathtaking. Every turn featured another amazing spot, which made us stop several times along the way. We found ourselves taking double the estimated time to arrive at our original destinations because of that. At the end of the four days, we were exhausted trying to squeeze as many experiences in as we could. That alone was a hard task, because there was so much to see. But it was all worth it!
We spent four days driving around Tasmania, starting and finishing at Hobart. The plan was to make a big loop around the island but soon we figured out that driving 1500 km (932 miles) would be too exhausting. So we drove 1100 km (683 miles) instead and surely enjoyed much more.

Tasmania was not in our original itinerary that we had planned for travelling around Australia, but once we were settled in Melbourne for 5 weeks, visiting Tasmania was a dream come true and we were delighted. It was such a stunning destination that we hope to go back one day to explore it fully.

tourist attractions tasmania

“The great thing about Tasmania is that the journey is just as beautiful as the destination.”

Interesting facts about Tasmania:

  • Tasmania was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803
  • 51% of Tasmanians are female
  • Hobart was the first Australian capital city to have an electric tram
  • Over 42% of Tasmania is World Heritage areas, national parks or forest reserves
  • Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world
  • Don’t be fooled by its size, Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland and Sri Lanka
  • Tasmania has the largest lavender farm in the world
  • Tasmanians descendants are English, Irish, Scottish and German

Tasmania Road Trip Itinerary

Four days / three nights
Richmond
Richmond Bridge – The oldest bridge still in use in Australia, opened in 1825. Also, a lasting symbol of Tasmania’s convict heritage.

Port Arthur
Port Arthur Historic Site was established in the 1830s as a penal settlement. A World Heritage-listed, the historic site is Australia’s most intact convict site.

Eaglehawk Neck
•  Tasman Blowhole
•  Tasman Arch
•  Devils Kitchen

Tasman National Park
•  Pirates Bay
•  Tessellated Pavement

Swansea
Stay for the night

Freycinet National Park
Due to our “time restrictions” in Tasmania, we skipped the hiking trail. But for people who visit the island and have enough time, aim to spend the whole day exploring and hiking the area.

•  Wineglass Bay
•  Richardson’s beach
•  Cape Tourville

Campbell Town
The Red Bridge – Built in 1838 using penal labour, is the oldest surviving brick arch bridge in Australia.

Convict Brick Trail – Commemorates some of the nearly 200.000 convicts who were transported to Australia between 1788 and 1868. Each brick details a convict’s name, their crimes and subsequent punishment.

St Helens
Stay for the night

a road trip in tasmania Top: Left to Right – Port Arthur Historic Site; Tessellated Pavement | Bottom: Left to Right – Cape Tourville; Convict Brick Trail

St Helens
•  Bay of Fires
•  Binalong Bay

Nabowla
Bridestowe Lavender Farm – Make sure you choose the right time to go, around the beginning of December to mid-January, depending on weather; otherwise all you will get is a green field. We visited outside the flowering season, mid-February and even though we didn’t get to see the rows of purple heads, we still had a fantastic time walking around, eating lavender scones and drinking lavender tea.

Launceston
•  Cataract Gorge
•  Alexandra Suspension Bridge
•  Old Umbrella Store
•  The Town Clock

Hobart
Stayed for the night

Hobart
Mount Wellington was originally referred by the original Tasmanian nations as Kunanyi to the indigenous people of Tasmania. The 21-kilometre drive to the summit passes though rainforest and glacial rock formations, to panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula. Mt Wellington is 1270 meters above sea level.

Tip: Take a jacket, and if possible gloves. Regardless the time of the year that you visit you will be cold, no exceptions. Be ready to struggle to open the car doors against the winds and be ready for the icy air.

tasmania tourist attractions Top: Left to Right – Bay of Fires; Bridestowe Lavender Farm | Bottom: Left to Right – Mount Wellington; Launceston

How much does travelling Tasmania cost?

The plan was to cover much more of Tasmania than what we did, but it was impossible due to the distances involved. The Island is so beautiful and there are so many amazing things to see, that we soon realised driving from one town to another would take us twice as long, instead we decided to take it slow and enjoy more.

Regarding costs, it wasn’t much different from Australia mainland, although the car rental and accommodation were slightly more expensive. Tasmania deserves some time; four days was definitely not enough. If we go back one day, we will definitely stay for at least one week.

Below is a breakdown of our costs:

1st night – The first night we slept inside the car. We arrived at Swansea at 11pm, and it was impossible to find a place to stay. Booking accommodation in advance was never an option, because we didn’t want to have a schedule
2nd night – Spent at St Helens Inn. This was a lovely kind of Motel and we definitely recommend it. The cost per night was AUD$80/USD$60/GBP£45
3rd & 4th night – At Hobart, we nearly slept in the car again because we underestimated the driving time from Launceston to Hobart. We arrived at 9.30pm, and were lucky to find Navarra Backpackers! Mo, the Manager, was very friendly and helpful and even gave us some food as we hadn’t had dinner by then. That night cost AUD$80/USD$60/GBP£45

Total: AUD$160/USD$122/GBP£93

Car Rental: 4 days. Pick-up & Drop-off: Hobart Airport – AUD$40/USD$30/GBP£23 per day
Full Cover Zero Excess: AUD$10/USD$8/GBP£6 per day
Petrol Cost: AUD$96/USD$73/GBP£55 – 1100 km/683 miles
Flights: AUD$274/USD$205/GBP£155 – Melbourne – Hobart – Melbourne

Total: AUD$570/USD$430/GBP£330

Port Arthur: Port Arthur Historic Sites – AUD$40/USD$30/GBP£23
Hobart: Bus Tour of Hobart – AUD$50/USD$35/GBP£28
Launceston: Launceston Cataract Gorge – Chairlift – AUD$24/USD$18/GBP£13

Total: AUD$114/USD$85/GBP£66

Grocery, two restaurant meals and afternoon tea

Total: AUD$200/USD$155/GBP£120

Total

The total for 4 days/ 3 nights in Tasmania was AUD$1,044/USD$795/GBP£600
Per day: AUD$261/USD$198.75/GBP£150 – For two people (including flights)

Special Thanks:

We would to thank Nezy Bryan from the Deaf Community for meeting us in Hobart.

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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.

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