Top 10 road trips

We've put together our top 10 trips that can take a day, two, or even more.

Channel, Bruny Island and the Huon

The loop from Margate through the Channel to the Huon Valley is one of the prettiest coastal drives in Tasmania. There are plenty of places to stop along the way, including Snug Falls, Verona Sands, and the lookout over Eggs and Bacon Bay.

Coming back up the western side of the peninsula, you can stop at Cygnet for a bite at a local café, blow out some cobwebs on a jet boat, or drop a line in on the Huon River.

And if you're headed that way, jump on the ferry to Bruny Island. With plenty of beaches, walks and loads of eateries, you could easily spend a day there.

Eat: Bruny Island Cheese Co; Get Shucked Oyster Farm; Grandvewe, Woodbridge; Woodbridge Smokehouse; Peppermint Bay; Oyster Cove Inn, Kettering; The Red Velvet Lounge and The Lotus Eaters Café, Cygnet; Willie Smith's Apple Shed, Grove; Ranelagh General Store.

Play: Margate Train; Channel Heritage Museum; Snug Falls; Adventure Bay; Cloudy Bay; Cape Bruny Lighthouse; Bruny Island Safaris; Bruny Island Cruises, Verona Sands; Huon Jet Boats and fishing in the Huon River.

Stay: Villa Howden; Captain Cook Holiday Park, Adventure Bay; Cloudy Corner Camping Area, Cloudy Bay; Woodbridge Hill Hideaway; Huon Bush Retreats.

Cape Bruny Lighthouse and cliffs with moody sky.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse - Tourism Tasmania and Andrew Wilson.

St Marys to Launceston via Low Head and George Town

We know this is a long haul, and recommend you take more than a day to explore and experience everything along the way. Exploring the Bay of Fires can take a day just by itself, and then there's the well-known mountain bike riding at Derby and golf at Bridport, the history of Low Head and loads of eateries along the way.

We recommend on your way back to Launceston you cross the Batman Bridge and take a detour north to Beaconsfield - one of Tasmania's most famous locations, where the gold mine stands eerily silent in the centre of town and you can explore its history and the modern-day battle against the elements of nature that threaten its future.

Eat: Skippers Fish Shop, St Helens; Crank It Café, Derby; River Café, Beauty Point; Tamar Valley wine route; Stillwater; Timbre Kitchen; Henry's Restaurant and Geronimo, Launceston.

Play: Bay of Fires; Mt William National Park; Little Blue Lake; Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails; Bridestowe Lavender Farm; golf at Barnbougle; Low Head Penguin Tours; Seahorse World; Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre; Greens Beach; Peron Dunes; Penny Royal Adventures.

Stay: St Helens Waterfront Holiday Park; Bay of Fires camping; Bay of Fires Bush Retreat; Blue Derby Pods Ride; Wingtons Glamping; Tamar River; Tamar Valley Resort; Peppers Silo Hotel; Hatherley Birrell Collection;

Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre
Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre - Tourism Tasmania and Dan Fellow.
Low Head at dusk.
Low Head - Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.

 

Sorell to Bicheno

The drive from Sorell to Orford can be a little boring, but it depends on the time of year. When driving through there at dawn on a frosty winter morning the landscape is transformed - more like the North Pole than the east coast.

Take your time as you wind your way along the coast - not only to enjoy the white sandy beaches and views, but being careful as some areas of this drive can be tricky if you've not done them before.

A visit to Freycinet National Park is a must - the pink granite of The Hazards Mountains is quite surreal, and makes for some spectacular photos.

Eat: The Fish Van, Triabunna; Saltshaker Restaurant and Café, Swansea; Milton; Devil's Corner; Craigie Knowe; Cranbrook andSpringvalevineyards; The Bay Restaurant, Freycinet Lodge; The Gulch and The Lobster Shack, Bicheno; Iron House Brewery.

Play: Spring Beach, Orford; Maria Island; Freycinet and Douglas-Apsley national parks; All4Adventure; Freycinet Adventures; Wineglass Bay Cruises; Bicheno Blowhole and Bicheno Penguin Tours.

Stay: Avalon Coastal Retreat; Bicheno East Coast Holiday Park; Freycinet National Park Camping Ground; Freycinet Lodge.

Overlooking Spring Beach, Orford.
Spring Beach, Orford - Pete Harmsen.
People interacting with Penguins in the dark.
Low Head Penguin Tours - Pete Harmsen.

 

Devonport to Deloraine via Cradle Mountain

There are many ways to drive to Cradle Mountain, but our favourite is from Devonport through the small townships of Paloona and Wilmot, where you can be entertained by the roadside creativity of the residents on the Novelty Letterbox Trail.

Cradle Mountain is home to spectacular vistas and walks short and long, and you can also see the remains of Waldheim Chalet, built in 1902 by Austrian Gustav Weindorfer.

The drive down off the alpine plains back into farming country is equally as interesting, where you can visit The Village of Lower Crackpot (yes it's called that - we kid you not), a town of murals and a town of topiary.

Eat: Mrs Jones, Devonport; The Cherry Shed and House of Anvers, Latrobe; Altitude Restaurant + Lounge Bar, Cradle Mountain; Van Diemen's Land Creamery, Deloraine; Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm.

Play: Don River Railway; Reliquaire and Axeman's Hall of Fame, Latrobe; Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park; Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery; Devils@Cradle; World of Marbles, Sheffield; Tasmazia; Mole Creek Caves.

Stay: Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Cradle Mountain Hotel; Waldheim Cabins, Cradle Mountain; Acacia B&B, Sheffield; Arcoona Manor, Deloraine.

Entrance to Tasmazia with crooked house sign.
Tasmazia - Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.
Inside Mole Creek Caves with running stream.
Mole Creek Caves - Tourism Tasmania and Graham Freeman.
Mole Creek Caves.
Mole Creek Caves - Tourism Tasmania and Graham Freeman.

 

Wynyard, Boat Harbour, Stanley and Marrawah

Much is said of The Nut at Stanley, but Table Cape at Wynyard is just as fascinating a geological feature. You can drive right to the top, to take in the views from the lookout, walk to the lighthouse and tiptoe through the tulips.

The beautiful beaches of Boat Harbour and Sisters Beach are must-stops along this drive, and you can stretch your legs through Rocky Cape National Park.

For the truly adventurous, the final stretch through to Marrawah rewards you with some of the best windswept coastline and surf breaks you will ever see.

Eat: Café Umami and Bruce's Café, Wynyard; Wynyard Wharf Fish and Chips; Stanley Hotel Bistro; Xanders Restaurant and Providore 24, Stanley.

Play: Table Cape; Boat Harbour Beach; Sisters Beach; The Nut, Stanley; Rocky Cape National Park; Tarkine Forest Reserve; Tarkine Forest Adventures; Dip Falls Reserve and the Big Tree Reserve; 'The Edge of the World', Arthur River; Cape Grim; surfing at Marrawah.

Stay: Leisureville Holiday Centre, Wynyard; Boat Harbour Beach Holiday Park; Glamp Sandridge, Boat Harbour; Stanley Village Waterfront Accommodation; Stanley Cabin and Tourist Park; Touchwood Cottages and Craft Gallery, Stanley; Green Point camping area, Marrawah.

The Nut at Stanley.
The Nut, Stanley - Wai Nang Poon.

 

Hobart to Cockle Creek

Cockle Creek - famously the 'end of the road', the furthest south you can drive in Tasmania - is an oasis all of its own. To get there, you travel through the rich growing country of the Huon Valley, where roadside apple stalls abound and the road follows the Huon River for part of the way, with boats perfectly reflected in its dark depths.

The forests get denser as you travel further south, and you can stop to walk among the treetops at Tahune or go underground at Hastings Caves.

At Lune River the road turns to gravel, so you need to drive carefully and take your time, but the rewards are rich as you enter the Southwest National Park.

Eat: Aqua Grill, Franklin; The Moorings at Lady Franklin; Masaaki's Sushi and The Old Bank, Geeveston.

Play: Geeveston Heritage Park; Hasting Caves and Thermal SpringsIda Bay Railway Tours; Hartz Mountains National Park; Southwest National Park; South Coast Track

Stay: Southport Hotel and Caravan Park; camping facilities at Recherche Bay Nature Reserve, Cockle Creek and Southwest National Park.

 

New Norfolk to Queenstown via Mt Field

Long known for its history and shops full of antiques and curios, New Norfolk is also undergoing a resurgence as a place to sample some of Tasmania's finest produce.

From here you can choose two routes on your way to the west. We recommend through Ellendale where it's a quick detour up to Mt Field National Park, and you can choose walks from less than two hours to eight hours return.

The road to Queenstown winds its way through lake country - watch out for the spectacular Hydro pipes at Tarraleah and stop off at Lake St Clair, Nelson Falls or Donaghy's Lookout to take in some nature.

Eat: The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, Glen Derwent Tea Rooms and Badger's Bike Café, New Norfolk; Tracks Café and Smelters Restaurant, Queenstown.

Play: Willow Court Antiques, New Norfolk; Salmon Ponds; Russell Falls, Tarn Shelf and Lake Dobson, Mt Field National Park; Lake Burbury; West Coast Wilderness Railway and Paragon Theatre, Queenstown.

Stay: Woodbridge on the Derwent and Truffle Lodge, New Norfolk; camping at Mt Field National Park; Lake Burbury Camping Ground; Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair.

Salmon Ponds & the Museum of Trout Fishing.
Salmon Ponds & The Museum of Trout Fishing - Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.
Lake Burbury
Lake Burbury - We are Explorers.

 

Burnie to Elizabeth Town via Penguin and Port Sorell

The 'old coast road' from Penguin to Ulverstone reveals wide expanses of blue sea, strips of beaches and, on a clear day, views all the way up the coast.

Port Sorell and the surrounding Shearwater and Hawley areas have been home to holidaymakers for many years, and it's easy to see why as you come upon vast white sandy beaches.

Heading inland through the many farms along the way, you can stop to enjoy some of the fruits of their labour fresh from the ground, or just take in the views of rolling green paddocks and the mountain ranges beyond.

Eat: El Perro , Penguin; Pier01 and Thirty Three Cups, Ulverstone; Pizzirani's Cucina, Devonport;Ghost Rock Vineyard; Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory; Ashgrove Farm, Elizabeth Town.

Play: Markers' Workshop, Burnie; the Big Penguin; Leven Canyon; Bass Strait Maritime Centre; Port Sorell Golf Club; Hawley Beach; Bakers Beach; Freers Beach, Port Sorell; Narawntapu National Park.

Stay: The Madsen, Penguin; Waterfront Apartments, Devonport; Shearwater Resort Hawley House Tranquilles, Port Sorell.

Leven Canyon
Leven Canyon - Jess Bonde
Penguin statue on the beach in Penguin, Tasmania.
Penguin - Tourism Tasmania and Adrian Cook.

Burnie to Strahan, including Waratah and Corinna

The mining towns of the West Coast showcase a fascinating part of our history, and driving via Waratah you can see this at its best, along with the waterfall that the town was built around.

Head west deep into the forest to Corinna, where you can experience one of the most unique Tasmanian road trips - on the barge across the Pieman river, the only way to pass through this area.

From here you can head south via Zeehan, or head further inland to Tullah and then back through Rosebery, then on to the vibrant village of Strahan.

Eat: Bayviews Restaurant, Burnie; Tannin Restaurant, Corinna; View 42 Restaurant and Bar and The Coffee Shack, Strahan.

Play: Waratah Courthouse Museum; Kenworthy's Stamper Mill, Waratah; Hellyer Gorge; Philosopher Falls; Tarkine Forest Reserve; Montezuma Falls; West Coast Heritage Centre and Gaiety Theatre, Zeehan; Gordon River Cruises; Ocean Beach; The Ship That Never Was.

Stay: Ikon Hotel, Burnie; Corinna Wilderness Experience Strahan Village

Philospher falls flowing well with lush greenery surrounding.
Philosopher Falls - Jess Bonde.
Hiker walking over bridge through rainforest.
Philosopher Falls - Jess Bonde.

 

Hobart to Tasman Peninsula

You don't have to go far out of Hobart to get to some of the best beaches in southern Tasmania - Carlton and Park beaches are just two that provide a mix of sand and surf. Further on, some spectacular natural features are a must stop, including the Tessellated Pavement, and the more adventurous can try rock climbing and bush walking along the coastline.

The Port Arthur Historic Site is a significant part of our history, and a must-do for history buffs and amateurs alike.

Eat: Richmond Bakery, Dodges Ferry; Dunalley Hotel; Dunalley Fish Market; Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed; Lufra Hotel; Doo-lishus, Doo Town; Lucky Ducks Café, Nubeena.

Play: Port Arthur Historic Site; Shipstern Bluff; Three Capes Track; Tessellated Pavement;  Tasman Arch; Devil's Kitchen; Remarkable Cave Crescent Bay; Roaring Beach; Tasman Island Cruises.

Stay: Fortescue Bay Camping Ground; Stewart's Bay Lodge; Port Arthur Holiday Park; White Beach Tourist Park.

Hikers overlooking Cape Hauy on Three Capes Track.
Three Capes Track, Cape Hauy - Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.
Tessellated Pavement at dusk.
Tessellated Pavement - Kathryn Leahy.