“THE BIG TASSIE CIRCUIT” TASMANIA IN 30 DAYS (A COMPLETE SELF-DRIVE ITINERARY)
It is right here - in Tasmania, where travellers can set out on some of the most exciting road trips in Australia to reconnect with nature. Although one month is only enough to scratch the surface of this fabulous island, it should be as much time as one needs to discover the highlights and gain insight into the local culture.
Also called the “Apple Isle” or “Little New Zealand,” Tasmania was named after the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman – the first European who sighted the island in 1642. The British colonization in the 19th century had a huge impact on Tasmania`s character. Today, much of the island resembles England`s countryside, with stone cottages, small country towns, artisan markets and cosy little shops selling handcraft and home-made products.
Since Tasmania is home the most southerly of all Australian regions, the island`s climate is considerably cooler than the rest of the country. That creates ideal conditions for farming, horticulture, and viticulture.
Besides, Tasmanians are proud of their staggering national parks, ski fields, unexplored wilderness, abundant wildlife, and secluded bays filled with salmon, oysters, and lobsters. And there are many other secrets waiting to be unlocked, among which the spectacular images of the Aurora Australis (The Southern Lights Tasmania) can be admired if one is in the right place at the right time…
Tasmania offers treasures of all sorts, and there is barely
anyone who would not be pleased. One, however, needs sufficient time to
discover the beauty of the country, and perhaps 30 days can just be enough. This
is our 30-day self-drive itinerary
which covers the absolute highlights of Tasmania.
1.THE CAPITAL CITY –
HOBART (3 days)
Travellers motivated by history and coastal sceneries will surely appreciate Hobart`s plentiful arsenal of surprises. Like most of the Australian cities, lifestyle in Tasmania`s capital city turns all about the beach and ocean. It is the second oldest city in Australia which is obvious at first sight.
The town`s a charming character, its thriving art, and craft scene and a splendid setting, at the foot of majestic Mount Wellington from one side, and rugged ocean from the other, made Hobart one of Australia`s most attractive travel destinations.
Hobart`s Harbour – it might be tiny, yet as scenic, as can be: Franklin Wharf, Victoria Dock and Constitution Dockand Sullivans Cove offer a delightful stroll around some of the oldest parts of Hobart
Battery Point – once home to sailors, fishermen, and prostitutes this place is now a fashionable inner-city neighbourhood that offers alluring historical buildings, pretty restaurants, and elegant art shops. Salamanca Place is the main promenade venue with an ever-vibrant flair
Samalamca Markets – make sure you are in Hobart at the weekend, it is the most vibrant time and Hobart`s most visited attraction, the Salamanca Market, is held every Saturday from early morning till late afternoon and it is a market one of a kind!
Cadbury Chocolate Factory & Cascade Brewery – Tasmania is all about goodies, whether it is freshly caught seafood, home-made jams, relishes and cheese, exquisite chocolate or fine regional wines and beers
Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens – many would say that these are the gorgeous gardens in the whole country and those who are after a gentle interlude, the parklands of Queens Domain are your place to escape
Mona – Museum of Old and New Art has been a magnet for all visitors since 2011. Especially, its most controversial exhibits and provocative contemporary art. Already the unconventional building design and its location alternatively accessed by boat speak for itself
Mount Wellington – the symbol of Hobart, majestically towering over the city, rises to 1269 meters and its summit – The Pinnacle Lookout – can be easily reached by Metro Shuttle Bus that leaves from Franklin Square several times a day. From the top of the mountain, you can admire the surrounding natural splendour and jaw-dropping views of Hobart, its hidden bays, and coves
Hobart Beaches – If you like to spend a day on the beach and doing sweet nothing, the best-rated beaches of Hobart are: Lauderdale Beach, Cremorne Beach, Carlton Beach, Red Ochre Beach, Taroona Beach, Clifton Beach, Opossum Beach, Seven Mile Beach or Park Beach
In the southeast, Tasman
Peninsula reaches far out to the Southern Ocean. At Dunalley Tasmania`s only man-made
canal ‘East Bay Neck’ separates the
mainland from the peninsula. Not only there is
some the finest coastline on the island, but
the Tasman Peninsula is also known as a historic penal station, set up in 1830, where
convicts used to be transferred in large
numbers during the early colonial era.
IN TASMAN PENINSULA
Tasman Island – book a sailing cruise from Hobart to search around the breathtaking coastline of Tasman Island and try some tuna fishing in the rough waters of the Tasman Sea
Eaglehawk Neck – inspect the eerie, historic penal settlement and learn more about the colonial era of Tasmania
Port Arthur Ghost Tour – discover the ruins of the colonial penal settlement operating until 1877, much-feared coal mines and Saltwater convict station with underground cells, a burial ground, the Isle of Death and a semaphore tower
Nature`s Secrets – explore the natural wonders of Tasman peninsula: Tessellated PavementTasman Arch, Tasman Blowhole and the Devil`s Kitchen (great bushwalking from Devil`s Kitchen-Waterfall Bay-Camp Fall, 3 hrs return)
Nubeena – camp at one of the pristine beaches of the Barilla Bay and swim at the gorgeous White Beach or try some fishing in the Pirates Bay and Fortescue Bay if you have your own boat
PARK (2-3 days)
On the eastern coast of Tasmania, an extraordinary natural
wonder is hiding, squashed amongst rocky hills. Regarded as one of the most
beautiful beaches in the world, Wineglass
Bay made it to many travel magazine covers.
It is situated on the Freycinet peninsula and made up of
granite mountains, that sweep down to sparkling, vivid blue coves – so immaculate, so
perfectly shaped. Nature lovers can enjoy myriads of walking tracks with
spectacular views and abundant marine life such as seal, whales, dolphins, and albatrosses.
IN FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK
Wineglass Bay – walk up to the Wineglass Lookout to view the
immaculate bay in the palm of your hand
Coles Bay – stay at one of the Coles Bay`s
campsites and visit the spectacular Hazard
Beach to (take the Hazard Beach Circuit)
Freycinet Peninsula Circuit – experience the most remote pristine
beaches of the national park in only three
days while walking the great circuit (30 km)
Walks: Wineglass Lookout Walk (2 hr
return), Mount Amos (3 hr return), Hazards Beach Circuit (4-5 hr), Cape
Tourville (40 min return), Sleepy Bay (30 min return), Bluestone Bay (2-3 hr
4.BAY OF FIRES (2
Locally called Bay of
Fires, the unparalleled coastline of the Mount William National Park is set aside as a wildlife refuge to protect the bountiful fauna within. Particularly,
birdlife likes it here, but also
echidnas, wombats, wallabies and Tasmanian devils are commonly spotted.
The major attraction is the beach boulders covered with orange-red lichen and contrast with the snow-white sands and azure-blue oceans. The coastal waters boast marine life and offer great opportunities for fishing, snorkelling, and diving.
IN BAY OF FIRES
Ansons Bay – camp at the Deep Creek and observe the friendly kangaroos and wallabies hopping
along the beach. Have a picnic at the Eddystone
Binalong Bay – encounter the holiday flair of this
small but popular town with splendid beaches great for swimming, boating,
fishing and bushwalking
The Gardens – stroll along the breathtaking bays
and coves in the area – do not miss out on the Cosy Corner camping experience!
5. BEN LOMOND
NATIONAL PARK (1-2 days)
Heading inland, the majestic mountain of Ben Lomond towers over the alpine ranges as high as 1200 m, and this is Tasmania`s premier ski resort.
Every visitor will surely remember the image of ‘Jacobs Ladder,’ forever -a phenomenal zigzag road that leads to the summit of Ben Lomond. In the summertime, the craggy reserve turns into a splendid oasis for wildlife lovers and camper. Rock climbing, hiking, abseiling and bushwalking attract both locals and tourists.
IN BEN LOMOND NATIONAL PARK
Jacobs Ladder – Drive to the alpine village of Ben Lomond via the unique zigzag road track
Legges Tor – climb the summit of Legges Tor (1572 m) and see the national park with a bird-eye; Legges Tor Circuit (1 hr return), Carr Villa to Alpine Village (2 hr one way)
Outdoors in Ben Lomond NP – try out one of the region`s most popular activities: skiing in the alpine village in wintertime/rock climbing and camping in summer
6. LAUNCESTON (2
Stretching along the Tamar River Valley, Launceston is a picturesque waterside town with hills as a
backdrop. Windmills, trams, cockle boats and historical
exhibits attract the visitors as well as the world`s class wineries and their
The best way to explore Tamar
River Valley is to take a boat tour
and cruise down the river, alongside historic riverbank settlements, until
you to meet the sea at George Town.
Tamar River Cruise – view Launceston from the water and
explore the Tamar River Valley until the river meets the sea at George Town
Lilydale – get lost while self-driving through
the picturesque vineyard region and sample some of the fine Tasmanian wines on
Hollybank Treetops Adventure – a thrilling attraction with a glide
across the treetops in a unique forest canopy (ride a Segway through the forest – it is fun!)
7. GREAT LAKES &
THE CENTRAL PLATEAU (2-3 days)
South-west of Launceston, the landscapes suddenly turns into
dramatic, rugged highlands of the Central
Plateau – Tasmanian World Heritage
Mountain lakes and forested slopes of The Great Western Tiers are decorated
with creeks and waterfalls, caves and
peaceful woodlands – this is a perfect locality
IN THE CENTRAL PLATEAU
Deloraine – take a walk to the alluring Liffey Falls – the favourite amongst photographers
Mole Creek Karst National Park – search around the King Solomons Caves and its limestone creations. Look for the glow-worms!
Devil`s Gullet – drive up to the lookout with a stunning platform to appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings
Great Lakes Reserve – spend a day by the lake at Miena and fish for trout or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere
Once you have reached the scenic North West Coast, you might want to extend your stay. The region is
defined by dramatic landscapes, boundless adventures, and Tasmania`s culinary highlights.
Strong winds amplify the wild character of the Devonport-Burnie region and the Mount Roland, the Great Western Tiers and
Black Bluff stand comparison with green farmland and the finest rural
Scenic Drive Devonport-Burnie – admire the rugged coastline of the
northern Tasmania and its natural wonders at the wheel
Stanley – The Nut Circuit Track (1 hr loop track around the plateau, and if
you climb the peak add 1-hour return)
Lake Barrington – Wood-chopping Festival is the major attraction of the region, and it should not be skipped
should not be skipped
9.WEST COAST (2
Most of all, it is an intangible – the spirit of the West –
that most strongly appeals to the visitors. Here is a land which, for all its
access to the modern world, has kept the effete niceties of life at arm`s
length. It undoubtedly has a strength which lingers in one`s senses.
IN WEST COAST
Arthur River – hire a canoe and drift down the
river to see the mesmerising rainforest
reflections and encounter the absolute silence and serenity, solely interrupted
by the sound of sea eagles soaring overhead (look for the river platypuses)
Queenstown – take a historic walk across the
mines, power stations and discover the area ghost towns and hear their spooky
West Coast Wilderness Railway – do not miss out on the historic
train from Queenstown to Strahan!
Corinna – track or kayak through the
rainforest of Tarkine Wilderness Area
to uncover its hidden secrets. Both a tranquil stroll through the swinging bridges on the Huon Pine Walk and Pieman
RiverCruise are well-recommended
10.STRAHAN (2 days)
It is wild scenery, a pioneering spirit, an invigorating climate and superb river views that tourists can enjoy during one of the cruises down the iconic Gordon River, running from the charming Port of Strahan.
This part of the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area offers magnificent natural beauty as well as the important Macquarie Harbour Historic Site and the notorious Sarah Island – the old penal station established in 1822 by the British government. Most of the Strahan`s attractions can be explored by boat.
Strahan – join a boat tour on the Pieman River that makes your jaw drop.
Remember to try sand tobogganing down the Henty
Macquarie Harbour –
every visitor should take a cruise around the Macquarie Harbour and its
historic sites: Heritage Landing, Sarah
Island, Liberty Point and the staggering Hells Gate – a narrow channel and entrance to the Southern Ocean.
MOUNTAIN-LAKE ST CLARE NATIONAL PARK (3-4 days)
The legendary Cradle
Mountain stands brooding over the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park which itself is part of
the enormous wilderness that forms Tasmania`s
World Heritage Area. It is a craggy peak created by glaciers and forming a
stunning backdrop to the lovely Dove
Lake below it.
For its easy accessibility and good
infrastructure, this is
the most visited and most popular hiking region in Tasmania with a large
network of hiking trails. The Overland
Track is one of the best trails in
IN CRADLE-LAKE ST CLAIR NATIONAL PARK
Cradle Canyons – get some adrenaline while
abseiling or climbing some of the most exciting canyons of Australia (Lost
World Canyon – beginners or Dove Canyon & Machinery Creek – advanced)
Walls of Jerusalem National Park – camp by one of the fabulous lakes in reserve and do some bushwalking. The Walls is the most popular full-day
track (access from the Mersey Forest
Lake Rosebery & Lake Mackintosh – spend a few days by one of these
wonderful lakes and climb the summit of Mount
Farrell (3 hrs return) to be rewarded with amazing views and walk to the Montezuma Falls (3 hrs return)
Overland Track (80 km long iconic trail of
Tasmania, 5-6 days, extensive trail)
SUGGESTED SHORT WALKING
TRACKS IN CRADLE-LAKE ST CLAIR NATIONAL PARK
Dove Lake Circuit (2-hour
loop track, medium grade)
Marion`s Lookout Walk (3 hours
one way, medium grade)
Crater Lake/Crater Falls – (3 hours
one way, medium grade)
Shadow Lake Circuit Walk
(4-5 hour track, medium grade)
Speeler Track (easy 1,5-hour loop walk)
The Waterfalls Walk (easy 30 min walk)
King Billy Track (easy 40 min walk)
(FRANKLIN GORDON WILD RIVERS NATIONAL PARK) (3 days)
The township of
Strathgordon is a breathtaking place for its setting right between the Gordon and Pedder Lakes. It is one of the very few places in the area
that are accessible by a vehicle. While the lakes are ideal for recreation the
engineering marvel Gordon Dam Wall
is well-known for being the highest
abseiling spot in the world, attracting adventurers from every corner of
Tasmania World Heritage
Area leads to the
ultimate wilderness destination – Franklin
River and the majestic Frenchmans
Cap (1446 m). The national park is so remote that there are just three ways
to reach the wilderness – on foot, via
boat or a plane.
Franklin and Gordon River Cruise is the easiest and hence the most popular way of discovering the region, and for those who like to spend some more money a scenic flight over the reserve is a perfect option.
ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCES IN
THE FRANKLIN GORDON WILD RIVERS NATIONAL PARK
Strathgordon – kayak on Lake Gordon and search around the secluded pink-quartz beaches of Lake Pedder
Aardvark Adventures – try the world`s highest abseiling
at the Gordon Dam Wall if you dare!
Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National
Park – hiking in reserve is the major activity, and the Frenchmans
Cap Summit (1446 m) is a strenuous hike, but
the reward is exceptional
River Cruise – join one of the celebrated Franklin/Gordon River Cruises across
the isolated reserve, to which the only access is by boat (various packages
available at Strahan)
Hiking and Walking Tracks: Franklin River Nature Trail, Surprise River walkways, Nelson Falls Nature Trail and Donaghy`s Lookout
offer amazing panoramic views.
PARK (2-3 days)
One of the most impressive series of mountains in Australia
is the Western Arthur Range, and it
is easy to see why; along its serrated length are dozens of peaks and precipices and numerous alpine lakes. Southwest National Park is a perfect region for
nature lovers, campers, and experienced
Visitors who like to travel
in comfort can easily arrange a cruise to the fabulous Bathurst Harbour, where tin-miners still operate their small
leases at Melaleuca. There are various
scenic flights and boat tour packages, ranging from 1-day tours to multiple-day expeditions to the Southwest National Park.
Most of the places are only accessible by a plane or a boat, so you will need to plan your trip ahead – in Hobart.
IN THE SOUTHWEST NATIONAL PARK
Western Arthur Ranges – hiking is the major activity, there are
numerous short tracks and multiple-day trails in the area (see below)
Bathurst Harbour – take a boat tour to the most
outlying territory of Tasmania and unlock the secrets of Davey River, Old River, Celery Top Islands, Breaksea Islands and
BEST HIKING TRACKS IN
THE SOUTHWEST NATIONAL PARK
Creepy Crawly Trail – 20 min easy walk
Port Davey – 2 hours return easy walk
Cockle Creek to South Cape Bay – 5 hours return
Eliza Plateau – 6 hours return, medium grade
Lake Judd – 8 hours return, medium grade
South Coast Track – extensive 85 km long trail that can be
completed in 6-8 days (campsites on the way, good facilities – but
hikers need to provide their own tent and
Arthur Range Traverse – iconic 72 km long trail to be
completed within six days (campsites on
the way, good facilities – but hikers need to provide their own tent and food)
South Coast Track– the ultimate hiking trail through
the South Coast National Park (80km/8
Most of the trails are only open in summer (Nov-Mar).
You will need to purchase
a pass to enter some of the national parks of Tasmania (whether driving or
hiking). More information about the passes are to get at any local information
The best way to explore Western
Tasmania is to have a base in Strahan or
Strathgordon (there is a good variety of accommodation, ranging from luxurious
hotels to basic campgrounds) and
undertake day trips to the surrounding points of interest.
Par Avion is Tasmanian largest scenic flight
operator, and especially, Western
Tasmania is highly recommended to see from a bird`s eye view. For more
information go to: https://paravion.com.au/
The most popular way to travel around Tasmania is to rent a campervan (that saves you money
for accommodation and allows more flexibility). There are wonderful campgrounds and holiday parks with good
facilities all over the island.
Hire a vehicle (4WD recommended) or a campervan and self-drive. There are the following options :
a vehicle in Melbourne and take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry to Devonport
The ferry services operate daily, and the sailing duration is about 10 hours – https://www.spiritoftasmania.com.au/,
and start your journey in the North
a vehicle in Hobart and follow the
itinerary as above
your own vehicle
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Generally, the best time to visit Tasmania is summer when the temperatures tend to be more
pleasant (Dec-Feb). However, this is
a very busy time due to school holidays and peak season, and accommodation
often gets fully booked.
Therefore, we believe that the ideal time to travel in
Tasmania is the shoulder season (March, April, and
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