Think open green hills, white sand beaches all to yourself, crisp air and plenty of native wildlife, there you have it: that’s Tasmania! If you’re looking for a relaxing escape from city living and a road trip where it’s just a few short drives between stunning destinations, the east coast of Tasmania in Australia is the perfect getaway.
Getting to and around Tasmania: Flight Options
Most major airports within Australia offer flights to Hobart or Launceston. We flew into Melbourne for a few days from Singapore on Scoot before taking a short 1.5-hour Jetstar flight down to Hobart.
For a short East Coast road trip, we recommend booking your flights into Hobart and out of Launceston or vice versa, so you can focus your full trip on the coastal drive.
We also recommend pre-booking a hire car to pick up and drop off from each airport for the trip, we opted for a small VW with GPS included.
When to visit Tasmania:
Tasmania is beautiful year-round; however, it can get cold compared to the rest of Australia! If you’re planning a coastal drive, aim for the warmer summer months of November – February. Peak period is December to January. We opted to visit in November, where temperatures averaged around 21c and the crowds were smaller.
Winter can be both snowy and sunny between June-August, however, some mountain peaks can have snow right up to November.
The Hobart to Launceston 5 Day Road Trip Itinerary Summary:
Key Stops: Hobart, Port Arthur, Coles Bay, Freycinet and Wineglass Bay, The Bay of Fires, Binalong Bay, St Helens, Launceston
Total Driving duration: 8-9 hours
Day 1: Hobart
Step back into Australia’s Victorian era and experience first-hand the upper-class life of an earlier settler arriving in Australia. We booked our first night’s stay in Hadley’s Orient Hotel, in the heart of Hobart city centre. This national trust listed hotel is one of Australia’s oldest boutique hotels constructed by convict labour in 1834.
Other Hobart Hotel deals:
The must-see and do Hobart experiences in a day:
Mt Wellington: Start the morning with panoramic views of Hobart and its mountainous and ocean surrounds from the top of Mt Wellington. If you’re lucky, it might even be snowing when you reach the top. We visited in November and still go to experience the snow there.
Stop for fish and chips for lunch along Elizabeth Street Pier. If you’re a fan of Maritime history, the Maritime Museum of Tasmania is located right across the road.
Stock up on snacks from Salamanca Market: located in the same vicinity, this is one of Hobart’s top attractions. Sadly, it only runs on a Saturday until 3 pm so we missed it. If you’re planning a visit to Hobart for just a day, try to make it a Saturday for this.
MONA: Spend your afternoon enjoying an extensive collection of modern art in an architectural wonder.
Day 2: Hobart to Port Arthur – 1.5 hours driving time
Enjoy a country cottage pub feel right by a quite late at the Fox & Hounds Inn, Port Arthur. We opted to stay here as it was only a short drive from Port Arthur's Historic Site.
Other Port Arthur Hotel Deals:
The must stop attractions between Hobart and Port Arthur:
The food and wine in Tasmania is incredible. Start your day with a gourmet cheese platter on the lawn at Wicked Cheese. Just a short drive from Hobart.
Next, make your way to the small historic town of Richmond, take a wander past the river and bridge and learn about Australia’s dark convict past at the Richmond Gaol
As you head south toward Port Arthur you’ll be treated to some stunning coastal views, stop at the lookout points, take some of the walks available. Take your time to enjoy it all.
Visit at the Unzoo, an open-spaced nature park where you can feed Kangaroos and see Tasmanian devils
Enjoy a classic Pub meal at the Fox & Hounds Inn for dinner
After dark, head to the Port Arthur Historic site for a Ghost Tour to learn more about this infamous prison and UNESCO world heritage listed site. We recommend pre booking your tickets for this one.
Day 3: Port Arthur to Coles Bay & Wineglass Bay – 2-3 hours driving time
We booked a wooden cabin stay accomodation in BIG4 Iluka on Freycinet Hotel, located close to the famous Wineglass Bay. Our room included a kitchen which was perfect as there aren’t a lot of restaurants around, so we packed our food to cook dinner in the room that night.
The Itinerary: Port Arthur to Coles Bay:
Enjoy a wine tasting at Spring Vale Winery: This is a gorgeous small family-owned winery is located on the Freycinet Coast. Enter the heritage-listed convict-built cellar door where you can taste some superb wines. As there are not many restaurants around Coles bay, we recommend picking up a bottle to enjoy later in your accommodation.
Hike to Wineglass Bay: After reaching Coles Bay, head into Freycinet National Park for a hike to Wineglass Bay. The views are spectacular, and there’s plenty of Wallabies and impressive rock formations to be spotted along the way. The hike to the Wineglass Bay lookout point is 1-1.5 hours return, however, to continue hiking down to the bay it can be up to 3 hours return. We opted to visit only the lookout point.
Day 4: Coles Bay to the Bay of Fires, St Helens and Binalong Bay – 2.5 hours driving time
Where we stayed: St Helens
We booked into a small Airbnb cottage in the town of St Helens. Again, restaurants were limited around here, so we recommend opting for one with a nice kitchen and dining area to make your dinner.
The itinerary: Coles Bay to the Bay of Fires and St Helens:
Enjoy a morning Hike in Freycinet National Park – Cape Tourville walk: We loved this area so much we went back the next morning to take the 20-minute easy Cape Tourville walk. We were treated to spectacular coastal lighthouse views and even spotted a wild echidna. For other short 10-minute walks with a view, check out Sleepy Bay and Great Oyster Bay.
Stop for Fish & Chips at Captain’s Catch: Enjoying waterfront views of St Helens
Play a short round of beginner-friendly Golf in an apple orchard: If you’re looking for something unique, enjoy a round of true country golf in an apple and cherry orchard at Ceris-Brook, St Helens. As a couple who have never golfed before, it is very beginner friendly
Take a drive north to Binalong Bay to witness empty white sand beaches with clear waters and not another person in sight. This was the highlight of our trip and one thing you should not miss!
Day 5: Bay of Fires to Launceston: 3 hours driving time
The Itinerary: St Helens to Launceston
Take in the inland scenery of green meadows, cow paddocks and rolling hills on your way into Launceston
Hike at Cataract Gorge, enjoy forest walks surrounding a rushing river
Stop for lunch at Levee Food Co along the Wharf for outdoor dining by the water
Explore the city: Visit the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery, Town Centre and History Museum
Book your flight out of Launceston that evening.
Incase you plan to spend night in Launceston, here are some Launceston Hotel Deals:
We hope you enjoyed our guide to road tripping around Tasmania's East Coast. To see more of our other destination guides click here.
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