24 May, 2022
Last updated on 24 May, 2022
Posted by Mike
Tasmania may look like a small island next to Australia, but it’s bigger than you think. It’s about half the size of England and is home to beautiful scenery, an incredible coastline, fantastic food and drink – and truly epic roads.
And with a conveniently located Spaceships branch in Hobart, now is the perfect time to take off on a road trip around Tasmania! Your Spaceships campervan is an ideal way to discover the world’s 26th largest island with its 19 National Parks. There is so much to see and experience, you will want to stay over in lots of fabulous Tassie destinations.
You can either pick up your campervan in Melbourne and cross the Bass Strait on a ferry. Yes, you are allowed to take your Spaceships campervan on the ferry. But even easier is to fly into Tasmania and pick up your campervan from the Spaceships depot in Hobart. Just pick up your Spaceship and prepare for take-off on your incredible journey through Tasmania.
Here are our suggestions for a circular road trip around Tasmania.
Discover Hobart – Australia’s smallest capital city
Hobart may be small, but it’s certainly beautifully formed. Set on the southwest coast (well, it is an island) it combines chic, urban living with spectacular coastal views and landscapes.
Hobart is home to MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, which is also the largest privately-owned museum in Australia. But it’s more than just a gallery. It has a range of festivals and events throughout the year.
Take a half-hour drive out of Hobart to the top of Mount Wellington, towering 1270m above the coast. Visit the lookout to enjoy amazing views of Hobart and Bruny Island. Wrap up warm though – at that altitude, it can be a “cool” trip in more ways than one!
Head just south of Hobart to Kettering, where you can take a 20-minute ferry crossing to Bruny Island. There are more breathtaking views from the lookout at The Neck, this time over the sandy isthmus between North and South Bruny. Book a cruise to see seals, dolphins and even migrating whales.
If all that sightseeing has left you hungry, make sure you call in for fresh oysters at Great Bay before returning to the city.
Hobart to Freycinet Peninsula: The Hazards and Wineglass Bay
Head northeast on the Tasman Highway (A3) through another coastal town, Swansea, before reaching the Freycinet peninsula, dominated by the Freycinet National Park.
The Hazards range is a series of pink granite peaks which stretch across the peninsula, looking over the Tasman Sea and back to the mainland in the west.
If you want to see one of Tasmania’s best and most famous views, take the path to The Wineglass Bay lookout. It’s well worth the effort. The white beaches offer swimming, scuba, snorkelling and kayaking.
Freycinet Peninsula to Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires
Head north up the coast to Binalong Bay, calling in at St Helen's for a seafood lunch.
Binalong Bay is at the south end of the Bay of Fires, one of the many picture-perfect Tassie locations. The azure, blue sea meets the white sandy beaches which are fringed with ancient orange-lichen covered boulders. It’s dazzling!
The Bay of Fires stretches 50km north along the coast to Eddystone Point. The east coast of Tasmania is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, so don’t miss one of the spectacular Bay of Fires sunrises or the chance to swim in the clear blue ocean with its abundance of marine life.
Bay of Fires to Launceston and Narawntapu National Park
Head west inland through the Mount Victoria Forest Reserve, to Australia’s third oldest city, Launceston. “Lonnie” as the locals call it, has great food and bustling café culture. Head up to Cataract Gorge for a picnic or bike ride, or for adrenaline junkies, take a zip wire ride or mountain bike trail in Hollybank Forest, just 15 minutes out of town.
Further out of town, about 50km northeast, you can see amazing purple lavender fields at the Bridestow Lavender Estate, or at the end of your day’s drive, discover over 20 cool-climate wineries in the Tamar Valley, about half an hour northwest of Launceston. This region produces award-winning sparkling wines – what better way to end your day’s road trip with a cold glass of fizz?
The Narawntapu National Park lies on the coast to the north of Launceston. It stretches from Green’s Beach at the mouth of the River Tamar to Baker’s Beach in the west. You’ve got a chance of seeing kangaroos, wallabies, wombats or hearing the growls and yelps of a Tasmanian Devil if you’re lucky.
You can camp at the Visitor Centre at Springlawn or at Baker’s Point, or take the 26km riding trail (or a long hike) up to Point Vision for views of the park and coast.
Devonport and the North Coast: Penguins and a Chair Lift
Devonport is a coastal city where you will arrive (or depart by ferry). Here, you have the option of getting a ferry 240kms across the Bass Strait to Melbourne, before continuing your #spaceshipsroadtrip into Victoria. But you should really experience the rest of Tassie first.
Devonport offers walking, cycling or surfing at The Bluff. You can also hire a boat or sail on the River Mersey.
From there, head west along the north coast of Tasmania, taking in Ulverstone, where penguins walk up Lillico Beach each night. The road continues through Burnie and the Hellyers Road Distillery, a boutique whisky distillery. You can also take in the Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden or a detour to Guide Falls, south of the city.
Enjoy majestic views of the Bass Strait from the lookout and lighthouse at Table Cape near Wynyard, before heading to the northwest corner of the island at Stanley. Visit “The Nut”, the core of an extinct volcano over 150m above sea level and take The Nut Chair Lift with amazing views of Rocky Cape National Park and the Bass Strait.
Inland to Cradle Mountain - and another National Park
Make an early start for the 180km trip inland to Cradle Mountain. Head back towards Wynyard and then take the A10 south.
Discover the World-heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. You can hike or climb the mountain or simply relax by the reflective waters of Lake Dove.
Visit Devils at Cradle, a conservation centre where you can meet Tasmania’s three largest marsupials: the iconic Tasmanian Devil and its close relatives, the spotted tail and Eastern Quoll.
Cradle Mountain to Strahan: 90 bends and 30m sand dunes
Heading down to Strahan, you’ll experience a real road trip back down to Queenstown, with over 90 bends cork-screwing down through the old mining heartland. Don’t miss The West Coast Wilderness Railway, a steam train that takes you on a journey through the “wild west” rainforests – with lunch on board!
Take a serene boat trip on the Gordon River, or if you’re feeling adventurous, go white water rafting on the fast-flowing Franklin River.
In Strahan, you’ll see the expanse of Macquarie Harbour, home to Sarah Island, once one of the toughest convict prisons in the whole of Australia. Kayak in Macquarie Harbour or enjoy a breezy visit to Ocean Beach, the longest in Tasmania.
Take a detour north to toboggan down 30m sand dunes at Henty. The Henty Sand Dunes were formed by the Roaring Forties, the winds which start in South America, whistling over the Pacific before hitting Tassie’s west coast, building up these huge dunes.
Strahan to Hobart – completing your lap of the island
Take the winding climb back up to Queenstown to rejoin the A10 for the 300km drive back to Hobart.
Cross the River Derwent at Derwent Bridge at the southern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. As you continue along the Lyell Highway, you’ll pass through Tarraleah, a highland village of restored cottages once belonging to the workers who helped to build the island’s hydroelectric power system. It is now a tourist destination with guided walks and The Highlander Arms, open for evening dining.
It is worth a detour 100kms south into Mount Fields National Park for a hike to see spectacular Russel, Horseshoe and Lady Barron waterfalls, before pushing onto Hobart to complete your lap of this amazing island.
A road trip around Tasmania has so much to offer. Beautiful coastline and beaches, charming waterside towns, magnificent National Parks, spectacular lakes, rivers and mountains and fantastic food and drink. A Spaceships campervan is the perfect way to see all this special island has to offer, so book now and prepare for take-off on an epic road trip around Tasmania.