I recently spent a week on a Tasmania road trip. I was so excited to be back to this beautiful place in the world after my first visit on a backpacking trip in 2008. My initial plan was to walk the Three Capes Track, but because all the accommodation had gone, I had to change my plans and decided to go on a solo road trip of the East Coast Tasmania.
A 7 day East Coast Tasmania Drive Itinerary
With 14 road trips around Australia, of which ten solos, I was keen to tick this road trip off my list. While the population of Tasmania is only 700 thousand, driving around the island is a relaxing activity. Nonetheless, the island is big and with many things to see and do, you need at least 7-10 days to make the most of your time.
From Hobart to the northern side of the east coast it takes 4-hour drive. With such a pristine environment Tasmania boasts 18 national parks, 2000km of walking tracks and 1.38 million hectares of wilderness world heritage area, so you can get an idea of how long it takes to drive around Tasmania.
Having travelled alone in Australia for the past 15 years, I have been enjoying driving alone.
There is nothing that beats the freedom of a road trip, and being over 50, solo driving makes it more special.
How to get good car rental deals for Tasmania
I started researching months ahead and was lucky to find a good deal from my trusted car rental comparison site. For 150 dollars I could book a good car for five days! I paid 10 dollars deposit for making the reservation online. However, if you to want to cancel a booking, the deposit will be refunded, and you can make a new one with no extra expenses.
What to do and see on an Eastcoast Road Trip of Tasmania
I had booked my flight from Perth to Hobart for one week in Tasmania. For the first three days, I booked a hostel in Hobart and a day-trip to Bruny Island through TripAdvisor. It was a good idea to have a slow start before road tripping the east coast of Tasmania. Moreover, this also helped me adjust to the weather conditions, rain and cold temps, and enjoy more of the Hobart surroundings.
Hobart and Mount Wellington Walks
Hobart surrounding area offers great outdoor experiences. From Hobart in Just 20 minutes drive you can get to Fern Tree where you can go on walking trails up to the Springs and further up to the Mount Wellington Summit. I couldn’t walk to the summit on that day due to cloudy weather conditions, so I hiked up to the Springs through the Fern Glade Track and returned via the Silver Falls Track. A 2-hour-return-walk across beautiful fern trees and blue gums forests. You can use the public buses from Hobart to get there if you don’t drive. On a bright day, the Mount Wellington hike to the Summit is a must. It’s a 3-hour return walk from the Springs, but if you don’t fancy the long trek, you can drive by car directly to the Mount Wellington Lookout.
Day trips from Hobart – A tour of Bruny Island
Bruny Island is the ideal day-trip from Hobart. It’s a 45 minutes drive to get to Kettering, and from there the ferry takes 15 min to cross over to Bruny Island. The island is a long stretch of 2 parts offering ten beautiful walking trails, a few campsites and the Cape Bruny Lighthouse with a fabulous 360° view of the cape. Moreover, if you love food, the island is a paradise for local produce like cheese, honey, olives, shucked oysters.
On tour, we went on the Fluted Cape 2.5 km return walk from Grass Point. The trail takes you up to the summit of the Fluted Cape passing very high sea cliffs. The right spot for seeing whales and dolphins as well as taking photos of the ocean.
Tip: on the Island, there are no shops, no restaurants, no petrol stations. So pack your food as the only food store at Adventure Bay has a limited offer that lets much to desire! Make sure you have a full tank before taking the ferry too.
Highlights of my Tasmania East Coast Itinerary
The first stop of my road trip in Tasmania started from Hobart to Bicheno, a lovely coastal village 34 km north-east of Coles Bay and the Freycinet National Park. I planned to find accommodation in Coles Bay, but it’s so darn hard to get a suitable place to stay in the area as most lodges and cabins are booked out a long time ahead. For camping lovers, there are four campsites but again booking in advance is essential in this area!
Where to stay as a solo traveller on the East Coast of Tasmania
For the solo traveller, there isn’t much on offer. I chose to stay with an Airbnb host and was lucky to come across a beautiful place right on the Esplanade of Bicheno. If you haven’t used Airbnb yet, you can book your stay through my link that gives you 35 AUD off your first booking.
This place wasn’t cheap for a solo traveller but take a look at these photos which speak for themselves. The location and the house are fabulous with a superb view. Little penguins come into the driveway at night and are only a few steps around the house.
Freycinet National Park and the Wineglass Bay Walk
The Freycinet National Park and the Wineglass Bay are two of the top Tasmania attractions that must be on your list. Yes, this is my favourite part. A place I could go back over and over again without getting tired of it. The entire East coast of Tasmania is a fantastic journey of its own, the landscape changes from shrubland to blue gums, to sweeping valleys dotted with vineyards and a wealth of wildlife. An authentic slice of paradise.
As the weather improved over the days, I was able to do more long walks. Besides the famous Wineglass Bay walk and Wineglass Bay Lookout walk, which is roughly 1-hour walk from the car park, I decided to do the long circuit walk that takes you from Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach and along the coastline back to the Frecynet Carpark.
Tip: Plan the Wineglass Lookout Walk and the long Hazards Beach Track early in the morning because it’s a long up-and-downhill walk that will tire you (about 5-6 hours). There are lots of places to stop for taking photos or relaxing, but 90% of the track is open and exposed with no shelter from the sun.
The scenic drive from Bicheno to Launceston
The last stop of my 7-day road trip itinerary was Launceston. I hadn’t figured out how to get to Launceston from Bicheno. The faster way is to drive through Campbell Town; the route is quick with nothing really to see along the way. While talking to my Airbnb Host, I got a tip on the scenic route that skirts the northern part of the east coast and goes through the inland forests and mountains down to Launceston. It’s a much longer road trip itinerary, about 245 km from Bicheno, but worth it. I was so glad I picked this option cause I got to see the most beautiful part of North East Tasmania.
From Bicheno to St. Helens it’s an hour drive, through rugged coastline, hidden bays and beaches, a pristine landscape. St. Helens is a picturesque fishing port with an excellent visitor centre packed with iconic relics from fishing to the timber and mining region. From St. Helens you can take a detour to the Bay of Fires to see the most photogenic beach in Tasmania. I didn’t go to the Bay of Fires, ha! I had seen it years ago, so I preferred to continue my road trip through the hills to reach my next destination: Derby.
The surprise about the little village, Derby, is that it’s a hotspot for mountain bikers in Tasmania. With several professional trails, Derby attracts mountain bikers from all over Australia for a fabulous MTB experience. It’s a tiny village with quirky fun places like this cafe.
This driving itinerary through the forest isn’t a difficult one but some stretches of the route have many twists and bends that go gently uphill, so you have to feel comfortable with this.
Scottsdale is the following stop, a township in the north-east region of Tasmania and the largest town between Launceston and the east coast Tasmania. I loved the Scottsdale Visitor Centre, located in a heritage building, with lovely decorations from the past. Grab all the free maps about the region here!
The Bridstowe Lavender Farm
I was not aware that the Bridstowe Lavender Farm was just a short detour from the highway, so it was the right timing for me to get there just before for the last lavender farm tour started. There is a shop with heaps of fabulous lavender products and gifts, but the best part of the trip is walking through the lavender fields and taking photos. A truly sensory experience, really worth it that I can recommend.
Launceston – The Cataract Gorge Walk
Launceston is the second biggest town in Tasmania and a lovely village with heaps of cafes, parks, hills and a beautiful gorge that is the highlight for people visiting Launceston. The Cataract Gorge offers various trails with different level of difficulty. I walked up the Sentinel Trail, and the Duck Reach out to the second suspension bridge. It is the second part of the track and the most scenic one. A 1.5-hour return walk, really worth it and one of the best short walks in Tasmania.
Tasmania Eastcoast Drive – Conclusion
This road trip in Tasmania has been incredible, it went beyond my expectations, and it was one of the most scenic drives I have had in many years of travels in Australia. It boasts beautiful, varied landscapes and exciting surprises. An overall fantastic experience that I can recommend to anyone visiting Tasmania solo, with a partner or a travel companion.
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