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Tasmania is the perfect place for a family road trip, with its stunning scenery, untouched beaches, short driving times between destinations and plenty of open spaces for the kids to run wild!
Tassie has been on our list to visit for a while now, as I fell in love with this state when I visited as a teenager and have raved about how great it is ever since. We finally got to visit this year for twelve days – 10 days in a motorhome (campervan), and 2 days in Hobart with a hotel room + hire car.
Our road trip began and finished in Hobart. We flew to Hobart from Brisbane and picked up our motorhome near the airport, before travelling counterclockwise through some of the most scenic spots on the eastern side of the island including Freycinet National Park, Cradle Mountain and Bay of Fires. If you would rather bring your own car/caravan/motorhome, you can hop on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry in Melbourne, which will bring you across the Bass Strait to Devonport. We are planning on making a return trip with our caravan in the next year or two for a West Coast Tasmania road trip, because we have absolutely fallen in love with Tassie!
Here is a round-up of our 12 day East Coast Tasmania road trip itinerary, with details of what we did, where we stayed and trip planning tips. Plus make sure you check out our top tips for a fun motorhome holiday with the kids for your Tasmania road trip!
Day 1 – Hobart to Port Arthur
What we did: The drive to Port Arthur passes through Eaglehawk Neck, home to natural wonders such as the Tessellated Pavement, Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen. Here we also had our first encounter with Tasmania’s convict history at the Officer’s Quarters and the Dog Line. Other stops along the way included Pirate’s Bay (such a great name!) and Doo-Town for the best berry ice-creams from the Doo-licious Food Truck.
Where we stayed: NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park
Day 2 – Port Arthur to Orford
What we did: We spent the whole morning at the Port Arthur Historic Site, where we immersed ourselves in the convict history of the 1800’s. The sprawling grounds boast an impressive collection of historic buildings and artefacts, and it’s hard to comprehend at times that such a beautiful setting was home to so much suffering and tragedy. After lunch in the motorhome, we drove from Port Arthur to Orford, where we enjoyed a sunset stroll on Raspins Beach.
Where we stayed: Orford Beachside Holiday Park
Day 3 – Orford to Freycinet National Park
What we did: We started the morning off with slowly meandering up the coast towards Freycinet National Park. We stopped along the way to view the unusual, convict-built Spiky Bridge, and at Kate’s Berry Farm for some delicious berry ice-cream, went for a walk on one of the many stunning beaches along the drive to hunt for seashells, where the girls learnt the lesson of not leaving shoes right on the tide-line of the beach. The result was two girls falling over in the surf while trying to rescue their shoes, followed by us having to strip off wet and sandy clothes in a busy car park before getting back in the motorhome! We continued on to Coles Bay for lunch, then to the Freycinet NP Visitor Centre to book our campground site for the night. We spent the remainder of the afternoon on a drive through the park to Cape Tourville Lighthouse and Honeymoon Bay.
Where we stayed: Freycinet NP campground – Richardson’s Beach
Day 4 – Freycinet National Park to Bay of Fires Conservation Area
What we did: Our first item on the agenda for today was to tackle the 3km walk up to the Wineglass Bay lookout. With some 480 or so steps, it was achievable with all three kids (Roo being 4-nearly-5 years old at the time) and offered amazing views out over the picture-perfect Wineglass Bay. We then headed up the coast, with a stop to explore the Gulch and the Blowhole in Bicheno, before arriving into picturesque St Helens. A quick grocery shop and we were back on the road to our final destination for the night – the stunning Bay of Fires Conservation Area.
Where we stayed: Swimcart Beach
Day 5 – Bay of Fires Conservation Area to Launceston
What we did: After wandering the pristine beaches and lichen-covered granite rocks of Binalong Bay in the morning, we set off for Launceston. Now, this was a big drive! Google Maps listed it as being less than a 3 hours via Scottsdale, however it is S-L-O-W! The roads are windy and often narrow, plus there simply was so much to see along the way that we didn’t arrive into Launceston until after 4pm that day. In hindsight, I would add in an overnight stop at Scottsdale. Our stops today were at the 90-metre St Columba Falls, Pyengana Dairy for delicious cheese tastings, and Bridestowe Lavender Farm, the largest commercial lavender farm in the southern hemisphere.
Where we stayed: Old Mac’s Caravan & Motorhome Farm Stay
Day 6 – Launceston to Mole Creek
What we did: Today was spent exploring Launceston, including Cataract Gorge and a ride on the chair-lift – before we hit the road again to Mole Creek. We arrived earlier than planned, so decided to have an easy and restful afternoon at the campground (we had the entire place to ourselves!) and spent time exploring the creek and making a campfire.
Where we stayed: Honeycomb Caves Campground – Mole Creek Karst National Park
Day 7 – Mole Creek to Cradle Mountain National Park
What we did: Explored the magnificent King Solomon’s cave in the Mole Creek Karst National Park, featuring stunning formations like stalactites, stalagmites and shawls, plus a short walk to Devils Gullet. I wish we’d had more time here to also visit Marakoopa cave, which has underground streams and glow worms! After our visit here, it was time to head on to Cradle Mountain for the night.
Where we stayed: Cradle Mountain Holiday & Caravan Park
Day 8 – Cradle Mountain to Sheffield
What we did: Our Cradle Mountain experience began as soon as we stepped out of the motorhome – an echidna ambling it’s way through the Visitor Centre car park! With a range of tracks catering for all ages and abilities, we spent the day exploring a few of the magical walks throughout this stunning park and also wildlife spotting – wombats, wallabies and more echidnas! We decided to drive to Sheffield for tonight’s stop.
Where we stayed: Sheffield RV 4-Day Stop Area
Day 9 – Sheffield to Campbell Town
What we did: We had a quick walk around Sheffield to see some of the beautiful murals painted around this pretty little country town, before taking a detour and getting lost in the mazes at Tasmazia. Sadly it was time that we started the drive south towards Hobart. We arrived in Campbell Town that afternoon, and spent some time following the Convict Brick Trail and viewing the Red Bridge, built by convicts in the 1830’s and said to contain more than one million bricks in its construction!
Where we stayed: Blackburn Park Rest Area
Day 10 – Campbell Town to Richmond
What we did: We had a rather late start this morning, it was freezing and the coldest morning we’d had on the whole trip! Our first stop was at Ross, with it’s pretty tree-lined streets and old buildings. We spent some time checking out the Ross Female Factory Historic Site and the convict-built Ross bridge, before indulging in scallop pies and apple turnovers from the bakery while sitting at one of the many picnic tables along the main street. That afternoon the rain set in, so we pulled up at our stop near Richmond for the night and played card games and watched movies.
Where we stayed: Churchill (private campground)
Day 11 – Richmond to Hobart
What we did: We stopped in Richmond for a quick look at the Richmond Gaol and convict-built bridge. We then had to drop off the motorhome back near Hobart airport and pick up the hire car for the last days of the trip. The afternoon was spent visiting Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and the Tasmanian Royal Botanical Gardens, before checking in to our hotel for the night.
Where we stayed: Somerset On The Pier Hotel
Day 12 – Hobart
What we did: Played in the snow at the top of Mt Wellington, visited the Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery, ate delicious fresh fish and chips and ice-cream from the punts at Constitution Dock, and caught the ferry over to MONA.
National Parks Entry Pass
Tasmania has a number of national parks, which require a National Park entry pass to visit. If you are only planning on visiting one national park for a day for the entire trip, then a single day pass will do for your trip. However, if you are planning to visit more than this (we visited 4 national parks in our 12 day trip!), the most economical option is to purchase a Holiday Pass for $60 AUD per vehicle, which will cover up to 8 people for all national parks throughout the state for 8 weeks. You can purchase passes at the visitor centres/entry gates of any of the national parks, or online through Parks & Wildlife Service prior to your Tasmania road trip.