On such a compact island, with such awe-inspiring scenery, it is well worth making your next trip to Tasmania a self drive journey. The ever-changing scenery of ocean cliffs, inland mountains and bushland will take your breath away.
Getting to Tasmania
There are two key options for your self drive holiday. If you choose to bring your own vehicle, you’ll need to jump aboard the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne, which gives you the option of bringing your own car along too. The Spirit departs daily at 6am and 6pm from Port Melbourne, taking you on a 12-hour journey across Bass Strait. You’ll arrive at the seaside town of Devonport, the perfect port of call to commence your self drive Tasmania adventure.
Alternatively, if you choose to fly and hire, you’ll regularly find flights to Hobart or Launceston from most of Australia’s major cities. Upon landing, simply book or pick up your hire vehicle and get started on your self drive Tasmania expedition!
Must-See Stop Offs
Once you’re out on the road, there are a number of worthwhile places to stop with remarkable sights to see in Tasmania:
- In the northern end of Tasmania the town of Launceston is home to the Cataract Gorge Reserve. The Gorge offers activities like short walks through the tree glades, strolls along the banks of the Tamar River, and hikes along the cliff face pathway that will give you unbelievable views of the South Esk River. For the more daring, the Gorge also offers activities such as cable gliding across the basin or the challenge of abseiling the Gorge walls. If you love National Parks, make sure you also stop off at Cradle Mountain and Mount Field, too.
- Hastings Caves, just south of Hobart, is a must for any traveller discovering Tassie and the region has some of the best cave sites to explore. Tours to the underground caves are popular and include the colossal Newdegate cavern, where you can view amazing flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites, columns and shawls that all began forming approximately 40 million years ago. The tour costs around $24 and can include a swim in the Thermal Springs.
- Situated on the Tasman Peninsula, Port Arthur is one of Australia’s most infamous historic sites, where our unique convict history comes to life in 30 buildings and ruins and restored period homes dating from 1830 to 1877. The outdoor museum is located on 90 acres of land and gives you the opportunity to walk in and around the buildings, learning about the history of convict imprisonment and governmental regimes of Australia’s early history.
- On the north-west coast of Tasmania, the historic village of Stanley awaits your arrival. This quaint town is located at the base of The Nut, a sheer-sided bluff that is the remains of an ancient volcanic plug. You can take a chair-lift up to The Nut (or you can walk up) and view what is arguably the prettiest spot on the north-west coast of Tasmania. Stanley itself also offers superb Tasmania accommodation with a campground available as well as hotels located in the township.
The beauty of a self drive Tasmania journey is the wide range of Tasmania accommodation available at your fingertips. Tasmania accommodation will not disappoint with options ranging from campgrounds and caravan parks to cabins, b&bs and motels, as well as luxury resorts and lodges. Ensure you book your rooms in advance during busy seasons or get even closer to nature at any of the camp sites available.
More About Tasmania
Tasmania has four distinct seasons, and with that four distinct growing and harvesting seasons. While on a self drive holiday, be sure to sample the glorious natural fare available on the island.
Cheeses, berries, honey, apples, premium beef, and wild mushrooms abound. Bountiful seafood in all forms, like oysters, fresh Atlantic salmon, scallops, rock lobsters and more - they're all yours for the asking. Sample as much of the local eateries' culinary delights as possible. Why not time your final destination of the day to coincide with a local winery or brewery.
In wintertime and early spring, roads in the higher elevations may become snow covered and slippery. Higher elevations receive considerable amounts of snow from June-September. Roads on the western coast are steep and winding, interwoven through the mountains. The car rental company will be able to advise you of any special information you may need to drive safely if travelling during this time of year.
When driving, be sure to leave extra time between the different legs of your journey. It is a holiday, not a marathon, and Tasmania has so much splendid beauty to offer, it truly is important to stop and smell the roses. The locals are warm and welcoming and want you to celebrate the bounty of their island with them.
Finally, be very alert when driving at dusk and dawn; native diurnal animals haven’t the sense to look both ways twice before crossing!
Need more information about self driving Tasmania or simply embarking on a drive holiday? A Travellers Choice agent can assist you with organising your flights, boats, cars and accommodation!