14 Day Hobart Tasmania Adventure
Starting and ending in Hobart, this self-drive journey explores the island’s handpicked and handcrafted food and drink, world heritage wilderness, on and offshore adventures and captivating convict history.
- Day 1 – Hobart
- Day 2 – Hobart and surrounds
- Day 3 – Hobart to Port Arthur
- Day 4 – Port Arthur to Buckland
- Day 5 – Buckland to Coles Bay
- Day 6 – Freycinet to Bicheno
- Day 7 – Bicheno to St Helens
- Day 8 – St Helens to Launceston
- Day 9 – Launceston and surrounds
- Day 10 – Launceston to Cradle Mountain
- Day 11 – Cradle Mountain to Strahan
- Day 12 – Strahan to Queenstown
- Day 13 – Queenstown to Tarraleah
- Day 14 – Tarraleah to Hobart
To begin your Tassie adventure, hop off the plane at Hobart Airport, collect your car and within barely a kilometre, enjoy a salty taste of what’s to come. That’s right, Barilla Bay Oysters will have fresh-from-the-water oysters at the ready. The oyster and candy abalone tour starts at 11am, including a walk to the oyster farm and six freshly shucked goodies.
From here, drive straight to Cascade Brewery, Australia’s oldest brewery. There’s plenty of taste testing to be done, followed by late lunch at Ginger Brown, a popular South Hobart lunch spot.
In the afternoon head to Mona, Museum of Old and New Art, David Walsh’s underground playground of antiquities and modern art – aboard the Mona Roma Fast Ferry. The Posh Pit on the ferry is a sure way to get you feeling all VIP-like. Upfront in your private leather lounge, the Moorilla bubbles flow and MOO Brew is a fitting pre-museum craft traveller. After pulling up at the museum’s jetty, descend into the subterranean gallery and feast your senses on art, history and some things that are often hard to describe. When you’re done, catch the ferry back to the Hobart waterfront.
Back in Hobart, check into the Fountainside Hotel, where you’ll be staying for the next two nights. Then seek out a comfy chair and a dram of heart-warming Tassie whisky at Salamanca’s Lark Distillery on Davey Street. Lark is the first licensed distillery in Tasmania since 1839, dedicated to making small batches out of pure Tasmanian ingredients. Just nearby, head across to Frank Restaurant for South American-style dining. Even if you don’t book, they can usually squeeze you onto a bench looking out across the waterfront lights.
Hobart and surrounds
Rise and fuel up on brekkie before heading off early on a south west adventure. It’s going to be a big day. By big, it’s going to be 140 metres tall. You’ll be experiencing the world’s highest commercial abseil with Aardvark Adventures.
Gordon Dam happens to be a few metres higher than Sydney Harbour Bridge and holds back 30 times more water than you’ll find in Sydney’s harbour. If looking over the edge makes you a little nervous, take a deep breath – you’ll soon be rappelling your way down. The Gordon Dam abseil is up there with the top ten adrenalin activities in the world, but you can do it!
It’s a two-and-a-half hour drive back to Hobart, so break it up with lunch at lakeside Pedder Wilderness Lodge. At Twelve Trees Restaurant the menu is relaxed, honest and focused on local growers. Seasonal offerings might include Ouse rabbit, Cape Grim beef or roasted quail. Another great trip-breaker is to stretch the legs on a rainforest walk to one of Tassie’s most loved waterfalls: Russell Falls in the Mount Field National Park or you can grab coffee at the Possum Shed in Westerway, where you can devour some homemade scones by the riverside.
Before leaving the Derwent Valley, meet Ashley and Jane Huntington at Two Metre Tall. Ashley, who happens to be two metres tall, will happily pour you a farmhouse ale, made in small batches using farm-grown and Tasmanian ingredients.
Back in the heart of Hobart pop over to the former sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place for a pre-dinner drink at Grape or Jack Greene. Then, follow the glow of Brooke Street Pier, wandering out to the end for a culinary experience at The Glass House. Miss Fish Fingers will welcome you – she matches the stylish tones of this swanky dining bar.
Hobart to Port Arthur
There is so much to see on the Tasman Peninsula that it’s hard to pack it into one day. A good place to start is the Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed on the way to the peninsula. As the name suggests, they sell oysters, and they are plumply delicious.
You’ll need to make a few stops once you reach Eaglehawk Neck, it’s around this area the peninsula’s natural landmarks begin to steal the show including the Tessellated Pavement, Devil’s Kitchen and Tasman’s Arch – to mention a few. You might also spot the Doo-lishus food van in these parts – usually parked at Pirates Bay Blowhole and a great lunch stop (they once won the award for Best Fish and Chips in Tasmania).
Another necessary stop, (free chocolate tastings anyone?) is Federation Artisan Chocolate in Taranna. They make fudge, nougat and chocolate using traditional techniques and offer free tastings and tours of the museum. Further along, smooth lavender-infused ice-cream at Port Arthur Lavender Farm is also a must.
Check into your accommodation at the Fox and Hounds Inn, then make your way to Port Arthur. Take your time exploring Australia’s most intact and evocative historic site. Cruise out to the eerily named Isle of the Dead, feel the weight of cast iron convict shackles and even look for your own ancestors.
When evening casts it’s shadow across the grounds, gather your courage for lantern-lit tales. There’s no need to leave the site just yet. Settle in for dinner at Felon’s Bistro onsite before joining your Port Arthur ghost tour. The darkest stories are yet to come.
Overnight Port Arthur.
Port Arthur to Buckland
Today, travel from Port Arthur to Buckland. Before leaving the Tasman Peninsula, visit the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo (previously The Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park) at Taranna. Around every hour there’s a presentation about the devils and if the chocolate supply is running low, pop back over to Federation Artisan Chocolate.
Your next stop is one and a half hours away in Buckland, at Brockley Estate, a colonial estate full of history, charm, and rare treasures from Tasmania’s past, make yourself comfortable, the estate is your home for the night.
Brockley is both a place to unwind, and to explore. There’s plenty in store for the curious at heart, such as unfrequented white sandy beaches, or local rivers where you can grab a canoe and fish for trout. Brockley is in the middle of a working sheep and cattle farm, so once you leave the estate, there’s 10,000 acres of property to roam. Mosey along farm roads to watch animals being shifted from paddock to paddock by working dogs, see the newborn lambs and Hereford calves in springtime and you’re in for a show if you are staying at the estate during shearing season.
If you’re keen to explore further from home, grab your walking boots, ask for a map and take a rambling walk along the convict built stagecoach road. The walk covers eight kilometres of private bush land following the Prosser River through Paradise Gorge to the sea. Keep a lookout for Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles – there are several pairs on the property. Arrange a lift back before you go, after all you’re here to relax. Alternatively visit your neighbours at Darlington Vineyard just a few minutes down the road.
Once you’ve taken in the property or dropped in on the neighbours, head back to Brockley Estate for a Spanish Cooking Class, using fresh Tasmanian produce to create traditional Spanish dishes originating in Tenerife, Chaxi’s the Brockley chef’s homeland. After picking some cooking secrets, settle in for dinner. Let Brockley know ahead of time you would like to cook and dine with them and they’ll buy fresh ingredients from local suppliers. Line-caught striped trumpeter, crayfish, oysters, octopus and mussels are a specialty from the nearby fishing village of Triabunna.
Relax on the Brockley deck after you’ve feasted. There’s no need for television; simply stare up at the clear, star-filled sky, and listen to the wombats, wallabies and possums roam through the paddocks. Advance bookings are essential for Brockley Estate’s Spanish Cooking Class and dinners.
Buckland to Coles Bay
Enjoy a hearty country breakfast this morning of free-range bacon and eggs, freshly baked Spanish bread, and freshly ground coffee at Brockley Estate.
After breakfast, farewell Brockley and drive east towards the coast. The drive itself is an experience with oodles of stories and staggering natural beauty to be found around the bends. You’ll be driving a good part of The Great Eastern Drive that stretches between Orford and St Helens today, so have your camera at the ready.
From Orford, continue up Tasmania’s east coast where oodles of stories and natural beauty present around the bends. Have your camera at the ready.
On your way up the coast, get lunch where the local fishermen grab a bite – at The Fish Van in Triabunna. Try the homemade fish patties or fresh local seafood including mussels, scallops, flat head or whatever the day’s catch might be. There are plenty more must-visit stops along the way, with one of the first being Kate’s Berry Farm. Kate’s berry crepes are particularly hard to resist, especially when you’re taking in the views across Great Oyster Bay while you’re enjoying them.
Bid Kate and her crepes goodbye and head to Cranbrook, where you’ll sample one of Tasmania’s most famous exports: pinot noir. The Spring Vale Vineyard is the perfect spot to stop, try a drop and grab a bottle or two.
From Cranbrook, make your way to Freycinet Marine Farm, where a seafood banquet awaits you – you just need to put it together. Choose from crayfish, oysters, mussels and many more of the regions saltwater delicacies as you create your perfect lunch.
Let that banquet settle then head to Coles Bay and check in to your accommodation. Following that, it’s time to head to the Wineglass Bay lookout for the postcard perfect view down across the bay. It’s worth every step of the 45-minute climb. If you’re feeling energetic, head on down to the bay itself. Dip your toe in and you’ll understand why droves of tourists aren’t kicking about in snorkels. The turquoise waters are chilly almost year-round but great for those who enjoy impromptu, exhilarating dips.
A good half-day walk involves heading back along Hazards Beach on a full circuit. This offers views across Great Oyster Bay, or alternately visit nearby wetlands before heading back up the way you came.
Dine at The Bay Restaurant at Freycinet Lodge – where perhaps you’ll be tempted by seafood once more, or Cape Grim eye fillet and a glass of local wine.
After dinner, if you’re up for a drive, head for Devils in the Dark at Bicheno. Simon Plowright has been watching wild devils since the mid-80s and knows a thing or two about their behaviour. Tonight you’ll get up close with these nocturnal creatures.
Overnight Coles Bay.
Coles Bay to Bicheno
Start your morning by grabbing a coffee from the baristas at Tombolo Freycinet, then wander down to the jetty and enjoy it while taking in the sight of the spectacular The Hazards mountain ranges. Breathe in the view – you’re about to get much closer on a paddling mission with Freycinet Adventures.
Paddle beneath the pink granite of The Hazards across sapphire-blue waters, past pristine beaches and soaring sea eagles, for three blissful hours. Hear stories of French explorers on your stop at a remote beach before paddling back to shore in time for your next adventure.
Grab a bite to eat at Coles Bay – perhaps from another visit to Tombolo (their wood fired pizzas are to die for).
Come 1pm, hop on a quad bike with All4Adventure. Cruise along bush tracks through native Eucalypt forest and pull up for sweeping coastal vistas. This two-hour adventure will have you back in Coles Bay at 3pm ready for the journey further along the coast.
With the picture perfect Freycinet in your mind, drive on to Bicheno. Spend the late afternoon being a local – watching saltwater fly from the Bicheno blowhole (sometimes 20 metres in the air) and snack on fish and chips at The Gulch.
Check into your Bicheno accommodation, then head for nearby Douglas-Apsley National Park for a leisurely walk. Popular tracks include the Lookout Track Circuit and Apsley Gorge Track. Those who walk to the water hole have trouble leaving. It’s so pretty, and in warm weather it invites you to just dive in. Also nearby is the Evercreech Forest Reserve where the world’s tallest white gums tower up to 91 metres into the air.
Be sure you’re back in Bicheno in plenty of daylight. The Bicheno Penguin Tour begins at dusk, and there’s no stopping those 600 or so Little Penguins moving from the sea to their beachside rookeries once the masses get moving. Make sure you wear covered in shoes- they will nip if tempted by toes! Prepare to get nice and close to the penguins, but be aware that they don’t like cameras or flashes, so leave them behind.
After the penguins have toddled off, head for dinner at Pasini’s Café, Bicheno’s lively deli and wine bar.
Bicheno to St Helens
Rise early, and if you feel like it, start your day by taking a dip with the Bicheno Coffee Club – an ocean swimming group of Bicheno locals who meet at dawn at the Bicheno Surf Lifesaving Club for up to a 2km swim (maybe longer on Sunday), splash or a wade. All newcomers welcome.
Alternatively, you can jump in your car and venture straight to ‘The Gardens’ near Binalong Bay. Here you’ll find a beautiful little area known as Cosy Corner. Find yourself a rock and watch the morning sun sprinkle across the waves.
You’re not far from the Bay of Fires, in a private beach house that is your home for the day. Roz MacAllan of Kiss a Fish Cookery School runs full-day classes from November to April that typically start with a forage down at the beach for sea asparagus and other tasty morsels. Private classes can be booked by appointment.
The menu is an ever-changing feast depending on what the day’s catch brings. Roz might have oysters from the oyster farm up the road, fresh Stripy Trumpeter or scallops to work with. Learn how to skin, trim, shuck, fillet and scale. Oh and prepare to enjoy all day degustation at the shared dining table as the day progresses. The wood fired oven is a hit with most small groups, and Roz ensures that everyone walks away with more than one cooking technique – perhaps poaching and wok frying – and always just the right accompaniments to recreate at home.
Or if you’d rather catch your dinner than cook it, head out on a fishing trip with Greg from Zulu Charterz. He’s a master in the fine art of Tasmanian sport fishing, and he’ll help you hook up a huge range of species, such as sharks, Trevalla, Stripey Trumpeter, Flathead and Tuna of the Yellowfin, Bluefin, Stripey and Albacore varieties. Once you’ve pulled in a monster or two, head back to St Helens to start showing off your catch.
Check in to your St Helens accommodation, then let Mohr and Smith Café, Restaurant and Bar take care of your dinner. The menu ranges from the likes of locally caught market fresh fish to locally raised Pyengana beef for those who have had plenty of fish on their plate during the day. An extensive wine list has a range of cool climate local labels to match.
Overnight St Helens.
St Helens to Launceston
Enjoy a stroll around St Helens during the morning, before making tracks for White Sands Estate at Ironhouse Point. The BrewHaus Café and Bar is your lunch destination where Tasmanian produce mixes well with a tasting paddle of hand-crafted Ironhouse brews. Enjoy your beer tasting and learn how the award-winning brews are produced using traditional recipes and water from the Estate’s own spring.
Next stop along the way to Launceston is St Marys where The Purple Possum is an interesting mix of café, wholefoods store, and mini-gallery, featuring a bric-a-brac shed in the rear garden. This combination alone is worth seeing – but if you’re into wholefoods the unusual range is enough to have visitors from afar leaving home addresses for deliveries.
Before arriving in Launceston, break for lunch in Evandale at the Ingleside Art Gallery and Bakery. The bakery is housed in the former Council Chambers built in 1867 and the English style courtyard is the perfect spot to have a coffee before browsing local antique stores. If you’re travelling on a Sunday arrive before 1.30pm to see the local market before lunch.
Relaxed and refueled, hit the road once more towards Clarendon Estate – one of Australia’s grandest Georgian Estates. Set in 7 hectares of parklands on the banks of the South Esk River, this three-storey convict built Georgian house has servants’ quarters, a heritage walled garden, several farm buildings and a rare avenue of elms. For a gold coin donation you can browse the Fly Fishing Museum within the grounds.
Head into Launceston and check in to the Quality Hotel Colonial Launceston, your home for the next two nights. For dinner, choose Cataract on Paterson if you’d like your meal delivered on a 400 degree Celsius volcanic stone. The restaurant’s industrial design and emphasis on Tasmanian producers is as pleasing as the rare perfectly cooked steak they serve up.
Then, if you’re not yet ready to call it a night, treat yourself to a Launceston City Ghost Tour. As the third oldest city in Australia, Launnie (as the locals call it) has a dark and violent past, full of convicts, murder and all sorts of gruesome goings-on. Some say the spirits of these poor souls still roam the streets of Launceston at night. The main Ghost Tour lasts ninety minutes, and only incorporates true stories – with history like this, there’s no need for the guides to make anything up.
Launceston and surrounds
Begin your day aboard a two-hour Segway experience at Hollybank Treetops Adventures through Hollybank forest. Or opt for a dose of adrenalin on a zipline through the forest canopy above. Hollybank also has an impressive network of mountain biking trails for two-wheeled enthusiasts, so it’s just a matter of picking your outdoor fun.
After your zip lining adventure drive to Lilydale Larder. Don’t be surprised if there’s a local enjoying a wine at the bar – residents and visitors consider this their comfy, rustic local. Order from the seasonal menu and stock up on larder treats from the providore for your afternoon drive.
Alternatively, if wild rides don’t take your fancy, Josef Chromy Wines in Relbia takes life at a more relaxed pace. With the cellar door open daily, this restored 1880s homestead is a relatively new base for Josef Chromy, the long-time Tamar Valley vintner, who’s regarded as a bit of a local hero. Stay for an à la carte lunch overlooking the 60-hectare vineyard.
If you’re a fan of golf, drive to Barnbougle Dunes in Bridport, a golfing destination that’s been rated Australia’s number one public course – more than once. Tee off to the sound of crashing waves on a links course where sweeping beaches, farmland and manicured greens mix effortlessly. Challenge yourself to 18 holes, followed by a Tasmanian whisky in the clubhouse.
After your round of golf, head back to your accommodation at the Country Club to try the ‘Tassie Hero’ woodfired pizza at Bolters pizzeria, featuring locally sourced trout and smoked salmon. Or head to seaport where you can enjoy dinner beside the Tamar River at Mudbar & Restaurant.
Launceston to Cradle Mountain
Take the drive from Launceston to Cradle Mountain that weaves through the upper Meander Valley. That way you can stop at Chudleigh Honey Farm. Run by a Dutch family who migrated to Australia in the 1980s, the farm not only sells honey, it sells honey bee products like royal jelly, pollen and cute giftware. Not to mention there’s live ‘exhibition bees’ in a hive and old beekeeping implements to peruse.
Continue on to Cradle Mountain to arrive in plenty of daylight and when you arrive, check in to your Cradle Mountain accommodation. Take a short walk near your hotel, or visit the Wilderness Gallery exhibiting some of Australia’s best wilderness and nature photographers. Later on pay a visit to Waldheim Alpine Spa, where you can have a relaxing afternoon soak while looking out to a forest of King Billy Pines.
At 5.30pm, head to Devils@Cradle for an after dark Tasmanian devil feeding and an up close encounter with this endangered icon. Watch the world’s largest marsupial enjoy dinner, then enjoy your own. That’s right, book early if you’d like a behind the scenes tour followed up by roasted marshmallows beneath the stars and two courses at the Highland Restaurant.
Overnight Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain to Strahan
Tasmania’s rugged west coast beckons today. Before heading off, enjoy a hearty breakfast and take a walk around peaceful Dove Lake. Your drive to Strahan today takes you through the small townships of Tullah, Rosebery and Zeehan.
Visit the West Coast Pioneers’ Museum in Zeehan for a peek into the town’s industrial and mining heritage. There are locomotives, a former blacksmith shop, mining machinery and notable mineral display housed in the museum.
The Spray Tunnel is also worth checking out if you like the sound of venturing through a 100-metre long abandoned railway tunnel. It’s on the outskirts of Zeehan, and the Spray Tunnel Loop takes around one-hour to complete.
The tunnel takes you to the former Spray Silver Mine and is only about three-metres high and just over two-metres wide. Once through the tunnel you’ll discover old boilers and abandoned equipment from the mine’s operational days.
Arrive in Strahan with plenty of time to check into your Sharonlee Strahan Villas accommodation and make the 5.30pm ‘The Ship That Never Was’ performance depicting a true story of convicts hijacking a vessel built on Sarah Island. If you’re in the front row, don’t be surprised if you become part of the cast. It’s the longest running play in Australia and brings Sarah Island to life – a fitting end to your day’s earlier exploration of the island.
Come dinner, enjoy freshly caught mussels or a pub-style steak at Hamers Hotel Bar and Grill along the waterfront.
Strahan to Queenstown
This morning drive forty kilometres to the West Coast Wilderness Railway in Queenstown and enjoy breakfast at Tracks Café. Hop aboard the steam train, which has been traversing this beautiful landscape for 118 years –luckily, the comfort levels have been upgraded. Sit back and enjoy this spectacular journey deep into the heritage of the wild west coast while your guide brings stories of the railway and its resilient people to life and discover how the feud of the Irishmen helped shape the west.
Admire the beautiful King River gorge and majestic rainforest from your carriage, before arriving at Dubbil Barril and swapping the comfort of the train for an adventure in a raft. Experienced guides will safely navigate you down the mighty King River, all the way to the stunning Macquarie Harbour. Here you’ll be picked up and taken back to Queenstown, arriving at approximately 5pm when you can check into your Queenstown accommodation for the night.
Queenstown to Tarraleah
Wake up ready to head deep into former gold mining territory on the Lost Mines-Ancient Pines tour. Mining relics, throngs of manferns and ancient Huon and King Billy Pines surround your four-wheel-drive as you spend four hours traversing this photographer’s paradise.
Venture into the spooky abandoned Mt Jukes Proprietary Mine through a horizontal tunnel mined into the side of Mt Jukes in the 1890’s by pioneer miners. In here, pocket your slither of gold if you spot one, or more likely a morsel of copper ore. Further along you’ll arrive at the site of the Franklin Dam blockages of the 1980s, instrumental in the World Heritage listing of this area.
Before you travel back to Hobart, look at the unusual pink and grey hues on the mountains. Marvel at the heritage listed gravel football field (and imagine the pain of playing on it). Little wonder visiting teams fear playing here. Venture up Spion Kop hill for a full view of the town (including the football field) or take an above ground tour of the old Mount Lyell Mine. Grab a coffee at Tracks Café and if you’re in town on a Thursday, listen out for the lone bagpiper on the main street.
Once back in the car, head to Derwent Bridge to visit the Wall in the Wilderness. Local artist Greg Duncan is carving his way through the Central Highland’s history with 100 metres of rare huon pine as his canvas. And if you have time and are feeling peckish, stop in at the Derwent Bridge Hotel for a quick bite for lunch.
From there, head to your accommodation at Tarraleah Lodge. Once a busy industrial town home to a large part of the workforce of Tasmania’s Hydro scheme, Tarraleah is now a haven for bushwalkers, fly-fishers, nature lovers and history buffs. Check in to the welcoming comforts of Tarraleah Lodge and take in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the property, before hitting the hay.
Tarraleah to Hobart
Say goodbye to Tarraleah in the morning and head south through the rolling countryside to New Norfolk, a tranquil haven for antique hunters. Once you’ve poked through all the stores and picked up a few treasures, drop in for a visit to Willow Court, a previous convict barracks-turned mental asylum, thankfully now disused. Like the rest of the town, it’s also full of antiques, along with its fair share of dark corners and spooky stories.
Head to Granton and make a stop at Stefano Lubiana for an unforgettable wine tasting experience. And while you’re enjoying a cellar door tasting, sneak in something from the proudly seasonal and Italian menu as well. (Hot tip: the award-winning NV Brut Reserve sparkling matches the menu beautifully).
Keep the afternoon open for Mona, David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art that houses the largest privately owned museum in Australia. Start your Mona experience by taking the ferry from Brooke Street Pier. Enjoy lunch at the Wine Bar before descending into the subterranean galleries. In the summer months, leave time aside to park yourself on a pink beanbag with a lunch platter and a glass of Moorilla bubbles after roaming the MoMa market.
Leave plenty of time to get back to Hobart Airport and bid farewell to 14 wonderful Tasmanian days.
Availability of experiences in this itinerary may be subject to opening times, seasonal operation or booking requirements, please call ahead to plan each day.
Photo Credit: Tourism Tasmania. All rights reserved @Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett, Andrew Wilson, Peter Topliss, Alice Bennett, Michael Walters Photography, Simon Birch, John de la Roche, Adrian Cook, Samuel Shelley, Kathryn Leahy, George Apostolidis, Joe Shemesh.