14 DAY LAUNCESTON TASMANiA ADVENTURE
Tasmania’s north is putting on a show. All the stuff Tassie is famous for; fresh air, fresh foods, freakishly good wines, and not-so-faraway places are waiting for you.
- Day 1 – Launceston and surrounds
- Day 2 – Launceston to Devonport
- Day 3 – Devonport to Stanley
- Day 4 – Stanley and surrounds
- Day 5 – Stanley to Cradle Mountain
- Day 6 – Cradle Mountain
- Day 7 – Cradle Mountain to Strahan
- Day 8 – Strahan and the Gordon River
- Day 9 – Strahan to Derwent Bridge
- Day 10 – Derwent Bridge to Hobart
- Day 11 – Hobart to Coles Bay
- Day 12 – Coles Bay
- Day 13 – Coles Bay to Launceston
- Day 14 – Launceston
Launceston and surrounds
Step off the plane at Launceston Airport, and within a few minutes pull up a seat at Josef Chromy Wines. The cool climate vineyard opens at 10am daily. Too early for sparkling? You be the judge. It’s a seasonal, local menu – think pork from nearby Scottsdale, and hops from down the road.
Follow the rolling hills of Relbia Road into the city of Launceston and take a James Boag Brewery tour; a historic brewery committed to creating the best beer from the purest waters in the land. Venture inside the brewing process followed by a tasting paired with King Island cheeses.
Check into your Launceston accommodation and grab an early bite before heading north to Low Head. Your guide will take you to some 30-centimetre-high lovable birds. For 60-90 minutes, you’ll watch as little blue penguins pitter-patter up from Bass Strait into their burrows. Expect anywhere from 10 to 200 depending on the season, and bring cosy clothes.
Launceston to Devonport
Make tracks for Devonport early, starting with breakfast at Deloraine Deli, and browse the produce-packed providore. You’re on the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail, after all! Your next stop is Ashgrove Cheese where cheeses are made with Tasmanian bush pepper, lavender and wild wasabi.
Next drive to Railton, ‘Town of Topiary’ for a tour at Seven Sheds Brewery. Learn the beer making process and have Willie Simpson, one of Australia’s foremost beer experts, pour you a craft beer that’s a long way from the usual tastes of big brewery draughts.
Lunch is a serving of local paddock-to-plate fare at Hundred Acres, the restaurant at Ghost Rock Vineyard in Port Sorell, and learn the wine production story. Drive to Devonport and check into your accommodation. Stroll the waterfront and dine at Mrs Jones, perched above the Devonport Surf Life Saving Club.
Tonight step into local distillery and bar Southern Wild Distillery to take a slug of original gins that tap into fresh seasonal ingredients. Every bottle starts with water from the wild Dasher and Fisher Rivers that originate from Cradle Mountain.
Devonport to Stanley
Catch sunrise at the candy-striped Mersey Bluff Lighthouse. Four distinctive vertical red stripes added in 1929 make it quite a showstopper. After, fill up on free range bacon at Laneway Café.
Drop into Hellyers Road Distillery in Burnie for a coffee with a nip of whisky liqueur. Tour the working distillery, discover their distilling secrets and bottle your own whisky to take away.
In springtime, nearby fields at Table Cape are flooded with vivid tulips and the stunning backdrop of Table Cape lighthouse. Read about the original 1900s school, where children rolled large rocks off the cape, hearing them tumble 300 feet to the sea below. Further along, hidden down a hillside, is local secret Boat Harbour, sprinkled with shacks and the beachfront café Harvest and Cater.
Drive on to Stanley and check into your accommodation for the next two nights. Dinner is at Xanders Restaurant, known for turning fresh local seafood into something extraordinary.
Stanley and surrounds
After breakfast take a chairlift ride or the zig-zagging track to the top of The Nut, a curious looking volcanic plug rising from Bass Strait. Then head down to Highfield House to learn about the Van Diemen’s Land Company, or return at nightfall for a chilling ghost tour.
Drop into Providore 24 on the main street and gather a bounty of freshly baked breads, chutneys, boutique wines and other picnic supplies to enjoy at nearby Fishermans’ Wharf.
From here take a scenic drive out along Mawbanna Road, where you’ll come across a roadside honesty box for Blue Hills Honey, one of Tassie’s most awarded apiaries.
Next, get a feel for the Tarkine wilderness where the honey comes from. Fly over one of the world’s largest remaining tracts of temperate rainforest by helicopter for thirty minutes or venture on the Tarkine Drive, winding your way through rainforest, mountain and heath country.
Tonight, dine at the historic Stanley Hotel Bistro, made famous by Masterchef Australia.
Stanley to Cradle Mountain
First up, breakfast in Stanley, before heading to the Makers’ Workshop in Burnie and then Penguin to take a snap with a giant fibreglass penguin. Lunch at Pier01 Restaurant and Café in Ulverstone on the Ulverstone Wharf includes food that highlights local produce.
Next stop, the town of Spreyton, where rows of apple trees are a good indication of what’s to come. The orchard-lined road to Spreyton Cider is a tribute to the crisp bite in each bottle. Drive through to the Promised Land for afternoon pancakes at Tasmazia, then on to Cradle Mountain.
Check into your Cradle Mountain accommodation for the next two nights. At Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge you can book a tasting of six handcrafted wines and three gourmet cheeses as you’re guided through the individuality of Tasmania’s wine and cheese industry. Dine at Highland Restaurant, where you can arrange a picnic hamper for tomorrow’s lakeside amblings.
Overnight Cradle Mountain
After breakfast, enjoy the walk around the Dove Lake Circuit through the forest beneath Cradle Mountain, until you find a lakeside spot to unpack your picnic lunch. On your return, sink deep into a hot spa at Waldheim Alpine Spa and let the afternoon slip away. ‘The Sanctuary’ allows you to move between the steam room, sauna, hot tub and plunge pool.
Tonight, prepare for a menu of small plates focused on seasonal local produce that highlights the best of the island, ranging from subtle seafood tastes to organic garden delights. Afterwards, meet some furry locals having their own dinner at Devils@Cradle. Here you can check out the Tassie devils as they screech and scream their way through dinner.
Overnight Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain to Strahan
This morning hit the road for Strahan via Tassie’s mining towns, stopping in Zeehan, once Tasmania’s third largest town.
If you like the sound of venturing through a 100-metre long abandoned railway tunnel, wander The Spray Tunnel Loop, which takes you to the former Spray Silver Mine. On the other side of the tunnel are old boilers and abandoned equipment from the mine’s operational days. Afterwards take a look at Zeehan’s Gaiety Theatre, rumoured to have hosted Dame Nellie Melba, Australia’s first opera star.
Drive to Strahan, a tiny harbour-side settlement with a dark convict past, the gateway to the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Check into your accommodation for the next two nights. Dinner might be freshly caught seafood at Risby Cove or Hamer’s pub-style steak on the waterfront.
Strahan and the Gordon River
Farewell the shore aboard World Heritage Cruises on a Gordon River Cruise departing at 8.30am. Cross Macquarie Harbour, and gain a sense of the Southern Ocean’s power at Hell’s Gate before venturing up the Gordon River. The cruise includes river stops to explore on foot. At Heritage Landing there’s a Huon pine believed to be 2,000 years old. Enjoy a chef-prepared lunch on board before reaching Sarah Island – the largest boat building settlement in the British colonies, and said to be the most feared penal colony in Australia.
You’ll be back in Strahan with plenty of time to enjoy ‘The Ship That Never Was’ performance at 5.30pm, a true story of convicts hijacking a vessel built on Sarah Island. For dinner, enjoy à la carte dining and fresh seafood by the water’s edge at Risby Cove. A seat by the window to catch a west coast sunset is a must.
Strahan to Derwent Bridge
In the morning call into Queenstown, where you’ll find a heritage listed football field – made from gravel. Little wonder visiting teams fear playing here. Venture up Spion Kop hill for a full view of the town or take an above ground tour of the old Mount Lyell Mine. If you’re in town on a Thursday, listen out for the lone bagpiper on the main street.
Back on the road, 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.
From here drive on to Derwent Bridge to stay at Pumphouse Point by Lake St Clair. Tuck into the honesty bar, join other guests for dinner, and then settle in for the night.
Overnight Derwent Bridge.
Derwent Bridge to Hobart
Make tracks south through the rolling countryside of the Derwent Valley towards New Norfolk, a tranquil haven for antique hunters. Once you’ve poked through the stores, drop in for a visit at Willow Court, convict barracks-turned mental asylum, thankfully now disused.
Keep the afternoon open for Mona, David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art that houses the largest privately-owned art collection in Australia. Take the ferry from Brooke Street Pier. Start your Mona experience at the Wine Bar.
Check into your Hobart accommodation. By 5pm you’ll be ready for a classic Hobartian pastime – pub-crawling. Hobart Historic Tours runs a popular Old Hobart Pub Tour that takes in over 200 years of beer-soaked history in a tight 1.5 hours. Then make for the waterfront to dine at one of Hobart’s new and highly lauded restaurants.
Hobart to Coles Bay
Grab an early breakfast at Tricycle Café and Bar in Salamanca before you experience the Great Eastern Drive today. To get in the mood Barilla Bay has an oyster and candy abalone tour that includes a walk to the oyster farm and six freshly shucked goodies. Tuck a few bottles of Barilla Bay Oyster Stout under your arm for later.
A short time later, you’ll hit the coast and much-loved shack haven, Orford. From here the highway hugs the coastline. Take in vast stretches of sandy white beaches, scrummy food, cool wines, and panoramic views that will have you pulling over every few minutes. There’s good reason the Great Eastern Drive is one of Australia’s greatest road trips.
As you pass through the Freycinet wine region you’re spoilt for choice in Cranbrook and Apslawn. Take your time exploring Devil’s Corner Vineyard viewing platform overlooking Moulting Lagoon and the impressive Hazards mountain range. Check into your accommodation at Coles Bay for the next two nights and dine at Freycinet Lodge.
Overnight Coles Bay.
Starting your day with breakfast overlooking The Hazards at Tombolo Freycinet. Then make tracks for the Wineglass Bay Lookout, a beach regularly named among the world’s best. Lunch is back at Tombolo (their wood-fired pizzas are to die for). Come 1pm, hop on a quad bike with All4Adventure to cruise along native forest lined bush tracks and sweeping coastlines.
You’ll be back in Coles Bay in time for a walk around Cape Tourville Lighthouse, a loop takes you around the lighthouse, one of Tasmania’s first, with sweeping views down the coast.
When you start feeling hungry, head to Freycinet Lodge for dinner. Afterwards, if you’re up for a drive, Devils in the Dark at Bicheno can get you up-close to Tassie devils.
Overnight Coles Bay.
Coles Bay to Launceston
Head to Launceston this morning via Lake Leake Road. In Campbell Town browse well-stocked antique shops. Then explore at Brickendon and Woolmers Estate in Longford – both listed as World Heritage convict sites. After exploring both properties, have lunch on the edge of South Esk River at River’s Edge Café. Then drive onto Launceston and check into your accommodation.
Tonight opt for the casual approach to dinner at Saint John Craft Beer Bar. Chose from local and international craft brews – BYO food. Or head to Black Cow Bistro for a premium Tasmanian dry-aged steak, guaranteed free range, grass-fed and ideal with a glass of red.
Stay close to Launceston today. Australia’s third oldest city, take in the architecture on your way to The Design Centre a contemporary design space for Tasmanian craftspeople and designers. If it’s a Saturday morning, pop into the Harvest Market abuzz with more than 50 market stalls including the ‘egg lady’ the ‘mushroom guys’, the ‘brownie lady’, and the ‘truffle dudes’.
Go industrial for lunch, surrounding yourself with the works of emerging artists at Blue Café Bar. The coffee is great and the wood-fired pizzas are a treat in this former tram pay station. Spend the afternoon exploring the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.
Complete your Launceston experience in the fresh air of the Cataract Gorge – Launceston’s urban reserve. Take a ride on the world’s longest single-span chairlift or pull up a patch of grass near the resident peacocks. After covering plenty of ground since arriving, rest easy before your flight.
14 Day Launceston Tasmania Adventure
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: Rob Burnett, Chris Crerar, Andrew McIntosh – Ocean Photography, Graham Freeman, Wai Nang Poon, Paul Fleming, Alex Beem, James Lauritz, Adam Gibson and Kathryn Leahy