International visitors often overlook Tasmania, Australia’s southerly island state. But it’s relatively small scale and diverse landscape makes this a great choice for a road trip. The east coast is easily doable in a long weekend, so touch down in Hobart, pick up your rental car and start exploring. Here’s Mundana’s guide to what you shouldn’t miss.
Port Arthur was once a penal colony for the British, constructed in the early 1850s on the site of a lumber station. With some of the strictest controls on the continent, this harsh institution is where the authorities sent criminals if they were especially rebellious or repeat offenders. Today, this is one of the most poignant and fascinating convict settlements in Australia and part of a wider UNESCO World Heritage Site. To reach it, drive an hour and a half from the centre of Hobart.
Head north from Port Arthur following the coast road until you reach the town of Triabunna. From there, catch a ferry to Maria Island. It’s a protected area, so you’ll have to leave your car behind. On arrival, if it’s close to low tide, take a walk along the coast to the Painted Cliffs, the island’s most famous landmark. From there, continue your scenic stroll and enjoy encounters with the habituated wildlife such as wombats and kangaroos that call the island home. Loop back to Devonport and check out the convict settlement before sailing back to Triabunna.
Freycinet National Park
Your next stop should be one of the prettiest parks in Tasmania. Set your sights on Coles Bay, from where various trails lead into Freycinet National Park. One of the most dazzling views on a clear day is overlooking Wineglass Bay from the summit of Mount Amos. However, if you prefer not to walk as far, then hop in a water taxi and ask the boatman to drop you off at Hazards Beach. From there it’s a much flatter and shorter walk. Alternatively, enjoy the views of gorgeous Honeymoon Bay, much closer to where the road runs out.
Bay of Fires
Continue north from Freycinet National Park to the Bay of Fires. Make a pitstop at the charming beach town of Bicheno along the way. The Bay of Fires is renowned for its boulder-strewn coastline. Orange lichen smothers large chunks of granite. Against a backdrop of white sand and a vivid turquoise sea, it’s one of the most photogenic spots on the island. Take a walk through the rock pools of Binalong Bay or admire the scene from the water in a kayak or as part of a boat tour.
Mount Field National Park
Take the inland route back to Hobart and you’ll uncover a landscape riddled with lush valleys and secluded waterfalls. Detour to Mount Field National Park. The trail to Russell Falls winds through a forest of mature tree ferns and towering eucalypts. The climb to Horseshoe Falls justifies the effort. From there, complete the Three Falls Circuit and return via Lady Barron Falls.
If you’re keen to explore options in Tasmania, why not let Mundana create a bespoke road trip itinerary?