The Ultimate Tasmanian Driving Holiday
It’s time to start planning your next driving holiday around Tasmania. As we discovered when international borders were closed, we are so lucky to have such a wealth of domestic travel experiences at our fingertips here in Australia. Whether you are in search of beach, bush or city breaks, Tasmania delivers on all fronts. And for those on the mainland who are looking to venture further afield, you can roadtrip to the Apple Isle and take advantage The Spirit of Tasmania’s car ferry from Melbourne to Devonport.
To help you explore the best Tasmania has to offer, we have handpicked a week-long roadtrip itinerary that starts in Devonport, where the Spirit of Tasmania docks, and takes in incredible Tasmanian landscapes, destinations, dining and wineries.
The Spirit of Tasmania’s Bring Your Car For $99 offer is available for all new bookings for travel in low season. Click here for more information and to book.
Day 1: Devonport to Launceston
Welcome to Tasmania! Insiders know to spend a bit of time exploring Devonport before jumping in the car and heading to Launceston. Set in the stunning Cradle Coast in Tasmania, Devonport is a popular stop for anyone on a food and wine roadtrip in Tasmania. It’s the landing point for those travelling to the Apple Isle via the Spirit of Tasmania from the mainland, and a handy base to explore the wineries and pristine wilderness of the Cradle Coast and the Tamar Valley. A one hour drive from our Holm Oak Cellar Door, it’s a part of Tasmania that we love. There are lots of great restaurants and cafés to discover, and here we share our favourites.
Fuel your roadtrip with coffee and breakfast at our favourite Devonport café, Laneway, then head to Reliquaire, an emporium that is renowned for its eclectic collection of dolls, teddies, jewellery, soaps and candles, handbags, clothing, Venetian masks, cookbooks, puppets, games, Tasmanian produce, antiques and more.
Click here for our insider’s guide of the best places to eat in Devonport that covers breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.
Tasmania is home to an incredible mix of food and wine producers, and on your way to Launceston you stop for tastings and to pick up produce for picnics and those all-important roadtrip snacks. Be sure to visit Ashgrove Cheese and sample their award-winning Vintage Cheddar and Mr Bennett’s Blue Cheese. Then, head to House of Anvers Chocolate Factory for single-origin handmade chocolate. Save room for the pancakes and waffles that are drizzled with freshly made raspberry syrup at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café. The café also offers raspberries galore in all forms, from homemade jams, vinegars, teas and soaps to punnets of fresh ruby red berries to-go. There’s plenty of space to stretch your legs and for the kids to burn off steam. The stunning property has a large duck pond and play area for the kids, as well as resident alpacas, ducks and other farm characters to meet.
Check out our Foodie’s Guide to Launceston and Beyond for more tips.
Day 2 : Launceston
Whether you are an early riser or prefer to sleep in, Stillwater is Launceston’s longstanding and much-awarded dining destination for lunch and dinner that also serves up a fantastic breakfast. Settle in at this beautiful 1830s flour mill on the banks of the River Tamar and browse a menu featuring the best Tassie produce. The seasonal menu might feature anything from a healthy ‘Green Bowl’ of eggs, smoked almond cream, cauliflower, kale, quinoa, dukkah and puffed wild rice, to a super-indulgent Reuben sandwich layered with wagyu beef, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. Not only that, if you’re in a celebratory (or just plain holiday) mode, you can order a glass of Tasmanian sparkling to enjoy with your brekkie.
Read our guide to the Best Breakfast Spots in Launceston for more tips.
After breakfast, explore Cataract Gorge, which is located about 1km from the city centre. There’s a playground for children and a hiking loop that takes you over the suspension bridge and up to the lookout. There’s a chairlift and various hiking tracks to cater to all levels.
Art and design enthusiasts will love Design Tasmania – Launceston’s design centre featuring a museum of contemporary wood design and a gift shop with local handicrafts. It’s Australia’s only museum collection of contemporary wood design and a changing program of exhibitions that celebrate the work of local, national and international designers. Open seven days a week, check the website for opening hours.
Stay at Hotel Verge a contemporary boutique hotel with a cool industrial-luxe aesthetic. There’s a high design sensibility here with sleek monochrome interiors textured with wood and concrete. While the oversized bathrooms come with all the trimmings, from Kevin Murphy amenities and rain showers to cosy robes. There’s a gym and restaurant on site, plus complimentary parking for road-trippers.
Another premium accommodation option in town is Peppers Silo Launceston. Set on the banks of the River Tamar, the stylish rooms and suites are housed in historical silos and those in the North Tower take in the sweeping views over the Cataract Gorge, North Esk and River Tamar. Dine at Grain of the Silos Restaurant headed up by chef Massimo Mele, and indulge in a little self-care at Silo Day Spa.
Day 3: Launceston to Deloraine
Get your morning caffeine fix at favourite Launceston café Sweetbrew. The breakfast menu is as coveted as the coffee, and may include shakshuka, buckwheat and turmeric oven cakes, or flaky croissants loaded with cheese, tomato, garlic mushrooms and caramelised onion.
After you pull out of town, visit 41 Degrees South Salmon Farm. It’s a family-owned business focused on ecologically sustainable aquaculture. Located in native bushland, the farm grows salmon in natural conditions, without chemicals or antibiotics, using environmentally sustainable practices. 41 Degrees South is also a pioneer of commercial ginseng farming in Tasmania. You can take a self-guided walking tour of the farm to see how the fish are raised and the water is re-circulated through the natural bio-filter system. Explore the natural and man-made wetland areas and encounter the resident wildlife. Visit the shop for a salmon-inspired lunch, or to sample 41 Degrees South hot-smoked salmon products and explore the range of products to-go, including organic ginseng products, honey, spices and chocolate.
Set in the foothills of the Great Western Tiers mountain range, Deloraine is a charming riverside town with a historic streetscape classified by the National Trust for its Victorian and Georgian buildings. It’s a 50km drive from Launceston and Deloraine is worth visiting for its wealth of local galleries, craft shops and antique stores. There’s a big craft scene here – Deloraine is home to a huge annual craft fair every November, but there is plenty to see all year round. Visit the limestone caves of Mole Creek Karst National Park, home to the most spectacular accessible caves in Tasmania, featuring superb stalactites, stalagmites and columns, glow worms, subterranean streams and cathedral-like caverns.
Day 4: Deloraine to Cradle Mountain
Today the drive takes you to Cradle Mountain, one of the highest peaks in Tasmania, located a scenic 1.5-hour drive from Deloraine.
Before you get to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, make a pitstop at Sheffield. The small town has earnt its reputation as Tasmania’s ‘Outdoor Art Gallery’ as it is decorated from wall to wall with colourful murals. To plan a self-guided mural tour of Sheffield, you can find more information here.
About 12kms from Sheffield via West Kentish Road, you’ll arrive at Lake Barrington, a popular water sports venue for activities such as rowing, water-skiing, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, fishing, camping, picnicking and sightseeing. It’s home to an international-standard rowing course, and Kentish Park and Lake Barrington Park are popular sites for day visitors and camping (they are situated on opposite shores of the lake). The lake forms part of the Mersey-Forth hydro power scheme that comprises seven water storage lakes and four rivers. The lake is also a valuable source of drinking water for north west Tasmania.
For a family-friendly activity, drop in to Tazmazia, a fantastical theme park that is one of the world’s largest maze complexes. The magical world of Tasmazia is a crazy complex located in the wonderfully named Promised Land in the heart of the Cradle Mountain and Lakes District. Tasmazia includes eight mazes, featuring The Great Maze – at the time of planting, the world’s largest – as well as The Village of Lower Crackpot, a whimsical mini model village, Embassy Gardens, Cafeteria, Gift Shop, Lavender Farm, and the ever-present views of majestic Mount Roland.
No trip to Tasmania would be complete without spotting a rare Tasmanian Devil, and the pristine wilderness of Cradle Mountain is home to this mysterious marsupial. Devils at Cradle is a unique Tasmanian conservation sanctuary that is open day and night so you can get up and close to a Tassie Devil. You can view the devils from the comfort of the visitor centre, wander through the sanctuary, or join a personalised guided tour which ensures a close-up encounter with the animals. It’s a working conservation facility for one of the world’s iconic animals, and your visit will contribute to the conservation of the species.
Day 5: Cradle Mountain
Today is the day to explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Cradle Mountain national park. From moss-covered ancient rainforests and deep river gorges to snow-covered mountain peaks, wild alpine moorlands and glacial lakes, the World Heritage Listed national park is revered for its diverse landscapes that you can visit all-year round. There’s wildlife in abundance and an extensive system of walking tracks to explore. Hikes range from short easy strolls to the medium-grade picturesque Dove Lake Circuit, and the legendary 5-6 day Overland Track.
Spend a night in Tasmania’s remote mountain wilderness at Cradle Mountain Lodge, a luxe back-to-nature retreat that offers four different styles of accommodation, from cabins to luxury suites. After a morning in the great outdoors, return to the lodge to relax by the fire and play board games with a hot chocolate or glass of wine in hand. The Waldheim Alpine Spa at Cradle Mountain Lodge offers warm private plunge pools, massages and treatments in all-glass suites with sweeping views of the park. So, you can take in the expanse of the towering King Billy pines and fresh mountain streams that meander through the wilderness as you unwind – that’s pure bliss.
Day 6: Cradle Mountain to Quamby Estate
From Cradle Mountain, it’s a 150km drive east to Quamby Estate, the luxe getaway set in a 19th-century manor house on a sprawling estate that is your destination for today. Here, you will wake up to rural landscape views and a mountain backdrop from your luxury accommodation. Play a round of golf on the Quamby Estate Golf Course before settling in to enjoy the best Tasmanian wine and food from the on-site restaurant.
En route from Cradle Mountain to Quamby Estate, visit Liffey Falls where you can take an easy bushwalk to one of Tasmania’s most beautiful waterfalls. There are four sets of falls along the 45-minute return walk from the picnic ground downhill to the majestic Victoria Falls (commonly referred to as Liffey Falls). The views from the observation decks are well worth it too!
In the town of Longford, visit Woolmers Estate – one of the most historically significant heritage properties in Australia. The farming estate was founded in 1817 by prominent grazier and member of parliament Thomas Archer. The 82 hectare property includes a two-part manor house, coach house, the National Rose Garden, extensive outbuildings and convict cottages and formal gardens. You can book in for a guided tour of the house-museum to experience colonial life in its most genuine shape, preserved and maintained in an original and authentic setting. Then, sit down to a memorable lunch at Homage Restaurant (open Wednesday to Sunday).
Day 7: Quamby to Devonport via the Tamar Valley
On your return drive to Devonport, take the scenic route through the Tamar Valley. Visit our Holm Oak Cellar Door for a tasting and stock up on wine to take home and keep those holiday vibes alive. There’s plenty of amazing wineries and artisan producers to discover and the views over the River Tamar.
We’d love to welcome you to our Holm Oak Cellar Door. We’re only an hour’s drive east of Devonport and offer an extensive range of award-winning wines at our Tamar Valley Cellar Door, with at least eight available for tasting on any given day. We cater for all tastes, have a sensory garden to explore and there’s a range of local produce to discover and enjoy. Why not book in for a wine flight while you are here!
For more inspiration about driving holidays in Tasmania, also be sure to visit the Discover Tasmanian website where there’s other trails through Tasmania explored.