Tantalising Tasmania

Hobart to Launceston (via the North West)

Total Distance: 705km
10hr 5min

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The Apple Isle crams in an enviable amount of treasure – from natural wonders to historical gems – and the Tantalising Tasmania touring route is the ideal way to experience a huge helping of it. Beginning in Hobart, the path takes in much of the North West region before winding up in vibrant Launceston.

Highlights

  • Marvel at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art
  • Cruise along the Gordon River in Strahan
  • Climb the summit of iconic Cradle Mountain
  • Explore Devonport’s Bass Strait Maritime Centre
  • Spot grand buildings on a Launceston heritage walk
Mersey Bluff Lighthouse, Devonport

Mersey Bluff Lighthouse, Devonport

Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain

Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain

Russell Falls, Mt Field National Park

Russell Falls, Mt Field National Park

Hobart

Start

It’s not hard to be hooked on Hobart. The Tasmanian capital has the ability to charm with its abundant attractions and ease of exploration.

Wander around the waterfront precinct to get a feel for the city. This area draws much attention each year as the finishing point of the famous Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Or enjoy the buzz of the Saturday morning Salamanca Markets before taking a stroll around nearby Battery Point – its rich history will hit you like a slap in the face.

For more of the past, allow ample time to unearth the engrossing collection at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Contrast that with a visit to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) – this leading attraction is mind-boggling.

A walk or drive to the top of Mount Wellington reveals glorious views of the surrounds. Alternatively, test yourself with a climb to the top of the 58.7m-high Shot Tower to absorb even more incredible vistas.

With the Derwent River flowing through Hobart, getting out on the water is essential. River cruises provide a soothing way to see the sights.

Hobart is a superb base for exploring nearby treasure-filled areas. Unearth the scenic and historical Tasman Peninsula & the South East region – which includes Port Arthur Historic Sites – as well as the produce-rich Huon Valley.

BIG4 Holiday Parks in Hobart

Hobart to Strahan

300km (4hr)

Once exploration of Hobart is complete, hit the road and prepare for a journey of boundless beauty.

Follow the Derwent River and reach New Norfolk. A stop at Pulpit Rock Lookout best showcases the glorious surrounds.

Detour to Mount Field National Park, if only to witness spectacular Russell Falls. Other waterfalls as well as towering trees and glacial lakes are among more park goodies.

Continue along the Lyell Highway and admire historical structures at Hamilton and Ouse before arriving at Tarraleah. This cute village is on the cusp of Tasmania’s wilderness area and a walk to Tarraleah Falls won’t disappoint.

Snake your way past trout-filled lakes before reaching Derwent Bridge. At its entrance is the Wall in the Wilderness, a work-in-progress, wooden sculpture of jaw-dropping proportions.

Detour to Lake St Clair, a spectacular feature within Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park (which we will revisit later in the touring route).

From here, cut through the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and reach Queenstown. This old mining town is a gem, surrounded by towering mountains and oozing history. Climb Spion Kop hill to feast on awe-inspiring views.

Another snaking stretch of the Lyell Highway leads to Strahan, where more majestic scenery is afforded. Spotted on Macquarie Harbour, Strahan has a superb assortment of historical buildings.

The key activity at Strahan is a cruise along the Gordon River, which mixes nature and history. Be dazzled by World Heritage-listed rainforests and explore the rich past of Sarah Island among other sights.

Strahan to Cradle Mountain

145km (2hr 10min)

The first notable stop on this northbound leg is Zeehan. The Gaiety Theatre is a striking addition to the town and a walk to (and through) the Spray Tunnel uncovers its mining past.

Join the Murchison Highway where more treasure reveals itself. The zinc-mining town of Rosebery is the gateway to the 104m-high Montezuma Falls. These towering falls are shrouded by wonderful scenery.

Further ahead is Tullah. The town is bathed in beauty, spotted on the shores of Lake Rosebery and at the base of Mount Farrell. On selected weekends, the Wee Georgie Wood Steam Railway provides scenic train rides.

From here, access the northern section of astonishing Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness area.

The king in these parts is Cradle Mountain, a towering peak that is surrounded by stunning scenery. A climb to the summit of this jagged peak is a day-long slog but the sense of accomplishment is only surpassed by the gobsmacking views.

If that climb is too much (or too little!) to handle, plant your feet along one of the many other walking tracks. Options range from short strolls to multiple-day hikes and they reveal wilderness at its best. Pass ever-changing landscapes: stunning rainforests, glacial lakes, and imposing peaks that include Tasmania's highest mountain, 1617m-high Mount Ossa.

Cradle Mountain to Ulverstone

80km (1hr 30min)

Wind your way up Cradle Mountain Road, bound for the coast. Along the route is Wilmot, the birthplace of Coles supermarkets.

Unfortunately, the original Coles store was destroyed by fire in early 2014. When passing through Wilmot, keep a look out for a string of creative letterboxes.

Press head to Ulverstone, a town surrounded by water. It is situated at the mouth of the Levin River and overlooks the dramatic Bass Strait. A cruise along the Levin River is a prime way to absorb the idyllic surrounds.

Alternatively, take a wander through the tranquil Zig Zag Garden and admire the views at its lookout.

Ulverstone is a great base for exploring further afield. Take a cave tour at Gunns Plains State Reserve and marvel at amazing scenery within Leven Canyon Regional Reserve.

BIG4 Holiday Parks in Ulverstone

Ulverstone to Devonport

20km (0hr 20min)

A short drive leaves to Devonport, which makes another great base for unearthing the abundant gold that glitters throughout the North West region.

Like neighbouring Ulverstone, Devonport is also planted at the mouth of a river – in this case the Mersey.

This vibrant city is home to the Spirit of Tasmania ferries and has a strong link with the sea. Explore this theme at the Bass Strait Maritime Centre, a modern attraction with a series of compelling displays. You can even experience the notorious Bass Strait for yourself by sailing on an old fishing vessel.

For another glimpse into Devonport’s past, visit the Don River Railway. It features a museum as well as scenic train rides to Coles Beach.

Families should take note of Pandemonium discovery and adventure centre, which has indoor rock climbing, a play area, and laser skirmish. But its biggest drawcard is Imaginarium, an enthralling, interactive science centre.

The Devonport Regional Gallery and the Tasmanian Arboretum are other top-class attractions.

BIG4 Holiday Parks in Devonport

Devonport to Launceston

105km (1hr 20min)

While Bass Highway provides the quickest route from Devonport to Launceston, alternative roads with the smallest of detours unveil a series of charming destinations.

Just south of Devonport at the bottom end of the Mersey River is Latrobe. The town provides exceptional viewing opportunities of notoriously shy platypus at nearby Warrawee Reserve. Other Latrobe highlights include the Australian Axeman's Hall of Fame and Timberworks museum and delicious Belgian-style chocolates at the House of Anvers.

Green thumbs shouldn’t overlook Railton, regarded as the town of topiary. Walking maps are available to view the many carefully crafted creations.

Further along is Deloraine: history flows through this striking village, evidenced by a streetscape that has earned National Trust classification.

Neighbouring Westbury also gives an impression that time has stood still. A visit to Pearn's Steam World is enticing: view an impressive collection of engines, tractors, and other memorabilia.

From here you will reach Launceston, the second-most populous city in Tasmania. It packs plenty into its compact frame.

Like much else of Tasmania, Launceston has a fascinating history to explore. Designated heritage walks reveal some of the most prized examples of architecture, including Albert Hall and the Post Office building.

The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery occupy two key historical sites. Despite the shared name, the museum and art gallery have different addresses and both will easily absorb much of your time.

Combine beer with a glimpse into the past by joining a tour of the historical James Boag’s Brewery.

It’s easy to embrace nature in Launceston. Take the 15-minute stroll to Cataract Gorge, a beautiful wilderness area that will leave you feeling far removed from city life.

Launceston is dotted with parks and one of the best examples is City Park. Children will be dazzled by the playful monkeys within the Japanese macaque enclosure.

BIG4 Holiday Parks in Launceston

Launceston to Tamar Valley (Kelso)

55km (0hr 45min)

Dedicate plenty of time to the glorious Tamar Valley region, which is within easy reach of Launceston.

Delectable food and wine are signature items of the Tamar Valley. Visit the cellar doors of boutique wineries and treat yourself to fresh produce from olive estates, dairy outlets, or straight from the farm gate. The region has a strong creative side, too: grab a Tamar Valley Art Trail map to guide you around.

The Tamar Valley incorporates the Tamar River, and a cruise along this body of water is serene (cruises depart from Launceston).

This extension to the Tantalising Tasmania touring route follows the West Tamar Highway. Between Legana and Exeter spot the turnoff to Brady's Lookout and soak up widespread views.

Further along is Beaconsfield, which earned worldwide attention in 2006 when part of its gold mine collapsed and trapped three miners. The Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre thoroughly details the town’s past with a series of engrossing displays.

A short detour to Beauty Point will captivate wildlife lovers. Seahorse World and Platypus House (which also features echidnas) are both excellent attractions.

From here, find Greens Beach Road and continue north to Kelso, which enjoys a prime spot along the Tamar River. This is a superb base to indulge in the Tamar Valley’s many gems and is highly rewarding for anglers. Bird watchers should note that this area attracts many interesting species.

BIG4 Holiday Parks in Tamar Valley (Kelso)

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