Taste of Tasmania

Hobart to Launceston (via the East Coast)

Total Distance: 530km
7hr 25min

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Tasmania is packed with gems – from jaw-dropping scenery to a fascinating past – and it’s all on display throughout the Taste of Tasmania touring route. Beginning in Hobart, the path incorporates the beautiful East Coast region before finishing in Launceston, the gateway to the Tamar Valley.

Highlights

  • Relax at Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park
  • View little penguins at Diamond Island, near Bicheno
  • Check out the Bay of Fires when at St Helens
  • ‘Escape’ to Cataract Gorge at Launceston
  • Reward the taste buds within the Tamar Valley
Overlooking The Hazards from Coles Bay

Overlooking The Hazards from Coles Bay

Bay of Fires

Bay of Fires

Princes Square, Launceston

Princes Square, Launceston

Hobart

Start

Located on the Derwent River, Hobart is jam-packed with historical, cultural, and gastronomic delights that can be explored with ease.

Head to Mount Wellington’s summit for beautiful views, then stroll around Battery Point and be gripped in an instant by its historical feel. Crowds flock to the nearby Salamanca Markets every Saturday morning.

The Cascades Female Factory provides a clever glimpse at its past with a powerful walking tour, while history and beer combine with a wander through Australia's oldest-operating brewery, Cascade.

But the attraction that should be at the top of your itinerary is the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). This is far from the average.

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.

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Hobart to Coles Bay

195km (2hr 45min)

Once you’ve finished indulging in Hobart’s many attractions, begin the journey towards the sparkling East Coast region.

A slightly less direct route passes through Richmond, a cute village with striking Georgian structures that provide a strong whiff of the past. Richmond Bridge and Richmond Gaol (which can be toured) are standouts. Also visit the well-crafted Old Hobart Town model village.

When the Tasman Highway introduces you to the coast, you’ll be greeted by Orford. This fishing village has a handful of superb swimming beaches.

Neighbouring Triabunna is the departure point for ferries across to Maria Island, which offers incredible scenery and World Heritage-listed historical ruins.

As you continue the climb north, with the coast to keep you company, Swansea soon emerges. Become acquainted with the region’s past at the East Coast Heritage Museum.

From here, head in something of a semi-circle fashion to reach Coles Bay, which shares the same latitude as Swansea across an expansive body of water.

Along the way, a handful of cellar doors around Cranbrook may tempt. These join a string of cool-climate wineries within the area.

Coles Bay will charm your socks off, serving up a magnetising location and providing a host of water-based leisure. Seafood lovers won’t want to miss Freycinet Marine Farm, which has bountiful fresh goodies to feast on.

Coles Bay is the gateway to the treasure chest of Freycinet National Park. The eye-catching peaks of the Hazards greet you at the park’s entrance and set the standard for what’s to come. A series of azure bays and white-sand beaches are planted here, led by internationally renowned Wineglass Bay.

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Coles Bay to Bicheno

40km (0hr 45min)

Head back up the road you travelled along to reach Coles Bay and rejoin the Tasman Highway.

In no time you will reach Bicheno, a fishing town with sparkling beaches and myriad attractions.

Natural gems double as wonderful photo subjects, such as the Bicheno Blowhole and the well-named Rocking Rock. Or walk to Diamond Island nature reserve at low tide to view little penguins.

Be introduced to Tasmanian devils and other local wildlife at East Coast Natureworld; then marvel at a diverse collection of bikes at the Bicheno Motorcycle Museum & Restorations.

Heading underwater rewards – these waters are prime for diving – and fishing opportunities are plentiful.

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Bicheno to St Helens

75km (1hr )

Just north of Bicheno are more scenic delights within Douglas-Apsley National Park.

Unearth deep river gorges, waterfalls, dolerite-capped plateaus, and dry eucalypt forests. Apsley Waterhole and Nicholls Needle are leading features.

More coast hugging is required as the Tasman Highway leads to Scamander. Located on the Scamander River – no points for imagination there – the town suits fishing and has a fantastic beach.

Continue on to St Helens, which occupies prime real estate in a pocket of picturesque Georges Bay. This enticing town extends the theme of delivering glittering beaches. Diving and fishing are prominent activities.

Take at stroll to St Helens Point to absorb a series of spectacular views or discover a large collection of historical items at the St Helens History Room.

St Helens is a fine base for accessing outstanding natural wonders. Head further north to the Bay of Fires to photograph beautiful white-sand beaches and funky, lichen-cloaked granite boulders. Or journey west to St Columba Falls Reserve to see one of Tasmania’s highest waterfalls.

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St Helens to Launceston

165km (2hr 10min)

This leg of the A Taste of Tasmania touring route takes you away from the coast to explore inland treasure.

Retrace your tyre marks along the Tasman Highway before reaching the Esk Highway. Shortly after, the town of St Mary’s will emerge. Satisfy an appetite by calling into the revered Mount Elephant Pancakes and wander through the quirky Cranks and Tinkerers museum.

Join the Midland Highway and head in a northwest direction bound for Launceston.

If embracing the past appeals, detour to Longford. It is home to two magnificent estates – Woolmers and Brickendon – that form part of a World Heritage site and can be toured. Or grab a heritage walk map and marvel at a cluster of striking structures.

Likewise, nearby Perth has myriad historical buildings to admire, while the Tasmanian Honey Company is a sweet addition to this town.

Considering it is the second-most populous city in Tasmania, it should not surprise that Launceston presents a wealth of appeal. The compact surrounds ensure exploration is easy.

Get a culture fix at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. Despite the shared name, the museum and art gallery are located at different addresses and both will easily absorb much of your time.

Take to a walking track at nearby Cataract Gorge, tour the historical James Boag’s Brewery, or let the children run wild at the Kids Paradise playground complex.

There are parks aplenty in Launceston and a key find is the centrally located City Park. It includes a Japanese macaque enclosure, and these playful monkeys will captivate.

BIG4 Holiday Parks in Launceston

Extend the journey: Launceston to Tamar Valley (Kelso)

55km (0hr 45min)

Allow time to explore the glorious Tamar Valley – your palate is likely to thank you for it.

Food and wine of the Tamar Valley is first-rate. Boutique wineries dot the landscape, mingling with orchards and fruit farms, dairy outlets, and olive estates. Or grab a Tamar Valley Art Trail map and delve into the region’s creative side.

The Tamar Valley incorporates property on either side of the Tamar River. A cruise along this stretch of water is idyllic (cruises depart from Launceston).

This extension to the A Taste of Tasmania touring route heads along the West Tamar Highway. Between Legana and Exeter there is a turnoff to Brady's Lookout; a vantage point that reveals expansive 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, connect with Greens Beach Road and continue north to Kelso, which enjoys a prime spot along the Tamar River. This is a great base to enjoy the Tamar Valley’s many gems and is a top spot for anglers. Bird watchers should note that this area attracts many interesting species.

If you’d like the chance to spot native creatures, then use Kelso as a base to venture into Narawntapu National Park. The park is highly regarded for viewing wildlife in natural surrounds: there is a high concentration of Tasmanian devils as well as wombats and wallabies. Various Aboriginal artefacts can also be spotted.

BIG4 Holiday Parks in Extend the journey: Tamar Valley (Kelso)

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