DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

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Hobart to St Helens road trip 

A ton of visual treats – headlined by some of the state’s most iconic natural attractions – ensures this coast-hugging path is an absolute epic.

St Helens has a heavenly feel to it.


   
 
 

What: Hobart to St Helens via Freycinet Peninsula

Distance (approx.): 310km

Driving time (approx.): 4hr

Suggested time: 3-4 days

Summary: The route heads in a northeasterly direction along the Tasman Highway before linking with Coles Bay Road as it descends Freycinet Peninsula. Heading back up Coles Bay Road, the drive reconnects with the Tasman Highway to St Helens.

Cheers to that view. Location: Devil's Corner winery. Credit: Lisa Kuilenburg.

Highlights

  • Spiky Bridge
  • Freycinet National Park
  • Bicheno Blowhole
  • East Coast Natureworld
  • Douglas-Apsley National Park
  • Bay of Fires Conservation Area

The journey

For easy navigation, we’ve divided this route into two sections:

  • Hobart to Coles Bay
  • Coles Bay to St Helens

Hobart to Coles Bay

The city and its suburbs soon give way to countryside, and nature lovers will be tempted with a stop just 60km into the drive. That’s thanks to Tasmanian Bushland Garden, which has a native flora focus and includes a handful of pleasant walking trails.

From here, the route steers towards the coast where the inviting village of Orford provides a warm welcome. Its river-meets-bay setting immediately captivates.

Not far from Orford is Triabunna, a peaceful town flanked by untouched beaches, coastal reserves, forests, and more. It’s also the departure point for regular ferry services bound for much-loved Maria Island. 

Beach near Orford. Credit: Tourism Tasmania/Andrew Wilson.

Little Swanport is another cute seaside village that emerges. Just north of here, family-run Boomer Creek Vineyard has pulling power for a cheeky cellar-door stop.

From here, the road is drawn to the edges of gigantic Great Oyster Bay, and glorious glimpses across the water to the striking peaks of Freycinet National Park are revealed. 

Little Swanport. Credit: Lisa Kuilenburg.

Several sparkling beaches tempt, if a pitstop is on the cards. Alternatively, keep watch for a turnoff to quirky convict-built Spiky Bridge, just south of Swansea.

A little further along is Kate’s Berry Farm with its onsite café and truck-load of delicious local goodies for takeaway. Or take a breather at Swansea, if only to soak up more jaw-dropping views.

Spiky Bridge. Credit: Tourism Tasmania/Rob Burnett.

At this point, the path swings away from the water while curving around the bay – pitstop alert at Devil's Corner winery – before descending to Freycinet Peninsula along Coles Bay Rd.

The relaxing waterfront town of Coles Bay awaits. This is the perfect base to explore surrounding Freycinet National Park and its bounty of treasure, including world-famous Wineglass Bay.

BIG4 accommodation along this leg

Wineglass Bay. Credit: Lauren Bath.

Coles Bay to St Helens

The second leg of this journey takes visitors back along Coles Bay Road. For those who didn’t stop at Friendly Beaches on the way down, it’s highly recommended to factor in some time to explore this white sand wonder on the return journey.

Rejoining the Tasman Highway, the path steers towards the coast and leads to Bicheno. Among its most popular attractions is furious and mesmerising Bicheno Blowhole, conveniently located close to town.

Bicheno Blowhole. Credit: Tourism Tasmania/Kathryn Leahy.

‘Up the road’ is East Coast Natureworld, a popular wildlife sanctuary home to an assortment of native animals.

A tad further north, Douglas-Apsley National Park provides another compelling reason to stop, albeit with a small diversion. This awesome area is home to waterfalls, gorges, dolerite-capped plateaus, and other gems.

Douglas-Apsley National Park. Credit: Simon Sturzaker.

More sparkling beaches line the road as it points northwards, intertwined with laidback seaside towns synonymous with this route.

The end point is St Helens, which has an enviable setting overlooking Georges Bay.

This alluring port town is a game-fishing hotspot, has an extensive network of mountain biking trails, and features a riveting maritime museum among its bank of attractions.

St Helens Mountain Bike Trails. Credit: Stu Gibson.

Yet the biggest drawcard is nearby Bay of Fires Conservation Area. There’s eye candy galore thanks to the irresistible combination of white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lichen-covered granite boulders.

BIG4 accommodation along this leg

Bay of Fires. Credit: Stu Gibson.

If you have more time…

Maria Island: Day trip to this action-packed island via ferry from Triabunna. It oozes dramatic scenery mixed with tangible reminders of its penal colony days.

St Columba Falls State Reserve: View one of Tasmania’s highest waterfalls, found among sprawling forested surrounds. Accessed 30km west of St Helens.

Evercreech Forest Reserve: This stunning area is highlighted by a cluster of the tallest white gums on the planet. Located 35km west of St Helens.

Maria Island. Credit: Stu Gibson.

Time for a Tasmanian road trip? Start by booking your BIG4 accommodation below.

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