Best East Coast Tasmania Road Trip: Hobart to Launceston Drive (2024)

half moon shaped bay with white sand beach and green fields with mountains in the distance on a east coast Tasmania road trip itinerary
East Coast Views along a Tasmania Road Trip

Ready for an unforgettable east coast Tasmania road trip?

I took a spellbinding Hobart to Launceston drive on an 18 day lap of Tasmania, and it’s a journey that still resonates with me. This east coast route is chock full of breathtaking landscapes and coastlines, and unexpected adventures, and it was one of my favourite legs of my journey around Tasmania. 

So, low and behold, I’ve put together this perfect Tasmania east coast road trip just for you.

During this trip, I explored everything from the charming cities of Hobart and Launceston to the remarkable Great Eastern Drive Tasmania offers which includes the Bay of Fires and Freycinet National Park

double lane paved road leading toward homes on a rolling green hillside on a Tasmania east coast road trip
The open road outside of Hobart, Tasmania

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With a mix of coastal beauty (I loved the Tasman Island cruise), historical towns, delectable food (Tasmanian oysters are a must-try!), and cozy accommodations, it’s the perfect blend of what modern explorers like us seek.

This Hobart to Launceston road trip guide will serve as your companion, providing insider tips on driving in Tasmania, where to stop, what to do, the coolest boutique hotels to rest your head (from budget to luxury), and the essential travel hacks to make your adventure as delightful as mine.

So reserve your Tasmania rental car and prepare for the most exciting Launceston to Hobart road trip (or vice versa) you’ll ever embark on. 

East Coast Tasmania Road Trip: Overview

Day 0: Arrive in Hobart in the Evening
Day 1: Hobart – Mt Wellington, Salamanca Market, MONA
Day 2: Bruny Island – Gourmet Producers, The Neck Lookout, Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Day 3: Port Arthur – Tasman Island Cruise & Port Arthur Historic Site
Day 4: Freycinet National Park – Wineglass Bay Cruise & Hike to Wineglass Bay lookout 
Day 5: Bay of Fires – The Gardens & Binalong Bay
Day 6: Launceston – Scenic Drive, Bridestowe Lavender Farm, Cataract Gorge Walk
Day 7: Tamar Valley – Winery Tour (or self-drive)
Day 8: Fly Home

East Coast Tasmania Itinerary Self Drive: Route Map

map of east coast Tasmania road trip route with marked stops
Map of east coast Tasmania road trip route with stops

Driving Distance from Hobart to Launceston

Below you will find the estimated driving distances and times for all legs included on your East Coast Tasmania road trip: 

  • Hobart to Bruny Island: 32km / 35 minutes (not including ferry or time on the island)
  • Bruny Island to Port Arthur: 122km / 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Port Arthur to Freycinet National Park: 199km / 3 hours
  • Freycinet National Park to Bay of Fires: 125km / 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Bay of Fires to Launceston: 175km / 3 hours

Total driving distance: ~650 km

Total driving time: ~11+ hours

Starting your Tasmania East Coast Road Trip

I’ve made the assumption in this east coast Tasmania road trip guide that you will be arriving the night before the itinerary begins (day 0) and will be well rested to begin on day 1 in central Hobart. 

Check out the best area to stay in Hobart and my recommended Hobart hotels for easy trip planning.

Starting in Hobart

This Tasmania east coast road trip starts and ends in Hobart, as this is where most visitors to the island will fly into. Reserve your Hobart rental car in advance and have it ready for you when you land at the Hobart International Airport (HBA), making the start of this Hobart to Launceston drive as fuss-free as possible. 

Not to worry, most downtown Hobart hotels will have available parking for you whether it be complimentary or at cost. But, of course, it’s always good to check with the hotel before booking.

TIP | When starting your east Tasmania road trip in Hobart, plan to fly in on Friday evening. This allows you to enjoy the Saturday Salamanca Market the next day in downtown Hobart.

Starting in Launceston

Whether you happen to be taking the Spirit of Tasmania ferry over from Melbourne and deboarding in Devonport or flying into the Launceston Airport (LST), this Launceston to Hobart drive is equally as enjoyable – really, there’s no difference. 

You can reserve your Launceston car with Discover Cars (this is what I did), at either the Devonport ferry port or Launceston Airport for easy pickup.

Closer to the bottom of this article, I will outline what this rendition of the Tasmania east coast itinerary would look like for you.

panoramic of a low rise Launceston city centre with a mix of colourful modern and heritage buildings, the last stop on a Hobart to Launceston drive
The city of Launceston in Northern Tasmania

Renting a Car in Tasmania

Exploring Tasmania via the open road truly allows you to capture the spirit of this remarkable island. A rental car offers the flexibility to venture off the beaten track, linger at sights that captivate you (we stopped a lot!), and set your own pace on your east coast of Tasmania itinerary.

You’ll find most major car rental companies conveniently located at Tasmania’s airports, both in Hobart and Launceston. 

Now, here’s a tip from my own experience: Book your rental car in advance (I did this through Discover Cars, and it was a lifesaver!). Especially during the bustling peak tourism season, this little step can make all the difference. 

Not only does it guarantee you snag the vehicle you’ve got your eye on, but it also locks in the best rates. Trust me, your future self on that Tasmania east coast road trip will thank you! 


Discover Cars works with local Australian companies and large international companies to find you the cheapest price based on your needs. Plus, some providers even offer a free additional driver! 

The great thing about Discover Cars is you can add full car rental insurance for under $11 AUD a day. Super affordable >> BOOK NOW

I booked my Tasmania rental car through Discover Cars and have used them multiple times throughout my global travels, including 3 times along my Australia adventures with zero issues. 

a white economy car is parked in a gravel parking lot with green vineyards in the background on a partly cloudy day
Our handy Tasmania rental car exploring Tamar Valley Vineyards

Tips for the Hobart to Launceston Drive

When planning your east coast Tasmania road trip itinerary, consider the following tips for Hobart to Launceston drive

Check out this detailed guide on renting a car in Tasmania (plus tips!)

Tasmania National Parks Pass

Visiting the national parks is a highlight of any Tasmania road trip itinerary, and rightly so. These natural wonders offer some of the island’s most breathtaking views, unique wildlife, and exciting outdoor activities. To enter these protected landscapes on your Tasmania self-drive itinerary, you’ll need a Tasmania National Parks Pass (it is required!).

You can purchase online and choose between the 48-hour pass or the 1-month pass. While this Tasmania road trip is only 7-8 days in duration, the value for money of the 1-month pass is better – this is the one I recommend.

4WD Isn’t Necessary

A standard vehicle will serve you just fine along your Tasmanian road trip. Yes, you will encounter a few gravel roads, but most will be well groomed and pothole free. 

Tasmania Road Conditions

The Great Eastern Drive in Tasmania is one of the best stretches of roads. You will find well-marked, paved roads on this side of the island. 

I don’t recommend following directions from Google Maps blindly though. What may seem like a faster route might take you down back country dirt roads which will inevitably get you there slower than taking the main roads. 

TIP | Stick to the main A roads when possible on your east coast road trip in Tasmania.

Notably, the road leading out to Cape Bruny Island will be the road in the worst conditions along this east coast drive (there are many potholes!), so drive with caution.

Tasmania East Coast Road Trip: Day 0

perspective of Hobart harbour with water in the foreground, sail boats moored on docks and modern high rise buildings in the distance
Beautiful Hobart Harbour

Day 0: Arrive in Hobart

I’ve made the assumption and exclusion of your travel day to Tasmania for purposes of streamlining this east coast of Tasmania road trip. 

Since you may be arriving by a hopper flight from mainland Australia or far-off places like Singapore or Vancouver, I am excluding that time from the Tasmania itinerary. The itinerary for Tasmania’s east coast starts bright and early in Hobart’s historic centre

Where to Stay in Hobart

Top Pick | Moss Hotel
Boutique | MACq 01 Hotel
Mid-Range | Vibe Hotel
Economy |
Alabama Hotel

Tasmania East Coast Road Trip: Day 1

road with heritage buildings on each side and parked cars with ocean and mountains in the background on a blue sky day along a Hobart to Launceston road trip
Battery Point – Hobart’s picturesque heritage district

Day 1: Hobart (Mt Wellington, Salamanca Market, MONA)

Breakfast in Battery Point

Starting your east coast Tasmania road trip with breakfast at Jackman & McRoss Bakery in Battery Point is a real treat. 

Nestled among historic streets, this bakery is a local favourite. I was drawn in by the aroma of fresh pastries and enjoyed a flaky croissant paired with coffee. With friendly staff and a cozy ambiance, it was the perfect fuel-up before heading to Mt Wellington. 

Trust me, this quick and satisfying stop adds a delightful touch to your Tasmania trip, setting the stage for the adventures ahead.

Morning Visit to Mt Wellington

expansive views of low lying coastline and various ocean inlets on Tasmania east coast
East coast Tasmania views on the way up to Mt Wellington Observatory

Kicking off your east coast Tasmania road trip with a morning visit to Mt Wellington is nothing short of invigorating. Whether you choose the Explorer Bus, rich with guided insights and local tales, or opt for a self-drive adventure like I did, the ascent offers breathtaking scenery with lush forests and winding roads. 

If you choose the self-drive option, do note that navigating the roads to the summit is an adventure in itself. Winding roads and blind corners are throughout, so keep your wits about you.

Take the Mt Wellington Explore Bus instead of navigating its winding roads

Once you’ve reached the observatory, you’re greeted by a panoramic view stretching over Hobart, the Derwent River, and the surrounding wilderness. It’s chilly up there, even in summer, so pack a jacket. 

Take a moment to savour the natural beauty; I even enjoyed a light picnic breakfast, which added a magical touch to the experience. The Mt Wellington visit sets the tone for the incredible journey ahead on the Hobart to Launceston drive. Trust me, this is an unforgettable start to your Tasmania east coast road trip.

Late Morning at Salamanca Market (Saturdays Only)

many people wandering around in a market with white topped stalls and heritage brick buildings in the background in Hobart's CBD Salamanca area
Tasmania’s biggest outdoor market – Salamanca Market (Saturdays only)

If you find yourself on a Saturday during your Tasmania east coast road trip, a late morning visit to Salamanca Market in Hobart is an absolute must-do. Nestled among historic sandstone warehouses, this bustling market is a lively blend of colours, scents, and sounds

When I wandered through, I was immediately drawn to the stalls offering everything from handcrafted Tasmanian woodwork to fresh local produce. The artisan cheeses were a particular delight, and I couldn’t resist trying some. 

Engaging with local craftsmen and enjoying live music from street performers added a unique charm to my visit. Don’t forget to indulge in some scrumptious food truck treats; the local seafood was a highlight for me. 

The Salamanca Market embodies the vibrant spirit of Tasmania and is a perfect stop during your east coaster Tasmania road trip.

Lunch & Early Afternoon in the Harbour & CBD

red and white passenger boat moored at a long white building on a wharf with water in the foreground in Hobart harbour

Lunchtime in the Hobart Harbour and CBD on your east coast Tasmania road trip offers a blend of culture, architecture, and flavours. I savoured a meal of fresh Tasmanian seafood at a bustling harbour café, taking in the views of boats and the lively atmosphere. 

Upscale Lunch | Blue Eye Seafood Restaurant
Casual Lunch | Fish Frenzy

Afterwards, wandering through boutique shops (I loved all the ones in the Salamanca Arts Centre) and enjoying the city’s historic charm became the perfect digestif.

A highlight of my afternoon was a stop at Van Diemen’s Land Creamery. Their handcrafted ice cream, with locally-sourced ingredients, was absolutely mouthwatering. You can’t go wrong with any of the flavours that they’ve won awards on, trust me, I’m pretty sure I tried them all.

Late Afternoon at the MONA

curved cement roof and green turfed platform lookout on an ocean harbour with hills in the distance
Unique architecture at the MONA outside of Hobart

As the day progresses on your Tasmania east coast road trip, a late afternoon visit to the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) is a captivating way to delve into Tasmania’s artistic side. Easily reachable from Hobart’s center, MONA is more than just a museum; it’s an experience.

TIP | Book your MONA entry tickets in advance and reserve your timeslot for late afternoon

Upon my arrival, I was struck by the building’s unique architecture, embedded into the cliffs along the River Derwent. Descending into its subterranean galleries felt like entering another world. A blend of ancient and contemporary art, the collection challenged my perspectives and engaged my senses in unexpected ways – I absolutely loved it!

Do note, that the exhibitions at the MONA will be challenging for those who are easily shocked or of strict conservative beliefs.

Don’t miss the on-site winery and restaurant, where I enjoyed a glass of local wine, reflecting on the thought-provoking art that I’d explored. 

From its infamous exhibits to the immersive atmosphere, MONA adds a creative twist to the Hobart to Launceston drive and is a must-visit for modern explorers like us.

East Coast Tasmania Road Trip: Day 2

curved bay with bright blue water and white sand beach with low shrubbery and fields in the foreground in Bruny Island along a Launceston to Hobart road trip itinerary
Bruny Island’s Southern Coastline

Day 2: Bruny Island (Day Tour or Self Drive)

How to Get from Hobart to Bruny Island

On day 2 of your east coast Tasmania road trip, set off for Bruny Island from Hobart. A quick 30-minute drive south takes you to Kettering, where the Bruny Island ferry awaits. Arrive early to enjoy the views, and then embark on a scenic 15-minute ferry ride

Remember to check the ferry timetable in advance, as schedules can vary. I made sure to be at the Kettering ferry port for the 9:30AM ferry sailing since most Bruny Island businesses open at 10AM. 

Taking a Guided Bruny Island Day Tour Instead

If you decide to leave the car at your Hobart hotel and opt to take a guided Bruny Island gourmet tour instead, here are my recommended organized Bruny Island tours:

Explore Bruny Island

Once you set foot on Bruny Island, a world of attractions awaits, ensuring a memorable part of your Tasmania east coast road trip.

For those enamoured with nature, South Bruny National Park beckons. Between towering cliffs, tranquil beaches, and verdant rainforests, it’s a haven of natural wonders. Don’t overlook The Neck Lookout with its breathtaking panoramic views or the historic Cape Bruny Lighthouse, my personal favourite non-culinary highlight on the island.

Culinary explorers will be drawn to the Get Shucked Oyster Farm and Bruny Island Cheese Company. Both provide a taste of authentic local flavours, enhancing this unique Tasmania east coast itinerary experience.

Check out this comprehensive list of things to do on Bruny Island and the perfectly structured one-day Bruny Island itinerary.

Comprehensive guide to what to do on Bruny Island

steel plate of various mixed open Bruny Island oysters on a wood table
Dozen mixed fresh Bruny Island oysters

NOTE | If what I’ve outlined above doesn’t suit your fancy, you can check out these ideas for day trips from Hobart instead

Evening Drive from Bruny Island to Port Arthur

Begin by catching the return ferry to Kettering, with the last ferry departing the island at 7:15 PM. Retrace your steps back to Hobart, cross the Tasman Bridge and then make your way onto the picturesque Arthur Highway

This drive is an experience in itself, winding through scenic landscapes that feature everything from rugged coastlines to lush forests, albeit there will also be busy traffic in Hobart along this route, so plan extra time to navigate this.

I took my time on this drive, soaking in the breathtaking views, especially during the golden hour as the sun began to set. A couple of well-placed stops for photographs added to the enjoyment.

The journey from Bruny Island to Port Arthur took around 3 hours, including the ferry ride and some leisurely stops. It was a fitting end to a magical day along this Hobart to Launceston road trip.

Where to Stay in Port Arthur

Top Pick | Port Arthur Villas
Boutique | Stewarts Bay Lodge
Mid-Range | Ruby’s Cottage Farm Stay
Economy |
NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park

Hobart to Launceston Road Trip: Day 3

rugged rock coastline with blue ocean water at its base in eastern Tasmania on a blue sky day with fluffy white clouds
Stunning Port Arthur Peninsula Coastline in Eastern Tasmania

Day 3: Port Arthur (Tasman Island Cruise & Historic Site)

Morning on a Tasman Island Cruise

Day 3 of your Tasmania east coast road trip offers a thrilling start with a Tasman Island Cruise. Located near Port Arthur, this cruise is a must-do for every explorer. I found it to be an invigorating way to kick off the day, and it’s sure to be a highlight of your Hobart to Launceston road trip.

NOTE | This is NOT a leisurely cruise – prepare for fast speeds and some bumps!

Embarking on the adventure cruise, I was immediately struck by the stunning coastal scenery. The towering sea cliffs, sea caves, and unique rock formations create a landscape unlike any other (I was in awe!). 

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for marine life. On my cruise, I had the fortune to spot seals, dolphins, and even a few albatross.

This 3-hour Tasman Island Cruise is the one I took and highly recommend

a blue and yellow adventure cruise boat floats in the water on the way to Tasman Island with rocky cliffs in the distance
Tasman Island cruise boat

The cruise lasts around 3 hours, and it’s a good idea to dress warmly and wear waterproof layers, as it can get quite windy out on the water. If you get seasick, either take precautions or accept the natural ginger tablets provided by the crew. 

TIP | If you happen to be an avid photographer and plan to bring your professional camera aboard, please keep camera wipes handy and hide your equipment under your poncho for safekeeping from the thrashing waves.

As one’s the island highlights, I’ve written a full recap of my cruise to Tasman Island

Afternoon at Port Arthur Historic Site

ruins of an orange brick building lie on flat green field with harbour and shrubbery in the foreground on a east coast road trip Tasmania
Port Arthur Historic Site

After the morning’s exhilarating cruise, the afternoon takes a more reflective turn as you explore the Port Arthur Historic Site on your Hobart to Launceston drive.

Stepping into Port Arthur is like stepping back in time. A place of both beauty and tragedy, this former convict settlement is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s rich with Australian history. During my visit, I was captivated by the stories of the people who lived and worked there in the 18th and 19th centuries.

You can easily spend several hours here, exploring the well-preserved ruins, gardens, and restored buildings. I took the included 1-hour guided walk that comes with the entry ticket, which provided insightful narratives, making the site’s history come alive. The solemnity of the Separate Prison and the beauty of the church ruins were particularly striking.

Don’t miss the 20-minute harbour cruise included with the admission ticket. It gives a different perspective on the site and takes you on a scenic lap of the inlet.

Evening Drive from Port Arthur to Freycinet National Park

a paved road lies from right to left of the image with short trees running along side and rugged mountain peaks in the distance on a partly cloudy day in Freycinet National Park along a road trip east coast Tasmania
Road leading to Freycinet National Park

The evening of day 3 on your Tasmania east coast road trip calls for a leisurely drive from Port Arthur to the stunning Freycinet National Park, a perfect continuation of your Hobart to Launceston drive. 

This drive offers a chance to see more of Tasmania’s diverse landscape and also spans the beginning of the Great Eastern Drive in Tasmania that runs from Orford up to the Bay of Fires. 

Along the way, you might want to stop in Orford or Swansea for a relaxed dinner or even just to stretch your legs. The drive took me around 3.5 hours.

You can choose to stay in either Coles Bay or Bicheno. Coles Bay, with its proximity to Freycinet National Park, provides easy access to the famed Wineglass Bay and other natural wonders. Bicheno, further north by a 30-minute drive, is known for its penguin colonies, and a night tour is highly recommended.

Get some well-needed rest at your Freycinet accommodation.

Where to Stay near Freycinet NP

Top Pick | Freycinet Resort
Luxury | Edge of the Bay Resort
Mid-Range | Freycinet Lodge
Economy |
BIG4 Iluka on Freycinet

Great Eastern Drive Tasmania Road Trip: Day 4

rugged peninsulas of rock covered with low shrubbery jut out into a bright blue ocean inlet in Freycinet National Park one of the best east coast Tasmania attractions
Picturesque Freycinet National Park

Day 4: Freycinet National Park (Wineglass Bay Cruise & Lookout Hike)

Morning on Wineglass Bay Cruise

Day 4 of your Tasmania east coast road trip begins with a picturesque morning on the Wineglass Bay Cruise. Before setting out on this adventure, I recommend grabbing a light breakfast at Geographe Restaurant in Coles Bay. With its fresh, locally-sourced menu and views over the bay, it sets the perfect tone for a day filled with natural beauty.

The Wineglass Bay Cruise starts at 9:45 AM from Coles Bay Harbour, and I can’t emphasize enough how stunning this 4.5-hour journey along your Hobart to Launceston drive and is considered by many as one of the top east coast Tasmania attractions. 

Aboard the cruise, you’ll traverse the serene waters of Wineglass Bay, known for its perfect crescent shape and crystal-clear water. The optional lunch onboard offers delicious Tasmanian fare via a beautiful ploughman spread.

Grab your spot on this scenic Wineglass Bay cruise

I was particularly enchanted by the rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and abundant wildlife, including playful dolphins (if you’re lucky!) and lounging seals. The knowledgeable guide on my cruise shared interesting stories about the bay’s history and ecology, making the experience even more enriching.

Whether you’re capturing photos (I couldn’t put mine down), enjoying the sea breeze, or simply soaking in the views, the Wineglass Bay Cruise offers a luxurious experience, and it’s a standout highlight of the Great Eastern Drive Tasmania has to offer.

You will arrive back in Coles Bay around 2:30PM with fresh legs for your afternoon hike.

a small white boat cruises into a half moon shaped bay with bright blue water and undulating mountains in Wineglass Bay
Wineglass Bay cruise boat

Afternoon hiking to Wineglass Bay Lookout

After the morning’s tranquil cruise, the afternoon invites a bit of exertion as you take on the hike to Wineglass Bay Lookout in the Freycinet National Park. It’s a must-do part of any Tasmania east coast road trip, and it gives a different perspective on the bay you’ve just sailed across.

The hike is moderately challenging and took me about 1.5 hours return, but the view from the lookout is worth every step. The trail is well-marked and winds through native bushland, gradually ascending to the lookout point.

Once you reach the top, the sight of Wineglass Bay’s perfect crescent, with its white sand and turquoise waters, surrounded by lush green forest and granite peaks, is breathtaking. It’s a popular spot, so I recommend taking your time and finding a quiet space to enjoy the view.

Don’t forget to take a water bottle, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and have your camera ready. The photographs from this spot are some of my favourites from my entire Hobart to Launceston road trip.

If you have extra energy, you can continue down to the bay itself, but the hike becomes more challenging, so assess your energy levels first (I didn’t do this). Expect a 30-minute walk down to the beach, but a 1-hour hike back up at steeper inclines.

If you are staying in Coles Bay, enjoy an upscale dinner at Saffire Resort’s Palate Restaurant (make reservations), and if you are staying in Bicheno, book yourself an evening Penguin tour.

East Coast Tasmania Itinerary: Day 5

green low lying plants in the foreground and white sand dunes in the mid-frame with a cove of electric blue water to the left on the east coast of Tasmania
Views over the St Helens Conservation Area

Day 5: Bay of Fires Conservation Area

Morning Drive from Freycinet to Bay of Fires

Day 5 of your Tasmania east coast road trip begins with a beautiful drive from either Coles Bay or Bicheno to the famed Bay of Fires, with a delightful stop in St Helens along the way.

The drive along the coast is a visual feast, with striking ocean views and dense forests accompanying you as you make your way to St Helens, the largest town on the northeast coast. Honestly, this was my favourite stretch of coastline on my entire lap of Tasmania and we made several stops, so bear that in mind. 

On the way, I grabbed a coffee in Scamander at Swims East Coast Coffee, before making my way to St Helens. St Helens is renowned for its fresh seafood, and I couldn’t resist picking up an early lunch of fish and chips from the famous Skippers on the harbour.

Continuing on, the road led me past Binalong Bay to the Bay of Fires. The drive from Freycinet to the Bay of Fires took me about 2.5-3 hours (depending on whether you start in Coles Bay or Bicheno), including a stop in Scamander and St Helens. 

Afternoon Exploring Bay of Fires Conservation Area

orange lichen boulders with deep blue waters in the background on a mixed weather day in Tasmania east coast
Orange lichen boulders in The Gardens – part of Bay of Fires Conservation Area

After the morning drive, I arrived at the Bay of Fires, and my afternoon was dedicated to exploring. Known for its crystal-clear waters, powdery white sands, and unique orange-tinged boulders, the Bay of Fires is where you will spend the rest of your Day 5 along your Tasmania itinerary.

The Gardens in the Bay of Fires Conservation Area was my first stop, a secluded and serene area located at the northern end of the bay. Spend some time wandering through the boulders (cautiously!). The contrast of the fiery-coloured rocks against the cool blue of the ocean created a view I and my camera won’t soon forget.

Next, I ventured to explore the various beaches scattered across the Bay of Fires. Each beach had its charm, and I particularly loved the north end of Cozy Corner Beach. The combination of solitude and raw natural beauty found on these beaches gave a real sense of connection to the landscape.

Spend the rest of the day swimming, snapping photos, beachcombing, or simply enjoying the view with a few packed local snacks and then make your way to Binalong Bay for the night. 

Drop your bags at your Binalong Bay accommodation before heading for a relaxing dinner at Meresta, Binalong Bay’s only dinner spot. A walk down Binalong Bay makes for a great digestif after dinner.

Where to Stay near the Bay of Fires

St Helens

Top Pick | Pelican Point Villa
Boutique | Bayview Lodge
Mid-Range | Anchor Wheel Motel
Economy |
Georges Bay Apartments

Binalong Bay

Top Pick | Bay of Fires Bush Retreat
Boutique | Binalong Beach Cottage
Mid-Range | Sea Eagle Cottage
Economy |
Bay of Fires Seachange

Hobart to Launceston Drive: Day 6

Launceston harbour with boats docked along a green hillside with homes the last stop on a Hobart to Launceston drive itinerary
Launceston Harbour

Day 6: Scenic Drive to Launceston & Cataract Gorge Walk

Morning Drive from Bay of Fires to Launceston

The final leg of your east coast Tasmania road trip from the Bay of Fires to Launceston is filled with delightful surprises, and I planned two special stops to make the most of the day.

Stop 1: Derby for Lunch

Binalong Bay to Derby Driving Distance: 75km / 1 hour 15 minutes

Derby is a charming town with a rich tin mining history and a newfound reputation as a mountain biking hub. I stopped here for lunch and opted for a gourmet burger served up from the Trails Espresso food truck located at the entrance to the mountain bike trails. 

But of course, since Derby is ripe with history, you can try a savoury pie from one of the local bakeries, reminiscent of traditional Tasmanian fare. I took a leisurely stroll up the main drag poking my head into some of the town’s quirky antique shops.

Stop 2: Bridestowe Lavender Farm

Derby to Bridestowe Lavender Farm Driving Distance: 56km / 1 hour

A 1 hour drive from Derby brought me to the Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Here you can wander through expansive fields of row-upon-row of vibrant purple fields of blooming lavender. 

The ideal time to visit is during summer (December – January) when the fields will be in full bloom and a cover charge will be in effect. I visited in late November, so the purple was just starting to bloom but wasn’t in its full glory yet. 

The gift shop offered a variety of lavender-infused products from essential oils to the famous lavender ice cream (yum!), which was a delightful treat to enjoy as I strolled through the fields.

Afternoon Cataract Gorge Walk or Cruise

Bridestowe Lavender Farm to Launceston CBD Driving Distance: 52km / 45 minutes

The vibrant city of Launceston is home to one of Tasmania’s most remarkable natural formations, Cataract Gorge. After a morning on the road, I decided to stretch my legs and spend the afternoon exploring its unique splendour.

Cataract Gorge Trail Walk

white heritage building with red roof hangs on the side of a ravine with large river and steep hillside in Launceston
Cataract Gorge in Launceston

For nature enthusiasts, the Cataract Gorge walk is an essential experience. Following the well-marked trail, I meandered through lush native vegetation, with the majestic cliffs rising on either side of the South Esk River. 

The walk led to the suspension bridge, providing views of the cascading water below. For those looking for a bit of a challenge, there are steeper hiking paths leading to panoramic lookouts. 

The 5km loop takes approximately 2 hours to complete.

Cataract Gorge Cruise

If a leisurely experience is more your style, the Cataract Gorge Cruise offers a different perspective of this iconic landscape. I was tempted by the relaxing 50-minute boat ride, gently cruising along the river, while a knowledgeable guide shared fascinating insights into the gorge’s geological formations and cultural significance.

Whichever option you choose, completing the Hobart to Launceston drive with this experience added an exclamation point to an already incredible Tasmania east coast road trip.

Find yourself a centrally located Launceston boutique hotel to end your trip in style – I’m partial to The Verge.

Where to Stay in Launceston

Top Pick | Hotel Verge
Boutique | Peppers Silo
Mid-Range | The Dragonfly Inn
Economy |
Auldington Hotel

Drive from Hobart to Launceston: Day 7

east coast Tasmania road trip stop at a Tamar Valley winery with groups of chairs laid out of a green lawn with vineyards sprawling in the background
Tamar Valley wineries – one of the best east coast Tasmania attractions

Day 7: Tamar Valley (Wineries)

Full-Day Tamar Valley Wine Tour 

For the last day of your Tasmania east coast road trip, we will leave the car parked in your Launceston or Tamar Valley hotel. Today you will be partaking in a full-day 6.5-hour tour of the Tamar Valley wineries starting at 11AM.

The Tamar Valley wine tour I took (and can highly recommend!) offers complimentary pick-up from your Launceston hotel.

The Tamar Valley, known for its delicious Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay, showcases the best of Tasmania’s cool climate wine-producing prowess. You’ll wander through luscious vineyards, sipping the region’s best wines, all the while enjoying stunning views of the valley’s rolling hills and the picturesque Tamar River. 

Expect a late lunch stop at the popular The Ducks Restaurant featuring local Tasmanian fare and beautiful views. Your Tamar Valley wine tour will make 3 to 4 winery stops throughout the day with tastings and expert information from your knowledgeable guide.

My recommended wine tour of Tamar Valley

a wooden platter with small chunks of various cheese and strawberries and apple with a glass of white Tamar Valley wine and vineyards in the distance
Cheese-tasting platter at Small Wonder Winery in Tamar Valley

Evening Seafood Dinner in the Launceston Harbour

After a fulfilling day exploring the Tamar Valley, your east coast Tasmania road trip leads you to a relaxed evening at Launceston Harbour. The waterfront views, gentle breeze, and setting sun create the perfect backdrop for a sensational seafood dinner to end your amazing adventure in Australia’s most southern state. 

MudBar is my recommended choice, known locally for its artistic fusion of Tasmanian flavours and international cuisines. With an emphasis on fresh oysters, succulent scallops, and signature seafood dishes that are nothing short of culinary art.

Make sure to book ahead, as MudBar’s reputation often leads to a full house!

East Coast Tasmania Road Trip: Day 8

Drop off your Rental Car and Fly Home

Dropping off the rental car is typically a smooth process, especially if you’ve booked in advance and adhered to the rental company’s terms. Make sure to check the car for personal belongings and fill up the fuel tank if required.

Since you will be ending your trip in either Hobart or Launceston, you can drop your car right at the airport before boarding your flight – easy peasy!

small round boulders lie in bright green blue water on the edge of a white sandy beach on a sunny day along a east coast Tasmania road trip
Stunning Beaches on east coast Tasmania

Launceston to Hobart Road Trip Option

The Launceston to Hobart drive is just as enjoyable as the vice versa, so don’t expect for much to change in terms of stops from my detailed Tasmania road trip from Hobart to Launceston above. Here’s the general idea:

Day 0: Arrive in Launceston or Devonport in the Evening
Day 1: Tamar Valley – Guided Winery Tour 
Day 2: Bay of Fires – Scenic Drive from Launceston, Explore Bay of Fires
Day 3: Freycinet – Drive to Freycinet, Wineglass Bay Lookout Hike
Day 4: Freycinet – Morning Wineglass Bay Cruise, Drive to Port Arthur
Day 5: Port Arthur – Tasman Island Cruise, Port Arthur Historic Site
Day 6: Bruny Island – Gourmet Producers, The Neck Lookout, Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Day 7: Hobart – Mt Wellington, Salamanca Market, MONA
Day 8: Fly Home

Best Time to Visit Tasmania

Each season in Tasmania presents a unique beauty, catering to different tastes and interests. Whether you’re inclined towards bustling summer beaches or the peaceful reflection of winter landscapes, the island’s climate provides a myriad of options for your perfect Tasmania road trip.

Summer (December to February)

Summer in Tasmania offers warm temperatures ranging from 12°C to 21°C, making it ideal for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Days are longer, allowing ample time to explore coastal areas like the Bay of Fires or indulge in water activities. 

Summer is peak tourist season, so booking in advance is wise.

Autumn (March to May)

Autumn’s mild weather and vibrant foliage are perfect for those seeking scenic drives and hiking experiences. Temperatures vary between 9°C to 17°C. It’s a fantastic time to visit places like the Tamar Valley, where the vineyards are awash with autumn colours.

Winter (June to August)

Winter brings chilly temperatures between 3°C to 11°C. Snowfall on mountains like Mt Wellington offers beautiful vistas, and it’s a season favoured by those who enjoy winter sports. It’s quieter tourist-wise, making it great for those seeking solitude and tranquillity.

Spring (September to November)

Spring blossoms with temperatures from 8°C to 16°C and offers an array of wildflowers, especially in places like Freycinet National Park. It’s an excellent time for wildlife watching and hiking. With fewer crowds and a mild climate, spring presents a refreshing and invigorating travel experience.

Hobart to Launceston Drive Conclusion

Embarking on an east coast Tasmania road trip is a journey filled with wonder and surprise, a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and gastronomical delights. 

Whether taking the Hobart to Launceston drive or its reverse, the great eastern drive Tasmania offers will leave you spellbound. From the red rocks of the Bay of Fires to the bustling Salamanca Market, every day unfolds a new adventure. 

And whether you’re cozying up in a boutique hotel in Launceston or tasting local oysters at Bruny Island, you’ll feel a part of Tasmania’s unique fabric. 

Remember, planning well and choosing the right season will elevate your experience on this Launceston to Hobart road trip or vice versa. 

Grab your keys and hit the road; a magical Tasmanian adventure awaits!

More Tasmania Travel Guides

Ultimate 10 Day Tasmania Itinerary (Self-Drive)
Best Areas to Stay in Hobart Tasmania
My Favourite Hobart Boutique Hotels
Epic Day Trips from Hobart
Bruny Island Day Tours from Hobart
One Day Bruny Island Itinerary
Tasman Island Cruise Guide
Best Boutique Hotels Near Freycinet
Top Bay of Fires Accommodation
Beautiful Tamar Valley Winery Accommodation
Best Boutique Hotels in Launceston CBD
Epic Cradle Mountain Accommodation

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