Road tripping in Tasmania: part II

The second half of this road trip around the beautiful island of Tasmania will lead you to Hobart, the far South, Cradle Mountain and the North-West. If you want to read about the North-East, Freycinet and the Tasman Peninsula, find the first half here. Have a look at my pictures as well (part I and part II). Thank you!


How long to stay:

2 or 3 days, more if there’s a festival going on. Make sure to be there on a Saturday.

What to see:

Did you know that Hobart was created in 1804 and was the second European settlement of Australia after Sydney? (Read more about the history of Tasmania in the first part of this article). Since then Sydney grew up to be one of the major cities in the world with almost 5 million inhabitants while Hobart became a modest town where slightly more than 200.000 Hobartians live. Despite its quite remote location so far South in the world, it’s nowadays a very dynamic city, especially since 2011 and the opening of the MONA, the very special and famous Museum of New and Old Arts.


It is located North of Hobart next to the River Derwent in a huge half underground building. You can access it either by road or with a ferry from the city center. At the entrance, you’ll climb down some winding stairs until the deeper level of the museum where you’ll walk into a completely different world: the kind of place you probably either love or hate. It’s not a usual exhibition. Inside this architectural masterpiece, most of the things you’ll see intend to make you think, shock you or play with your perceptions and feelings. I don’t want to spoil your visit so I won’t say more and let you make up your own mind.


For something much more traditional, don’t miss the huge Salamanca Market every Saturday on Salamanca Place. If you’re looking for a Tasmanian souvenir, you’ll definitely find something for you in one of the countless stalls! It’s also a good place to enjoy the local gastronomy, with some cheese tasting for example.

From the Salamanca Market, it’s a short walk up the hill of Battery Point, the historical heart of Hobart. Wander around the quiet streets and enjoy the beautiful old houses of this suburb. Make sure to have a look at the harbour as well, to learn about the past and present industry of the city.

A visit of Hobart wouldn’t be complete without climbing to the summit of Mount Wellington. This tall mountain (1271m) overlooking Hobart will provide you an extraordinary view over the city, the coast and the surroundings. If you go there on a clear day the sight will be amazing! You can hike to the summit… or more easily simply drive there.


Where to stay:

If you’re sleeping in a tent, you’ll have to leave it for a few nights and find another accommodation. For a cheap but comfortable stay, the Nook hostel would probably be one of the best options. If you’re in a van, short term camping is apparently unofficially tolerated in some areas of Hobart. Ask a local to be sure! Remember to be quiet, clean and respectful and everything should be fine.

Do you have more time?

I didn’t talk about the night life of Hobart as I unfortunately didn’t try it at all but there are apparently many interesting places to go for a drink, good food or a fancy cocktail. I’ve been advised to try Preachers, the Hobart Brewing Co. or the Brunswick Hotel, let me know in the comments if you’ve been there or if you have any other recommendations!

If visiting the MONA wasn’t enough to satisfy your curiosity, you can also try the Art Gallery and Museum of Tasmania in the center of Hobart. I didn’t visit it myself but it’s a free entry so you can’t go wrong here!

There are also heaps of festivals and events happening in Hobart during the whole year. The most famous are the MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art: Festival Of Music and Art, shortened to MOFO) held in January and its winter version held in June Dark MOFO. Book your accommodation in advance if you’re travelling to the city during these periods.

The South

How long to stay:

2 days if you only go to Cockle Creek, longer if you also visit Bruny Island. For the real adventurers seeking for a challenging hike, the South Coast Track between Melaleuca and Cockle Creek will take 6 to 8 days…

What to see:

Another scenic drive… On your way South from Hobart you can either take the highway to Huonville, or the tourist road along the coast between Kingston and Cygnet. It will be a very pleasant drive, with many lookouts, beaches and possibilities to stop for a nice picture on the way. You’ll drive through the village of Kettering where the ferry to Bruny Island starts (see below). A bit further is Eggs and Bacon Bay but despite this funny name, it’s not the most beautiful beach on this part of the coast.


Further South, be aware that the last 20kms of the road to Cockle Creek are unsealed, mostly in a good condition but some sections are quite rough. But it’s worth it… This is the End of the Road, the southernmost point where you can drive in Australia. If you want to go further, you’ll have to walk: a 4 hour return hike (15kms) alternatively through rainforest and beautiful empty plains will bring you as close as you can get to the South-West Cape. From here, you’re closer to Antarctica than to Cairns!

Knowing that you’re already in the Roaring Forties, the water of the bay is surprisingly warm! From the end of the road you can walk from one heavenly beach to another until Fishers Point with an extraordinary view over the mountains in front of you. This is not the way I thought far South Tasmania would look like but it’s actually a perfect place for a relaxed beach afternoon on a warm day.

Where to stay:

There are two main free campsites at Cockle Creek. Very rudimentary (no water, only one toilet) but what an awesome location… You couldn’t be closer to the beach, and at night time the sky above you will be incredible.

DSC_0830 (2)

Do you have more time?

If you take the ferry at Kettering, it will take around 20 minutes to cross the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to Bruny Island. This island has two distinct parts, North and South separated by a narrow sandy isthmus, and is home to the South Bruny National Park. Follow this link for more details.

The South Coast Track might be the most arduous trek of Tasmania. It starts in Melaleuca, a remote locality that is accessible only by plane, by sea or by foot as no roads lead there. There is neither accommodation nor any water supply along the 85km track until Cockle Creek so it’s reserved for very experienced bushwalkers only. If you’re interested in this challenge, find more information here.

Cradle Mountain

How long to stay:

From one day to an entire holiday… Will you try the famous Overland Track, 65km in 6 days?

What to see:

If you like nature and hiking, the Cradle Mountain area will be paradise for you. The (long) drive from Hobart to Cradle Valley via Derwent Bridge and Queenstown itself is beautiful… on a clear day. Unfortunately for me it was cloudy and raining, so I didn’t stop at any of the many lookouts or waterfalls indicated on the way. The picture below is the only one I took that day…


That’s a thing with Cradle Mountain: the weather can change extremely quickly, several times during the day. When I arrived at the National Park in the morning there was a clear blue sky; it started raining around noon, was foggy at 1pm, sunny again at 2, rainy at 3 and snow was expected in the late afternoon!

Yes, these 2 pictures have been taken on the exact same day, within a few hours only!

If you don’t want to do the Overland Track (see below), there are still many day hikes you can try. The most popular (and easiest) one is the loop around Dove Lake, with the impressive silhouette of Cradle Mountain above you (Great Short Walk 29).


Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the background.

To take some height, climb to Marion’s Lookout. You can either access it via Crater Lake or Wombat Pool depending on where you start (Ronny Creek or Dove Lake carpark), both in 2-3 hours return with some steep sections. The view from there is absolutely stunning. In my opinion, if there was only one walk to do in the Cradle Mountain National Park, it would be this one.

Last but not least, the summits track (Great Short Walk 32). If the walks mentioned before are suitable for anybody, this one is way more difficult. It’s probably one of the most challenging hikes I’ve ever done: the last part to the top is basically rock climbing, sometimes on almost vertical sections.

DSC_0081 (2)

Yes, this almost vertical section is part of the track leading to the summit of Cradle Mountain!

It might be really difficult if you’re afraid of height and it’s forbidden to climb there when it’s raining or snowing; you can easily understand why… But the 360° view from the summit is extraordinary.

Where to stay:

Cradle Mountain National Park is one of the most popular attractions of Tasmania, which means that hundreds of tourists drive up there every day. There are only 2 small parking lots inside the park so most of the visitors must park at the Visitor Centre and take a free shuttle to the beginning of the hikes. I’d recommend spending the night before as close as possible to the Park to get there early in the morning and avoid the biggest crowds. I myself camped in Tullah, one hour’s drive away, but I’m sure it must be possible to stay somewhere closer.

Do you have more time?

This is certainly the most famous trek of Tasmania, and it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful hikes of Australia: the Overland Track might be the highlight of your stay. It starts at Ronny Creek and ends after 65kms next to Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake, with many side trip options along the way. You have to book in advance between the 1st of October and the 31st of May and pay a fee of 200$ (it’s free though and no booking required between June and September). Be careful, during peak season (January-February) the track might be fully booked weeks in advance. Find all the information you need here.

If that still wasn’t enough hiking for you, you can also explore the Walls of Jerusalem, one of the most secluded national parks of Tasmania. There are no roads leading into the park so you’ll have to follow a gravel road until a car park and then start walking from there. More details here.

The North-West

How long to stay:

At least 2 days.

What to see:

After visiting Freycinet National Park, the Tasman Peninsula and Cradle Mountain, you might think that the North-West doesn’t have much more to offer. Big mistake: this part of Tasmania is really beautiful as well. Let’s start from the West with Arthur River. The rugged and very windy coast around this little village is worth a visit. One of the lookouts is even called “The Edge of the World”! Not entirely wrong as it really looked like the world was ending there…


On a windy day, you can also admire strong waves smashing the rocks of Bluff Point.

Further East, your next stop will be Stanley and its famous “Nut”. This big rock, 150m above the ocean, is of volcanic origin. You can climb to the top on a short but very steep path or take the chairlift instead. There’s a track on the summit (Great Short Walk 34) offering stunning views over the coast around.

Close to Stanley is Rocky Cape, the smallest National Park of Tasmania. It’s still big enough to do a day hike or instead just drive to the lighthouse, enjoy the nice scenery and walk to two ancient caves where Aboriginal people used to live.

Table Cape next to Wynyard is a little bit similar to the Nut and shares the same volcanic origins. This place is particularly good to visit in October when its huge tulip fields are blooming. Fun fact: Wynyard even exports tulip bulbs to the Netherlands! If you’re out of season, it’s still a really nice place with, once again, a great view over the Tasmanian North coast.


If you want to get away from the ocean, drive the 40km between Ulverstone and Leven Canyon. You can do a loop from the car park via the Forest Stairs with an awesome view from Cruickshanks Lookout (Great Short Walk 36), but be aware that there are no less than 697 steps on the way. Tip: if you do the loop anti-clockwise, you’ll climb them down…


Finally, what would a trip to Tasmania be without seeing its most famous resident, the Tasmanian devil? Unfortunately these Aussie icons suffer from an aggressive facial tumor and their population is quickly decreasing so it’s really hard to spot them in the wild. The best way to see them is visiting one of the many wildlife reserves around the island. I went to the Wings Wildlife Park close to Leven Canyon but I found it a bit expensive (27$) for such a small park so there might be better options. At least they had a few devils so I found what I was looking for.

Where to stay:

You’ll be spoilt for choice with great free campsites in the North-West of Tasmania. Close to Arthur River, I stayed at Marrawah Green Point, on a windy night next to the beach.

40kms from Devonport (a good option if you’re taking the morning ferry), you’ll find many basic free camps around the town of Penguin. They don’t have any facilities (there’s a public toilet 200m away from Sulphur Creek though) but they are just next to the ocean and you will very likely see penguins in the evening… or at least enjoy a nice sunset.


Finally, probably my favourite camp site of Tasmania was in Boat Harbour, between Stanley and Wynyard. There you can stay for free next to an extraordinary beach, and I even was lucky enough to be there for the super blue blood moon eclipse of January 2018. I spent half of the night just staring at the sky!

Do you have more time?

Between Smithton and Arthur River, the Tarkine Drive will be a nice way to explore more of the countryside of North-West Tasmania. Enjoy forest, rivers, lookouts and short walks along this scenic drive. Find the official map with all the points of interest here (PDF file).

DSC_0485 (2)

And this is already the end of this road trip around Tasmania! Well there is so much more to see around this incredible island, but that’s all I know so far… until my next visit! And you, when will you explore Tasmania?


One thought on “Road tripping in Tasmania: part II

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s