There's a printable map of Tasmania here.

Tasmania is a large island, almost exactly the same size as Ireland.  Compared with America, it's the same size as West Virginia or the small eastern seabord states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island combined. It is 100 times larger than Singapore.

Tasmania's roads are adequate for its small population, but - except for the main highway from Hobart to Launceston and Devonport - tend to be winding and narrow, so you can't see it all in a short time!  But you can tailor a car tour to see the high points of the island, varying where you go and what you see according to the time available. A definite feature of the Tasmanian road system is the high quality of the highway and destination signage - arguably the best in Australia.

Car travel is also the best way of getting around the state.  The are no passenger train services and bus services are regular but time consuming.

There is accommodation available in every named town in these tours.

Driving distances and times betwen major centres is here.

A Big Circle Around Tasmania

If you have ten days to two weeks, you can probably do a full, self drive circle around most of the state.    For convenience, this description starts in Launceston, but you can join the circle from your port of entry which might also be Hobart or Devonport.  Detailed descriptions of particular locations are in their respective forum area and in the linked sites. Of course, circles go in either direction!

Launceston, Tamar Valley and Surrounds

Spend a day or two in historic Launceston, famed for having the largest intact collection of 19th century architecture in Australia.  Get a feel for the city's history with a guided historic walking tour. Visit the Tamar Valley and its Wine Route, stopping at Beaconsfield for the goldmine tour, Seahorse World and Platypus House.  Dine at Launceston's famed restaurants.  Visit Cataract Gorge, the National Autiomobile Museum and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art GalleryHollybank Treetops Adventure is also nearby. On Sunday, visit nearby Evandale Village Market.  Take a day trip to  Woolmers and Brickendon or the National Trust's Clarendon homestead.

From Launceston, travel west along the Bass Highway, through the historic coaching towns of Hadspen (Entally House), Carrick, Hagley and Westbury (Pearns Steamworld) to Deloraine.  Then head past 41South salmon & ginseng farm, through Chudleigh (Honey Farm), Mole Creek (Trowunna Wildlife park, caves) and along the winding mountain road to Moina and then Cradle Mountain.  There are other  routes to Cradle Mountain through Sheffield or via the north west coast and Burnie.

Highlights of the region include the 'must visit' destination of Longford which includes a high quality antique shop, the outstanding World Heritage listed historic sites of Woolmers Estate and Brickendon. Also the Bridestowe Lavender Farm is well worth visiting.

Cradle Mountain

Spend a day or two at Cradle Mountain National Park.  Do a day walk or two, or maybe a longer one.  This is part of Tasmania's World Heritage Wilderness area.  You'll see plenty of wildlife here, and there's also Devils at CradleThe Overland Track to Lake St Clair starts here.

Burnie, Stanley and the NorthWest

From Cradle Mountain, head west to the Murchison Highway.  If you have plenty of time, turn north toward Burnie and the North West Coast, with possible side trips east to the towns of Penguin and Ulverstone. Burnie has wild penguins,  platypus at Fernglade, and an excellent cheese factory right next door to Hellyers Road Distillery.

Or at Burnie, head west toward the enchanting seaside village of Stanley and historic Woolnorth, site of the Van Diemens Land Company settlements.  From Stanley you may also have time to visit Tarkine Forest Adventure at Dismal Swamp, or take a walk in the wilderness with Tarkine Trails, or even spend a night with Tassie devils at Kings Run.  From Stanley you can head south via the Western Explorer Road (dirt) to Arthur River and then on to Corinna and the Pieman River.

West Coast and Strahan

If you have less time, turn south on the Murchison Highway to visit the West Coast.  Head through Tullah, Rosebery, Zeehan, Queenstown  and Strahan.  Stay a day or two at Strahan and do the Gordon River and Macquarie Harbour cruise and the Wilderness Railway trip.  Strahan can be expensive but it is a lovely destination. it's possible to stay in frontier Queenstown instead, but the accommodation options are by comparison with Strahan are limited, and do the Wilderness Railway trip from Queenstown Station.  Or try the underground copper-mining tours.

Queenstown, Derwent Bridge and New Norfolk

From Strahan, head east past Queenstown along the Lyell Highway and through the wilderness again.  There are worthwhile stops at Nelson Falls and Franklin River bridge.  Stop at Derwent Bridge township to see the Wall in the Wilderness on the eastern side of town.  Perhaps detour to Lake St Clair National Park.  Continue through Tarraleah toward Hobart, perhaps spending some time at New Norfolk on the way.

There are side roads off the Lyell Highway: at Bronte a dirt road heads north toward the Central Highlands plateau and the Great Lake; at Hamilton the Highlands Lake Road heads to the Great Lake via Bothwell - home of the Australasian Golf Museum and Nant Distillery.  And from New Norfolk (or at Gretna/Rosegarland)  the Gordon River Road heads south-west toward Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon, past Mount Field National Park.

Hobart

Continue to Hobart and base yourself there for a day or two.  Try to be there on  Saturday for Salamanca Market.  Visit the historic docks area.  Catch the ferry "Mona" from the Brooke Street Pier to visit MONA - the Museum of Old and New Art.  Tour Cascade Brewery.  Drive to the top of Mount Wellington.  Take a guided historic walking tour.   Take a short cruise on the Derwent River, perhaps with a meal included, or to Peppermint Bay. See Tasmanian devils at Bonorong wildlife refuge on the northern edge of Hobart near Brighton.

Huon Valley

From Hobart, you could take a detour to the south west into the picturesque Huon Valley.  Visit thetimber town of Geeveston, the nearby Tahune Airwalk or Bruny Island.

Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula

While in Tasmania, you must visit the Port Arthur convict townsite, so the Tasman Peninsula is the next leg of the circle toward the East Coast.  On the way to Port Arthur, visit touristy Richmond village, Eaglehawk Neck and maybe the convict coalmine site and Taranna Devil Park. You could take a scenic  boat trip to see seals, sea-birds and whales here.

East Coast

After Port Arthur, head back to Sorrel, then north along the Tasman Highway through Orford and Triabunna - the ferry terminal for historic and bautiful Maria Island.  From Triabunna, continue north through Swansea toward Bicheno and the turn-off back to Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park.  Climb to the saddle to see Wineglass Bay.  There are more sea tours based at Freycinet.

All along the east coast and along the north coast it's possible to see penguins come ashore in the evening.  Guided tours are available.

 A one day visit to Maria Island National Park (using the Maria Island Ferry) is arguably one of the best opportunities to view wildlife in abundance as well as heritage sites.

You have choices here about how to continue your tour: you could head west along the B34 toward Campbelltown and the Heritage Highway; you could head north to St Mary's, then west along the Esk Highway toward Launceston if time is short; or you could continue north along the coast through St Helens.


Heritage Highway

The Heritage Highway features the superb, historic "time warp" towns of Kempton, Oatlands (to see the Callington Flour Mill and an outstanding collection of Georgian sandstone buildings) and Ross (convict bridge and Female Factory).

Further north on the Heritage Highway, beyond the Esk Highway junction, you will find the picturesque towns of Perth and Longford on the way to Launceston.

If you are interested in tasmania's convict-era history, this page on the Convict Trail is useful.

St Helens and North East

If you continued on through St Helens, the road back to Launceston goes through Derby and Scottsdale, with a longer detour possible through Bridport and Georgetown, then back to Launceston. A short diversion north of St Helens to see the beautiful Bay of Fires and Binalong Bay is highly recommended.

Between St Helens and Launceston, Pyengana Cheese, Ralph's Falls and St Columba Falls, Derby Tin Mine Centre and the Tin Dragon Trail Walk are worthy of a stop.  You also pass Bridestowe Lavender, Hollybank Adventures and Hillwood Bery Farm on the way back to Launceston.  This area is famed for its Chinese settler history.

At George Town you could stop to see the sloop "Norfolk" at the Bass and Flinders Centre,  the convict Watch House, Low Head Lighthouse, and the Pilot Station. There are also  several wineries, including Bay of Fires, Jansz, Dalrymple, Delamere and Sinapius at nearby Pipers River.

However you travelled this last section, the circle finishes back at "Launy"!

A Small Circle.

If you have about a week, you can accomplish sections of the big circle.  A smaller circle might start at Launceston, south along the Heriatge Highway to Hobart, then east to Port Arthur, then north along the east coast (Freycinet) and back to Launceston once more.

An alternative would be to travel from Launceston, through Cradle Mountain, then to Strahan and Hobart, then back to Launceston along the Heritage Highway, visiting Bonorong Wildlfe Park on the way.

Other circles could encompass the various roads from Launceston to the lower east coast (Freycinet), then back to Launceston via Derby and Scottsdale, with a detour to the beach wildernesses in the far north east corner of the state.

A One way Trip from Hobart to Launceston (or vice versa)

If you have only a few days, your could do a one way tour from Hobart along the Heritage Highway to Launceston, or one via the west coast through Strahan, or via the east coast through Freycinet.  A one way tour is a very effective use of time that avoids having to backtrack to your start point.

Touring in a Smaller Area

And finally, you could easily base yourself in either Hobart or Launceston, doing smaller day trips from either of those centres.  Hobart is most convenient to Port Arthur.  Launceston is most convenient to Cradle Mountain and Freycinet.

 

This page is a work in progress!!  More web-links still to come, it's  hoped.