Road Trip Itineraries around Australia

Tasmania Camping Road Trip – Two Week Itinerary

Planning a camping road trip to Tasmania? This two-week itinerary aims to give adventurous campers a real taste of what camping on this glorious island at the bottom of the world has to offer. 

Because Tasmania is a camper’s dream with so many different camps, remote spots and free and cheap camps on offer to the explorer.

Long on my bucket list, I first travelled to Tasmania over an Easter long weekend and hit the main East Coast spots. It was a great trip but it left me wanting more and feeling curious to discover some of the less-known and less-explored areas.

Earlier this year I headed back for a longer visit including to the Western side of the island invitingly known as the Wild West.

So from inland tracks and mountain views to stunning beaches and coastal foodie stops, here’s my pick of the places to stop on a two-week road trip around Tasmania.

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Less than one week?

Similar to my first trip to Tasmania, the East Coast can be explored in 4 days and can still gives you a taste of Tassie. This was my route:

  • Arrive in Launceston in the evening (after work)
  • Day 1: Drive to Bicheno via Bay of Fires National Park.
  • Day 2: Drive to Freycinet National Park for Wineglass Bay walk. Stay in Bicheno.
  • Day 3: Drive to Hobart, visit MONA and go out for dinner and drinks in the city.
  • Day 4: Visit Mount Wellington in the morning before driving to Launceston for a late afternoon flight.

Only one week?

Hit the main spots: Hobart and Bay of Fires and Freycinet National Parks.

Longer than two weeks?

This is where you can go a little deeper and get under the skin of what Tasmania has to offer. The longer I spent out there in the wilder, quieter, more secluded spots, the more the island grew on me.

  • Drive the Western Explorer road to Strahan via Queenstown to discover Tasmania’s Wild West.
  • Add a trip to the fishing village of Stanley on the North West Coast.
  • Drive beyond Stanley to Marrawah for the West Coast surf beaches.
  • Stick around Cradle Country a little longer and explore the Mole Creek area.
  • Venture up to Mount Williams National Park and stay at Stumpy Bay campground on your way between Launceston and Bay of Fires National Park.

Planning your road trip

When to go

Tasmania is known for having a wetter and much colder climate than other southern Australian states. Which means you’re best trying to time your visit over the Summer or the late Spring and early Autumn shoulder seasons.

No matter what time you go, however, the weather can be unpredictable so make sure you’re still prepared for all weathers (see my comments on clothing below).

I visited Tasmania in late January and February this year and my first visit was in late March. I’ve been lucky with dry weather both times but it has still been cold at times! Especially in the mornings and evenings but also on cloudy days. And particularly when the wind gets up (which it does and will).

Direction of travel

This is an important question to consider when planning your road trip around Tasmania: which way round the island should I go?

Put simply, if the weather is looking good in the West then that’s when you should head to Western Tasmania which has notoriously worse weather than the East coast. If you’re sticking to the East Coast the same rule applies and let the weather forecast guide you.

Car or camper?

With a variety of accommodation options on offer, you could hire a car or a camper van to travel around Tasmania. I’ve done both but I would say that Tasmania is somewhere really geared towards exploring by camper van with a lot of the very best and special places experienced out in the national parks and by the beaches. Provided the weather is good of course.

Book your rental car in advance to find the best deals.

 

Types of campsites

Cheap and even free camping in Tasmania is one of the best parts of travelling Tasmania in a camper van. There are some great free camps all over Tasmania and some of the best campsites are only a small fee of $10-$13. These are mainly based within a National Park.

After the cost of hiring your vehicle, this helps make it a more cost-effective trip but it’s more than that. The campsites place you in some truly amazing locations around the island and reward you with that feeling of real adventure.

Tips for travelling Tassie

Buy a National Parks pass for $80

If you’re camping around the island you’ll most likely want to book campsites in the National Parks. With a 24-hour vehicle pass (for up to 8 people) costing $40, after only two nights camping it’s the cheaper option. It’s also less hassle without the need to find mobile signal every time you need to buy an entry pass! Simply buy your National Parks pass online.

Have cash on you

Carrying notes in low denominations and dollar coins on you is actually quite essential to camping around Tasmania. A lot of the (best) campsites are self-registration that required cash. This is where the fee for camping is paid via an envelope at the campground instead of booking online. You take an envelope, write your details both on the envelope with the fee enclosed, and on a tear-off strip of paper to display in your vehicle. If you don’t want to miss out on the good camps, bring cash.

Download and sign up to Wikicamps

The Wikicamps app will become your friend if you’re camping your way around Tasmania. Find free camps, cheap camps and caravan parks including fees and reviews with Wikicamps. It will also show you the nearest public toilets, showers and where to top up your drinking water for free (if you’re not sticking to caravan parks on your trip then this becomes really important to know about). Download and take advantage of the free 7-day trial before you commit to the $7.99 annual fee.

Pack the right clothing

As I said, Tasmanian weather can be somewhat variable and unpredictable. Even when travelling during the Summer months the wind can get up or the temperature can drop overnight. But when the sun is out it can also get surprisingly hot, so layers are best.

I recommend having at least one long-sleeved top, a thick jumper, a jacket made of synthetic material for wind protection (for example, a puffer jacket), and a waterproof layer.

A beanie, long trousers and a good pair of waterproof boots are also a very good idea. The UV rating can also be very high so make sure you have sun cream and a good hat with you.

 

If you’re looking for other classic Australian road trips then check out my Sydney to Byron Bay two week itinerary.

 

Two-week itinerary

I’ve ordered this itinerary starting at Launceston (where flights to are typically cheaper) but it’s a circular route so you could also start it from Hobart.

Day 1: Launceston to Bay of Fires – (175 km) 2hr 45mins drive via Derby (more scenic)

Day 2: Bay of Fires, Cosy Corny North or South

Day 3: Bay of Fires to Bicheno or Coles Bay – 1hr 20mins (90km)

Day 4: Freycinet National Park

Day 5: Freycinet National Park to Tasman Peninsula, Fortescue Bay – 3hrs 9mins (208km)

Day 6: Tasman Peninsula to Bruny Island – 2hrs 54mins (160km)

Day 7: Bruny Island

Day 8: Bruny Island to Hobart – 1hr 25mins (60km) + ferry – 20mins ($40 return)

Day 9: Hobart

Day 10: Hobart to Strahan (via Queenstown) – 4hrs 19min (301km)

Day 11: Strahan

Day 12: Strahan to Cradle Mountain – 1hr 52min (137km)

Day 13: Cradle Mountain

Day 14: Mole Creek to Launceston – 53mins (76km)

Bay of Fires, Camping Tasmania
Cosy Corner North, Bay of Fires

Day 1: Launceston to Bay of Fires National Park – (175 km) 2hr 45mins drive via Derby (the more scenic route)

Launceston is a great place to stop for coffee or some food but there’s not too much to it compared to the rest of the island so I suggest stocking up on supplies and heading out on the highway and getting straight into what coastal Tasmania has to offer.

Camp at Cosy Corner

There are two free campsites along this stretch of the stunning Bay of Fires National Park: Cosy Corner North and Cosy Corner South.

I camped at Cosy Corner North because I liked the look of the spots and the section of the beach better but there’s no difference between the two and they are less than a 2-minute drive apart. My advice is to scout out both and pull up wherever you fancy.

Both offer drop toilets (there are actually three at Cosy Corner North which was rare to see) but no showers and you will need to bring your own drinking water. As with all free and cheap camps, if you are travelling during a busy period on the island (Nov-Apr), I recommend aiming to get to the campsite before 5 pm to secure a spot.

Things to do along the way

  • Spend time in Launceston sampling the great food and coffee on offer. The coffee and breakfasts are good at Sweetbrew.
  • Take a trip to the Cataract Gorge just outside of Launceston.
  • Stop for lunch and a cheese platter at Pyengana Dairy en route to the Bay of Fires.
  • If you have longer and are keen to explore more of the East coast, take a detour to Mount Williams National Park and stay at Stumpy Bay campground.
Binalong Bay, Camping in Tasmania
Binalong Bay

Day 2: Bay of Fires National Park

Bay of Fires is more often a stopping-off point on the way to Freycinet National Park. However, it’s definitely worth spending a little more time relaxing and enjoying the white sands, turquoise waters and orange-hued rocks. Especially if the sun is out and you get to see it in all its glory.

Things to do in Bay of Fires National Park

  • Visit The Gardens: This particular stretch of the Bay of Fires National Park coastline is stunning. With multiple paths off the road that leads down to the beach, make sure to spend some time just meandering around this area.
  • Visit Binalong Bay: This is the well-known section of the Bay of Fires where a lot of people head. Although I personally found The Gardens area and around Cost Corner campground a better place to base yourself and explore.
  • Surf just north of Cosy Corner North campground: If you’re bringing your surfboard there’s a fun beach break and a car park here. Or, calmer water for swimming from the campsite’s beach itself.
Swan River Campground, Camping in Tasmania
Sunset at Swan River Campground

Day 3: Bay of Fires to Bicheno or Coles Bay – (90m) 1hr 20 mins drive

The next stop is setting yourself up to access Freycinet National Park and get a glimpse of the iconic Wineglass Bay.

Coles Bay is the closest town to the National Park and with a couple of good coffee shops, it’s a great place to base yourself. The problem is it’s extremely popular and accommodation options get booked up fast.

The best and most popular free camp (plus a National Parks pass) in the area is the Friendly Beaches Campground. It did look amazing, right by the beach, but it is first-come first-served and it was completely full when I tried to get in.

If Friendly Beaches is a no-go then your next best option is Swan River Campground. This is another free camp and is actually further up the road, closer to Freycinet National Park.

Another good alternative base is the lovely little fishing village of Bicheno, although this is further away from Wineglass Bay.

Camp at Swan River campground

This free camp was a pleasant surprise. Whilst it’s best for just an overnight stop because there’s not much there, do make sure you head down to the beach for sunset. The vast amount of water from the inlet with rocks jutting above the surface makes for a magical, peaceful landscape.

The camp itself is relatively small and started filling up fast after about 5 pm. There’s a car park area for late arrivals to stay in but it’s not as nice as the allocated areas and everyone was camping close to each other. The campground has one (drop toilet) and you will need to bring your own water. You can find its location in the Wikicamps App.

Lobster Shack, Bicheno
Lobster Shack, Bicheno

Camp in Bicheno

I didn’t camp in Bicheno but Bicheno Caravan Park is the camping option.

Things to do near Freycinet National Park

  • Head into Coles Bay for really good coffee and scallop pies from Granite Freycinet, or pizza on the deck at Geographie Restaurant and Espresso Bar.
  • If staying in Bicheno, or even just passing through, make sure to stop off at the Lobster Shack for battered scallops, calamari and fish and chips (a seafood basket for 2-3 people is $45). All served on the deck overlooking the harbour. With a cold beer, it’s a great spot.
Wineglass Bay, Camping in Tasmania
Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park

Day 4: Freycinet National Park

Head into the park to do either the Wineglass Bay Lookout and Hazards Beach Walk or if you’re up for the challenge, the Mount Amos Walk. For more information head to parks.tas.gov.au or there are information boards at the Visitor Centre car park.

There’s also a water refill station before you set off if needed.

Hazards Beach, Camping in Tasmania
Hazards Beach, Freycinet National Park

For both walks head to the visitor car park (free all-day parking with a National Parks pass). I didn’t do the Mount Amos walk but as a challenging walk, I’d recommend completing it in the morning before the heat of the day sets in. Yes, even in Tasmania the UV can be very high and the sun very strong!

The Wineglass Bay Lookout and Hazards Beach Walk takes about one hour (uphill) to get to the lookout, before descending 200 steps to Hazards Beach. If you have the time it’s worth visiting the beach. Especially if you catch good weather and the season is right for a swim.

The entire loop takes just under two hours to complete. Catch it early doors or late afternoon to avoid the busy periods in the park.

Tasman Peninsula, Camping in Tasmania
The Tasman Peninsula

Day 5: Freycinet National Park to Tasman Peninsula – (208km) 3hrs 9 mins drive

The next stop is the Tasman Peninsula. This part of Tasmania is all about the landscape with its sheer sea cliffs and caves. Aside from driving around and looking at these rock formations, there’s not much to do but a few well-timed stops will provide a nice little tour of the best this peninsula has on offer.

An alternative option to stopping on the Tasman Peninsula is Maria Island. I didn’t visit but a lot of people talked about the island being great for spotting wildlife. You cannot drive or stay on Maria Island so it’s a day trip accessed by ferry.

Camp at Fortescue Bay campground

This campground is a hidden gem. Located in a big bay, this was a rare campground that had views out over the water from the car/caravan section of the campsite (the other section being for tents only).

The main thing to know about this campground is that it must be booked in advance and can only be booked during office hours (10 am-4 pm daily). Call to ask about availability as early as possible as spots are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

The cost is $13/night with hot showers available for $2 for 4 minutes but can only be operated using tokens picked up from the office during office hours. Don’t make the mistake I did getting there after 4 pm and missing out on a hot shower!

Fortescue Bay, Camping in Tasmania
Fortescue Bay

Things to do on the Tasman Peninsula

  • As you drive onto the peninsula make your first stop at the Cubed Espresso Bar van for views over the peninsula. It’s a great way to start your trip here.
  • Making your way down the first stretch of coastline stop off at the Tessellated Pavement, Devils Kitchen and the Tasman Arch. These are all easily accessed by car or camper and a short walk from the car parks.
  • I didn’t go on it due to poor weather conditions but one of the top cruises I heard a lot of people mention is the Pennicott Day Cruise here, where you will see all the cliffs and rock formations from the ocean.
  • Stop at Pirates Bay for a walk along the beach or if you’re lucky with the waves, a surf. Popular with surfers this place had a real buzz when I travelled through because the swell was in the right direction and people were driving in all the way from Hobart to catch a wave.
  • For an old English-style country pub I’d recommend checking out the Fox and Hound near Port Arthur.
  • Visit the Port Arthur Historic Site near Port Arthur for the history of coal mining on the peninsula.
The Neck Lookout, Camping in Tasmania
The Neck Lookout, Bruny Island

Day 6: Tasman Peninsula to Bruny Island – (160km) 3hrs drive

To cut down drive times on the leg to Strahan and the Wild West, I suggest you bypass Hobart after the Tasman Peninsula and head straight to Bruny Island first.

Bruny Island is the right mix of a few things to do but also not a lot to do. It’s got a great low-key vibe that I love and I could have spent a few more days on the island than I did. Make sure you don’t miss this stop. Getting onto the island via the ferry is straightforward and no fuss but makes it feel like you’re going on a new adventure crossing the water.

The car ferry is $40 return, takes 20 minutes and generally leaves every 20-30 mins throughout the day. Check the departure times online beforehand and simply rock up and wait for the next service.

Camp at The Neck campground

This campground, close to The Neck lookout between North and South Bruny, is positioned well in a sheltered section off the road. But still within walking distance of the beach. It’s also close to a lot of the food and cafe options on the island, making it a good base and the most popular place to camp. Costs $10/night by self-registration.

Cloudy Bay, Camping in Tasmania
Cloudy Bay, Bruny Island

Camp at Cloudy Corner campground

This is actually where I camped whilst on the island but it’s only (officially) accessible by 4WD at low tide. I would highly recommend this campground if your vehicle allows it (I travelled in a 4×4 with a rooftop tent). It’s at the end of Cloudy Bay with lots of places to camp high up on the cliffs. Get there early to secure the best spots with ocean views. Costs $10/night by self-registration.

I actually saw a fair few 2WD vehicles in the campground because the sand on the beach is hard and there was no soft sand at the access points on either end. With the tides I experienced, getting to and from the campground was also not a problem outside of low tide. However, I wouldn’t advise taking a hire car there – it’s probably not worth the risk!

Day 7: Bruny Island

Walk, eat or sit. I really feel visiting this island is all about slowing down and enjoying it.

Things to do on Bruny Island

  • Check out The Neck: Make sure to walk up the steps and boardwalk at The Neck lookout for views across the island. It’s an awesome lookout overlooking the thin strip of land joining the North and South parts of the island.
  • Pop into the Bruny Island Cheese Company: For a cheese board and glass of wine, or to stock up on cheese for the rest of your trip.
  • Head to Get Shucked for fresh, local oysters: It’s a laid-back, casual place so perfect for simple seafood lovers.
  • Drive to Cloudy Bay: It’s worth driving out to, even if you’re not staying. From the car park walk up the track beyond the toilet and round to the right to catch where the surfers are. There’s a lovely oversized bench seat to sit on and take it all in.
  • Check out Adventure Bay beyond The Neck.
  • Go penguin spotting: Head to The Neck at dusk to spot Penguins coming up from the sea and into their burrows for the night.
Hobart, Camping in Tasmania
Hobart

Day 8: Bruny Island to Hobart – (60km) 1hr drive +20 mins ferry ride

Once you’ve had your fix of island life it’s time to head back to the mainland and into Hobart for a couple of days.

Hobart is a city that has really grown on me. Perhaps because the first time I visited was a quick stop, look around and a night out in the touristy Salamanca Place pubs that left me far too hungover to fully enjoy the wild and windy weather on top of Mount Wellington the next day.

Or perhaps, it’s because I only did the touristy bits and on my second visit I found where the locals go to eat and drink and in doing so I got to experience and understand more about the city and what attracts people to live here.

By the way, the touristy pubs at Salamanca Place are still great to visit. Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia so if you like old historical looking pubs (and being English I crave them), then this is your place.

Camp at Hobart Showground

If you’re sticking to camping then this was the best option I found and is the closest campground to the city. Based in Glenorchy, a suburb 15-20mins drive out from the city centre, it’s nothing special but it’s clean and the cheapest option you’ll find to base yourself somewhere for a few days. If you’re planning to drink in the evening, grab an Uber in for around $10-15. Camping costs from $29 for unpowered sites. Book online.

Other places to stay

The Allurity Hotel is a great budget option and somewhere I have stayed before. It’s also opposite the New Sydney Hotel which is a great Irish pub with a lot of atmosphere later on in the evening.

MONA, Camping in Tasmania
Arriving at MONA by ferry

Day 9: Hobart

Things to do in Hobart

  • Make the trip to MONA: You can drive here yourself but I’d recommend buying a ticket with the ferry from Hobart included. It all adds to the experience! My top tip for visiting is to do so in the mid to late afternoon to maybe even enjoy a drink whilst you’re there and then head into Hobart for the evening straight off the ferry. Also, parking in Hobart is largely metered so I recommend leaving your vehicle where you are staying and getting a taxi in. Alternatively, there is all-day parking close to Hobart Brewing Co. which is a 7-minute walk from the ferry terminal. Costs $14/day but is only open until 6 pm.
  • Drive up to the top of Mount Wellington for views over the city and beyond: This is a must-do in my opinion. Driving into and around Hobart you will realise this is a city completely surrounded by water. So getting up high to see exactly where Hobart is situated is great. You also drive all the way to the top and walk around a series of different lookouts so no excuses really.
  • Visit the Salamanca Markets: It takes place every Saturday 8.30 am-3 pm at Salamanca Place. On-street parking is available nearby if you’re heading if for a short visit.
  • Head out to the bars and restaurants: There are two areas to go to – along Salamanca Place and Elizabeth Street where the locals go. Elizabeth Street is a long street (and uphill) so best to research which bars, breweries and restaurants you want to visit first to plan your night out.
Queenstown, Camping in Tasmania
The scenery is amazing driving from Hobart to Strahan

Day 10: Hobart to Strahan via Queenstown – (301km) 4hrs 20 mins drive

The next section of your road trip will see you getting to some of the best Tasmania has to offer. It’s not as populated or popular. You’re no longer on the straightforward, East Coast tourist trail. Instead, you’re going slightly off-piste to the Western side of the Island where the weather is wild and the landscape is dramatically different. Enter the Wild West.

Having now been to the West Coast, I think holds an important place on any road trip itinerary longer than a week. It’s wild, windy and prone to a spot of rain so I’ve put in the front notes that if you’re planning to do this section of the trip, it’s advisable you actually plan your route and direction of travel based on the weather forecast. Head here when the weather is good and plan the rest of your trip from there. Do not come here if a lot of rain or wind is forecast. I’ve been told it’s just not worth it!

With Strahan as the destination, this is the longest stretch of driving on my suggested road trip. Expect it to take a full day to complete because the drive is part of the experience. You’ll cross over a mountain pass and there are a fair few switchbacks before you get to Queenstown. The drive into this town straight out of a Western movie itself is one of the best drives I’ve done as it puts you right on the cliff’s edge.

Macquarie Heads, Camping in Tasmania
Macquarie Heads

Camp at Macquarie Heads campground

This was a great campsite for being right on the Heads and walking onto the beach for sunset. It’s a 10-minute drive out of town so worth it for at least one sunset. It costs $10/night and is a self-registration campsite.

Camp at Strahan Beach Tourist Park

If you want to be closer to town then this is the main place to camp. A 10-minute walk from the marina it has everything you need and is a good place to base yourself for a couple of nights if booking onto the Gordon River Cruise or wanting to head to the Tavern for a drink or dinner. Unpowered sites cost $33/night.

Stops along the way

  • Stop off at Nelson Falls to stretch your legs: The falls are a short 10-minute walk from the car park through a pleasant stretch of forest.
  • Stop in Queenstown: Walk over to the railway to have a look around. There are also a few cafes and places for lunch if you time it right.
  • Visit Hogarth Falls: It’s just outside of Strahan.
Strahan, Camping in Tasmania
Strahan Wharf

Day 11: Strahan

Spend the day exploring this small town by the water or like many others visiting here do, book onto a Gordon River Cruise.

Things to do in Strahan

  • Book onto a Gordon River Cruise: It’s the thing to do in the area and I enjoyed it for giving a flavour of the nature and history of this part of Tasmania. Specifically, it’s a day of sailing around the area including going out past Macquarie Head to the ‘Gates of Hell’, stopping off at Sarah Island and a section of the temperate rainforest, as well as a cruise down the Gordon River. I would say it’s worth doing on a good weather day but if it’s raining or misty then you’re not going to see much from the boat and therefore not worth it.
  • More information on booking your Gordon River Cruise:
    • Prices are from $135/person including (a really good, locally sourced) lunch. The cruise times are 8.30-2.30 or 9 am-3 pm depending on which operator you go with. There are two: Gordon River Cruises and World Heritage Cruises.
    • I learnt that the main difference is the Gordon River Cruise departs half an hour earlier in the morning and is the first boat on the river so gets the water at its stillest. After deciding which company to go with, the price of the tour depends on the type of seat you book on your tour.
    • I didn’t think it was worth paying extra for an upstairs, window seat and was very happy with my decision to go with World Heritage Cruises. When on board, your booked seat is where you have lunch but otherwise you are free to walk around and sit anywhere on the decks (three levels) outside.
    • Gordon River Cruises also occasionally run afternoon sailings from 3.30 pm during peak periods and at the weekends, there is a food and wine sunset cruise. I personally would have loved to do this option so if you’re there on a day it is running, it might be worth checking out.
  • Attend The Ship That Never Was play in town: It runs daily during peak season at 5.30 pm (until 7 pm) and costs $25/person. It was such a fun thing to do with a lot of audience participation (in a good, not cringy way). I laughed a lot and it was definitely worth the cost of entry. Do it!
  • Drive over to Macquarie Heads at sunset: Even if you’re not camping here I recommend visiting this place to catch the sunset.
  • Visit the Coffee Shack: This was the place to be with locals enjoying their coffee sat out the front. The coffee is great and the food looked delicious.
  • Head to Hamer’s Bar & Bistro: The pub section was bustling in the evening, especially with everyone spilling out from The Ship That Never Was play at around 7 pm (me included). I would say this is a touristy pub and fairly pricey (there was another pub on the other side of town which may have been where more of the locals go) but it was fun, on the main high street and an easy 10-minute walk from the tourist park if staying there.
Cradle Mountain National Park, Camping in Tasmania
Dove Lake Walk, Cradle Mountain National Park

Day 12: Strahan to Cradle Mountain – (137km) 1hr 52min

I’d heard lots about Cradle Mountain National Park and it didn’t disappoint. I’d mainly heard about it for the Overland Track (the multi-day hike staying in teahouses along the way) that’s on a lot of people’s bucket list but you don’t have to do a multi-day hike.

The National Park is set up well to spend a few days on various day-hike trails. If you get there early afternoon from Strahan it’s worth driving to the visitor centre to get the lay of the land, talk to someone about the walks and conditions, or even do an easy walk like the Dove Lake Walk which is what I did when I first arrived.

I also highly recommend visiting Devils @Cradle to get up close to lots of Tasmanian Devils. Try and time your visit to coincide with one of their free tours to learn a lot about the Devils and all we different species of Quolls they have. I visited in the afternoon for the 3 pm tour and loved it but there are also options to do a feeding and a night tour later in the evening for extra costs. The standard entry is $25 per person.

Camp at Discovery Parks Cradle Mountain

Discovery Parks Cradle Mountain is the only camping option close to the visitor centre and the start of the walks so if it’s not booked up then this is a good option and will save you time driving to and from the National Park itself. Especially if you plan to spend 2 or more days walking there.

All other camping options require at least a 20-minute drive in but if you have to stay further afield like I did, then I’d really recommend the Lake Gardiner free camp.

Lake Gardiner, Camping in Tasmania
Sunrise over Lake Gardiner

Camp at Lake Gairdner free camp

With the Discovery Parks campsite all booked up I ended up at Lake Gairdner free camp. And as always seems to happen, it ended up being one of my favourite campsites of the whole trip! You camp right by the lake in a beautiful setting and a really nice, relaxed vibe among campers who are all there to go walking in the Cradle Mountain National Park.

Look up the location on the Wikicamps app and when there make sure you look out for platypus in the river at dusk and dawn. I didn’t spot any but was told they are definitely around! One big thing to note is this is a free camp with no facilities and therefore no toilets. So you will need to be completely self-sufficient to camp here, or at least have a backup plan.

Cradle Mountain National Park, Camping in Tasmania
Marion’s Lookout and Summit Walk, Cradle Mountain National Park

Day 13: Cradle Mountain

Head into the National Park for a day of walking.

Tips for planning your visit to Cradle Mountain

To enter you will need a National Parks pass and will need to take the free buses to get to the start of each walk. A pass can either be bought at the visitor centre or take your previously purchased weeks/months pass (if travelling Tassie for a couple of weeks I recommend buying one) to the counter to get free bus tickets for the days you want to enter the park.

There is a water refill station (chilled AND sparkling!) in the centre itself to top up before boarding the bus. It’s only accessible during visitor centre opening times. There are plenty of toilets open at all times at the visitor centre but not on the majority of walks (I only came across one doing the Summit walk, which is just passed the Kitchen Hut).

Walks to do in Cradle Mountain National Park

Marion’s Lookout Walk

I definitely recommend catching the bus to Ronny Creek stop and walking to Marion’s Lookout for views out over the whole park.

It takes 2-2.5 hours, is uphill and has steep sections to get to the lookout. But worth it. You also walk through a beautiful wooded section with a waterfall.

On the way back down there is a turning off to do the Wombat track which will take you to Dove Lake bus stop. Takes the same amount of time if you want to vary the walk.

Dove Lake Walk

Take the bus to the Dove Lake stop and walk around Dove Lake for views of Cradle Mountain peak. Takes 2 hours and is pretty flat all the way and very easy. A nice gentle walk to ease yourself in but if you only have time for one walk I suggest doing the Ronny Creek walk.

Cradle Mountain Summit walk

6-7 hours return. 3-4 hours of this is the walk to Marion’s Lookout and then allow up to 2 hours for the summit climb alone. Be prepared (mentally) for a lot of clambering up rocks on a sheer edge. It’s a challenge and you’ll go slow for the last hour up (and an hour back down) due to the precarious nature of this walk.

Not for the faint-hearted at all but on a clear day you’ll be rewarded with fantastic 360 views of the park and an unbeatable sense of achievement! If the weather is not good I personally would not attempt it. Especially if it’s windy. You’re just too close to the edge too much of the time.

Mole Creek Karst National Park, Camping in Tasmania
Mole Creek Karst National Park

Day 14: Mole Creek to Launceston

It’s time to drive back to Launceston on the final leg of your road trip. Or, if you arrived by ferry it’s back to Devonport. Hopefully with a lot of good memories in your back pocket and a deep love of this beautiful island.

Explore more of Cradle country in Mole Creek Karst National Park

A suggested last stop, if you have time before heading back to Launceston is Mole Creek. It’s a short drive from Cradle Mountain National Park and a beautiful part of Tasmania. Even just driving through it made me reminisce about the English countryside and its forests.

Alternatively, a bigger detour is out to the North West Coast to visit the quaint fishing village of Stanley. Or even further to the surf beaches on the West Coast at Marrawah.

Camp at Mole Creek Karst National Park

This is a great free campground in the National Park (so you will need a parks pass). It’s located right by a river with lots of separate, private areas to park up and camp. Set up right by the river and look out for platypus at dusk and dawn. There is a (drop) toilet and it is free.

Things to do in Mole Creek

  • Go to the Marakoopa Caves: I didn’t visit myself but this is one of the things people come to this area for.
  • Drop into the Wandering Trout Taphouse: For a cold beer or pick up takeaway cans to enjoy around the campfire on your last night.
  • Minnow Falls Walk: This is one of the walks to do in the area but I have to share that I did this walk and would not recommend it. With so many walks on offer in Tasmania, I would save yourself for another one. The falls appear unimpressive given the challenging walk it takes to reach them: 1 hour of relentlessly climbing one of the steepest tracks I’ve ever done. If you decide you’re up for the challenge then it’s only 1.5 hrs return (1 hour up, 45 minutes down) but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So when are you heading to Tasmania?

A road trip around Tasmania is a beautiful blend of coastal and inland adventures with its turquoise water, white sands and luscious green forests and jagged mountains. Plus you can gorge yourself silly on oysters, battered scallops, local cheeses and exceptional pinot noir.

All on an island small enough to travel around within a couple of weeks!

I hope this guide helps you prepare for an awesome road trip around Tasmania. Even if you decide to use the suggested route as only a guide you can’t really go wrong, no matter where the road takes you.

Happy camping!

 

 

 

If you’re looking for more camping itineraries then you may find my other guides useful: