Written by Shef
Published 14th July 20
Will take 8mn to read
Tasmania is not only about visiting Hobart and the most known touristic spots on the East Coast. If you are into quieter places and untouched Nature, it’s time to look at Tasmania self drive itineraries in the Western half… Perfect for hiking lovers and fans of wild empty spaces!
Where to go on a Tasmania road trip in the West part?
- 3 days: Launceston – Cradle – Lake St Clair
- 5 days: Launceston – Cradle – Lake St Clair – Bruny island
- 7 – 14 days: Launceston – Artur River – Strahan – Macquarie Heads – Queenstown – Lake St Clair – Bruny – Hobart
How much for a 7 days road trip in Tassie?
from 350 $ AUD
Weather and safety for travelers
Overall, Wild West Coast is unpredictable with weather. Always look up at weather forecasts before going on a hike. Take advices from locals about hiking conditions. And keep your common sense!
Tasmania East coast itinerary, from our travels – I Are you also thinking of traveling the East Coast ? I share my own itinerary and first-hand tips. To focus on cooler things and forget the hassle of finding info to prepare your trip!
Tasmania self drive itinerary #1 - Launceston to Lake St Clair, 3 days
To start your Tasmania self drive itinerary towards the West, Launceston is the best starting point. Second Tasmania’s city, Launceston is conveniently located in the North, letting you go either towards Cradle Mountain in the island’s center or directly to Tasmania wild West Coast. Based on my own Tasmania road trip, I give you just here two self drive itinerary ideas – 3 and 5 days trips starting from Launceston!
Cataract Gorge, Tasmania self drive itinerary
Start at Launceston
Part 1: What to see in Launceston on a Tasmania self drive itinerary
Launceston is a spot for solo travelers to stop at one of the hostels of the city, meet others and maybe look for a backpacker job. It has a few things to keep you busy.
Cataract Gorge – Nice nature spot to start your Tasmania West Coast road trip. 1.5km away from the city center. Walk along the Gorge or take the scenic chairlift (fee 13$). Lavender Fields – Lavender season is to catch up between December and February! Find 6 lavender farms on this article.
Tasmania West self drive itinerary – travel tips
- Overnight at Deloraine: amazing river walks, eateries; cheapest 1dollar hot shower at riverside pools);
- Or overnight camp on the way: 30kms before Cradle Mt, Roland Mt roadside camps with toilets and creek water tap with bins that are so rare in Tassie:)
Part 2: days in the Wild... Cradle Mountain and Walls of Jerusalem!
By car: Launceston to Cradle mountain, via Sorrel
141 km – 1h53
Cradle Mountain is, if already not the most incredible one, among the must-see places to see in Tasmania. A spot to count into your Western Tasmania self drive itinerary. What’s really cool at Cradle Mountain: even if you’re not a fan of hiking, you can see the main must-see places within doable walks. Allow at least one full day to enjoy this surprising Tasmania Western gem.
Dove Lake – So peaceful walk around this gem! Best for Instagram selfies and some shots of nature photography.
Cradle mountain summit – Harder one to go to – 13km hike, grade 3. Do it only if you are well equipped and used to hike.
Cradle Mountain – travel tips
- Overnight camp with your parks pass (fee: 60$ per vehicle)
- You cannot drive! Need to take shuttle bus by showing your parks pass.
Cradle Mountain Tasmania self drive itinerary
Cradle mountain to Walls of Jerusalem
94 km – 1h40
Walls of Jerusalem is another natural Wonder right next to Cradle Mountain. It’s known rather by trekkers and hikers. And for a good reason: Walls of Jerusalem is a circuit of grade 4, 34km hike! Another number than the easy to walk Cradle Mountain’s paths.
Tasmania self drive itinerary West – travel tips
- Overnight camp at Walls of Jerusalem
- Circuit via Lake Ball and King Solomons Throne
- Time to spend there on the road trip: 1 night to 1 day
Kangaroos in Tasmania – almost too cute to be true
Walls of Jerusalem
Part 3: the blue kingdom of Lake St Clair
From Walls of Jerusalem to Lake St Clair
Such a relaxing place on a Tasmania West road trip! Lake St Clair surprised me by its simplicity but at the same time, its intensity. Lake St Clair is actually part of Tasmania Nature World Heritage area – well deserved. The waters are of a deep blue and if you’re patient enough, you might see a platicus – bizarre little biest! Allow one day (drive included).
Lake St Clair
Now, you have two options to continue your adventurous Tasmania road trip. Option 1: you are kind of short in time or budget or you’re missing the warmth of Australian mainland desert. From Lake St Clair, keep going with a Tasmania self drive itinerary towards Hobart. On the way, make a stop at Burbury Lake.
Tasmania self drive itinerary #2 - Launceston to Bruny island, 5 days
Option 2: You’re still on for seeing more of Tasmania! Then, drive further to the West-South and add some mile stones to your Tasmania self drive itinerary. This Tasmania road trip of 5 days can be started either at Launceston or continued from Lake St Clair.
1.Start at Launceston or Lake St Clair
2.From Lake St Clair to Bruny island
Jump on the regular day hours ferry to Bruny Island, surf and beach stop on your Tasmania self drive itinerary. Perhaps you’ll get on the hunt to spot a albino wallaby or penguins at night. Also, check out the cheese and wineries. Bruny island is also known for its surfers’ beaches on the wilder Southern part – Cloudy Bay. The Arch in the North is really not to miss… the longer walk in the bush leading there is worth the effort!
Must-see places and waht to do on Bruny island
- the Arch and its deserted dream beach, North Bruny
- the Neck and its penguins at dusk
- Adventure Bay and Tasmania’s most gorgeous beaches, South Bruny
- cruise to see dolphins, sea lions and the impressive “Breathing rock”
- Camp at a free spot next to Cloudy bay and its beach under the milky way
- Surf (or watch surfers!) at Cloudy Bay
Tasmania self drive itinerary #3 - West Coast road trip, 7 to 14 days
Start at Launceston or Cradle
The wild West Coast might not be the common road for travellers… and that’s a very good reason to add it to your Tasmania self drive itinerary. Something different. Let’s go together… either from Launceston or from Cradle Mountain, if you followed my first Tasmania self drive itinerary 3 days, leading you to Cradle.
From Launceston to Arthur River
Continue the self drive itinerary driving further toward Arthur River, stopping briefly at Wynyard (gourmet), Stanley (The Nut), Smithon (Arty Duck) before reaching Arthurs 6dollar home-made burgers shop before the bridge crossing. Marrawah (15km before) has a free camp grounds with toilets and water tap. Arthur river can be explored weather permitting.
From Arthur River to Strahan
What to do? The must see places of your Tasmania self drive itinerary in the West:
Western Wilderness Road – pleasant drive with 25$ paid “ferry” crossing. Mid December amazing bush flowers blossoming and plenty of water.
Zeehan falls – famous place on the way.
Strahan – not very much free stuff, but apparently the river cruise is well worth the cash.
Macquarie heads – I highly recommend them on your Tasmania self drive itinerary. Bit of rough drive but amazing place. You can most likely catch your own big boy salmon and have it on the fire – sorry vegans:(
From Queenstown to Lake St Clair
After Queenstown, stop on the way at Lake St Clair (day trip) and overnight at Tarraleah’s lagoons; clean toilets, campfire food, pristine water with fish and great companion, what more can you wish for?!?
Then, Drive all the way to StrathGordon and/or Red Knool Lookout at the very bottom to enjoy picnic rest with an epic view!
From Lake St Clair to Russell Falls
Head to Russel Falls where you will walk under mighty trees – Swamp Gum, worlds second tallest trees after Californian Pines and soak in the freshest water mist on the planet. Enjoy daystay at the riverside for free or stay overnight and use facilities for fee on top of the park pass.
From Russell Falls to New Norfolk
Short 30min drive and you will reach beautiful posh New Norfolk with few very rare type of bogans! Enjoy a treat and book at Black Swan, and perhaps river swim and kayak when New Norfolk gets piping hot at 40’s!
Drive back Geevestone, Frankling over the famous Huon River towards Cygnet.
Tasmania self drive itinerary – West to the East, full loop.
From Cygnet to Hobart, via Bruny island
1 to a few days (stay on Bruny)
Last part of this wild Tasmania self drive itinerary: back to the South, from Cygnet to Hobart via B68. Stop at Bruny island, for at least one day and one night.
Drive back to Hobart on B68 stopping at Sandy Bay, under Seagrass coffee place are free hot showers and dayparks (can do overnights too); nice beach walks.
Total duration of Tasmania self drive itinerary West: 7-14day ***Overall Wild West Coast is unpredictable with weather!***
I am Shef, Bulgarian soul of solo traveler. Since 2 years on the road, I’ve spent time in Russia, Mongolia, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand… to name a few! I share my used and tested tips for other solo travelers and backpackers. Enjoy seeing the World!