Tasmania self drive itinerary -
Wild West in 3 to 14 days trips

Written by Shef
Published 14th July 20
Will take 8mn to read

Backpacking Tasmania is not only about visiting Hobart and the most known touristic spots of the Tasman East Coast. If the North and the West Coast are way wilder, they are still easy to travel. Quieter and with untouched nature,Tasmania self drive itineraries in the North and West are perfect for hiking lovers and fans of wild empty spaces.

Where to go on a Tasmania east coast road trip ?

Overview

  1. 3 days: Launceston to Lake St Clair
  2. 5 days: Launceston to Bruny island
  3. 7 – 14 days: Launceston to Hobart, West Coast road trip

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 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!

Tasmania self drive itinerary_Cataract Gorge Launceston

Cataract Gorge, Tasmania self drive itinerary

Mount-William-Tasmania-road-trip

Wild life

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
    1. Overnight at Deloraine: amazing river walks, eateries; cheapest 1dollar hot shower at riverside pools);
    2. 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!

    From Launceston to Cradle
    141km 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
    1. Overnight camp with your parks pass (fee: 60$ per vehicle)
    2. You cannot drive! Need to take shuttle bus by showing your parks pass.
  • Cradle mountain - Tasmania self drive itinerary

    Cradle Mountain Tasmania self drive itinerary

    From Cradle to Walls of Jerusalem
    94km 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
    1. Overnight camp at Walls of Jerusalem
    2. Circuit via Lake Ball and King Solomons Throne
    3. Time to spend there on the road trip: 1 night to 1 day
  • Kangaroos Maria island Tasmania

    Kangaroos in Tasmania – almost too cute to be true

    Tasmania-West-coast-Walls-of-Jerusalem

    Walls of Jerusalem

    Part 3: the blue kingdom of Lake St Clair

    From Walls of Jerusalem to Lake St Clair
    212km 3h05

    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 Burbury Tasmania road trip

    Burbury Lake

    Lake Saint Clair - Tasmania road trip

    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.

    Start at Launceston or Lake St Clair

    From Lake St Clair to Bruny island
    262km 4h13

    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
    1. the Arch and its deserted dream beach, North Bruny
    2. the Neck and its penguins at dusk
    3. Adventure Bay and Tasmania’s most gorgeous beaches, South Bruny
    4. cruise to see dolphins, sea lions and the impressive “Breathing rock”
    5. Camp at a free spot next to Cloudy bay and its beach under the milky way
    6. Surf (or watch surfers!) at Cloudy Bay
  • Photography_Bruny_Island_Tasmania
    Places to see - landscape photography - Bruny island

    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
    292km 3h30

    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
    200km 3h30

    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. Ian the caretaker is brilliant. You can most likely catch your own big boy salmon and have it on the fire – sorry vegans:(

    Wild West coast - Tasmania self drive itinerary

    From Queenstown to Lake St Clair 90km 1h20

    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 129km 1h50

    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.

    Russell Falls - Tasmania road trip

    From Russell Falls to New Norfolk 35km 30mn

    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 via Egg Islands over the famous Huon River towards Cygnet.

    From Cygnet to Hobart, via Bruny island

    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!***

    Interested in Tasmania East Coast ? 3 Google Lists with points of interests.

    Save time! Points of Interests, where to sleep… on Tasmania East Coast. 3 Lists to keep on your phone. For free!

    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!

    Do you want to get the next travel article in your mailbox? I’d be glad to send it to you!

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