There are plenty of incredible trips that can be taken by car throughout Australia – it’s almost impossible to choose which one is best. You could rent a car in Sydney and travel south to Jervis Bay, while on the other hand, the Great Ocean and Great Alpine roads provide some of the most impressive views in the nation. With such a wealth of well-known routes, it may come as a surprise that the best drive in Australia may be on a road less travelled.
Tasmania provides an incredible glimpse into what Australia might have looked like a few thousand years ago, before the island was separated from the rest of the continent by the creation of the Bass Strait during the last ice age. There are unique strains of plant and animal life, with the Tasmanian Devil perhaps being the best example, and the scenery is second to none.
In fact, Australian Traveller ranks a road trip up the state’s east coast as the top driving holiday in the country, as well as one of the best overall vacations. Accordingly, we’ve compiled a brief list of some of our favourite places to stop on this Tasmanian expedition, although there are many more that are just fantastic.
Ranked by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 places in the world to visit, Tasmania’s capital city is very much a place that defies categorisation. In a single day, you can experience the pinnacle of modern, metropolitan living at one of the countless cafes before heading to a nature park to witness the indigenous devils in their native habitat.
For a uniquely ‘Hobart’ experience, head down to Salamanca Place where the architecture dates back to the 1800s. The heritage buildings have been lovingly restored and now play home to a wide variety of eateries and boutiques. For the best purchases, though, visit the Saturday morning markets that provide a hub for local artists to sell some spectacular wares that simply can’t be found anywhere else.
The capital is also the place where you’ll start your road trip, so rent a car in Hobart and hit the road!
As you head north, you’ll see some charming, small towns flying past the windows.
As you head north, you’ll see some small towns flying past the windows every once in a while. There are plenty of places to stop, but for our money, you’re best served by waiting until you hit Orford. Roughly an hour from Hobart, this is where you’ll hit the island’s east coast properly, finding yourself confronted by the blinding azure of the Tasmanian Sea. Keep your eyes fixed on the horizon for a glimpse of New Zealand.
Okay, you probably won’t be able to see New Zealand, but Orford is designated as an important area for local birds, so be sure to keep a weather eye out for Fairy Terns, which breed nearby at the Prosser River.
As you continue up the coast, the next place that any Tasmania road tripper must stop at is the Freycinet Peninsula. Widely considered to be among the best of a great bunch when it comes to Tasmanian scenery, this spit of land is the location of the Freycinet National Park. Covering more than 15,000 hectares, the park is dominated by the Hazards – granite mountains with a distinctive pink tint to them.
Don’t be fooled by the imposing peaks though, Wineglass Bay, one of the top 10 beaches in the world is hidden here for the intrepid traveller to discover. So-called because of its perfectly curved shape, Wineglass Bay is all white sand and blue waters, with a whole range of restaurants tucked away nearby. If you plan on only visiting one beach on your journey, make sure that it’s this one.
An ideal place to finish your journey in Tasmania’s north, St. Helens is also the perfect place to base yourself for a few days in order to explore the surrounding Bay of Fires region. This stretch of coastline covers some 50 kilometres and consists of a collection of stunning beaches separated by lagoons, gulches and rocky outcrops. Like Wineglass Bay, the area is widely considered to be among the best beaches in the world, but there’s plenty more to be found inland.
Take one of the many treks through the bush to explore a different side of the coin to the endless sand of the coastline. For our money, the best is the hike that winds its way through a stretch of cool, sheltered forest before revealing the incredible St. Columba Falls – one of Tasmania’s highest tiered waterfalls.
From St. Helens, you have the option of continuing inland towards the state’s second largest city Launceston, or turning around and heading back to Hobart by a different route. Despite its small size, there are simply so many things to see and do in Tasmania that you may just have to come back again.
For more information about hiring a car in Tasmania, contact the team at East Coast Car Rentals today.