Tassie’s East Coast is simply stunning. In just five days road tripping here you can tick off Bay of Fires, Freycinet National Park, and Maria Island.
- White sandy beaches all to yourself
- Tasman Peninsula – worthy of a trip itself
- Cycling historic Maria Island with its wombats!
- Go off grid by the ocean at Cosy Corner North campsite
Tasmania’s wild and varied landscape lends itself to a road trip. In just five days you can explore the best of the East Coast, get off grid and immerse in nature.
Watch pristine, unsurfed waves roll into the whitest beaches, take a boat to remote islands, rent bikes or hike along the dramatic coastline, and end your days watching the sunset with a Tassie cider or vino!
Day 1 – Tasman Peninsula
From Hobart Airport prepare to set off on one of Australia’s best road trips – The Great Eastern Drive. Tassie is camper paradise (otherwise a car and tent will do it) so buckle up, suck in some of the cleanest air in the world and hit the road northbound.
Within minutes you’ll find yourself in grassy pastures and within the hour you’ll be crossing the Denison Canal onto the Tasman Peninsula.
You could easily enjoy a full week here, but for those tight on time a satisfying loop would include the blow hole at Fossil Bay, then onto Port Arthur where you can join a tour of the penal settlement. Loads of stories and history to uncover here… it feels like you’ve stepped onto a movie set.
A short drive westwards takes you to Maingon Bay Lookout with distant views of the dramatic Cape Raoul. End the loop at White Beach Tourist Park, a cracking spot for sunset and to park up for the night.
It’s not often you get to watch the sun dip over the ocean this side of Australia, but the compass is in your favour here! If you’re extending your stay, some of the gnarliest surf in Australia can be found at Shipstern Bluff.
Preferring gliding to barrels? There are rumoured 100m long rides to be had at Ann Bay, Mawson Bay, and Green Point when the conditions are right.
Day 2 – Maria Island
History buffs rejoice, Maria Island has a unique and varied history from Aboriginal beginnings to convict life. It’s a nippy 30 minute ferry from Triabunna to Maria Island, where there’s heaps to explore on foot, or in the saddle if you prefer conquering the island on wheels – bike and helmet rental is a short stroll from the ferry jetty.
Bumble along the cruisey coastal path or take the (way more hardcore) inland mountain bike track.
It’s a 22km ride for the full island circuit, or in just a few hours you’ll see plenty by hugging the shoreline south of the jetty; Colgate white beaches, vivid sandstone cliffs and look out for the disused cells, remnants of Tasmania’s convict past.
If you fancy a peek of the nocturnal Tassie Devil, a night at the Maria Island campground might be your best bet. Otherwise, there are plenty of wombats pottering around during daylight hours.
Day 3 – Freycinet National Park
Back on the mainland, grab fish and chips from The Fish Van at Triabunna Wharf before following the Tasman Highway 1.5 hours up the coast to Freycinet.
If you’re after a lazy lunch and a glass of vino, there’s a handful of worthy wine cellars en route (Milton’s or Craigie Knowe should hit the spot). Otherwise crack on to the epic walks that await in Tasmania’s oldest national park.
The hour round trip to Wineglass Bay Lookout is a good starting point with rewarding views, or the Wineglass Bay Circuit is a longer trek, 4-5 hours all in.
There’s kayaking in Coles Bay or plenty of spots to jump in for a swim. As the sun sets, treat yourself to dinner with a view at Freycinet Lodge or get the camper stove out at Freycinet National Park camping ground (powered and unpowered sites available), metres from the water’s edge.
Day 4 – Bay of Fires
While the Bay of Fires might sound like something out of the Game of Thrones, it is very much real and on this planet!
A two hour drive north of Freycinet, the Tasman Highway literally hits a dead end at The Gardens, where firey rocks coloured by orange lichen meet the impossibly blue waters.
Campervans and cars won’t make it further north, but if you’re in a 4WD there’s loads more to see including Policemans Point and beyond.
Enjoy the peace and quiet at secluded coves and beaches which stretch along the coast around here. Camping at Cosy Corner North campsite is off-grid and the ultimate sunrise spot. You could lose track of time just watching the waves roll in at the beach here…
Day 5 And Beyond
This itinerary is by no means comprehensive, there’s a tonne of secluded beaches tucked off the highway all the way along the coastline. Sharing them all would be spoiling the fun and smugness that comes with discovering them for yourself!
The beauty of the Great Eastern Drive is that nowhere is too far, so there’s plenty of time for spontaneous pullovers and new places to uncover on the drive back down to Hobart.
Alternatively, you could cut inland from Bay of Fires and fly home from Launceston. However you do it, take the opportunity to slow down and fill your lungs with more of the good stuff before heading back to city life.
- Car (4WD ideal to get to all the best spots) and tent, or campervan
- Camping gear
- Beach towel
- Food supplies if you’ll be camping off grid
Distance Driven / Time Spent Driving / Days
Approx. 700km (round trip Hobart) / 600km (Hobart to Launceston) / Approx 2 hours driving per day / 5 days
Feature photo by @timlippis