Overseas vacays are still off limits, but this island state is open for business and packs a lot of adventure into its compact shores. Tasmania is perfect for family holidays, with short driving distances and a whole lot of outdoors to explore.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for this land for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
- Short, kid-friendly hikes and bike rides with stunning scenery
- Outdoor foodie experiences which roll learning, eating, and playing into an afternoon of fun
- Plenty of stops on each leg of the road trip to minimise car time and maximise adventuring
People often think of adventures in Tasmania being hardcore multi-day hikes, extremely remote bush camping, and not much in between. But they’d be wrong. A Tasmanian road trip makes an ideal family getaway and is a great opportunity to nurture your kids’ love of all things outdoors. From wild swimming to hiking and cycling, children of all ages will be able to get stuck into this adventure.
Tips For Travelling Tasmania With Kids
The first thing to think about when planning a family holiday is food. Tired, hungry kids make terrible travelling companions. Whether you’re planning a hike, a beach day or driving between activities, pack lots of food and drinks.
There’s no shortage of amazing food to try in Tassie, so as well as piquing kids’ interest in the great outdoors, it’s the perfect opportunity to get them to try new foods as well.
Keep an eye out for ‘hedge veg’ stalls in peoples gardens and on the side of the road – as well as being an excellent eye-spy clue, they’re a great place to pick up home-grown fruit and veggies.
Day 1 – 3: Cradle Mountain
Time Driving: 2hr 20min
After being kicked off the Spirit of Tasmania ferry bright and early, head to House of Anvers for breakfast, a play in the gardens, and to watch chocolate being made. Open from 7am and less than ten minutes from the ferry.
The Cradle Mountain campsite is a great spot within walking distance of the Visitors Centre and buses. There’s a lot of wildlife about and you might be lucky enough to see an echidna or wombat wandering through your camp. Enjoy the warm log fires in the camp kitchen on chilly nights and cook up some pizzas on the gas-fired pizza ovens.
Bushwalking at Cradle Mountain is perfect for families because there are so many options. Choose anything from the 1km Enchanted Walk Circuit, to the 10km Cradle Valley Boardwalk which winds its way back to the Ranger Station/Interpretation Centre from Dove Lake.
This is a great walk to test out how far the family is happy to walk as you catch the bus to Dove Lake and walk back, but with three bus stops dotted along the route, you can hop on if it’s time to call it a day.
Not only are these walks packed full of waterfalls, streams, interesting trees, and the odd wombat or two, they also mostly finish at the Cradle Mountain Lodge, where mulled wine and a bowl of hot chips are ready to greet you.
To access the walks either walk to the Visitors Centre from the campsite or drive to the Ranger Station/Cradle Mountain Lodge and get the bus from there (you’ll need a bus ticket from the Visitors Centre, which is free with your Parks Pass). There’s also a pram-friendly/wheelchair-friendly walk which leaves from the Ranger Station.
Day 4 – 6: Queenstown
Time Driving: 3hr 25min
The drive to Queenstown is 3.5 hours but can be broken up by stopping to explore Tasmazia – a collection of outdoor mazes and model villages 1 hour and 40 minutes from Cradle Mountain.
Queenstown itself has a historic pub, a good playground, and several short walks to get stuck into.
The boardwalk to Horsetail Falls (1km return) is slightly uphill but very manageable for tiny legs (not pram-friendly due to steps). The main event has to be the historic railway, train station, and fully-functioning steam train. A day trip on the train is a must. Not only is it a nice change from the car, but the short kid-friendly bushwalks and gold panning are only accessible from the train (not suitable for prams).
If you have older kids there’s also the option to go white water rafting on the King River and catch the train back to town, which is a great combo.
Day 7 – 8: Mount Field National Park
Time Driving: 3hr
Total drive time from Queenstown to Mount Field National Park is three hours but there’s plenty to see and do along the way. Approximately 30 minutes into the drive, Nelson Falls is well worth the easy 1.4km walk through the forest and might be one of the most spectacular falls in Tasmania.
Drive a little further and stop for lunch at Derwent Bridge. There are a few options here depending on the age of your kids. The Wall is a 100 metre long wooden carving with a restaurant and is great if you have older children who can enjoy it and keep their hands to themselves.
The Hungry Wombat is a great family-friendly spot for younger children who insist on licking everything. After lunch, hop in the car for the two hour journey to Mount Field National Park.
From the campsite, you can walk to the Mount Field Visitors Centre which is the start of the pram-and-toddler-friendly 1.4km (return) walk to Russell Falls. If you want to walk further, carry on along the Three Falls Circuit which is 6km return from the Visitors Centre.
Day 9 – 10: Hobart
Time Driving: 1.5hr
Drive 1.5 hours down the mountain to Hobart. Here you can look around the replica arctic huts and explore the harbourside fish and chips options before hiring a bike from Hobart Bike Hire (electric bikes, baby seats, and tagalongs available).
There are plenty of route options depending on if you want a relaxing waterfront ride or an exerting hill climb. After your ride, drive 30 minutes south to Huonville to set up camp at Huon Valley Caravan Park. A huge open grassy campsite with creek swimming, foam parties for the kids, a farm show, and Tasmanian Devil feeding every afternoon.
Day 11 – 12: Maria Island
Time Driving: 2hr 15min
Today it’s time to hit the beach. Just an hour from Huonville, Clifton Beach is patrolled and has great surfing waves for beginners. Board hire and surf lessons are available.
After ripping it up on your foamy, jump in the car for the 1 hour 20 minute drive to Triabunna, and hop on the ferry before setting up for the night on Maria Island.
The ferry and the island are pram and bike friendly, and there are carts to put your camp gear in when you arrive so you can tow it to a nice shady spot under the trees. The wildlife runs rampant on the island and there are great views out over the ocean.
Take the easy, fairly flat, and pram friendly 4.3km return walk to the Painted Cliffs which have a lovely beach, perfect for a swim.
Day 13 – 14: Tamar Valley
Time Driving: 2hr 40min
Back on the mainland, it’s a 2 hour 20 minute drive from Triabunna to Launceston, with a stop at Bark Mill Bakery playground to break up the drive. Once in Launceston, hit up the museum if the weather is bad, or the Cataract Gorge if it’s not.
The gorge has an outdoor pool, a playground, and a cable car over the gorge, which you can catch to take the short walk back across the bridge. Set up at Old Mac’s Farm Stay and walk up the hill to meet the animals.
On your final day before catching the overnight Spirit of Tasmania back to Melbourne there’s still lots of time to explore. Head to Hillwood Berries for fruit picking and lunch, then to Goaty Hill Wines to explore the huge grounds – perfect for running off some energy.
One last stop at the Mersey Bluff in Devonport which has an excellent playground and a short walk up to the lighthouse where you can watch the ferry coming in before saying bye for now, to your Tassie adventure.
Need more Tasmanian bushwalking inspo? Check out this seven-day itinerary, perfect for families wanting to do 2-10kms per day.
How To Get There
Travelling with kids is famously synonymous with packing everything you own, to go anywhere, ever. So although flights are available from mainland Australia, taking the Spirit of Tasmania ferry might be more practical. A night sailing with a cabin is your best bet to start the holiday off on the right foot, arriving well-rested and ready for adventure.
– As many snacks as you can carry
– Baby carrier – some walks are suitable for sturdy prams, but if you want to access walks with steps or rocky surfaces a baby carrier or baby backpack might be a good investment for younger kids (even if they can walk these are great for naps or if they get tired)
– Patience – teaching your kids to love bushwalking might mean slowing down and cutting back the kilometres until they get into it
– Spare clothes – it’s all good fun until someone falls in the creek. Spare clothes are a must when adventuring! Plus, the weather can change quickly in Tasmania, especially in the mountains and the West Coast, so pack layers.
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
Distance Covered / Days
1,062 km driven / 14 days