TAS Freycinet
Launceston TAS

Launceston to Hobart 7 day Trip

DAY 1

Arrive Launceston

Begin your day with an invigorating 15-minute walk to Cataract Gorge Reserve, where you can ride the Basin Chairlift to formal gardens and natural bush on the other side of the water.

Before visiting individual Launceston attractions, consider cruising the Tamar River on the luxury catamaran MV Tamar Odyssey or taking an historic coach tram tour through the streets.

Visit the new Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk - a cultural precinct of contrasts and surprises. This is just one of the museum’s two locations. Part of its collection is still housed in the original purpose-built complex at Royal Park, where ever-popular exhibits such as the Planetarium and Chinese Temple still draw crowds. The Inveresk site - formerly the Launceston Railway Workshops - provides a visual interpretation of one of Australia’s most intact 1800s industrial developments.

Boag’s Brewery is open to the public, so if you’re a beer connoisseur, discover how such a great beer is produced.

Ten minutes north of Launceston is the Tamar Island Wetlands Centre.

OVERNIGHT AT: Launceston

DAY 2

The bounty of nature and the skill of the island’s winemakers are abundantly evident in a range of exceptional Tasmanian sparklings, pinots, chardonnays and rieslings, yours for the tasting at the cellar doors of the Tamar Valley’s many vineyards. From Legana, 15 minutes’ drive from Launceston, the yellow and blue signs of the Tamar Valley Wine Route guide you from one outstanding winery to another. Sample award-winning cool climate vintages and cheeses at the Daniel Alps at Strathlynn Wine Centre, before continuing on to St Matthias, Rosevears Estate and Iron Pot Bay vineyards.

While you’re in the area, visit the Grubb Shaft Gold and Heritage Museum at Beaconsfield - once Tasmania’s largest gold mine and recently reopened as a going concern.

At Beauty Point, farther along the western side of the Tamar, you’ll be spellbound by the tens of thousands of delicate, seemingly mythical creatures at Seahorse World. Surrounded by beautiful waterways, this attraction houses the first collection of its kind in the world and is a stimulating experience the kids will love.

From here, make the two-and-a-half to three-hour drive to the east coast town of St Helens, stopping along the way at the Bridestowe Estate Lavender Farm at Nabowla. You can view the plantation and the processing plant and purchase an array of lavender products all year, but the flowers only bloom in December and January.

Turn off before St Helens and drive for approximately one hour to Mt William National Park, where long, empty beaches beckon. If you travel slowly around Forester Drive at dawn or dusk, you are sure to see groups of Tasmania’s only native kangaroo, the Forester, feeding on the grasslands.

Back on the road to St Helens, detour to the Pyengana Dairy Company, 12km from the township of the same name. Or take a short walk to the magnificent St Columba Falls, where clear mountain water cascades over a series of spectacular rock ledges.

OVERNIGHT AT: St Helens or Binalong Bay

DAY 3

St Helens, the largest town on the east coast of Tasmania, is a hub of commercial fishing. Charter a vessel and head for the open ocean, where game fishing can deliver marlin of up to 200kg. Alternatively, visit the dazzling beaches of the Bay of Fires and The Gardens near Binalong Bay, just north of the town.

Heading south, stop at the spectacular Perons Dunes in the St Helens Recreation Reserve. All along the coast south of St Helens, bright beaches blaze and the distinctive blue-green east coast sea washes the shores.

Sheoaks dapple the ground with shade, and in the ocean beyond, dolphins frolic and whales follow ancestral migration routes.

More fine seafood and wine await you as you follow the coast down to Bicheno. Tasmanian devils and wombats will entertain you at the local East Coast Natureworld wildlife park, and a fairy penguin rookery tour will give you a glimpse into the private lives of these whimsical birds.

For a very different perspective, take a diving tour: the plants and animals in temperate waters such as these are distinctive, and visibility is excellent.

OVERNIGHT: Bicheno

DAY 4

A 45-minute drive from Bicheno is the delightful township of Coles Bay, in a sheltered nook at the northern edge of Freycinet National Park. Dominated by jagged pink granite peaks with dramatic cliffs that drop sheerly into the sea, this park boasts one of the 10 best beaches in the world - Wineglass Bay, a perfect half-moon of gleaming white sand. Take the 20-minute walk to the Wineglass Bay Lookout. There are many short and multi-day bushwalks in the park that are popular with independent walkers. For a more structured experience, take a guided day walk, or a catered and supported four-day walk with Freycinet Experience based in comfortable private standing camps. Alternatively, you can venture out to sea on a half-day or full-day guided coastal kayak paddle with Freycinet Adventures, or take an evening wildlife tour.

Accommodation on this stunning peninsula caters for every preference, and includes a wilderness lodges, self-contained holiday villa units, guesthouses, cabins, caravan parks and camping areas.

OVERNIGHT AT: Coles Bay

DAY 5

Follow the scenic coastal highway for approximately one hour to Swansea, enjoying the east coast’s superb berries, breads, seafood, walnuts, olives and cheeses along the way. Sample exceptional wines at local vineyards Coombend and Spring Vale, and call in to savour the home-grown fruit and ice-cream at Kate’s Berry Farm just south of Swansea. Visit the Swansea Bark Mill, Wine and Wool Centre before taking the 15-minute Maria Island ferry ride from the Eastcoaster Resort, located between Orford and Triabunna, to the Maria Island National Park.

Maria Island’s penal settlement is older than Port Arthur’s, wallabies range freely and the island is home to more than 80 species of birds. Exploring the island’s history, flora and
fauna requires at least a full day.

Back on the Tasmanian mainland, head south from the ferry terminal at the Eastcoaster Resort to Orford, just a short drive away. Laze, stroll, paddle, swim or surf at beautiful Shelley or Spring Beach. Walk the clifftop track from East Shelley to Spring Beach for superb sea and island views. Lunch on superb east coast seafood with friendly locals at the popular Orford fish and chip shop before sampling the wines of Darlington Vineyard, overlooking Maria Island.

OVERNIGHT AT: Orford

DAY 6

 

Wander through the historic townships of Buckland and Sorell before arriving in Tasmania’s capital city, an hour’s drive from Orford.

Hobart. The city stretches along the banks of the Derwent River, bounded on one side by Mt Wellington, a dramatic presence occasionally dusted with snow. From its summit, views of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and coastline give context to Hobart’s maritime heritage, which finds expression today in bright spinnakers on the water, fish punts at the docks and the slap of halyards on masts.

Hobart has a rich and varied cultural life that many visitors take the opportunity to share. With a vibrant literary community boasting highly acclaimed writers and a book-loving public with a passion for lively debate, it is not surprising that the annual Readers’ and Writers’ Festival draws celebrated authors and poets from Tasmania, interstate and overseas. The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, recognised as one of the world’s best small orchestras, performs regularly in the Federation Concert Hall, an innovative purpose-built venue close to the docks. And in galleries and studios dotted about the city, artists and craftspeople make bold and beautiful statements in pigments, glass, pottery and fabrics.

The cafes and arcades in the distinctive Georgian sandstone warehouses of Salamanca Place are at their liveliest on Saturdays between 9am and 3pm, when Salamanca Market brings together 300 stalls selling arts and crafts of every description. Later, admire the historic homes of Battery Point and stroll around Arthur Circus, where whalers’ cottages form a colourful circle around a small park. Battery Point is also the home of galleries, art studios, antique and craft shops, restaurants and cafes. Visit one of Tasmania’s many National Trust properties, all carefully preserved as examples of how life was lived a century or more ago.

Take Kelly’s Steps back down to Salamanca Place. Behind the warehouses is sunny, sheltered Salamanca Square, home to Antarctic Adventure, an educational attraction that brings to life the world’s largest, coldest and loneliest continent with a lively combination of informative displays, travelling exhibitions and a range of experiential activities and rides that will appeal to adults and kids alike. Discover the secrets of Antarctica’s fascinating wildlife, wild weather and history, and learn about its special relationship with Tasmania.

At the nearby wharves, you can catch a river cruise for morning or afternoon tea, lunch or dinner, or paddle a kayak
around the docks at twilight.

In a city with such high heritage status, a visit to a museum or two is a must. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has a thylacine exhibit and an excellent collection of Glover paintings. Other museums of great appeal are the Maritime, Transport and Allport museums, Narryna Heritage Museum and the Museum of Antiquities at Moorilla Estate.

One of Hobart’s hidden treasures is the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Though small, they have the timeless appeal of proportion and grace - the hallmarks of sensitively managed mature gardens. Located just 2km from the centre of the city, they are the second-oldest botanical gardens in Australia and are frequently featured on the ABC television program ’Gardening Australia’. (Peter Cundall’s veggie patch is near the cactus house.)

OVERNIGHT AT: Hobart

DAY 7

Hobart’s delights are not restricted to its heritage and natural beauty. The Female Factory Historic Site and Island Produce Fudge Factory and Cascade Brewery will tempt you with their tours and products, or take a popular chocolate factory tour. If your accommodation allows you to prepare your own meals, be sure to sample the fresh vegetables from the stalls of the Hmong community at Salamanca Market.

Leatherwood, a native rainforest tree, produces a distinctive flavour in local honey that is unique to Tasmania. Try the bush and clover honeys too. Our locally grown asparagus, exotic varieties of mushrooms, raspberries, cherries and stonefruit are also irresistible. And of course, no visit to Tasmania would be complete without sampling a selection of the state’s wonderful varieties of apples - we pride ourselves on producing the best.

A short drive from the river, in the cosmopolitan North Hobart restaurant strip of Elizabeth Street, you can take your pick from Indian, Thai, Italian, Mexican and other international cuisines. The same enticing variety is a feature of the ever-popular Taste of Tasmania, held annually over New Year to coincide with the finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - fun, food, wine and music.