Bass Highway connects the major cities and towns of Tasmania's North West - beginning at Launceston, and following the coast through Devonport and Burnie, all the way to Marrawah on the west coast. It's a great day's drive that will take you all the way to Marrawah on the west coast if you are so inclined, visiting the many coastal towns on Bass Strait along the way, however we recommend you allow more than a day as there is so much to see and do here.
The Great Western Tiers are the northern face of the Tasmanian Central Plateau, which rises up to 1420m above sea level and is dominated by Cradle Mountain. In the foothills of the Great Western Tiers can be found a wide range of attractions both man made and natural which can be explored on this drive. It is also an alternative route to reach Cradle Mountain from Launceston. Allow a full day for the drive; add additional time if you are contemplating taking any of the bushwalks in the area or spending more time than a quick visit.
Cradle Mountain is a destination many visitors to Tasmania have high on their list. There are a number of ways to get there from Launceston. This one is a little round about, but the detours and back roads we take you down make the journey to Cradle Mountain much more interesting. This drive is a loop that starts and finishes at Devonport, however, any of the towns of the north west - Devonport, Stanley, Wynyard, Burnie, Ulverstone - would also make a good starting point for this day trip.
Take a drive from Burnie along one of North West Tasmania's most historic roads, pioneered by the region's premier explorer, Henry Hellyer. In 1827, work commenced on the construction of a road from the little settlement of Burnie to Surrey Hills, an inland area selected as a suitable place for the Company’s sheep to graze. The road work employed five men, constructing a muddy track through the dense coastal rain forests. This route generally follows what is now Marine Terrace to the Emu River, then up from the coastal plain via Old Surrey Road, through Romaine, Ridgely, Highclere and on to Hampshire, a distance of around 30 km.
Castra Road (State Route B15) starts at Ulverstone and winds its way south through picturesque hills and farmland on its way to Nietta, a tiny village located about 44 kilometres south-west of the town of Devonport. If approached from Devonport via Forth, Castra Road is joined at the village of Sprent. On the way you'll pass some of the prettiest dairy farming country you are ever likely to see. Drive a little further past Nietta and you'll reach Leven Canyon, a little-known tourist destination in Tasmania where you'll come face to face with nature at its most dramatic.
There are essentially two ways to travel by road between Devonport and Launcestion; there's Bass Highway, which is takes just over an hours and bypasses just about every town on the way, and then there's the Meander Valley Highway, which follows Bass Highway closely, but takes in just about every town, village and settlement on the way. It will take a lot longer, and how much longer depends on how captivating you find the places you pass through.
There are hundreds of names on a map of Tasmania, which to many Tasmanians are just that – a name on a map. Preolenna is such a place. I must admit that when a friend suggested it as a place to visit, I not only had to look on a map to find out where it was, I also had difficulty finding information about it. o my surprise I found that it was only 44 km west of Burnie, so we packed the car and headed for Flowerdale and the turn-off to Preolenna on Bass Highway.
The Esk Highway, which passes through the Fingal valley, provides the shortest access to Tasmania's East Coast from the north of the island. The valley's picturesque countryside contains numerous former mining towns and abandoned mine sites and settlements on the southern slopes of Ben Lomond. Its western end begins at the Midland Highway at Conara Junction, just north of Campbell Town. This end of the valley is dominated by Stack's Bluff.
A diversity of both inland and coastal scenery, quaint old mining towns and seaside resorts, dense rainforests, waterfalls and high mountain peaks contrasted by a rugged granite coastline awaits travellers on this interesting drive through the north eastern corner of Tasmania. The drive begins with quiet bays and vistas across Bass Strait, all not far from the cool climate wineries of Pipers River. Travelling inland, we enter heavily forested country known for its raging waterfalls, the enormous 'White Knights' of the Evercreech and Ringarooma forests and numerous old tin mining towns.
The Midland Highway (also known as the Midlands Highway) is one of Tasmania's major inter-city highways, running for 176 kilometres between Hobart and Launceston. It is part of the AusLink National Network and is a vital link for road freight to transport goods to and from the two cities. Destinations along the way include the historics towns of Perth, Campbell Town, Ross and Oatlands.
The Huon Trail is the touring route south of Hobart through the Huon Valley and D'Entrecasteuax Channel region. It follows quiet country roads that wind their way through valleys and alongside the waterways of D'Entrecasteuax Channel and the Huon River, passing peaceful farmland dotted with interesting little towns. This drive also includes an overnight stay on Bruny Island. Distance: 485 km. Without the night on Bruny Island, the drive can be done in a day, but we recommend a minimum of three.
The drive south from Huonville to Southport is well worth the effort if time permits. The road the eastern bank of the Huon River to Franklin (wooden boat centre) and Geeveston (Forest & Heritage Centre). The latter is a timber milling town and gateway to the rugged Hartz Mountains National Park. Some of the tallest hardwood trees in the world (up to 95 m high) grow here. Geeveston is also the stepping off point for the Tahune AirWalk (a spectacular aerial walkway through the rainforest canopy on the banks of the Huon River) and cruises on Port Huon.
South Arm Peninsula is one of Hobart's forgotten places. Forming the eastern bank of the lower Derwent Estuary, this U-shaped peninsula is certainly popular with the surfing set, as the beaches on its southern shores are when Hobart's surfers head when they go seeking the perfect wave to ride. Those in the know are aware that Pipe Clay Lagoon near Cremorne produces some of Tasmania s supply of fine oysters. But many who seek an interesting day out don't venture down that way, and for many who do, the winding road beyond Clifton Beach seems to head nowhere, so they turn back, not realising what a relaxing time awaits them around the next bend or two.
The 85 km Gordon River Road is the major man made intrusion into the area of World Heritage Wilderness area of south west Tasmania, and with the Scott Peak Dam Road is the only road into the region. It is the main means of access for tourists and other transport to view the dams from the Lake Pedder damming, apart from flying over the region. If you plan on visiting Mt Field National Park, try to fit this drive into your day's itinerary - you won't be disappointed as it is one of Australia's most awesome road trips.
The Derwent Valley is famous for its historic villages. You can take a drive from Hobart, visiting the southern section of Midland Highway, Tasmania's first main road that was built by convict road gangs, before returning to Hobart via the Derwent Valley. The route then heads north-east to a number villages in the southern foothills of the Central Highlands, following Lakes Highway that ultimately passes Arthurs Lake on its way to Launceston. The return journey passes through the historic villages on the lower Lyell Highway, following the River Derwent as it winds its way through hilly terrain towards Hobart.
A day trip with a difference - travel east from Hobart but instead of turning south at Copping towards Forestier and Tasman Peninsula, head north and follow the Wielangta Forest Drive to Orford. It is an unsealed but well maintained Forestry Tasmania trail through Three Thumbs State Reserve and Cape Bernier Nature Reserve. Your destination is the coastal town of Orford - the strong relief of Maria Island across Mercury Passage provides a spectacular backdrop to the view. Return to Hobart from Orford via Tasman Highway. Distance: 164 km