Driving a motor vehicle is the easiest way to get around Tasmania and its surrounding area, particularly for visitors. You can hire a car in all the major cities and towns of Tasmania, or you can bring your own car to Tasmania via the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne. The ferry's only port of call in Tasmania is Devonport, a city in the state's north on the shores of Bass Strait. Hobart is 285 km or just under 4 hours drive south from the Devonport ferry terminal.
There are few parts of the state of interest to visitors that can't be reached in motoring comfort, although lesser roads, whilst sealed, do tend to be narrow.
In Tasmania, the speed limit on the open road is generally 110 kilometres per hour, with 50 or 60 kph in built up areas. In Tasmania, a driver's licence from your home country or another Australian state will usually suffice for up to three months, as long as it has photo identification and it is for the same class of vehicle you intend to drive. If yor're staying more than three months, you will need to get a Tasmanian drivers licence.
Major Travel Routes Out of Hobart
Destinations are show in kilometres from Hobart. Click on an image for detailed information on the drive and a suggested single or multi-day itinerary. Click on a destination name fort more information.
In 1798-99, British explorers Matthew Flinders and George Bass took three months to circumnavigated Tasmania by ship. Today it can be done by road in seven days. That having been said, this is very much a flying visit as there is a lot to see in Tasmania and seven days is nowhere near enough time to see it all. What it does give is an overall view of the island, taking in the major attractions that people go to Tasmania to see.
The drive is planned to start and finish in Hobart, but you can easily start and finish the drive at any point along the way, such as Launceston, or Devonport if you plan on coming Tasmania on the car ferry from Melbourne.
South Arm Peninsula
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.
Gordon River Road
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.
Huon Trail and Bruny Island
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.
Colonial Villages of
This single day drive from Hobart begins by visiting historic villages on the southern section of Midland Highway, Tasmania's first main road that was built by convict road gangs. It then heads north-east to a number villages in the southern foothills of the Central Highlands, following a section of the main road that traverses the Highlands further north. The return journey is through the Derwent Valley, and the villages Rosegarland, Bushy Park, and New Norfolk, following the River Derwent as it winds its way through hilly terrain towards Hobart.
Orford Forest Drive
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
North East Tasmania
This drive begins at Launceston in Tasmania's north. From Hobart, simply drive to Launceston via Midland Highway and start the drive from there.
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 is a loop and can be commenced and completed from any of the following places, or driven in sections between any of those places: Launceston, Scottsdale, St Helens, St Marys, Bicheno, Campbell Town, Evandale.
This drive begins at Devonport in Tasmania's north and explores the state's North West coast. From Hobart, simply drive to Devonport via Midland Highway and start the drive from there. If you are arriving in Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania, this is the perfect drive to marke before heading south to Hobart.
After sailing overnight aboard the Sprit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne, there's something magic about heading off along the coastal road from Devonport to Burnie and beyond just after sunrise with the road to yourself, and cows grazing on the lush green grass beside the shoreline. 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.