Living in Australia, we are lucky enough to have some pretty amazing road trip options as we explore from one side to the other. We recently shared some of our favourite local road trips from Brisbane, however one of the most memorable Australian road trips we have done so far is Hobart to Launceston.
Early 2012, we were planning a trip to China. Our tour was booked and a deposit was paid. We were also trying for a family. After a bumpy start, we were over the moon to find out we were expecting, with the first of the Connors girls due late 2012. I reassured Simon I would be fine for China… but by around late April, it wasn’t looking like a great option.
Morning sickness struck in a big way. I was having aversions to every food that wasn’t fresh sandwiches or Twisties and I was downright exhausted.
Sure, it might have eased up in time but we didn’t want to risk it so we regretfully forfeited our deposit for China and starting planning a babymoon closer to home. We decided it was time to do the Hobart to Launceston road trip we had been meaning to do for a while.
OUR HOBART TO LAUNCESTON SELF-DRIVE ITINERARY
DAY 1 – Arrive Hobart
We flew Brisbane to Hobart with Virgin Australia. We arrived early in the day to Hobart, picked up our rental car at the airport and headed into town. We had a few hours until check in time, so we headed to the popular Salamanca Markets for a wander around and some lunch.
After we checked into our hotel, we went for a drive up to the top of Mt. Wellington. It was mid afternoon by this time and being winter, the sun went down early. Not to mention how freezing it was amongst the clouds, but a must do natural attraction when visiting Hobart, just for the views! You would see more earlier in the day though.
Our dinner on night one was an Italian restaurant at Salamanca Place.
DAY 2 – Hobart
We kicked off our first full day in Hobart by driving to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. We love wildlife encounters on our travels and it was only about 40 minutes outside of Hobart. They are a reserve for injured wildlife rather than a zoo but a great educational experience and a perfect Hobart attraction with kids.
That filled in our morning, before heading to the Cascade Brewery for lunch.
We didn’t do the Cascade Brewery tour. No doubt Simon would have loved it, but being pregnant and hating beer… it probably wasn’t a great combo for me. Instead we had the most amazing stout pie for lunch. BEST PIE EVER! And had a wander around the beautifully landscaped gardens.
Looking in our Tasmania free visitor guide, we saw there were a couple of tourist attractions nearby, so we had a quick visit to the Cascade Female Factory Historic Site… not overly exciting but a piece of Tasmanian history.
Dinner was at the Drunken Admiral Seafood Restaurant – a very popular iconic restaurant near the dock. Simon loved it and normally I would too but seafood was not very appealing in my precious state of up the duff! We will be back again next visit.
Day 3 – Hobart
This was by far my favourite day during our Hobart to Launceston holiday. We got up early to drive to Port Arthur to start our adventure filled day. First up was our Tasman Island Wilderness Cruise. Of all the experiences we have had on our travels, this is a stand out.
The cruise is 3 hours long in a custom built boat that allows you to get right up close with the natural environment as well as with the wildlife. Seals, birds, dolphins. The boat takes you past the massive towering cliffs of Tasman Island, through caves and rocky tunnels and over some pretty wild waves. It borders on white water rafting in places, and yet I am still amazed there was not a single moment of morning sickness during the cruise.
Following the cruise, we headed to nearby Port Arthur Historic Site for a walking tour and exploration. Another wonderful attraction worth the visit.
We headed back to Hobart around sunset, stopping off for dinner along the way to break up the 90 minute drive back. Such an amazing day!
Day 4 – Hobart to Strahan
We set off for Straughn around check out time from our Hobart accommodation and drove to our next destination. Unfortunately this was one road trip that did not go so great. Firstly, the expectation of how long it takes to get from A to B in Tasmania can be way off. We expected this drive to only take about 2 and a half hours, based on our post-trip research. It was much longer!
This photo is along the way passing through Queenstown to show you how windy and hilly the roads were. It was one of those ‘I need to stop before I’m sick’ breaks.
While the scenery along the drive is beautiful, be very mindful if you or someone else in the family suffers motion sickness. Tasmanian roads are bad for it… only in my case it wasn’t just motion sickness, but a cruel combination of motion sickness and morning sickness. And I won’t even go into detail about the incident in the rental car just outside Strahan (let’s just say there was no where to pull over on the narrow road before sickness struck.. ick!).
We checked into our accommodation, Strahan Village, and had a bit of a rest before going for a walk around town.
Our accommodation location was great, with some wonderful, scenic views. The room itself was basic and a little noisy, almost resembling student accommodation. But it was adequate for a one night stay.
We had heard amazing things about Strahan, hence the reason we added it as part of our Hobart to Launceston Tasmanian road trip. However, it was the off season when we visited and the town was in hibernation. A lot of restaurants and shops were closed for the winter season, so we really only had the choice of the pub for dinner. Thankfully the food was fine and relatively quick.
We didn’t see too much more in Strahan, checking out the next morning. This meant there was no time to do either the Gordon River cruise… an experience we deeply regret not incorporating into our itinerary.
Day 5 – Strahan to Cradle Mountain
The next morning we were up and ready for yet another big drive… bigger than expected… to Cradle Mountain. Again, we really cut ourselves short with the time we needed to explore the area, with the road trip from Strahan to Cradle Mountain also taking much longer than anticipated (with the added delay of extra stops to ease my morning sickness).
We arrived at our Cradle Mountain accommodation, Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness Retreat in the afternoon. I was feeling pretty rotten by this time so I was content to enjoy the cosy atmosphere of our wood cabin while I recovered from the drive. Unfortunate though, as it would have been great to go for a walk through the surrounding rainforest.
We did enjoy a fabulous dinner in the Lemonthyme Lodge restaurant that night though. A highlight meal of the trip.
Day 6 – Cradle Mountain to Launceston
The next morning, our final leg of the Hobart to Launceston road trip, as we headed from Lemonthyme Lodge to our very own Swiss inspired village accommodation – Tamar Valley Resort.
Tamar Valley is a little way from the Launceston city centre, in Grindelwald, but it was worth the extra distance. It transported us back to good memories of our 2010 Switzerland visit. There are quite a few things you can do at the ‘resort’, which makes it a perfect accommodation when visiting Tasmania with kids. There is everything from mini golf to paddle boats and a great playground.
We arrived a little after midday to Tamar Valley Resort, so our first stop was to their onsite restaurant for lunch – Alphenhouse Bistro. Their soup of the day was amazing and just what I needed to settle my stomach.
Afterwards, we headed into Launceston for a look around, with no particular goal in mind. The weather was miserable so we ended up catching a movie at the cinemas. Not a very exciting travel experience, but sometimes you just need some down time and a funny movie.
Day 7 – Launceston
It was still raining the next day so we skipped some of the outdoors Launceston attractions that we would have liked to see, and instead headed for some mostly indoor activities. We drove to Beaconsfield Mine and it was actually really interesting. They have created some wonderful interactive displays and plenty of educational stuff, aimed at kids and adults.
Plus the place made history back in 2006 with the 2 miners trapped for 14 days who managed to survive. In fact what was also pretty cool was the fact that the functional part of the mine was closing a few weeks after our visit so we were lucky to see the activity of Beaconsfield Mine still active.
We then had a quick visit to the Platypus House a bit further up the road. We had the chance to get up close with platypus through the glass displays plus even closer with some echidnas who wandered around and had a meal at our feet during the tour. Very cool.
Dinner was at a pub back in Launceston and the food was pretty good. Simple, hearty pub meals – perfect for the pregnancy appetite!
Day 8 – Fly Home
Back to the airport to drop off our hire car and fly home to Brisbane around the middle of the day.
We had a great time on our Hobart to Launceston self drive holiday, despite the morning sickness interfering with a few of our plans. However, in hindsight, we would have preferred an extra day or two in most of the destinations. It simply wasn’t long enough to really appreciate the sights and local offerings.
Our next Tasmanian holiday will definitely include the Gordon River cruise when visiting Strahan and a chance to experience a lot more of Launceston. Especially Cataract Gorge.
Tasmania is a picturesque family holiday destination, with beautiful scenic locations, a friendly atmosphere and plenty on offer for foodies or adventure travellers alike.
We hired a car from Europcar for our Tasmania self drive Hobart to Launceston 8 day holiday, picking it up at our starting point at Hobart airport and dropping it off at Launceston airport just before we headed home.
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