If you’re planning an upcoming visit to Tasmania get excited. It’s a unique part of Australia with stunning scenery, unmatched history, and a food and wine scene that will make your taste buds EXPLODE.
Just one favour to ask if you don’t mind, please don’t visit for a weekend. Give Tassie at least a week, or three! You can’t do Tasmania on the fly, if you do, you’ll be missing out on seeing some amazing towns.
So plan on a good old fashioned road trip, and below are my 11 favourite towns I suggest you highlight on your map to plot your journey.
Historic Richmond is a small town within easy reach of Hobart (25km north east). We enjoyed half a day exploring the historic sites and taking a stroll along the river before grabbing a bite to eat at the Richmond Hotel followed by coffee and cake at the popular bakery.
Richmond is home to Australia’s oldest bridge (built in 1825) and Australia’s oldest Roman Catholic church, St John’s. You should also check out the Richmond Gaol and just wander around town looking at the numerous heritage-listed buildings. Richmond is lovely.
2. Coles Bay
Coles Bay is set in a spectacular location with uninterrupted views of the red and pink granite peaks known as The Hazards. It’s a small town with a few shops and cafes – don’t miss Tombolo Restaurant and coffee bar for great coffee + wood fired pizzas with stunning views (see picture below).
This town is mostly known as the main entrance point to Freycinet National Park (our favourite place in Tasmania). Nearby Honeymoon Bay is a brilliant and consider going kayaking in the beautiful bay. We could easily spend a week based here exploring Freycinet and all it’s walks.
And don’t miss Hazards Beach and Friendly Beaches.
Getting to Strahan involves a decent half to full day of driving (depending on where you’re coming from) as it’s all the way over on the west coast, but definitely worth the effort.
It’s a small port town and from where we did our cruise down the famous World Heritage Gordon River, one of the highlights of our month in Tassie. We also saw one of the best sunsets we have ever seen anywhere setting over Strahan.
Situated on the shores of Bass Strait, Penguin is the best town to base yourself to explore the north west region of Tasmania. We really enjoyed the vibe of the town, Kalyra liked the big Penguin dressed in a Santa suit, and the local markets were a hit with Caz.
Nearby don’t miss Turners Beach Berry Patch (great for the kids), Hellyers Road Distillery in Burnie, the coastal drive to Ulverstone, and the Nut in Stanley. We stayed at the Penguin Waterfront Escape Apartments right in the centre of town with awesome views over Bass Strait.
Corinna is remote, quiet, small, and a true wilderness experience. It’s a former mining town on the banks of the Pieman river and at the end of the Tarkine (the largest temperate rainforest in Australia) and the northern most point where the famous Huon pine grows.
Stay in a rustic cottage, walk amongst the rainforest, kayak down the river or take a cruise on the historic Arcadia II. Access to Corinna is by barge boat (if coming from Strahan) and is a unique experience in Tasmania away from the mass tourism.
When you arrive in Evandale you feel as if the clock has been wound back 100 years. It’s a National Trust classified Georgian village with unspoiled heritage buildings making it a popular place for tourists and easily accessible from Launceston. Clarendon House, just outside of the village, is said to be one of Australia’s greatest Georgian houses.
We devoured a coffee and cake at the Ingleside licensed bakery cafe located inside the old Council chambers built in 1867. There is a pretty courtyard bursting with flowers or, in the winter, a cozy roaring fire.
We only stayed for lunch in Bicheno but wished we’d planned a night. The beach was a pleasant surprise, as was the coastal walk around to the rocky headland overlooking the bay.
The town is primarily a fishing port popular with holiday makers and retirees for its mild climate and sunny weather. It’s also a well known place for seeing the fairy penguins.
8. Port Arthur
Looking for history and drama, Port Arthur is where you’ll find it in spades. Port Arthur has a violent and troubled history as a penal colony for some of Australia’s hardened convicts.
It’s one of the best things to do in Tassie and you’re based in Hobart it’s accessible via a day trip. For a great bite to eat, don’t miss the Doo-Lishus food truck at nearby Eaglehawk Neck for the best fish and chips in Tasmania, plus homemade scallop, rabbit, and venison pies.
9. Binalong Bay
Binalong Bay is a small coastal town in north-east Tasmania, and the main reason for visiting is because it’s situated at the southern end of the spectacular Bay of Fires.
Once you’ve photographed the Bay of Fires and played on the beach at Binalong, be sure to hit up the Binalong Bay Cafe for great coffee and delicious desserts, complete with an awesome view of the beach.
Not a town, no, but you must visit Hobart. It’s a lovely, walkable city on the harbour with a gentle pace of life and lots to do in and around the area – we spent 6 days here.
Walk the historic Battery Point, wander Salamanca Place and admire the sandstone buildings, check out the famous Salamanca Markets and don’t miss the fascinating MONA museum, and that’s a recommendation coming from us non-museum people.
There’s not much going on in Launceston, but it’s a great base to explore some excellent places nearby, and it’s also the cheapest city to fly into from the Australian mainland. Once you’ve seen City Park, the James Boags Brewery and done the Saturday Harvest Market, the best nearby attraction is beautiful Cataract Gorge.
If you’re taking your own car over to Tasmania from the mainland to do a self-drive, check out our post on the Spirit of Tasmania.
Plan Your Trip in Tasmania
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