Perfect 5 Day Tasmania Itinerary From Launceston To Hobart
Have you not been to Tassie yet, and looking for a 5 day Tasmania itinerary from Launceston? With epic landscapes and home to Australia’s number 1 hike, you could spend weeks exploring the best things to do in Tasmania. We went back in 2014, just before Londoner In Sydney was born, and alas… we are itching to get back!
Luckily, our new expat writer, Hannah Norman from UK is sharing her first time experience in Tasmania. Originally from Stafford, she swapped UK for the beaches of Coogee in Sydney. Having moved to Australia just before the pandemic started, she is trying to explore as much of this wonderful country as possible. Make sure you follow her adventures on Instagram at @hannie_norm.
Here’s her awesome Tasmania itinerary for you to make notes and form your own trip. Although she flew to Launceston, it is only a 2h30m drive to Hobart. You can easily switch this itinerary around if you’re flying to Hobart instead. In this Tasmania road trip itinerary, she ticks off the most popular places to visit in Tasmania.
Best Time To Visit Tasmania
I had been told that the best time to visit Tasmania is during Australian Winter, but instead we visited during Christmas time instead. Tasmania is noticeably cooler than Sydney and was between 10 -15 degrees most days, so much sure you bring some winter clothing with you.
With it being a La Nina year it rained every evening, but any showers in the day cleared quickly. I would suggest bringing plenty of layers and waterproof clothing (particularly if visiting Cradle Mountain and Mount Wellington) as well as all the usual warm weather essentials as the weather is very changeable in the National Park.
How To Get To Tasmania From Sydney
When flying from Sydney to Tasmania the flight is about 2 hours. Upon arrival into Launceston airport, it is easy to pick up a car as the airport is small. We had pre booked a car from RentalCars.com which was $350 for five days. I would strongly recommend hiring a car as it is the most cost effective and efficient way to get around and reach the best places in Tasmania. From what we saw, public transport outside of the big cities is extremely limited.
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Before you plan your trip to Tasmania, obviously make sure you bring cold weather clothing year round. Bear in mind that cafes and restaurants typically open later and close earlier than those in Sydney, so it is worth being aware of that when planning your Tasmania road trip. Early morning coffee walks might not always be possible. Just to note I was visiting during a time of low tourist demand due to Covid, which may have altered opening hours.
Day 1: Explore Launceston & Waterfalls
Day 1 Morning: Launceston, City Park and Bridestowe Lavender Fields
When you arrive in Launceston, your first thought is likely to be that it is a small and cosy town. I would highly recommend Sweetbrew for some very tasty and equally affordable veggie brunch options to kick off the trip and your Tasmania itinerary. Wandering through the town there are all the usual high street shops as well as some unique boutique shops. We stumbled across the Harvest Market which is held every Saturday and sells a selection of local produce along with hosting a wide range of food stall. It’s definitely worth checking out if you have time.
I would also suggest stopping by City Park where you can see some 20+ Japanese macques monkeys. It is a free monkey enclosure and great for kids although adults were enjoying it too! The Macques were a gift from Lauceston’s sister city Ikeda City in Japan.
By mid morning continue your Tasmania itinerary by heading over to the Bridestowe Lavender Fields. If it is a clear sunny day wander through the purple fields of lavender and soak up the scent. The specially made lavender flavoured ice cream is very much worth it and probably the most purple looking ice cream you will ever try! We spent a couple of hours there and you can choose to do some guided tours if you want to learn more about the lavender.
Day 1 Lunch: Evandale and Liffey Falls
Drive back through Evandale and stop for lunch at the beautiful Ingleside Bakery Cafe. All the plants in the traditional courtyard reminded me of the UK, and the cakes are delicious!
In the afternoon it is worth a trip to the less well known Liffey Falls. It is a gentle 45 minute round stroll through a wooded area and you will get to see some beautiful waterfalls. There is also a huge tree imaginatively sign posted as the ‘Big Tree’.
Cataract Gorge is also worth a visit. Keep your eye out for the peacocks and kangaroos roaming freely together. If you are prepared and the weather is favourable it is worth considering the BBQs at the Gorge as it is a very picturesque setting and has a swimming pool in the centre with stunning views.
Day 1 Dinner: Palki Indian Restaurant In Launceston
If you fancy something warm and hearty located in central Launceston, check out Palki Indian Restaurant – a good casual dinner option as you adjust to the slightly cooler and potentially damper Tasmanian climate.
Day 2: Spend The Day At Cradle Mountain-Lake St Claire National Park
Grab an early breakfast from Launceston and head to Cradle Mountain National Park, a must visit on any Tasmania itinerary. It takes 2h30m from Launceston, but it’s definitely worth the trip as the scenery is stunning, even by Tasmanian standards.
When you arrive at Lake St Claire National Park, catch the shuttle bus to get to the starting point of the various hiking trails and to Cradle Mountain itself. The bus stops off at three places: Waldheim, Ronny Creek and Dove Lake.
Things to know about Cradle Mountain walks: the shuttle bus leaves every 20 minutes and you can hop on and off as many times as you like. You must buy a National Parks pass before you can take the bus at Lake St Claire National Park. You can either buy it online or at the visitor centre at the park.
There is also a small cafe at the visitors centre selling hot drinks and sandwiches if you need something to fuel the hikes.
Cradle Mountain Walks To Choose
Whilst the number 1 best walk in Australia is the Overland Track in Tasmania, this 65km hike takes 6 days to complete through Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Seeing as this post is a 5 day Tasmania itinerary, I recommend one of the shorter Cradle Mountain walks to consider below, which won’t take more than a few hours to complete. Whilst there are 12 Cradle Mountain hikes to choose from, these are the following I personally did.
The Most Popular Cradle Mountains walk Dove Lake Circuit 6km // 3hrs
Dove Lake Circuit is the most popular of the Cradle Mountain walks to go on! Head on the Dove Lake walk if you want some close up views of Cradle Mountain without actually climbing it. If you are lucky enough the clouds will clear and you’ll be able to see the peaks of Cradle Mountain. It is a fairly easy circuit walk that takes 3-4 hours and the path is board walks for the majority of the way around.
There are no eating options around Dove Lake so a picnic and plenty of water is a must. There is the perfect picnic stop about 3/4 of the way around with stunning views if you follow the loop clockwise.
Lake Lilla Walk 40minutes
Another walk I would recommend is the Lake Lilla walk. If you go in the mid to late afternoon you are likely to see some wild wombats. This was a personal highlight for me as it was my first time seeing them. They are unlike any other creature I had ever seen and much bigger than expected.
Enchanted Walk 1.2km // 30 minutes
The only other Cradle Mountain National Park walk we had time to do was the Enchanted Walk. This was principally designed for kids and was very easy but we did it on the hunt for spotting some wild kangaroos and were not disappointed.
If you’re interested in climbing to the Cradle Mountain summit, it’s a 6hr return and 10 to 12km.
Looking for more epic hikes in Australia? Read all about our visit to the insanely amazing Carnarvon Gorge
Day 2 Dinner: Prickly Cactus In Launceston
End day two of your Tasmania itinerary by either camping in the National Park or nearby. With it being around Christmas there was no availability for us to stay overnight. We headed back to Launceston and stopped for food at the Prickly Cactus which did nice tacos and margaritas.
Day 3: Visit Freycinet National Park
On day three of your Tasmania itinerary, start the day in the quirky Samuel Pepys café in Launceston. The café is decorated with spoons and is known for its wide selection of gluten free breakfast options. It has a brilliant atmosphere and is a perfect local experience to try whilst in Launceston.
Soon after breakfast, hit the road and head onwards to Freycinet National Park – referred to as the jewel of Tasmania’s eastern coastline. It takes about two hours to get there from Launceston and is a very picturesque drive. For those who like a wine, stop at Devil’s Corner Winery en-route to do some wine tasting and take in the views of the rolling hills of grapes. It was a hidden gem with a view point tower and also eating options alongside the winery.
If you have time before you reach Freycinet National Park you can stop at Bicheno – a small town on the coast. If you go at dusk you can watch the fairy penguins wander up to their burrows and there is also a blowhole which you can see in action when there is a swell.
Pick up some supplies for a picnic en-route as upon arrival into the Freycinet National Park there are not many options in the immediate National Park area. The National Park is famous for Wineglass Bay – a Bay shaped similar to a wine glass. You can hike Mount Amos – this is the most difficult option but has fantastic views on a clear day (don’t do this if it had been raining as it had been for us). An alternative option is the Wineglass Bay Lookout path. This would take about 2 hours to get to the lookout point and get down to Wineglass Bay beach itself.
Afternoon Hike To Hazards Beach
We took the option to continue to Hazards Beach after lunch and do the full 11km loop return back to the car park. This is a Grade 4 walk that takes 4 hours and is challenging in places but you are treated to white sand, crystal clear waters, woodland and stretching views of Great Oyster Bay. There are also plenty of options to stop for a picnic with a swim at Hazard’s beach after doing the climb and descent from Wineglass Bay lookout highly recommended.
Day 3 Dinner: Kathmandu Cuisine In Hobart
We were staying in Battery Point in Hobart for the final two nights of the trip and so headed to Hobart for dinner which takes about 2.5 hours from Freycinet National Park. If you like Nepalese food or are curious about Nepalese food, I would recommend Kathmandu Cuisine in Battery Point. The food is great and prices are reasonable with an authentic atmosphere and Nepalese beers on offer.
If you don’t fancy the drive back to Hobart and want to stay nearer Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay and Bicheno are other options to consider although they are smaller than Hobart so would have less options for dinner.
Day 4: Spend The Day At Port Arthur
If you are not starting too early head to Ginger Brown on the Southside for a Hobart breakfast. The menu is seasonal and the coffee is good!
Port Arthur is located 1.5 hours south east of Hobart and the main reason people visit the area is to visit the Port Arthur Historic Site, now listed on the UNESCO world heritage list. You don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy this, it is one of the most interesting places to visit in Tasmania. The site is open between 10am – 5pm each day and you can easily spend half a day here.
There is a large outdoor site of over 100 acres and over 30 buildings that you can explore. A 45 minute guided walking tour is included as part of your entrance ticket and is a must if you want to understand why Port Arthur has such national and international significance. It was more than just a prison for over 2,000 convicts and developed into a full community of military and non-prisoners becoming a major industrial settlement .
Also included in your ticket is a harbour cruise tour which takes about 20 minutes and circles the Point Puer Boys Prison and Isle of the Dead. There is a small outlet on the boat selling snacks and drinks. You can also opt for the visitor site cafe which offers light meals, cakes and snacks.
In case of wet weather it is not all outdoors – there is the Port Arthur Gallery which is included in the entrance fee and has interactive exhibitions so you can learn more about Port Arthur and its history. If you have more time there are also a few other tours that would be worth looking into.
You can do a Port Arthur Ghost tour and an Escape from Port Arthur tour as well as a Prison and Power Tour which is a performance showcasing life for both convicts and guards in the 1800’s.
Spend The Afternoon On A Road Trip Back To Hobart
On the way back from Port Arthur to Hobart you can make a number of stops to break up the journey and visit, Tasmans Arch, Tasman Bay National Park Lookout and the blowhole at Pirates Bay. These are all lookout points so you don’t need long at each but they provide good photo opportunities.
Day 4 Dinner: At Victoria Dock
Head for dinner at one of the many restaurants around Victoria Dock on the edge of Central Hobart. Craving something hearty after a long day exploring Port Arthur Billy’s Burgers did not disappoint. If you are after something a bit more gourmet Dier Makr had been recommended to me although due to Covid it is currently only opening on Fridays and Saturdays so we didn’t have the opportunity to experience it.
Day 5: Spend The Final Day In Hobart
Hobart is the capital of Tasmania and the most well known city on the island. It is worth spending a day here to add onto your Tasmania itinerary. I would suggest starting with some spectacular views from Mount Wellington.
You can hike it (takes a 5+ hours and is challenging) or you can drive which takes 30 minutes from Hobart. We also noticed that there is a shuttle bus which drops people off from the centre of Hobart. The view is nothing short of spectacular, although brace yourself for the brisk cool winds at the top which took many others by surprise.
When looking for lunch in Hobart, head to Jackman & McRoss. It is an excellent bakery with pastries, breakfast, coffee and pies. Most famous for their pies, we tried the scallop pie which is a unique Tasmanian pie and it was delicious!
Check Out Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery & MONA
You can wander the streets of Hobart, do some shopping and check out the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. This was free entry at the time of visiting and was surprisingly good. There were many interesting exhibitions and we wish we had more time to explore this. The centre of Hobart is easy to walk around and if you have chance the botanical gardens are worth checking out.
MONA was still closed for refurbishment when we were visiting so whilst rated one of the best things to do in Hobart, unfortunately we were not able to experience it. Based on what I have heard, it is definitely a must see so make sure you check it out once it reopens in early 2021.
Day 5 Dinner: Peacock and Jones In Hobart
There are plenty of dinner options in Hobart, but watch out if you are visiting earlier in the week as some only open Thursday – Sunday. Peacock and Jones on the waterfront was a hidden gem offering traditional Tasmanian food using local ingredients.
If you want to celebrate the end of your trip with some drinks head to The Glass House. This elegant-yet-casual floating bar attracts locals and tourists. The Glass House overlooks the Derwent River from Sullivan’s Cove and has a wide range of cocktails.
The airport is located about 30 minutes from central Hobart. There is no public transport connection but it is a small airport and easy to drop any hire car off, completing the amazing Tasmania itinerary!
Tasmania is a wonderful part of the world. Whilst we only spent 5 days there we could have easily spent much longer, and I hope to go back and explore the West coast at some point in the future.
A big thank you to Hannah for sharing her first time 5 day Tasmania itinerary! If you would like to share your adventures on Londoner In Sydney, simply fill out our Write For Us Form and we’ll get back to you asap.
5 Days In Tasmania Itinerary From Launceston
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