Tasmania's Grand Circle Self-Drive
Tour this abundant island on our 13-night round trip as it takes you between ripe produce-growing pastures, cinematic landscapes and historical towns.
Suggested route & duration
Suggested route 13 nights from Melbourne
• Melbourne: 2 nights
• Hobart: 1 night
• Strahan: 1 night
• Cradle Mountain National Park: 2 nights
• Launceston: 1 night
• St Helens: 1 night
• Coles Bay: 2 nights
• Hobart: 1 night
• Sydney: 2 nights
About this independent tour
Why you’ll love this self-drive
• Explore Tasmania’s impressively diverse foodie scene from pale ales to scallop pies
• Gaze over magazine-worthy views in Freycinet and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair national parks
• Spend time discovering Hobart’s growing art scene at the MONA
• This itinerary can also be done in a campervan or motorhome.
Suggested self-drive itinerary details
Day 1: Melbourne Explore the street art, get lost in the laneways and try out some of the best coffee with a couple of days in the cultural capital. Melbourne has plenty of day trip options like Yarra Valley for wine tastings and Wilson’s Promontory for sweeping sea views. Stay 2 nights at Crown Promenade.
Day 3: Hobart Land in Tassie’s capital for a taste of the island’s fine produce and to see its colonial-era architecture. Stay at Lenna of Hobart.
Day 4: Strahan Learn about the island’s convict history in Macquarie Harbour and head for the untamed territory in Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Stay at Motel Strahan.
Day 5: Cradle Mountain Spend a few days around mist-shrouded lakes like Cradle Lake and Lake St Clair, keeping an eye out for wildlife like the Tasmanian devil, wombat and wedge-tailed eagle. Stay 2 nights at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village.
Day 7: Launceston Check out the craft beer scene and the country’s biggest regional museum. Stay at City Park Grand Hotel.
Day 8: St Helens Tuck into the catch of the day in the east coast’s biggest holiday town. Stay at NRMA St Helens Waterfront Hotel.
Day 9: Coles Bay Drive down to Freycinet National Park, where highlights include Wineglass Bay, the pink Hazard mountains and wild animals, nearly 50 of which are only found in Tasmania. Stay 2 nights at Freycinet Lodge.
Day 11: Hobart Head back to Hobart for your last night on the Apple Isle. Stay at Lenna of Hobart.
Day 12: Sydney Fly to Australia’s star city and see its world-class landmarks. Tour the white-sailed Opera House, have brunch on the Harbour and join the surfers at Bondi Beach. Stay 2 nights at ParkRoyal Darling Harbour.
Find out how Hobart is throwing out the rule book at its Museum of Old and New Art
See Freycinet National Park’s most famous swerve of sand for yourself
Learn about the role Tasmania played in Australian history at former convict site, Port Arthur
Tackle the irregular-shaped mountain which perches over deep blue pools
Tailor your tour
Make it your own
We’ve crafted this itinerary based on our own experiences and our customers’ feedback. It’s fully flexible, so talk to us and we can create your perfect trip.
Where to stay
We’ve picked some hotels with amazing settings in Cradle Mountain and Freycinet. If your budget allows, the views of the Hazards from ultra-extravagant Saffire Freycinet is the clincher. We also love the Henry Jones Art Hotel on Hobart’s waterfront.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Port Arthur will be essential for most visitors for its well-preserved history as one of Australia’s penal colonies. Get outdoors to see Tasmania at its best with walks in Freycinet National Park, the Bay of Fires and Cradle Mountain.
We think 9 nights is the shortest amount of time you’ll need for this route; our 13-night itinerary lets you really experience each stop. To make it longer, explore Hobart properly with an extra night, factor in more walking time in the national parks or extend your stay on the mainland.
Flying in and out of the mainland lets you tick off Sydney and Melbourne – both of which are perfect set-off points for self-drives and feature in our other itineraries. For a tropical contrast to Tassie’s ruggedness, add a finale in the Whitsundays’ Hamilton Island.
Good to know
When to go
• Tasmania has four distinct seasons with a traditional high season over summer months (December to February), when temperatures average at around 17 degrees Celsius
• Weather can be changeable through the day, with rainfall varying dramatically between east to west too – we recommend packing plenty of layers and clothes for rainy weather if travelling in winter
• A round trip like our suggested route means you’re likely to encounter a full spectrum of weather conditions, even in summer