Regional Drives in Tasmania
The pick of the Regional Drives in Tasmania ... in which getting there is truly half the fun.
The best way to see the essentials of what Tasmania has to offer is to drive around the island's coast, or as close to it as is possible. This route allows easy access to just about anywhere in Tasmania that has a road leading to it without having to go too far off the beaten track, making it ideal for first-time visitors to Tasmania who want to get the overall feel of the place.
The Heritage Highway follows the original inland road from Hobart to Launceston that was pioneered by Tasmania's early European settlers and built by convict road gangs in the 1810s. Aptly named, the Highway passes through some of the most complete and well preserved Georgian era villages in the world today in which the finest examples of colonial architecture and convict craftsmanship in Australia can be seen and appreciated.
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.
The Great Western Tiers are the northern face of the Tasmanian Central Plateau, which rises up to 1420m above sea level. In the foothills of the Great Western Tiers can be found a wide range of attractions both man made and natural which can be explored on this drive. It can begin from Launceston, Burnie or Devonport, and thus makes an ideal starter for a Tassie holiday for travellers arriving on the car ferry from Melbourne, offering a taste of things to come.
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.
The 85km Gordon River Road is the major man made intrusion into the South West Tasmania World Heritage Wilderness area, and with the Scott Peak Dam Road is the only road into the region. It is the main means of access to view the dams of the Lake Pedder area, apart from flying over the region. This road gives travellers a rare chance to drive through one of the last remaining pristine wilderness areas in the world. The scenery, regardless of the clouds that sometimes obscure the view, is positively magnificent, with snow-covered mountains ahead and to either side for much of the journey.
Upon arrival in Devonport 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.
If you plan from drive from north to south, Highland Lakes Road is an interesting alternative to the more regularly used Midland Highway. It gets nowhere near the same amount of useage as Tasmania's three other North to South main roads, so chances are you won't see much other traffic. This makes it easy to stop and taking in the scenery - and there is plenty to stop and take in - without having to worry about that driver who is hard on your tail and wants to go faster than you do. Be aware that snow is common in winter.