Road Tripping along Tasmania’s East Coast


Road Tripping along Tasmania’s East Coast

We’ll let you into a little secret. You haven’t experienced the great outdoors until you’ve experienced Tasmania. Thanks to picture-perfect beaches and soaring mountains, the Apple Isle is the ideal place for walkers and water babies to embark on an adventure. The scenery doesn’t get much more stunning than the rugged East Coast that runs between Hobart and Launceston.

Expedia’s Aussie travellers love exploring their own backyard, and Tasmania is a popular spot for families during school holidays. There are plenty of festivals and events year round, even in winter when it does get quite cold. If you’ve got a few days to spare, hop on a flight, hire a car and head out. Here’s some of our favourite activities on the East Coast.

Messing about on the water

This part of the world isn’t short on aquatic activities – visit the guys at Freycinet Adventures and you’ll be paddling out in a sea kayak before you can say ‘turquoise waters’. Yes, it’s a cliché – but it’s easy to believe the phrase was coined just for this pristine shoreline. Spot sea eagles, secluded beaches and even the odd dolphin as you glide along on a guided tour. Once you’re back on dry land, head to the Freycinet Marine Farm and reward your efforts with a few plates of fresh seafood. The setting is nothing fancy – picnic benches, counter service, a dunny at the end of a dirt track – but that all adds to the seemingly middle-of-nowhere charm. Freshly shucked oysters, juicy scallops and steamed mussels straight from the sea are best enjoyed with a chilled local wine or beer.

Take a hike

Possibly one of the most photographed stretches of sand in the world, Wineglass Bay is situated in the sprawling Freycinet National Park. Home to coastal heathlands and dense forests, the rugged 169km2 area boasts hiking options ranging from a few hours to several days. Don’t even think about getting back in the car until you’ve completed the 40-minute circular walk to a stunning lookout point. The track (and occasional set of steep stone steps) winds its way through bushland to a wooden platform where you can snap the sweeping bay to your heart’s content. You can continue down to the pristine beach (it adds 1.5 hours to your walk) but our advice would be to hop back in the car and head north to the Friendly Beaches (just northeast of Coles Bay) – wait for the great rockpools at low tide. At the end of the day, rest your tired legs at Meredith House. This pretty guesthouse makes for an attractive rest stop in the sleepy East Coast town of Swansea. And the next morning, enjoy breakfast on the balcony with views of the sea.

Wildlife spotting

From the sleepy town of Triabunna, catch a ferry to Maria Island. This unspoilt area is home to plenty of wildlife, including Flinders Island wombats and Cape Barren Geese. Lace up your walking boats and head out on one of the trails across or around the reserve – remember to keep an eye on the surrounding waters where you might see whales, seals and dolphins depending on the season. The island reveals a long past at Fossil Cliffs, which are dotted with the delicate impressions of centuries-old shellfish, while the Painted Cliffs are swirling with colours at dawn and dusk. Having conquered Maria Island, turn your attention to one of the peaks on the horizon – part of The Hazards, Mt Amos demands you set aside a day for the tricky ascent. Otherwise, in Hobart, there’s Mt Wellington which gives way to the historic Port Arthur convict site.

Gourmet grazing

Yes, in our world, eating and drinking make for an exciting adventure too. Start your day with a serving of super-fresh fruit at Kate’s Berry Farm. Just a couple of kilometres out of Swansea, the rambling rows of strawberries and blackberries (along with a few other berry varieties) that surround the historic property are put to use in jams, smoothies and ice creams, and feature in towering stacks of syrup-covered waffles and pancakes.

If you reach Launceston and you’re still hungry for more, head north to the Tamar Valley and Hillwood Berry Farm, where you can pick-your-own or take it easy on the sunny deck with a wedge of raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake. If savoury is more your thing, there are heaps of locally churned and matured cheese options along the way – highlights include Pyengana and Meander Dairy. If you plan to stay in Launceston, bed down at the luxurious Country Club Tasmania. Be sure to leave room for dinner; there’s some stunning fine dining to be had at the Terrace Restaurant.

And what about Tassie’s wines? Grab a designated driver and break up the wonderful scenic East Coast route with a few wineries – not only do Freycinet’s cellar doors serve a pretty good drop, they also enjoy stunning views. Devil’s Corner’s cellar door overlooks Great Oyster Bay. Sip a glass of award-winning pinot grigio or pinot noir with the rugged granite peaks of The Hazards serving as a stunning backdrop.

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Helen and Nic

About the Author Helen and Nic

Having eaten their way through Europe, America and Southeast Asia, photographer and writer team Nic and Helen set up Sharking for Chips and Drinks when they moved from London to Melbourne in 2010. Charting Melbourne and regional Victoria’s coffee shops, bars and restaurants openings, they also regularly return to their beloved London and keep a keen eye on the latest foodie trends and openings all over the world.   3 travel must haves? An iPod loaded with great podcasts, a decent camera – we love our compact dSLR – and a good sense of humour.   What's on your travel bucket list? Touring Japan’s hidden izakaya (sit-down sake shops serving yakitori and sashimi) and island-hopping off the coast of Sicily, feasting on arancini and fresh sardines, and drinking plenty of Nero d' Avola.