We’re going to open this one with this point: Tasmania is an amazing, beautiful and fun place that is absolutely bursting with animals, adventure & activities for the whole family. You could easily spend a lot of time here to get the most out of it, and depending on your own preference on pace, anything from 4 to 8 weeks would get the job done well. That’s great if you are in a caravan, perhaps doing a lap of Australia, but for us we wanted something fun to do with our family over the school holidays. We did Tasmania in 12 days, by Cabin & Car.
Mainland Tasmania is broken up into 5 regions – the North West, West Coast, Hobart & the South, the East Coast and Launceston & the North. For our trip we arrived in Devonport just to the North West, and proceeded to head around Tasmania anti-clockwise. This allowed us to visit the West Coast and the wilderness surrounding it, Hobart, Port Arthur and the South finishing in Launceston and the North. We had 12 days so allowed one or two day stops in each location. This is our itinerary, what we loved and what we missed due to the fact that we’re human and just couldn’t fit it all in!
For accommodation we went by Cabin throughout Tasmania. We stayed at holiday parks and resorts which worked really well for us as a family on holiday. Here’s what we got up to on our family trip to Tasmania by cabin & car.
Day 1 – Departing Melbourne for Devonport
We took a day trip from Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania, which was a great experience. Day Trips on the Spirit of Tasmania are only offered through certain times of the year, so be sure to check their schedule. There were bars, multiple eating options, a playground, gaming consoles, movies and bingo throughout the journey. Being the school holidays during our trip, there was also face painting and a treasure hunt. The day trip sail on the Spirit of Tasmania arrives in Devonport at 7pm and we didn’t want to drive in the dark. We stayed at the Discovery Holiday park right on the beach, and it was a 5 minute drive the terminal and a great location for cabin and caravan accommodation.
Day 2 – Devonport to Lemonthyme Wildernes Retreat
Leaving Devonport we headed for Tasmazia. It was fantastic and is honestly fun for not only families but everyone else as well. There are a heap of mazes, plenty of riddles, great sculptures and a café and picnic area. The wilderness of Tasmania is amazing and we headed into it after our visit to Tasmazia & the Village of Lower Crackpot. We wanted to stay somewhere that offered a wilderness setting and ended up at the Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat. It was fantastic. We spent two days in a log cabin, enjoying the buffet breakfast, bushwalks, a great bbq facility and plenty of animals. Lemonthyme was also just 20 minutes from Cradle Mountain so we used it as a base for venturing in the local area.
Day 3 – Cradle Mountain
We allocated a day to explore Cradle Mountain National Park, and you could easily spend two or more here. We have never seen so many wombats in close proximity! They were just cruising about along the walkways and trails, not really caring for the visitors and hikers. There are a lot of different tracks and trails, and a parks pass gives you access to a shuttle bus which can take you where you need to go. This service is great, and although you can go really early to get a park right in front of Cradle Mountain, we would recommend taking the shuttle as it is run really well. After taking the boys up and over some mountains we got some great views of Cradle Mountain itself and headed to Devils@Cradle. This facility houses Quolls and of course Tasmanian Devils, and a tour taught us all about the animals and their habitat. You get really up close to the animals at Devils@Cradle.
Day 4 – Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat to Strahan
The wilderness is somewhere we could easily have spent more time. The environment is beautiful, the air fresh and there was plenty of wildlife to keep the children well amused. But we had to move on and headed to Strahan on the west coast. We stayed at the Beach Holiday Park, ate at view 42 degrees and enjoyed a picnic lunch by the Port of Strahan. We spent just one night here, as the West Coast Wilderness Railway had an early morning departure from Queenstown the next morning.
Day 5 – Strahan to Tarraleah via Queenstown and Lake St Clair
We departed Strahan after breakfast and headed to Queenstown for the half day Rack & Gorge tour on the West Coast Wilderness Railway. This was truly an experience as much as an activity, with stunning scenery a great backstory, gold panning and a history lesson along the way. We headed from the railway in Queenstown just after lunch, headed for Lake St Clair for an afternoon walk to the lake. We were there very briefly to check out the visitors centre and the walk to the lake, a great opportunity to stretch the kids legs. A short drive from there we arrived at a place the blew out minds – Tarraleah!
Tarraleah is an old town that supported the builders of the Hydro Power Station, now restored and used soly for accoodation. We stayed at the old school, converted into apartments and had the entire place to ourselves! There were other building for accommodation, houses, caravan facilities and more. We walked to Tarraleah Falls, explored the Hydro Powerstation and hung out with ducks and highland cows. The café provided us our first cooked breakfast of the trip and it was fantastic. We had one night at Tarraleah, but it was a highlight and wish we had of stayed longer.
Day 6 – Tarraleah to Hobart via Russell Falls
We departed Tarraleah and headed to Russell Falls which is the home of multiple waterfalls and the Mount Field National Park. We explored the falls, headed up to the top and then had lunch by picnic tables on the way back down. We jumped back in the car and headed for Hobart, where houses came from nowhere to find ourselves in the Tasmanian capital. We stayed for two nights at Discovery Park Hobart, which is just outside Hobart and a really nice caravan and cabin park. There was a large pub next door and plenty of eating options in and around Hobart nearby.
Day 7 – Hobart CBD
We had big plans for this day, heading on a big drive out to some treetop walkways and cave tours to the south of Hobart. But the kids needed some downtime and we decided to visit the CBD with a trip to the Movies, the Tasmanian Museum and a Japanese restaurant. Given we are off to Japan soon, the kids love any opportunity (or excuse) to eat some sushi ‘in preparation’.
Day 8 – Hobart to Port Arthur via Eaglehawk Neck
We departed Hobart for Port Arthur, and along the way you pass by Eaglehawk Neck which is the home to the Tessellated Pavement, Tasman’s Arch, the Blowhole and Devils Kitchen. We dropped by each to check them out, and was pleasantly surprised to find a seafood shop set up at the Blowhole selling all kinds of delicacies, including the mythical Tasmanian Scallop Pie. That was well worth the price of admission and make sure you try one! Passing by the Dogline we found our way to another accommodation highlight right up there with Tarraleah, in the NRMA Holiday Park – Port Arthur. From here we visited the Port Arthur Historical Site and the kids were thoroughly entertained learning about it’s history thanks to maps and stamps to collect along the way. We took the cruise on the water which is a must do. We spent a few hours at Port Arthur, but could easily have spent more especially if the kids were in a walking mood. It became a bit much for Harry as it is a very large site.
Day 9 – Port Arthur to Launceston via Richmond
We headed to Richmond to check out the scenic Richmond Bridge and had an excellent lunch at Wicked Cheese. There was even sporting equipment onsite to keep the kids happy whilst we got to try out a great selection of meats and cheeses. After lunch we headed north towards Launceston along the highway. We then stayed for two nights at Discovery Parks Hadspen.
Day 10 – Launceston
We visited Cataract Gorge in the morning, taking rides on the Inclinator and the chair lifts. The children had so much fun following the peacocks, hand feeding the wallabies and exploring the waterway. After a couple of laps on the chairlift we headed to Punchbowl Reserve, a short drive away with excellent picnic facilities, walks and a playground.
Day 11 – Launceston to Devonport via Beauty Point
We departed Launceston and with the night sail of the Spirit of Tasmania not departing until the evening we headed to Beauty Point, home of Seahorse World, Platypus House and the Beaconsfield Mines. Given we had been to the Victorian State Coal Mine recently, we skipped the Beaconsfield mine and visited both Seahorse World and Platypus House. These two facilities operate as tours, and you can buy a ticket and take the half hour or so tour through to learn all about lifecycles, habitats and the animals themselves. After completing the double, we headed to the waterfront and found a BBQ and beach area where the kids returned to fossicking for crabs and other sea animals. We boarded the spirit of Tasmania for the night cruise this time and after a meal headed to our cabin for a solid nights rest.
Day 12 – Devonport to Melbourne
An early morning start is the norm on arrival into Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania. We were awoken around 5:45am by the announcement that guests would be exiting the ship from 6:30am. Breakfast is available on the ship, but given our arrival in our home town we packed up, got in the car and headed home amazed and keen for more Tasmanian adventure in the future.