Take the Family on 4-Day Driving Holiday This Winter
This four-day driving holiday offers adventures into Tasmania’s convict past, adorable wildlife experiences and plenty of lovely local treats. Hit the road for this all-ages adventure.
Day 1 – Cradle Mountain
After disembarking at Devonport, head straight for Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park where you’ll find clear mountain lakes and the park’s famously striking alpine terrain, just under two hours’ drive from the Spirit of Tasmania terminal.
First stop should be the buzzing Visitor Centre where you can find out more about several pretty trails through the area, including short tracks suitable for little legs. For older kids, the walk from Ronny Creek to Dove Lake is a standout: the two-hour track starts with easy-to-navigate duckboards across marshy scrub and climbs up to Dove Lake where you can snap a photo of the historic boatshed and enjoy amazing views across to Lake Lilla. Get the kids to keep an eye out for wombats: this is one of the best places in Australia to see them in the wild as they forage for food on the plains. You might also see pademelons and echidnas as you head into the old-growth forest. From Dove Lake you can catch the regular shuttle bus back to the carpark. Afterwards, relax at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge – it’s a perfect winter retreat with log fires to warm your cabin and huge open fires to snuggle up to in the main lodge area which is packed with leather lounges, brimming bookshelves and exposed wooden beams.
Day 2 – Cradle Mountain to Freycinet
Head through the heart of Tasmania for a wildlife hit. Rug up for a tour of Mole Creek Caves, home to the Tasmanian cave spider, an incredible arachnid that is unchanged since prehistoric times. See beautiful and ancient rock formations called shawls which hang from the roof of the cave, and end the tour in a pitch-black alcove full of glow-worms.
Just down the road from Mole Creek township is Trowunna Wildlife Park, which is dedicated to helping save the Tasmanian devil. You can watch the Tassie devils have lunch, hand feed the wallabies and kangaroos, and meet the super-cute spotted-tail quolls.
Spend the afternoon tackling the winding road across to the east coast and grab a bite at the Devil’s Corner Cellar Door, where you can view the Hazard Mountain Range from the deck while you enjoy a warming clam chowder with fresh seafood from the nearby Freycinet Marine Farm. Keen skiers can take a day-long side-trip to nearby Ben Lomond, where the ski season runs from July to mid-September – it has great slopes for all skill levels. Otherwise, overnight at Coles Bay, home to a range of accommodation including Edge of the Bay resort and Freycinet Lodge.
Day 3 – Freycinet to Port Arthur
Time to take the coast road from Freycinet to Port Arthur, a three-hour drive along rocky coastline and through fishing villages with plenty of lookouts to enjoy the views. Stop in the seaside town of Bicheno, a highlight of which is The Gulch, a fish and chips shack at the end of the town’s main jetty.
Spend the afternoon exploring the colonial prison colony of Port Arthur Historic Site. The crumbling sandstone ruins are brought to life in the guided walking and boat tours (included in your ticket price) that help kids understand this complicated place which was both a feared penal colony and one of the first places in the British prison system to embrace the idea of inmate rehabilitation. For older kids, try the Ghost Tours, spooky after-dark walks conducted by lantern light. Overnight at the picturesque village of Eaglehawk Neck.
Day 4 – Hobart
Spend the day in the Tasmanian capital (less than two hours’ drive from Eaglehawk Neck), where there is plenty of fun to be had. You can take the ferry to the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), which has recently opened Pharos, a new wing which explores the relationship between light and art. Alternatively, take a boat tour with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys to explore the spectacular scenery around Hobart by water and check out Iron Pot, Australia’s oldest lighthouse. Afterwards, grown-ups can enjoy a warming dram among the wooden barrels at Lark Cellar Door & Whisky Bar. This distillery kick-started the world’s love affair with Tasmanian whisky; its tipples are well worth a taste. You may also wish to make use of Hobart’s free bicycle-lending service, Artbikes – a city initiative encouraging people to explore on two wheels the many small art galleries. For dinner, the Drunken Admiral Seafarer Restaurant right on the historic Hobart waterfront will keep the kids amused with its nautical theme and fabulous fresh seafood; spend your last night at ‘storytelling’ hotel MACq 01.