Five-day family explorer road trip

From crazy mazes and heritage train rides to spotting animals in the wild or getting up close at a zoo, there’s not a moment to get bored on this road trip to remember. Take a chairlift ride over a gorge and an adventurous zipline above the tree tops. Visit a planetarium and go on an underground bushranger adventure. Walk or kayak in the wilderness and relax with sweet berry treats. Quite simply, it’s five days you’ll all be talking about for years to come.

Be a spirited traveller and follow this 5-day itinerary the whole family will love. 

Day 1: Devonport to Coles Bay

From Devonport it’s less than 40 minutes’ drive south via Sheffield Road to Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot, a quirky adventure playground where cooped-up adventurers can blow off some steam. Home to eight fun, brain-challenging mazes, a kooky, colourful model village and the Embassy Gardens’ miniature buildings representing more than 40 countries, this kid heaven is in a town that’s actually called Promised Land.

Drive east about 45 minutes to Elizabeth Town for an afternoon treat at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe. Everything here is berry delicious, from spider drinks and waffles to taters with strawberry-chilli sauce, and there’s a menu for junior appetites. After that the kids will want some screen time or a nap, so the 2.5 hours’ drive to Coles Bay via Highway 1 should be a breeze. This east coast town is the ideal base for exploring Freycinet National Park, with its sparkling blue water, pristine white sand and pretty-in-pink peaks.

Day 2: Coles Bay to Launceston

There are many ways to enjoy a day on the Freycinet Peninsula, so decide what’s best for your crew and get out there. Popular options include the 40-minute uphill walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout; from here either turn back or continue down to the iconic bay itself (another 40 minutes). Or try Freycinet Adventures’ three-hour guided seakayak escapade among amazing coastal scenery and wildlife. Kids as young as two can join in!

From Coles Bay it’s two hours on Highway 1 to Launceston. Good places to feed adventurers big and small here include Jailhouse Grill and Burger Got Soul, which both have kids options. While you’re in town, be sure to get some treats at the legendary Gourlay’s Sweet Shop.

Day 3: Launceston

Spend the morning at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. There’s the Royal Park site dedicated to art and design, but younger children will probably prefer the other site in the Inveresk cultural precinct. Focused on science and history, its highlights include dinosaur fossils, the interactive Phenomena Factory and the planetarium – just try keeping junior astronomers away from that!

Launceston is blessed with beautiful parks like Cataract Gorge Reserve, where there’s lots to do but children will definitely want to start with the scenic chairlift. For almost 500 metres you can glide sedately above the gorge, enjoying views over bush and cliffs from a seat just high enough to be thrilling. Back on terra firma, refuel at the Basin Cafe, play spot-the-peacock, ramble around the pretty gardens, stroll the walking trails including along the gorge itself, or cool off in the pool.

There’s even more adventure just around the corner at Penny Royal, from jumping off a cliff on a rope to panning for gold and an underground boat ride that reveals a notorious Tasmanian bushranger’s story. There’s more than one dining venue, including Brady’s for comfort food like pizza and pasta, or just watch the kids rock climbing while relaxing at the wine bar.

Day 4: Launceston to Beauty Point

Is your family full of animal lovers or thrill seekers? About 20 minutes west of Launceston there’s Tasmania Zoo, and about 20 minutes north-east is Hollybank Wilderness Adventures. Take your pick, or if you’re full of beans do both.

The family-run Tasmania Zoo is home to more than 100 rare, exotic and native species, and offers oodles of animal encounters. Get close to crocs, meerkats, Tassie Devils and even capybaras, a giant South American rodent that’s cuter than it sounds. Hollybank offers ziplining above the treetops and Pipers River, as well as an obstacle course of ropes that will have young and old swinging among trees, balancing on wobbly bridges and crawling through nets. Those who prefer to stay grounded can scoot around on a Segway or mountain bike.

From Hollybank and Tasmania Zoo it’s less than an hour’s drive north on the Tamar Highway to Beauty Point. A popular family attraction in this Tamar Valley town is Seahorse World. Primarily dedicated to seahorse breeding and education – you can hold a tiny seahorse in the palm of your hand – it’s also a good spot to meet some of Tasmania’s other curious ocean creatures including weedy seadragons and giant crabs.

Day 5: Beauty Point to Devonport

Make an early start for wildlife spotting in Narawntapu National Park, which is an easy drive west of Beauty Point. ‘Tasmania’s Serengeti’ is rich with native animals, particularly around the Springlawn area in the park’s west. Watch for  wombats, wallabies, their little Tassie cousin the pademelon, and birds like wrens, herons and black swans. The bird hide overlooking the lagoon is a prime location for seeing feathered friends.

From the park’s visitor centre at Springlawn it’s 40 minutes to Devonport via Bakers Beach Road – and maybe a short detour for House of Anvers’ chocolate treats. In the hours before boarding Spirit of Tasmania, see who gets final-day bragging rights with a round of mini-golf, or visit the Don River Railway. There are lots of historic locomotives and carriages to explore, but the highlight is climbing aboard a heritage train for a 30-minute return journey to Coles Beach.

Later on, make your way to Devonport, where you’ll board Spirit of Tasmania for your journey home.