Five-day hiking enthusiast road trip

From wild rainforests and mountains to gorges and lagoons, Tasmania is a bushwalker’s paradise. Even if you can’t tackle its famous multi-day hikes like the Overland Track, there are countless other options including 60 Great Short Walks. You can easily conquer several of those on this five-day itinerary, plus other unforgettable walks like a taste of the Three Capes Track and along the Bay of Fires’ white beaches.

Free the spirited traveller in you and follow this 5-day itinerary, perfect for every hiking enthusiast.

Day 1: Devonport to Binalong Bay

After disembarking, it’s only about an hour along Highway 1 to Launceston, where you can stretch your legs at Cataract Gorge. Walk from the First Basin reserve along the gorge on the easy Cataract Walk or steep Zig Zag track, then cross over Kings Bridge and walk back to the reserve on the other path. Continue on to the old hydroelectric powerstation at Duck Reach to complete one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, then get a bite at Basin Cafe.

It’s about 2.5 hours (driving south via Highway 1) to the east coast town of Binalong Bay, at the southern end of the Bay of Fires Conservation Area. A walk along its 50-kilometre stretch of clean, white beaches reveals turquoise waters and granite boulders splashed with bright orange lichen. If the salty air gets you thinking of seafood, have dinner (or even stay) in the nearby fishing town of St Helens.

Day 2: Binalong Bay to Coles Bay

Head to Douglas-Apsley National Park’s southern entrance, which is about 90 minutes from Binalong Bay via the Tasman Highway. The park’s home to diverse plants and animals, including rare and endangered species like the Australian Grayling fish. Either walk the quick, easy loop track to Apsley Waterhole, or continue on to Apsley Gorge (2-3 hours return). If you can extend your trip, tackle the multi-day Leeaberra Track.

Continue driving south about 40 minutes to Coles Bay, perhaps stopping in Bicheno to see hundreds of little penguins waddle up the beach at dusk, but don’t delay if you’re staying at Freycinet Lodge. A celebratory whisky tasting or glass of Tasmanian sparkling awaits in this luxe accommodation’s lounge overlooking Great Oyster Bay. Or if your tank isn’t empty yet, join Freycinet Adventures for a late afternoon kayak tour.

Day 3: Coles Bay to Hobart

Freycinet National Park is right on Coles Bay’s doorstep, so make an early start and beat the crowds climbing the steep path up to Wineglass Bay Lookout. It’s among the Great Short Walks for good reason: the view of this iconic bay is one of Tasmania’s most photographed.

It’s about an hour return, or extend this walk into a 4-5 hour, 11-kilometre adventure by continuing downhill to the bay’s sugar-white beach. Admire the blue waters and Hazards mountains above, then walk across the isthmus to Hazards Beach, and along the coast around Mount Mayson’s base to the carpark. One after another, the vistas will take your breath away. If you prefer a balance of walking and relaxing, join a Wineglass Bay cruise for a different perspective on one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines.

Eventually you’ll have to tear yourself away from the Freycinet Peninsula though. It’s 2.5 hours south on the Tasman Highway from Coles Bay to Hobart, where you can get straight back into hiking on kunanyi / Mount Wellington as long as daylight holds. There are oodles of trails, as easy as 20 minutes return from Pinnacle carpark to Zig Zag lookout for sunset views across the capital.

Day 4: Hobart

If you’re feeling ambitious hit Hobart’s mountain at first light. Several walks depart from The Springs carpark, where your reward will be waiting upon returning at Lost Freight, a shipping container cafe serving good coffee and treats. Consider the three-hour return Organ Pipes trail, another Great Short Walk. Highlights include the distinctive volcanic flutes like organ pipes across the mountain face, Sphinx Rock and sunrise views of Hobart.

Head south to the Tasman Peninsula, best known for the historic Port Arthur convict site but also boasting grand coastal scenery including some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs. From Hobart it’s about an hour’s drive on the Arthur Highway to Tasman National Park’s northern entrance, from where you can soon see the dramatic coastal features called Tasman Arch and the Devil’s Kitchen.

This is Three Capes Track territory, but if you can’t extend your trip to tackle this epic four-day walk there are several easier options. Like the Great Short Walks to Waterfall Bay, which takes an hour or so return, and Bivouac Bay, which delivers views of a shipwreck and the striking Totem Pole and Candlestick dolerite columns during a four-hour return trek. Or get a taste of those famous capes on the trails to Cape Hauy (four hours return) or Cape Raoul (five hours return).

Toast your final night in Tassie at the Hobart Brewing Co near the historic waterfront. Cheers!

Day 5: Hobart to Devonport

It’s only 3.5 hours from Hobart to Devonport, through the heart of Tasmania on Highway 1, so there’s plenty of time to pause for another walk or two. Enjoy a picnic lunch by Liffey Falls, Pine Lake or Meander Falls, which are all Great Short Walks in the Central Plateau region. If you only want to stop once make it Liffey Falls, one of the prettiest waterfalls in Tasmania. Close by is the aptly named Big Tree: it’s 50 metres high and more than three metres in diameter. Give it a hug and make a wish that you will soon be back on the island, walking among its natural wonders.

Return to Devonport, where you will board Spirit of Tasmania for your journey home.