Road Trip - Family Explorer

This seven-day journey takes in great food, plenty of nature and adventures for the big and small – something for everyone in the car, in other words.


What better way to tee off a family road trip than with a round of mini golf? After disembarking in Devonport, head to the town’s 18-hole mini golf course, a beautifully landscaped spot on the banks of the Mersey River (the perfect perch to triumph at a family golfing battle, and establish bragging rights for the coming week).

Next stop is the pretty rural settlement of Sheffield, also known as Tasmania’s ‘Town of Murals’: the buildings here are covered with artworks that turn the streets into an outdoor gallery. Grab a drink and wander the streets, then continue the art theme at nearby Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery, a 12-room space on the edge of the World Heritage Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Rooms are equipped for kids to get creative and play alongside exhibitions on photography, contemporary Tasmanian art and iconic local films.

The gallery is part of Cradle Mountain Hotel, where you’re checking in for the night – have lunch at on-site Altitude restaurant before an afternoon nap. Tonight, you’ll be seeing what the local wildlife gets up to after dark as you embark on a night-time animal spotting tour, so it’s a good idea to keep your family’s energy levels up.


Overnight at Cradle Mountain Hotel.


Sheffield (Photo: Heidi Linehan)



Exploring Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park can be as easy or as hard as you like. A very family-friendly option to start the day is the Enchanted Walk, a track that takes in wombat burrows, a cascading creek and old-growth rainforest in a 20-minute loop.

Next up is a stop at Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot, a quirky adventure playground that is kid heaven thanks to the eight mazes and pint-sized model village. From Promised Land (Lower Crackpot’s real-life location), drive on to Mole Creek and take an interactive tour at Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary to learn all about quolls, wombats, wedge-tailed eagles and more, culminating in a feeding session with Tasmanian devils.

Head to historic Campbell Town for a kid-friendly dinner at one of the local eateries, and soak up some heritage charm.


Overnight at Campbell Town.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park (Photo: Heidi Linehan)


Head over to connect with the awesome Great Eastern Drive, which winds right up the state’s beautiful east coast, and start your day with a swim at Bicheno. This family-friendly seaside town is popular for its sandy beaches and sunshine, and is a summer holiday favourite among locals. After a dip, check out East Coast Natureworld on the outskirts of town – across 60 hectares of parkland and lagoons you’ll find kangaroos, wombats, Tasmanian devils, peacocks and more. Explore walk-through aviaries and an interactive Tassie devil education centre called Devil World, before venturing out to find these creatures in the wild.

A 45-minute drive away, Douglas-Apsley National Park is the perfect union of deep river gorges, waterfalls and eucalypt forest, and is a great place to spot rare Tasmanian plants and animals; there is also a popular short walk on offer here, to popular Apsley Waterhole, where you can swim in the warmer months. 

After a dose of fresh Tasmanian air, make your way to nearby Coles Bay, home to several kid-friendly accommodation spots close to Wineglass Bay.

Overnight at Coles Bay.

Apsley River Waterhole and Gorge (Photo:  Tourism Tasmania & Pete Harmsen)


The town of Coles Bay is the ideal base for exploring Freycinet National Park, with its pretty-in-pink cliffs, sparkling water and some of the whitest sand in the world. Take the 40-minute uphill walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout; from here, you can either turn back or head down over the hill’s crest to Wineglass Bay itself (another 40 minutes). If the kids start grizzling, promise them pancakes – just north of Freycinet, Mount Elephant Pancakes can provide crepes that will keep them happy all the way to your next stop.

A family-run wildlife enclosure, Tasmania Zoo is home to more than 100 rare, exotic and native species and offers oodles of animal encounters for children (and overgrown kids, too). Get close to alligators, meerkats and even capybaras, a kind of giant Southern American rodent that is cuter than it sounds.

Your last stop of the day is Tasmania’s second city, the food-lover’s town of Launceston. Enjoy a low-key dinner at one of the many kid-friendly eateries in the area: try Jailhouse Grill for a hearty steak, Rockin’ Hot Pizza for some yummy Italian, or Riverside Hotel Motel for a simple, satisfying pub meal – they have a kid’s play area, too.

Overnight at Launceston.

Tasmania Zoo (Photo: Tasmania Zoo)


A riverside city home to stunning parks and gardens as well as a thriving foodie scene, Launceston has plenty to offer all ages. The kids will probably want to start with the Cataract Gorge Scenic Chairlift, which travels almost 500 metres over the top of Cataract Gorge Reserve on the outskirts of town, offering gob-smacking views over bush and cliffs from a seat just high enough to be thrilling.

After a reviving snack at on-site Basin Café, head to the Planetarium at the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery – it’s a genuinely fascinating place, where you can sit down to watch one of several National Geographic films projected onto the planetarium’s dome, on topics such as asteroids, black holes and aliens.

Enjoy an early dinner in town then prepare for otherworldly activities as you embark on a spooky Launceston City Ghost Tour. Kids over 10 are welcome on the main tour, but there’s also a special experience just for kids. 

Overnight at Launceston.

Cataract Gorge (Photo: Cam Blake)



It’s all action at the Hollybank Treetops Adventure in Underwood, where zipline tours and ropes courses will have adventurous little legs (and longer legs) swinging through the forest canopy, balancing on wobbly bridges and crawling through nets. The grounded among us can motor around Hollybank Forest on a Segway, or simply enjoy some down time wandering through the beautiful old growth forest.

From here, it’s a 50-minute drive to Beauty Point in the Tamar Valley. In town, Seahorse World is ostensibly dedicated to seahorse breeding and education – you can hold a mini seahorse in the palm of your hand, if you wish – but it’s also a good spot to meet some of Tasmania’s other kooky ocean dwellers, including giant crabs, cowfish and Port Jackson sharks.

Then it’s off to the wildlife wonderland of Narawntapu National Park, a ‘miniature Serengeti’ on the coast, where native animals are virtually everywhere you look. Watch birds from a hide and spot wallabies, kangaroos and Tasmanian devils, which wander onto the grasslands in the evening. In the unlikely event that you’re having trouble seeing any wildlife, head to the park’s visitor centre at Springlawn – it’s got some great interactive resources.

Overnight at Beauty Point.

Seahorse World (Photo: Eugene Hyland)


You won’t need to nag the kids to get out of bed when breakfast at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café is on the agenda – French toast with chocolate and raspberries is a pretty good way to start the final day of your road trip. Run off the sugar at The Tasmanian Arboretum, one of Australia’s loveliest gardens, where lakes, bridges, walkways and secret nooks are spread over 66 hectares.

Next, near Devonport, enjoy a walk up to the candy cane-striped Mersey Bluff Lighthouse and take in a classic view of Tasmania’s rugged coastline, or head to the sweetly preserved collection of heritage trains at the Don River Railway museum. You can take a vintage train ride (either diesel or steam) along the banks of the river while reflecting on your week of fun, before you board Spirit of Tasmania and head home. 

Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm (Photo: Eugene Hyland)