Road Trip - Zen Master

From breathing in the world’s cleanest air, and exploring Australia’s sweetest cottage architecture, to roaming blissful beaches and savouring nourishing food: this road trip wraps up Tassie’s loveliest experiences into seven reviving days.


After disembarking at Devonport, head west for the colourful fishing village of Stanley and tackle one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks – up the Nut. It’s a 143-metre-high massif, with a steep, 20-minute walk (or a chairlift for those who don’t fancy the climb) that will lift your heartbeat almost as much as the scenery you’ll find at its flat top. Continue the one-hour circuit around the Nut’s plateau, and breathe in the world’s cleanest air (it’s official) as you take in views over Stanley and all the way out to Bass Strait.

Next, veer south and dip your toes in the Tarkine wilderness as you stop off for a short, but stunning, rainforest walk to the rock formation known as Trowutta Arch. Then, for something completely different, drive to the most westerly town in Tasmania, Marrawah, where lunch awaits at the local pub, which began life as a Cobb & Co way station and is still blissfully free of pokies. Water babies can also jump in the ocean for a surf – Marrawah is the site of the annual West Coast Classic. Push on to the tiny coastal settlement of Arthur River where you’ll spend the night.

Overnight at Arthur River.

Bay Tasmania

Stanley (Photo: Cam Blake)



At Arthur River you’ll find a plaque declaring that you’ve reached the Edge of the World – if you sail west from here, you won’t hit land until you reach Argentina. Luckily you’re headed south, not west, and in a kayak instead of a boat. Keep an eye out for platypuses, pademelons, kingfishers, orange-bellied parrots and white-breasted sea eagles as you glide through the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area, home to some of Tasmania’s most beautiful waterways.

Next, embark on the drive south through the world’s second-largest area of temperate rainforest, the hauntingly beautiful Tarkine. Your end destination is Strahan, a remote, historic village perched on a harbour. Arriving in town you’ll find beautifully fresh seafood, hauled in straight off the boats, and the sweetest cottage architecture this side of England thanks to the area’s well-preserved convict heritage.

Strahan is the gateway to one of the planet’s most remote World Heritage-listed playgrounds: the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Get to bed early – you’ve got a big day of exploring ahead tomorrow.

Overnight in Strahan.

Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area (Image: Cam Blake) 


This morning, you’re cruising the Gordon River aboard a catamaran, the Lady Jane Franklin II. The journey takes you across Macquarie Harbour, past Hells Gates (the entrance to the Southern Ocean, named by convicts who were imprisoned here), and into the rainforest-shrouded lower reaches of the Gordon. Along the way you’ll step ashore to stretch your legs on Sarah Island, a former convict prison.

Back in Strahan, head to Peoples Park and enjoy the 40-minute hike to Hogarth Falls – it’s another one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, and takes you through lush rainforest to a sweetly burbling waterfall. If you’ve got more walking in you, head to Ocean Beach – at 33 kilometres, it’s Tasmania’s longest – otherwise make your way back into town and order dinner at one of Strahan’s seafood restaurants. Local tip: Ask for crayfish, even if it’s not on the menu. If it’s in season, chances are it’s available (and it’s delicious).

Overnight in Strahan.

Strahan (Photo: Cam Blake)


This morning you’re headed inland to the awe-inspiring sights of Lake St Clair. Set your GPS for Derwent Bridge, the source of the Derwent River. This tiny town is located at the southern edge of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, and it’s here you’ll join a cruise to explore Australia’s deepest freshwater lake. Pack your camera: Lake St Clair was carved out of ice over two million years and is surrounded by staggering mountains. It’s an incredible sight, regardless of whether the mountains are snow-capped in winter or resplendent in the deep green shades of summer.

Next, head to the equally small lakeside town of Miena, where you can grab a cup of coffee, try your hand at trout fishing on Great Lake or simply sit by the water and watch the birds. A little further south, golfers can take in a scenic and a historically fascinating round of golf at Ratho Farm, said to be Australia’s oldest course – with its converted convict stables, now accommodation, and stunning views, it’s also a popular wedding spot.

Enjoy afternoon tea in the pretty town of Bothwell (be sure to peruse the colonial architecture – there are more than 50 heritage-listed buildings here), then head for Hamilton.

Overnight in Hamilton.

Ratho Farm (Photo: Tourism Tasmania and Ratho Farm)


On the Clyde River, Hamilton is the ideal location from which to explore one of Tasmania’s most photographed natural attractions: Russell Falls. It’s an easy 20-minute walk through stunning rainforest to get to the falls, which cascade spectacularly in tiers into Russell Falls Creek; many people believe this to be the most beautiful waterfall in the state.

Mist in your hair, drive on to the capital, and the first thing you’re going to do when you get there is head for the summit of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. At 1,271 metres, the mountain dominates Hobart, offers incredible views, and can be tackled in lots of different ways. Numerous tracks and trails weave through the foothills to the summit and beyond, so you can combine driving and walking in a way that suits you – or join a tour that drops you at the top and lends you a mountain bike to get back down. Alternatively, try rock climbing, abseiling or horse riding.

Make sure you’re back in Hobart with enough time to jump on a ferry to the wonderful MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), packed with cutting-edge – and sometimes controversial – art including Amarna, a sunset ‘skyscape’ light installation by James Turrell.

Overnight in Hobart.

Russell Falls (Image: Cam Blake)


From Hobart, head south to Huonville, in the idyllic farmland of the Huon Valley. A few kilometres south in Franklin, jump aboard the Yukon, a traditional ketch that will take you on a cruise up the scenic Huon River. Afterwards, call in on some of the valley’s galleries, artist studios and potteries, before treating yourself to a chakra healing massage experience at tonight’s accommodation: the Wellness Sanctuary at Harmony Harvest in Margate.

Overnight at Margate’s Wellness Sanctuary at Harmony Harvest.

Huon River Cruise (Image: Yukon)


After a super-healthy breakfast at Harmony Harvest, it’s time to head back north to where it all began. A bite to eat by the Elizabeth River at Campbell Town is a nice way to break up the journey.

When you get to Devonport, head to the Bluff Road Coastal Reserve, where you’ll find cycling and walking tracks that offer unbroken views of Bass Strait, plus the iconic Mersey Bluff Lighthouse.

You deserve a bit of pampering after your action-packed week, and you’ll find it at Lotus Waters, just outside Devonport, where spa treatments await. Indian-inspired therapies include Abhyanga oil massage and Shirodhara, a relaxation technique where warm oil is slowly streamed onto your forehead – the perfect end to your Zen tour of Tasmania.

Harmony Harvest (Image: Loic Le Guilly)