Tasmania’s east coast boasts abundant natural beauty, stunning landscapes, and gorgeous sandy beaches. Taking a road trip along the Great Eastern Drive is one of the best ways to explore the coast, which spans an impressive 176 kilometers. While you can take all the time you want to explore this route, it can also be completed in as little as one weekend.
Drive in comfort
Living up to its name, the Great Eastern Drive involves plenty of driving. A reliable and spacious car is therefore a must to keep you comfortable on your trip. In particular, drivers commonly rate SUVs as practical vehicles with expansive interiors and roomy trunks. You’ll have plenty of legroom to stretch out your legs, as well as space to keep your belongings and luggage. You’ll also need to pack enough water and snacks to keep you hydrated and well-fueled on the road. Bananas and nuts can provide great energy boosts when your energy levels start to dip. Also be sure to bring sunglasses: having the sun in your eyes while driving can cause headaches. Tinted sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sun’s harsh glare.
Begin in Hobart
Your road trip kicks off in Hobart: Tasmania’s capital city. From here, you’ll drive north on the Tasman Highway while enjoying the expansive scenic views. It’ll take you about an hour to arrive in Triabunna, a charming small coastal town surrounded by beaches, hills and forests. Make time to sample the locally-caught fish and chips before taking the ferry to Maria Island (only half an hour away). You can explore the beautiful and peaceful island’s hiking trails, as well as go swimming, scuba diving or snorkeling. When you’re ready, catch the ferry back to mainland Orford, another nearby small village. Enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants before unwinding for the night in your hotel room.
Exploring Orford and Swansea
Start the next day with a hike in Wielangta Forest — the Three Thumbs track is a 2-hour, 4-kilometre loop that passes through dry eucalyptus forest and temperate rainforest. Exploring Three Thumbs is well worth the effort: you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views over Maria Island, Orford, and Spring Bay. Next up on your road trip, you’ll drive to Freycinet Peninsula, a large peninsula overflowing with natural beauty, including pink granite mountain ranges. Here you can enjoy a number of water sports in Wineglass Bay (think swimming, diving and surfing). If bird-watching is more your thing, head to the Moulting Lagoon wetlands and keep an eye out for the beautiful native pelicans and black swans.
If you have the time, don’t end your road trip before exploring Freycinet National Park — Tasmania’s oldest national park. It has a number of hiking trails of varying lengths, which will give you sweeping views over Wineglass Bay. If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot some of the local wildlife like honeyeaters, black cockatoos, yellow wattlebirds, white-bellied sea eagles, and dolphins.