Tasmania's East Coast by Road


Driving a motor vehicle is the easiest way to get around Tasmania and its surrounding area, particularly for visitors. You can hire a car in all the major cities and towns of Tasmania, or you can bring your own car to Tasmania via the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne. The ferry's only port of call in Tasmania is Devonport, a city in the state's north on the shores of Bass Strait. St Helens, at the northern end of Tasmania's East Coast, is 244 kms or a three hour drive from the Devonport ferry terminal via Launceston. Orford, in the southern section of Tasmania's East Coast, is 78km or a one hour drive from Hobart, Tasmania's capital city.

There are few parts of the state of interest to visitors that can't be reached in motoring comfort, although lesser roads, whilst sealed, do tend to be narrow. In Tasmania, the speed limit on the open road is generally 110 kilometres per hour, with 50 or 60 kph in built up areas. In Tasmania, a driver's licence from your home country or another Australian state will usually suffice for up to three months, as long as it has photo identification and it is for the same class of vehicle you intend to drive. If yor're staying more than three months, you will need to get a Tasmanian drivers licence. 

Tasmanian Road Distances
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Regional Drives

North East Tasmania
This drive begins at Launceston in Tasmania's north. From Hobart, simply drive to Launceston via Midland Highway and start the drive from there.

A diversity of both inland and coastal scenery, quaint old mining towns and seaside resorts, dense rainforests, waterfalls and high mountain peaks contrasted by a rugged granite coastline awaits travellers on this interesting drive through the north eastern corner of Tasmania. The drive is a loop and can be commenced and completed from any of the following places: Launceston, Scottsdale, St Helens, St Marys, Bicheno, Campbell Town, Evandale.
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  • Hobart-Orford Forest Drive
    A day trip with a difference - travel east from Hobart but instead of turning south at Copping towards Forestier and Tasman Peninsula, head north and follow the Wielangta Forest Drive to Orford. It is an unsealed but well maintained Forestry Tasmania trail through Three Thumbs State Reserve and Cape Bernier Nature Reserve. Your destination is the coastal town of Orford - the strong relief of Maria Island across Mercury Passage provides a spectacular backdrop to the view. Return to Hobart from Orford via Tasman Highway. Distance: 164 km

Circumnavigate Tasmania
In 1798-99, British explorers Matthew Flinders and George Bass took three months to circumnavigated Tasmania by ship. Today it can be done by road in seven days. That having been said, this is very much a flying visit as there is a lot to see in Tasmania and seven days is nowhere near enough time to see it all. What it does give is an overall view of the island, taking in the major attractions that people go to Tasmania to see.

The drive is planned to start and finish in Hobart, but you can easily start and finish the drive at any point along the way, such as Launceston, or Devonport if you plan on coming Tasmania on the car ferry from Melbourne.
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  • Esk and Fingal Valleys
    The Esk Highway, which passes through the Fingal valley, provides the shortest access to Tasmania's East Coast from the north of the island. The valley's picturesque countryside contains numerous former mining towns and abandoned mine sites and settlements on the southern slopes of Ben Lomond. Its western end begins at the Midland Highway at Conara Junction, just north of Campbell Town. This end of the valley is dominated by Stack's Bluff.

Tasman Peninsula
A day's drive around the Forestier and Tasmania Peninsulas, taking in the stunning coastline around Eaglehawk Neck, the convict settlement ruins at Port Arthur and other settlements on Norfolk Bay, as well as the Tasmanian Devil Wildlife Park. This is a full day's drive, so the earlier you leave Hobart, the more you will be able to fit into your day.
If you enjoy an easy bushwalk, want to see some of the coastal features up close rather than from a distance, or would like to spend a bit of time taking in the Port Arthur historical site, it is recommended that the trip be extended by a day, with an overnight stopover somewhere on the Tasman Peninsula.
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  • Tasmanian East Coast
    This drive begins in Launceston and travels the whole east coast of Tasmania, touching the Bay of Fires, Ben Lomond National Park, Freycinet Peninsula, Maria Island and the Forestier and Tasman Peninsulas. To make it a round trip from Hobart, drive to Launceston from Hobart via Midland Highway prior to commencement of this drive. To make it a round trip from Launceston, drive back to Launceston from Hobart via Midland Highway after completing this drive.

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