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Launceston - Hobart
Tasmanian Explorer

Great DrivesA pleasant drive across the rural northeast leads you to the ‘Sun Coast’, with its superb beaches and mild climate. The highlight of this journey, however, is an excursion from Bicheno to glorious Freycinet National Park. South of Bicheno is a spectacular coastline and before reaching Hobart, be sure to stop off in the charming village of Richmond.

Take the time to explore Launceston, visit Franklin Hourse, Penny Royal World, Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery and of course the Cataract Gorge. Cataract Gorge is a piece of wilderness just a few minutes walk from the city centre. This 12 hectare park containing the boulder filled gorge boasts more than 70 species of fauna native to the area. A chairlift joins cliff gardens with flowering rhododendrons and strolling peacocks. Visit this spectacular body of water surrounded by luscious green trees, fern glades and spacious lawns.

Treat yourself to a daytrip to the East Tamar Wine Region, home of some of Tasmania’s most acclaimed vineyards. Head northeast to Scottsdale, you’ll pass through rich green farmland that produces much of the state’s hops, vegetables, beef and wool.

Beyond here, take a short detour to visit spectacular Cuckoo Falls before continuing to the former tin mining centre of Branxholm, best known for its gem fossicking tours and old mine workings. At nearby Derby, the highlight is the Tin Mine Centre, a recreated mining town with a collection of historic buildings and a fascinating museum.

Stop to take in the views from Weldborough Pass, then call in a Pyengana to sample the award-winning cheeses of the Pyengana Dairy Company. You can also take a short drive to St Columba Falls, one of the state’s highest waterfalls at 90 metres.

Next stop is the major fishing port of St Helens, a popular East Coast holiday resort. Walk along the sandy beaches and extensive dunes at St Helens Point, go fishing, or visit the History Room for an insight into the area’s maritime and whaling past.

The Tasman Highway then leads to Scamander, an attractive holiday town with a long sandy beach, the Scamander Forest Reserve, good surfing and fishing for trout and bream in the local river. To the south there are more spectacular beaches and the famous Chain of Lagoons seafood stall - stock up on succulent prawns, oysters and crayfish, or try a scallop and crayfish pie!

Bicheno the gem of the Sun Coast offers something for everyone. The beaches are white and inviting, and the area is ideal for snorkelling, scuba diving and other water sports. Visit the East Coast Birdlife and Animal Park, the Sealife Centre and the town’s blowhole, then take an evening fairy penguin tour. Another option is to drive inland to Douglas Aspley National Park for a tranquil bushwalk among waterfalls, gorges and forests.

A day trip from Bicheno to Freycinet National Park, Tasmania’s premier coastal reserve is a must! With its sheltered white sandy beaches, bright blue waters, forests, rugged pink and grey hued granite peaks and abundant wildlife, Freycinet National Park is indeed a natural paradise.

After leaving Bicheno, drive south to the vineyards around Cranbrook and Swansea, a classified historic town that’s full of old colonial buildings. Take a walk to Great Oyster Bay or visit the Swansea Wine and Wool Centre, located in the 1880s Bark Mill.

The road now leads to 1841 convict built Spiky Bridge and more delightful sandy beaches. Before heading inland to Hobart, take a look at beautiful Spring Beach, near Orford and Buckland’s tiny 1846 church. You’ll then reach picturesque Richmond with its famous bridge, classic Georgian buildings and the 1825 Richmond Gaol. Shop for antiques and knitwear or visit the Richmond Wine Centre and the Old Hobart Town Model Village.

Where to Stay

Time required: 3 - 4 days needed to really explore the region.

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