Why not be different . . . and take a tour of the lovely island of Tasmania. When on the other side of the world, most tourists choose to travel around mainland Australia and or New Zealand. But you really miss out on a unique Down Under experience if you don't visit Tasmania. On this six day self drive tour of the island's east coast you will see beautiful sandy beaches, gorges, rivers and waterfalls, national parks and mountains on the way to the capital city Hobart. This marvellous tour is a must for the tourist who wants to get that little bit extra out of a long haul trip.
On arrival pick up your rental car at Launceston airport or downtown and begin by exploring this garden city. Launceston nestles in a wide river valley amid lush green countryside. Attractions include the Penny Royal Gunpowder Mill, which is an imaginative man-made development. Cataract Gorge is well worthwhile visiting, located only a few minutes drive from the city. A one mile walk along the face of the cliff ends in the Cataract Cliff Grounds Reserve from where a chairlift crosses the gorge.
Launceston to Coles Bay
Leave Launceston and head towards the coast then take the Tasman Highway to Coles Bay which is situated beside the world famous Freycinet National Park where spectacular red granite peaks plunge deep into the ocean. The park itself was proclaimed in 1916 as a flora and fauna reserve. Now it covers 11,000 hectares and boasts a variety of vegetation including wattles, Oyster Bay pines, grass trees and banksias with the predominant feature being its coastal heath lands.Secluded swimming areas can be found in the east of the park such as Wineglass Bay with its spectacular sandy beaches.
Today is yours to explore the region at your leisure. The Coles Bay-Freycinet National Park area is noted for its spectacular coastal scenery and you can enjoy fishing, boating, bush walking and swimming. Where else would you find granite mountains rising straight from the sea to form a magnificent sheltered waterway? Walk into the park and climb the Hazards or the mountains to the south, both of which offer marvellous views across the bay and the Tasman Sea. Or drive on the rough roads through the park stopping for a swim in the clear, safe waters of the bay.
Coles Bay to Port Arthur
Depart Coles Bay and travel through the town of Triabunna, Sorell, and Dunalley to Port Arthur. The town is a symbol of Australia 's 19th century convict system. The settlement operated from 1830 to 1877 as a timber sawing station, and later as an industrial prison. After the closure, most of the land and buildings were auctioned off, with new residents renaming it Carnarvon township. The old settlement has now been restored and is today Tasmania 's premier historic site. In the evening, you can take a ghost tour where you walk around the settlement with a guide.
Port Arthur to Hobart
Leave Port Arthur and travel via the Arthur Highway to Hobart, which is the smallest of Australia 's state capitals. It stands on the Derwent River, one of the deepest harbours in the world. The old city centre, with its wealth of colonial buildings, clusters around Sullivans Cove, backed by wooded slopes rising to the often snow-capped peak of Mount Wellington. Its limited size, rich architectural heritage and beautiful setting make Hobart a delight to explore.
Your tour of Tasmania's east coast ends today, but before you return your hire car and leave for the airport for your onward flight or journey home, there may be time for some last minute sightseeing or some shopping in this tourist-friendly city.