Are you planning a Launceston to Hobart drive, then heading back again? If so, you’ve chosen a great trip. You’ll love visiting both of Tasmania’s main cities and exploring some gorgeous scenery along the way.
For this run-down of some great places to add to your itinerary, we’re going to drive from Launceston to Hobart via the most direct route and then undertake the return journey in a more relaxed way.
And, if you’re starting in Hobart? Just hold your device upside down. (No? OK, we trust you’ll be able to reverse these steps in a far more successful and logical way!).
Step 1: Pick up your Uber Carshare
With hundreds of cars available in Launceston (or Hobart if you’re setting out from there), you’ll find the ideal vehicle no matter whether you’re travelling solo or with a group of seven friends. Rather than feeling restricted by office business hours, you’ll love the freedom of arranging access to the car at a time that suits you.
Step 2: Enjoy Launceston
Launceston might not be Australia’s best-known regional city but we reckon that makes it ideal to discover. With a population of just shy of 70,000, Launceston has history (it was founded only 18 years after Sydney), great food and drink (wine-growing country is on its doorstep) and lots of nature thanks to the Tamar and South Esk Rivers and Cataract Gorge (try seeing it from the world’s longest single-span chairlift).
Step 3: Launceston to Hobart the direct way
Heading south via the M1, the direct journey between Launceston and Hobart will take you around two-and-a-half hours of driving. If you want to take a great opportunity to see some sights along the way, here are a few recommended places to stop:
Campbell Town: An old-worldy town 45-minutes south of Launceston that sits in the heart of Tasmania’s Midlands. The town is rich in convict history, including cellars that are now a bookstore but originally housed convicts who crafted every single one of the 1.5 million red-clay bricks that were used to build the still-standing Red Bridge.
Oatlands: A cute town filled with sandstone Georgian buildings (yep, also mainly built by convicts). There’s even a windmill! Oatlands is a half-hour drive south of Campbell Town so, if you need to stretch your legs in a more serious way by this stage of your Launceston to Hobart road trip, take advantage of a seven kilometre walking trail along the shores of Lake Dulverton.
Ponvtille: You can enjoy the Jordan River or sojourn to Tasmania’s oldest whisky distillery, Lark, which is located on a grand estate just outside Pontville, which is a further 45 minutes along your Launceston to Hobart drive.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary: Just a few minutes from Pontville is a social enterprise with a big heart. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is home to wombats, kangaroos, koalas, quolls and, of course, Tasmanian devils.
Step 4: Enjoy Hobart
It’s time for the delights of Tasmania’s capital city. Enjoy browsing at the oh-so-pretty Salamanca Market, eat and drink at the world-class bars and restaurants, get your fill of views on the mountain that overlooks all (Mount Wellington) and get your art on at MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art).
Step 5: Hobart to Launceston road trip via the scenic route
It’s time to explore Tasmania’s east coast as part of your extended-dance-mix version of driving from Hobart to Launceston. Being a 6-7 hour drive, not including stops, this journey isn’t for those in a hurry but is ideal for those wanting to explore the best of Tasmania’s natural beauty and other attractions between Hobart and Launceston. Buckle up, here we go!
Optional detour to Port Arthur: It’s a 1.5 hour detour each way from Hobart to visit Port Arthur but, if you have time to spend at least one day at Tasmania’s most famous convict settlement, the World-Heritage listed Port Arthur is well worth visiting for its incredible history set within rolling grassy hills and stunning views.
Richmond: Get your phone ready for some perfect pics in this colonial-era town where the prettiness of wineries, cafes and galleries hides some darker historical happenings, including Australia’s oldest jail.
Triabunna: Ship ahoy! Best known as the spot to catch the ferry to Maria Island (a side-trip well worth considering), the portside Triabunna is a peaceful spot with its own merits for visitors, including beautiful beaches and forests to explore and an abundance of fresh seafood to feast on.
Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park: These spots represent a short detour from the main road but, seeing we’re on a scenic Hobart to Launceston drive, these are well worth including if you have time. Try an early start or a sunset walk to see the famous Wineglass Bay without the crowds or choose one of the other walks or bays (including Honeymoon Bay) for equal magnificence.
Bicheno: Another spot for lovers of nature, including the Bicheno Blowhole and the chance to see little penguins or, off the coast between May to December, passing whales. Or, get into the water for snorkelling or diving among kelp-covered reefs.
Optional detour to Bay of Fires: Continue north up the stunningly wild Surf Coast road via Scamander (yep, the same name as the Harry Potter world character, Newt Scamander as well as the river god in Greek mythology) to St Helens, Tasmania’s game-fishing hub. From there, a half-hour detour will take you to the Bay of Fires, a place many consider to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Step 6: Back to Launceston
Return to the turn-off to the A4 in order to journey west back to rejoin the M1 just above Campbell Town, allowing you to drive back into Launceston the same way you departed.
Along the way you’ll have immersed yourself in the best nature, history and food that Tasmania’s central area and east coast has to offer.
Step 7: I want more!
If this journey has whetted your appetite for driving in the Apple Isle, make your next stop our guide to the Ultimate Tasmanian Road Trip so you can also check out iconic places like Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair.
Where should I stop between Hobart and Launceston?
See our comprehensive guide above for recommended stops both on a direct route between Launceston and Hobart and for a scenic route travelling at a slower pace via Tasmania’s east coast.
What is there to see between Hobart and Launceston?
What isn’t there to see between Hobart and Launceston? Some of Tasmania’s best-known attractions are all short detours from a scenic route between Tasmania’s two biggest cities, including Port Arthur convict settlement, Freycinet National Park including Wineglass Bay, and the stunning landscape of the Bay of Fires.
Is Launceston Tasmania worth visiting?
We think so! Launceston might be a smaller and less well-known regional city but it’s far from lacking in natural beauty or great food and drink.
Is Hobart or Launceston better?
Hobart is larger and therefore has more attractions for multi-day stays, including Salamanca Market, Mount Wellington and the world-famous MONA gallery. We think they’re both worth visiting! Once you’ve taken your road trip in a Uber Carshare, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
How do I get on the road?
Sure, you could hire a car for your Tassie travels but if you compare the downsides of a major rental car shortage and subsequent high prices with the convenience and pricing of Uber Carshare’s share options (we found a saving of over $1,100 for this exact trip), you’ll know where to click to find your ideal Tasmanian exploration vehicle.
Information included in this article is accurate as of (publish date).The information published on this blog is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. The information published on this site/page should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. Images used in this article are free to use images under the creative commons license.