Exploring Tasmania's East Coast

the famous wineglass bay in freycinet tasmania

Tasmania is arguably the most beautiful of all Australia's states with its spectacular, untouched old growth forests, historical towns and scenic coastline. As the smallest state, it is jam-packed with physical beauty and historical features, making it the perfect destination for road-tripping visitors.

The best way to see these breathtaking destinations across Tasmania is to take your rental car. Search and compare deals with VroomVroomVroom and pick up your car hire, or even better a reliable campervan from Hobart to start exploring. We compiled a quick list of some of our favourite places to stop on this East Coast Tasmania trip. 

Book a car in Tasmania

Take in the natural wonders in Freycinet 

For a weekender or busy day trip, visitors to Tassie must see the famed Freycinet Coast and Wineglass Bay. With adventure sports, fresh seafood and breathtaking scenery it's the perfect destination for families, older travelers or adventurers. The two and half hour drive north-east from Hobart (or just two hours from Launceston) snakes its way along the gorgeous, emerald Prosser River, through sleepy mountain ranges and along some of the most breathtaking coastline in the country.  If you have some time to spare, experience one of Australia's most dramatic road trips on the Great Eastern Drive.

Explore Maria Island

australian wombat in the wild

Along the way, you'll pass through Orford and Triabunna, the charming gateways to historical Maria Island.  If you have the time, a stop in Orford or Triabunna and the magnificent bay in between, is well worth it. Take a day trip out to Maria Island for a dive on the world class reef, a walk through the UNESCO-listed historical ruins and a photo or two of the wildlife, including penguins as they huddle together on picturesque cliff tops.  If it all sounds a bit too taxing, simply settle in for a nice, long day of fishing in the crystal clear waters of Prosser Bay.

Stay at a Ryokan in Rocky Hills

Further north, you'll drive through the spectacular Rocky Hills, rising up over the beautiful coastline and home to the convict-built Spiky Bridge with its unusual architecture and spectacular views. Rocky Hills has a range of luxury accommodation on offer, including Australian-Japanese style Ryokans.

Enjoy the charming coastal town of Swansea

On to Swansea, and foodies and wine lovers are in for a real treat. The area is famous for its seafood, fresh produce and for being the gateway to Tasmania's boutique wine country.  Relax, sample and enjoy the charming coastal town of Swansea. But the pinnacle of a weekender or jam packed day trip is the spectacular Freycinet Peninsula and National Park. From Swansea, enjoy the views of Oyster Bay as you head east towards Coles Bay. 

Take a swim in Wineglass Bay

You may know you're in Coles Bay when you notice the sparkling clear waters. You may notice the sandy beaches but more than likely you'll notice the rugged landscape, with its dramatic cliffs and stunning pink granite peaks. Why not pick up a dozen famous freshly shucked local oysters and take in the dramatic pink landscape from a beach picnic.

Coles Bay offers visitors the opportunity to get up close to pods of friendly dolphins on a cruise to the spectacular Wineglass Bay. Take in all the natural beauty from numerous walking tracks and lookouts within the Freycinet National Park. It's a wonderful destination for families and older travelers as well as for lovers of Tasmanian seafood and fresh produce.  For the weekender, Coles Bay offers accommodation to suit any budget.

See the penguins in Bicheno

the oldest bridge is in richmond

From here, drive north along the edge of Freycinet National Park to the historical town of Bicheno. From its early days as an important fishing and whaling port to the popular tourist destination it is now, Bicheno has always been a favourite for adventurous visitors. 

Foodies will love the local seafood including crayfish and abalone and adventure tourists will love the snorkeling, hiking, scuba diving and kayaking. Diamond Island Resort in Bicheno runs a Penguin parade for free. The Blue Edge Bakery located at 55 Burgess Street is a great place to relax and enjoy good coffee. If blowholes excite you, for sure you'll like the Bicheno blowhole. There's plenty to do for families too, such as Tassie devil spotting and plenty of family-friendly walks in the nearby Douglas-Apsley National Park.

Visit the oldest bridge in Richmond

If you're heading back to Hobart and love a bit of convict history, you can opt for the inland route – turn towards Lake Leake just after Swansea. After heading inland, take the Midland Highway and Colebrook Road through convict country back to Hobart. A stop in picturesque Richmond with its 19th century stone buildings and postcard-pretty scenery is a must.  If you are the type to yearn for the good old days, Richmond is a wonderful place to shop, with olden style lolly shops, handmade lace and pretty linen and beautiful wooden handicrafts.  For some great coffee and pies, The Richmond Bakery is one not to miss!

Just a warning for visitors to Tasmania as you'll be tempted to come back over and over! There's plenty to see and do, and thanks to diligent conservation efforts, there's so much natural beauty to be enjoyed.