Jamie McHale

Sunshine and Mountains

Tasmania Road Trip

November 18th 2018

A week-long tour of Tassie, beaches, history, modern art and rugged mountain walks

After visiting the Blue Mountains, I went to Tasmania. I took a little over a week to take a camper around Tasmania. It was a brilliant, varied landscape, with lots of wildlife and interesting places to visit.


I flew into Launceston airport and rented a camper van from Hertz. As I arrived in the evening, I drove out to the nearby town of Lilydale to the Lilydale Falls Reserve campsite.

The campsite was basic, with some parking spaces, tent spaces and a toilet block. The falls were a short walk away, and were nice, although not spectacular.

I caught my first sight of a Huntsman Spider the following morning.

Bay of Fires

The first full day in Tasmania I drove out to Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires. The area is known for the costal rock formations that carry red lichen, giving the bay its 🔥 name.

On the way I visited the "Big Tree" at the Blue Tier reserve - down a small forest track. A bit nerve-wracking in the camper van, and as the Google Maps marker was about 100m away from the actual trailhead.

I stayed at "Cosy Corner North" campsite, north of St Helens. It was a basic site, with limited amenities, but excellent for access to the wonderful beach and bay.


The next day I drove down to Coles Bay, taking in the Chain of Lagoons on the way down.

The drive was a bit more overcast than the previous day, but it was good to see the coast.

I stayed for two days at the Big 4 campsite at Coles Bay. Slightly cheaper than some of the other local accomodation.

On the second day I ran/hiked the 29km Freycinet peninsula loop. This track is usually done over two days, but is doable in a day provided you set off early enough and don't carry too much (I did neither).

I did the loop starting on the Hazards track, up around the back of Mt Graham, and then over into Wineglass Bay. The bay at the end of a day was a real treat, the sun came through, and it was a world-class view. I appreciated the several km of steps to the car park less. Sore legs!

Here is a GoPro QuikStory of the run:

Port Arthur

I was shattered from the Freycinet run - perhaps not quite as fit as I'd like to be! The next day was an easy day, driving down to Port Arthur.

I accidentally took a C-road which turned into a gravel track. An hour or so of crawling along in my camper. Nice to see a different part of Tasmania though!

I visited the Port Arthur Historic Site. I recommend this visit, to be paired with the book "The Fatal Shore". It was interesting seeing part of both British and Australian history, and the realisation of British 'justice' in the transportation system and prison. Moving to see the site in real life.

Hobart / MONA

The following day I drove over to Mt Field National Park via Hobart.

I visited the MONA museum, a short boat ride (on a camo catamaran with sheep seats!) from the center. MONA was amazing, part art/part architectural experience. I wandered around for a few hours letting it wash over me. I'll be sure to return in the future.

Mt Field Campground is a great campsite, with access to the impressive Russell Falls. It was a quiet and calming place, with a track to see Glow Worms after dark.

Cradle Mountain

I then drove up the west coast to Cradle Mountain. I stayed at Discovery Parks, which had good private pitches for campervans. The final day I spent doing the Cradle Mountain summit walk.

I was expecting a hike, but the way up to the summit is a scramble and clamber over big rocks. It made me regret not doing more yoga this year!

The view from the top was spectacular! It was such a clear day, you could see for miles.

An excellent way to end the Tassie trip.


Up next is a couple of days from Christchurch to Wanaka, taking in Mount Cook.