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5-Day Hobart Loop

This 5 day Hobart driving loop takes you through the best of central Tasmania. Starting in Hobart and driving up to Launceston and then on to Cradle Mountain, you’ll stop in small towns steeped in history and see beautiful scenery along the way. On the road back to Hobart, find tantalising treats and sip on tasty Tassie wine.

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Day 1: Hobart

Salamanca Markets

Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Phil Kitt

Welcome to Hobart, Tasmania’s vibrant capital. Start your day with a hearty breakfast from the quirky Machine Laundry Café, located in Salamanca Square. This spot would be perfect if you’re in town for the weekly Saturday market.

Credit: Salamanca Market

After brekkie, drive over to The Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) to peruse Australia’s largest private museum. Owned by Hobart local celebrity, David Walsh – the eccentric millionaire has curated a diverse and controversial collection. A trip to Hobart isn’t complete without seeing Mona, so hop to it.

After a morning of culture, you could have lunch onsite at Mona at The Source, or drive back into Hobart for an urban spread at Ginger Brown.

Park the car and spend the afternoon drink-hopping at Hobart’s breweries and distilleries. Our top 3 breweries to check out would be:

We know that beer isn’t everyone’s tipple of choice so fret not; we know a spot for you. Lark Distillery will be where you’re heading. Based in the CBD, the cellar door is open until 7 pm most days and until late on Friday and Saturday nights. We recommend trying their single malt whiskeys and their unique gins.

Feel free to spend the rest of the night at a trendy bar like Preachers, known for their cocktails and burgers (also there is a bus in the courtyard to sit in).

Stay the night at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in the centre of town or try a B&B on the outskirts for something a little homier.

Day 2: Hobart to Launceston – 2.5 hours, 201 kilometres

Cataract Gorge

Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

Today you’ll be departing Hobart for the northern town of Launceston. The drive takes about two and a half hours to complete and on the way you’ll have the opportunity to see Tasmania’s green countryside and visit small villages.

Feel free to stop over in one of the towns for a casual lunch surrounded by friendly locals and a chance to experience first settlers’ history in Tasmania. Consider stopping in Oatlands, one of Tasmania’s oldest settlements with more than 150 sandstone buildings. Whilst here, take the time to visit the Callington Mill, the only fully restored and working Lincolnshire wind-driven flour mill in the Southern Hemisphere.

After a wholesome lunch in Oatlands, drive through to Launceston. Launceston is Tasmania’s second largest city and is blessed with natural beauty and nourishing soil that produces great vineyards and pastures for grazing animals. It’s not surprising to find that the food scene here is booming, with lots of farm to table joints opening up in town.

There’s also a fair amount of art and history to be found here, visit the Queen Victoria Museum for their assorted collection, or the Franklin House to step back in time and learn what life nearly 200 years ago would have been like. For car lovers, take a pit stop at the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania. There is a small, but ever-changing exhibition of vintage cars and motorcycles.

If you’d rather be outside in nature, Launceston Cataract Gorge may be for you. Being only 15 minutes from the city centre and providing hiking trails, a chairlift and a swimming pool, you can spend many hours here.

Turn in for the night at charming Alice’s Cottages and Spa or the upmarket Commodore Regent.

Day 3: Launceston to Cradle Mountain – 2 hours, 150 kilometres

Cradle Mountain

Credit: Sean Scott Photography

Leave Launceston early via the National Highway 1. In about 40 minutes you’ll reach Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm, which is perfect for breakfast or brunch. There is a wide range of comfort food to choose from, as well as affordable cocktail creations. We recommend the ‘Berry Hot Toddy’, a hot spiced tea infused with rum, and raspberry infused brandy.

Back on the road and 8 minutes north is the Ashgrove Tasmanian farm, home of award winning dairy treats. Try the wild wasabi/bush pepper cheeses and creamy ice-creams.

Before driving through to Cradle Mountain, stop in Sheffield, known for its extensive display of murals. If you’re camping in Cradle Mountain, now would also be the time to stop at the local IGA for food and supplies.

Located at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain is one of Tasmania's most visited natural attractions. There is a visitor centre and many styles of accommodation to choose from.

Before the sun sets, drive up to Dove Lake Parking where you’ll leave the car and bring the camera. Nearby walks will give you great views of the Dove Lake Boatshed. You may also spot Tasmanian Devils, quolls, platypuses and echidnas in nearby brush.

Day 4: Cradle Mountain to Ross – 2.75 hours, 208 kilometres

Ross Bakery

Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Adrian Cook

Start off the day with a visit to devils@cradle. Located in the heart of Cradle Mountain country, the centre aims to educate visitors about all-things Tasmanian devil related. Join a day keeper tour in the morning at 10:30. After meeting these famous furry Tasmanian devils, jump back in the car and drive on to Ross.

North of Hobart, Ross is a historic Tasmanian town in the Midlands. Reminiscent of the English Cotswolds, the scenery is lush and the buildings are charming. Whilst in town, visit the Ross Bridge. Made from sandstone and constructed with convict labour, the bridge is the third oldest in Australia.

You can also take a trip to Ross Bakery, which has been operating for over a 100 years! It’s a popular spot for Japanese tourists, as it looks like the real-life version of the bakery from ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’. The bread isn’t half-bad either, baked in a traditional wood-fired, semi-scotch brick oven.

The Tasmanian Wool Centre can also be found in Ross, where you can learn about the history of the wool industry in Tasmania and how it shaped the community and the state.

For a comfortable night stay, Elm Trees Accommodation @ Ross is a solid option. It offers a two-bedroom self-contained apartment with fireplace and extras such as continental breakfast and treats on arrival.

Day 5: Ross to Hobart – 1.5 hours, 120 kilometres

Puddleduck Vineyard

Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Sarah Ryan

Today is the final leg of your journey, returning to Hobart. If you want to go straight through to Hobart, the drive takes about 1 hour and a half to complete and you’ll be travelling via Highway 1.

If you’d like to taste some fine Tasmanian wine, travel down Highway 1 from Ross until turning left on to the B31. You’ll then continue on until Richmond, a picturesque town located in the Coal River Valley wine region. Have lunch at Czeg’s Café, a warm and inviting space that serves seasonal, modern Australian cuisine.

If you’re up for a history lesson, visit the Richmond Goal, it’s the oldest intact gaol in Australia (1825) and predates the penal colony at Port Arthur.

Hop back into the car and drive south to your first winery for tasting. We suggest 3 wineries to stop at on the way through to Hobart. In order, Pooley Wines, Puddleduck Vineyard and Frogmore Creek Winery are the ones to see. Their cellar doors are open between 10-5 most days and we recommend bringing $5 to cover a tasting, just in case.

From Frogmore Creek Winery, it’s only about a 20 minute drive back to Hobart, or 15 minutes to Hobart airport.

Tip: If you have time, visit Mount Wellington. It’s only a 30 minute drive from Hobart and well worth it for the superb views of the city below.

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