About 12,000 years ago sea levels rose, cutting off Tasmania from mainland Australia. In doing so, it isolated some of the most spectacular parts of the country to that little island south of the Bass Strait.
The “Apple Isle” has a population density of about 20 people per square mile, and as over half of these people live in just the two metropolitan areas of Hobart and Launceston, the countryside of Tasmania can feel wonderfully empty at times. This beautiful and diverse island is just begging to be explored.
So, is Tasmania good for campervans? Tasmania is a fantastic place for campervans. It is setup with hundreds of free campsites and local communities are very welcoming to campervan tourists. Tasmania is a natural paradise – it has 17 national parks and over 42% of its wilderness is protected and camping spots can be found in most of these areas. It is also easy to get around the country with an excellent and well-maintained road network.
Parking a campervan in Tasmania
You can campervan almost anywhere in Tasmania. A while ago a couple of local councils tried to place a ban on free camping, but it was quickly reversed when campervan tourists simply stopped visiting these areas, which resulted in dramatic losses in revenue for most businesses.
While it is not strictly legal to park your campervan anywhere you like in Tasmania, you are unlikely to get into trouble for doing so. Most small towns realize the economic benefits of allowing free camping, and therefore most councils offer free campsites.
More information and an interactive camping map can be found here: www.campingtasmania.com
8 day Tasmania campervan itinerary
Here’s a sample itinerary to make sure you hit all the best that Tasmania has to offer. I recommend you give yourself at least 7 days to explore the island. If you can do 10+ days, even better!
Day One: Hobart
Fly into Hobart in the morning and spend the day exploring the quaint waterside capital of Tasmania. Visit the famous Salamanca Markets, or for the more adventurous, head on over to climb Mount Wellington for sweeping views of Hobart, the bays and seemingly endless rolling hills. Pick up your campervan, ready for the next day.
Day Two: Hobart to Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park
Head north out of Hobart for the roughly two-hour, 105-mile trip up the coast. Explore the pristine beaches, dine on delicious oysters at Freycinet Marine Farm or climb up to Wineglass Bay Lookout for unbelievable views.
Day Three: Coles Bay to Bay of Fires
Continue north up the coast to visit this 30-mile stretch of stunning coastline. Enjoy the contrasting colors of the sea, blindingly white sand and ochre-colored boulders that dot the shore.
Visit Binalong bay and enjoy some swimming or surfing – if that is your thing – or head to Mt. Pearson Reserve for some local wine tasting if that sounds more appealing. Move on to Ansons Bay for kayaking or take a licensed fishing trip to catch yourself some supper.
Days Four & Five: Cradle Mountain
Enjoy the 190-mile scenic drive west along the top of the state to Cradle Mountain, and witness some of the most stunning, unique and glaciated landscapes that Australia has to offer. This region is a hiker’s paradise, so pick any one of the walks, depending on your fitness level, and head into nature for a day of exploration.
If you are after something a little less energetic, head to the Tasmanian Devil Sanctuary to get up close and personal with this endangered species.
Day Six: Strahan
It is only an 85-mile drive down to Strahan, so take your time and enjoy it. Go for a cruise on the Gordon River or enjoy a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Railway, a half-day return trip from Strahan that takes in Macquarie Harbour, the King River and then heads deep into a lush, temperate rain forest.
Day Seven: Mount Field National Park
Leave early, heading east inland and back toward Hobart. Stop off at lovely Lake St. Clair, the finishing point of the Overland Track. It is only a 160-mile drive to Mount Field, but allow a good five hours for the journey, and more if you stop at Lake St. Clair for a look around. Once at the National Park, choose to visit either Russell Falls or Horseshoe Falls.
Day Eight: Return to Hobart
It is only a 40-mile drive back to the capital, so enjoy your morning in the National Park, before heading back to off hire your vehicle.
Must Do: The 40 Mile Overland Track
If you have a little more time on your hands than the above itinerary, you need to consider undertaking The Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair. It is the quintessential Australian backcountry expedition, taking in 40 miles of stunning landscapes; from glaciated valleys and giant gum tree forests to mountain peaks and crystal-clear lakes.
The hike must be done from north to south in the busy period, and as numbers on the trail have been severely limited due to intense conservation efforts, you will need to book the walk well ahead of time. If you do not mind the cold weather and have all the right gear for surviving in sub-freezing temperatures, then it is possible to undertake the walk from south to north during the off season.
There are camping platforms en route, as well as maintained huts. There is a great deal of Australian wildlife to be seen including wombats and the Tasmanian Pademelon, a cute, friendly, small and extra fluffy version of a kangaroo.
As this is a point-to-point hike, you will need to arrange transport from the end of the trail back to your vehicle. A good way to do this is to team up with other hikers who have their own vehicles, and depositing one vehicle at the end of the trail for transport back to pick up the other.
Campervan rental companies
Apollo and Britz are the two large multinational companies in Tasmania that you may have heard of. If you seek the peace of mind that comes with slightly inflated prices and reliable vehicles, then they may be the best choice for you.
If you wish to experience more of a local flavor, then the two companies Tasmanian Campervan Hire and GoCheap Motorhome & Campervan Hire Hobart are the ones that consistently receive the best reviews. For the backpacker crowd or those on a limited budget, talk to the guys at Wicked Campers for a funky and sometimes mildly-offensive design painted on your van.
Transporting a campervan to Tasmania by ferry
It is easier than ever to get to Tasmania – by direct flight from most of the Australian state capitals, or by ferry from Melbourne to Devonport – so it is indeed possible to transport a campervan from the mainland. There is only one company that makes this 9 – 11 hour voyage; The Spirit of Tasmania, and prices will vary from season to season.
In the peak season, the summer months of December to February, a ticket on this ferry for 2 adults and a small campervan will cost anywhere between $400 – $600 AU ($275 – $410 US). The Spirit of Tasmania operate 10 ferries each way per week. In the colder winter months, that same fare will be a flat rate $297 AU ($200 US), and ferries only depart once per day.
Best months to visit and weather considerations
Tasmania has four distinct seasons, although it is tempting to just think of Australia as being a hot, dry country. However, the tip of Australia stretches almost to the equator, whereas Hobart sits near the 42nd parallel south. That means that if it was in the northern hemisphere, it would be on a similar axis to New York. And you know how cold it gets there.
The interior of Tasmania and in the mountains experience some tremendously cold winters. I hiked the aforementioned Overland Track from south to north in winter a couple of years ago, and had to negotiate a heavy dump of snow on the first day from Lake St. Clair.
Then I had to camp in sub-freezing temperatures for the duration of the expedition, followed by near-blizzard conditions as I approached the summit of Cradle Mountain.
It is much warmer around the coastal regions of the state, but that is a relative term, and you should be willing (and able) to cope with some pretty chilly campervanning conditions.
The average daily temperatures in winter in Tasmania are between 37 – 50°F, while in the summer months that rises to around 70°F. The warmest months of the year are December to March, while the shoulder months of October – November and April – May offer a good mix between milder temperatures and less-crowded roads.
Where to fly into
Flights to Tasmania land in the capital of Hobart. It is possible to fly direct from the mainland cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Most flights arrive from the nearest capital city of Melbourne, and therefore flights from this airport tend to be the most competitive and the cheapest. The airlines that fly into Hobart are Jetstar, Tiger Air, Virgin Australia and Qantas.
How long does a campervan battery last?
As a general rule, with moderate use, one campervan battery should last about 48 hours without charge. However, it is recommended that you charge the battery every day to avoid losing power when you need it the most. Campervan batteries are independent of the engine batteries, and will recharge whenever the vehicle is being driven, or when plugged into a power generating source like a generator or solar panels.
The amount of time your battery will last depends on a range of factors, including: how many appliances you are using, how often you use them, how powerful your battery is and how many of them you have.
That’s all for this guide to campervan vacationing in Tasmania. I hope you have a wonderful time exploring this one of a kind destination. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!
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As a travel writer and photographer, Gordon spent the better part of 2018 visiting 13 different countries as far apart as Chile, Morocco and Vietnam. He is in New Zealand in 2019, writing a third travel book, while exploring pretty much anything that forms a bump on the Earth’s surface.