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There’s no better way to explore Tasmania, Australia’s island state, than taking to the open road. Mother Nature’s finest work is here – mountains, oceans, waterfalls and forests aplenty – so take your time and stop frequently. There are plenty of routes to explore, but here are our favourites.
A two-hour drive from Hobart is the southernmost road in Australia – the gateway to Tasmania’s southern islands. By boat, cross the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, named after French explorer Antoine Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, the first European to sail the waters. Follow his 1792 journey to Bruny Island, now a favourite for seafood and spotting marine life. From May to August, this is the best to see the Aurora Australis. You can also visit the adorable little (or fairy) penguins at the Neck Game Reserve.
Cruise along western Tasmania to explore some of the state’s most gorgeous natural wonders. Starting in Hobart, take Lyell Highway. Your inner racing driver will love the section known locally as the 99 Bends, a contorting collection of sharp turns and hairpins. As you travel, enjoy forest walks such as Huon Pine Walk and Creepy Crawly Track. When you reach the historic mining town of Corinna, kayak the Pieman River in search of the secluded Lovers Waterfall.
Starting in Launceston, head west across the top of the island, taking in the dramatic Bass Strait coastline en route. Stop at the fishing village Stanley, famous for its fresh seafood and views of the Nut, an extinct volcano rising from the sea. Explore Rocky Cape National Park – where wild treks await – and watch the surfers at Green Point Beach in Marrawah. The journey ends in Burnie, a former port town now home to a thriving community of artists.
Explore the centre of Tasmania and uncover the island’s recent history. It’s here you’ll find colonial architecture built by convicts, historic homesteads and remnants of the wool-farming industry. Visit the 19th-century town, Ross, home to Georgian buildings and Australia’s third-oldest bridge. Also stroll down the streets of Bothwell, which are lined with listed buildings. From here, you can take the self-guided Highlands Power Trail to visit the revolutionary Waddamana Power Station, the state’s first hydro-electric power plant.