Getting Here and Around
Tasmania is compact—the drive from southern Hobart to northern Launceston takes little more than two hours. The easiest way to see the state is by car, as you can plan a somewhat circular route around the island. Begin in Hobart or Launceston, where car rentals are available from the airport and city agencies, or in Devonport if you arrive on the ferry from Melbourne. Allow plenty of time for stops along the way, as there are some fabulous views to be seen. Bring a sturdy pair of shoes for impromptu mountain and seaside walks; you'll most often have huge patches of forest and long expanses of white beaches all to yourself.
In some cases the street addresses for attractions may not include building numbers (in other words, only the name of the street will be given). Don't worry—this just means either that the street is short and the attractions are clearly visible or that signposts will clearly lead you there.
If you are exploring several national parks in the space of a few weeks or months it is recommended to buy a Holiday Park Pass that is valid for two months for A$60 per vehicle in the National Parks of Tasmania.
Hobart International Airport is 22 km (14 miles) east of Hobart, one hour by air from Melbourne or two hours from Sydney. Although most interstate flights connect through Melbourne, Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia also run direct flights to other mainland cities. Launceston airport is at Western Junction, 16 km (10 miles) south of central Launceston. It's served by Jetstar, Tiger Airways, and Virgin Australia.
On the island, King Island Airlines can get you to the northwest and King Island. Tickets can be booked through the airlines or through the Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre. Tasmanian Redline Coaches has an airport shuttle service for A$17 per person between the airport and its downtown depot. Metered taxis are available at the stand in front of the terminal. The fare to downtown Hobart is approximately A$40.
Port Arthur is an easy 90-minute drive from Hobart via the Arthur Highway. A private vehicle is essential if you want to explore parts of the Tasman Peninsula beyond the historic settlement. A vehicle is absolutely essential on the west coast. The road from Hobart travels through the Derwent Valley and past lovely historic towns before rising to the plateau of central Tasmania. Many of the northwest roads are twisty and even unpaved in the more remote areas, but two-wheel drive is sufficient for most touring. Be prepared for sudden weather changes: snow in the summertime is not uncommon in the highest areas. Lake St. Clair is 173 km (107 miles) northwest of Hobart, and can be reached via the Lyell Highway, or from Launceston via Deloraine or Poatina. Cradle Mountain is 85 km (53 miles) south of Devonport, and can be reached by car via Claude Road from Sheffield or via Wilmot. Both lead 30 km (19 miles) along Route C132 to Cradle Valley.