Top Ten Things to do in Hobart with a Campervan

Need inspiration for your campervan road trip departing from Hobart? We’ve made a shortlist of southern Tasmania’s top 10 places to visit.

Cockle Creek

As the southernmost motorable area in Australia, Cockle Creek is the literal end of the road. Nothing but the Southern Ocean and Antarctica lie beyond this point. Kickback in the spectacular Cockle Creek Campground, or stretch your legs on the South Cape Bay Track.

Mount Hartz National Park

A steep 7.7km hike rambles toward Hartz Peak, where you’ll get unrivalled views of Tasmania’s spectacular southwest. More easy-going routes meander between glistening alpine tarns, and there’s a lovely little free camp at the bottom of the hill.

Bruny Island

Not far south of Hobart sits Bruny, a sprawling Tasman Sea island separated by a scenic isthmus known as The Neck. Agriculture dominates the north section, while untamed landscapes abound in its national park-strewn south. Hit Adventure Bay for sheltered swims or tackle hardy hikes on the Labillardiere Peninsula.

Lake St Clair

At the southern tip of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Australia’s deepest lake shimmers with an ethereal glow. From leisurely lakeside strolls to arduous alpine peaks, this pristine region is a hotspot for hikers. The lake is also the finishing point for the Overland Track, Australia’s most famous multi-day adventure.

Lake Peddler

A road trip to Lake Peddler showcases the raw, untouched wilderness of Tasmania’s spectacular southwest. Rugged mountainous trails afford sweeping water views, and there’s a gorgeous free camp at Teds Beach. The grand finale is Gordon Dam, a double curvature concrete arch stretching 140 metres high.

Mount Field National Park

Within easy reach of Hobart, Mount Field is an outdoor adventure playground chock full of rainforest-shrouded falls and glistening glacial lakes. Hikers hit its vast network of trails in the warmer months, while winters entail skiing at the summit. Watch the towering eucalypt forests give way to hardy alpine vegetation as you drive upwards to the peak.

Freycinet National Park

As Tasmania’s most-celebrated coastal park, Freycinet reels in the crowds for its turquoise coves and striking granite ridges. Scale the lofty Mount Amos for an elevated view, and then scramble down to Wineglass Bay for a refreshing dip. Or, side-step the crowds with an extended trample along the 30km, three-day Freycinet Peninsula Circuit.

Maria Island

A safe haven for native wildlife, car-free Maria Island is a must for animal lovers. Meander undulating coastal walks while spotting cute wombats and bouncing marsupials along the way. The island offers your best chance of encountering the endangered Tasmanian devil—the fierce critters congregate around the Maria Island Campground.

Port Arthur

As the best-preserved convict settlement in Australia, this World Heritage-listed site is a highlight for history buffs. The eerie, open-air museum has a colossal penitentiary, several solitary confinement cells, and a hallowed convict church to explore. Early colonialists chose the Tasman Peninsula to contain would-be escapees, who had to clamber down sea cliffs or brave ferocious guard dogs to find freedom—only a handful ever got out alive.

Tasman National Park

Some of the world’s tallest sea cliffs encircle this inhospitable peninsula, which you can traverse via a network of vertigo-inducing trails. Tackle steep day hikes at Cape Raoul, Waterfall Bluff or Cape Hauy to admire the 300-metre precipices from above. For a longer walk, The Three Capes Track is a 48 km four-day adventure with lux lodgings for a comfy sleep (a free, shorter route departs from Fortescue Bay). None of these options appeal? Jump on a Tasman boat tour instead.

The Hobart Experience

It’s hard not to fall in love with Hobart. Despite its frigid winters, mainland Australians are packing up their possessions and moving to the city in droves—the real estate market is piping hot right now.

Part of the appeal lies in the town’s spectacular natural setting. Straddling the tranquil River Derwent, the city is blessed with waterfront views. The 1,270-metre Mount Wellington looms in the background, where you’ll find panoramic lookouts and the sublime sub-alpine Organ Pipes walk. The verdant Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens offer a glimpse of the island’s natural splendour, while Rosny Hill Lookout is your best bet for a lofty cityscape view.

Historic Hobart hosts a multitude of intriguing old-timey sites. The convict-constructed Constitution Dock sits in the centre, where shimmering waters cast a reflection of pastel-coloured colonial homes.

The Hobart Convict Penitentiary and Cascades Female Factory provide insight into darker days. For a more light-hearted history lesson, order a pint at Cascade Brewery Bar, Australia’s oldest beer maker. South of the CBD, Battery Point is an atmospheric old neighbourhood with sweeping views.

Present-day Hobart has a thriving contemporary side. At the helm reigns MONA, a whimsical subterranean space and world-famous art museum. Every Saturday, the Salamanca Market heaves with artisans flogging locally-grown produce and handcrafted wares. A smorgasbord of trendy hospitality venues peppers the centre—Hobart is a great place to wine and dine.

A dazzling array of spectacular natural attractions resides within an easy drive of the city.

Northwest of Hobart

Venturing northwest leads you past New Norfolk towards Mount Field, one of Tassie’s most sought-after national parks. Gushing falls, and rainforest shroud the mountain base—hit the Three Falls Circuit to admire them all. The steep winding drive towards the summit leads to more hiking adventures, including the sublime Tarn Shelf Track.

Heading west, stop at Styx Tall Trees Forest Reserve to marvel at monstrously large Eucalyptus regnans. Next, you’ll hit the twin lakes of Gordon and Peddler, home to spectacular waterfront campgrounds and high-altitude trails. At the end of the road, the towering Gordon Dam makes for a top-notch photo op.

Southwest of Hobart

Just outside the city, Mount Nelson has a network of hilly hikes, while Kingston straddles a pretty peninsula and the panoramic Alum Cliffs Track. Pop in for pancakes at the Margate Train before jumping on a car ferry to Bruny Island.

Tassie’s most Instagrammable lookout resides at Bruny’s Neck, a razor-sharp isthmus separating north and south. South Bruny hosts the island’s best natural sites. Don’t miss Adventure Bay and the Labillardiere Peninsula.

Back on the mainland, the Huon Valley is home to a smattering of lovely riverfront towns. Swing by Woodbridge, Cygnet, Franklin, and Geeveston for quaint countryside vibes. The Huon is prime apple-growing territory—guzzle a bottle of locally-brewed cider at Pagan or Willie Smiths.

Hartz Mountains National Park is a worthy detour for its glacial lakes and lofty views. The same applies to Hastings Cave, with its enormous dolomite cavern and soothing thermal springs.

Travellers venturing down the long dirt road to Cockle Creek are rewarded with waterfront campsites and glimmering coves. The 16km South Cape Bay Track offers a taste of the wild Southwest National Park.

East of Hobart

The eastern route first takes you to the Tasman Peninsula, a dramatic landmass with colonial sites and staggering sea cliffs. Eagle Neck is a narrow isthmus separating its two sides—it once helped keep convicts captive with its infamous, canine-guarded Dog Line. Don’t miss the kaleidoscopic rock formations at the Tessellated Pavement.

Day hikes depart from Doo Town—the Waterfall Bluff Track is a winner. Further south, Fortescue Bay leads to the peninsula’s most mind-blowing cliff-top walks. Tackle the steep steps to Cape Hauy or the overnight trek to Cape Pillar.

Not that energetic? You can book a cruise around this portion of the peninsula instead.

Port Arthur is Australia’s best-preserved convict settlement. Allow several hours to explore its crumbling Penitentiary and other historic abodes. Further south, you’ll find more jaw-dropping trails on Cape Raoul, plus the aptly named Remarkable Cave.

North of the peninsula, passenger ferries depart Orford for the wildlife-rich Maria Island, a car-free haven home to fuzzy wombats and ferocious Tasmanian devils. Some visit as a day trip. But if time permits, it’s worth bringing a tent and camping overnight (you’ll have to leave the van on the mainland).

North of Maria sits Freycinet, a dreamy national park packed with granite mountains and turquoise coves. The curvaceous white sand beach at Wineglass Bay is its most celebrated site, though avid trekkers will find plenty more to explore.

North Tasmania

The northern half of Tasmania hosts a plethora of pristine wilderness regions. If you plan to primarily explore the north, you’re better off hiring a camper in Launceston or Devonport. Nonetheless, due to the state’s small stature, it’s still feasible to visit the north from Hobart.

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair is Tasmania’s—and some say Australia’s—most spectacular national park. Spell-binding walking trails and scenic lookouts abound in both the southern Lake St Clair and northern Cradle Mountain sections. You don’t need to be a gung-ho adventurer. Easy-going family-friendly hikes slice through the rugged alpine terrain.

Other worthwhile northern sites include the likes of Cataract Gorge, Bay of Fires, Liffey Falls, Montezuma Falls, Leven Canyon, and Tarkine Drive. Of course, that’s by no means an exhaustive list.

Hiking in Tasmania

Tassie is a trekking mecca with endless breathtaking trails to trudge along. See the Parks & Wildlife Service 60 Great Short Walks for a cheat sheet of Tasmania’s most scenic day hikes.

Long-distance trekkers can enjoy an impressive selection of multi-day walks, including the world-famous Overland Track. Use a local transport agency to save on van rental fees during longer bushwalks. On short or overnight stints, you can leave your camper at the trailhead until you return.