Dec
11
2013

Things to remember driving in Tasmania

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Driving in Tasmania is one of the best ways to get around. As the island is fairly compact, it's one of the best ways to get out there and explore all the landscapes on offer.

Car hire is readily available on the island, if you haven't transported a car over from the mainland on the Spirit of Tasmania.

Hire a standard passenger car or a 4WD vehicle, a campervan or motorhome or even a motorcycle if you like the feeling of the wind in your hair.  The kind of vehicle you choose will depend on your type of holiday. Will you be staying at lodges, hotels or motels, or do you like to 'rough it' and go camping?

Are you going to be sticking to main roads, or will you be heading out on some off-road adventures? Answers to questions like these will inform your vehicle decisions.

Driving around Tasmania is an amazing experience for most people, but of course, as with any journey there are some things you will need to be aware of. For example, if you're visiting from a nation like the US that drives on the right side of the road, take heed! In Australia, we drive on the left-hand side, so always bear this in mind and go on a few short practice drives to orient yourself before tackling any long distances.

Because of Tasmania's relatively small size there are few freeways, but most roads are very well maintained with two-lanes. You won't come across traffic jams here!

Before you head off, you might want to have some rough estimates of driving times in your head.

Devonport to Launceston is about 1 hour 15 minute drive. Launceston to Hobart will take you about 2.5 hours. From Hobart, a drive to Port Arthur will take about 1.5 hours, while getting to Cradle Mountain from the capital takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes. Getting to Strahan takes 5 hours from Hobart.

As you can see, most parts of the state can be accessed in a matter of hours from the main centres, giving visitors great scope to explore a lot of the country in a short timeframe; you can even base yourself at main centres and do hub-and-spoke outings each day, but the real Tasmania is found in its regions and small centres.

However, even though Tasmania is relatively compact, it's important to always have the right supplies on hand, just in case you break down in a more remote area. As you are likely to be visiting areas of beautiful wilderness, it's extra important you stock up on fuel regularly and keep your tank full. This takes on even greater importance if you are heading well off the main routes or are driving in the evening or night.

You might also want to make sure you have some water, snacks and warm clothing with you, too – just in case! Don't forget to always inform someone of where you plan to travel and when … mobile phone coverage can vary between carriers.

Always drive to the conditions. If you come across unsealed roads, make sure you slow down and take extra care – and only drive where your car hire conditions allow you to. Take note that sometimes in winter and spring, roads can be covered in ice or snow, so you may need to take additional safety measures at these times. 

Once you've got the basic safety precautions down, you can have a great experience amongst our magnificent countryside. Leave aside plenty of time to get out and explore – there will definitely be more than a few eye-catching views along the way.

Back country and off-road areas near the canals at Tarraleah - Image Credit: Aussie Overlanders

Driving up Jacobs Ladder Ben Lomond near Launceston - Image Credit: Graham Barker

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