There’s plenty on offer in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart but there is equally an incredible array of things to see and do on weekend getaways Tasmania.
One of the best things about Hobart is its location. Tasmania is a relatively compact island, especially compared to the rest of Australia. It’s a pocket-sized delight. The distances you have to cover to get from one point of natural beauty to another are minuscule in comparison to those on the mainland.
That means whether you live in Hobart or are staying there on a break, you’ll be a stone’s throw from practically everything the island has to offer. And thankfully, there’s a lot on offer.
Whether you’re looking to explore the rest of the island’s towns and cities (like Launceston, its second-largest), you want to see the dramatic scenery of Cradle Mountain, or the wild, pristine beaches of the East Coast, everything’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from Hobart.
There’s so much to see and do here that you’ll be able to find something to suit your style and budget.
To give you some travel inspiration, here are some of the very best weekend getaways from Hobart.
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A weekend getaway in Launceston
Launceston – Tasmania’s second-largest city – is just a two and a half-hour drive from Hobart, making it a viable destination for a weekend getaway. That’s a good thing because there’s a lot going for Launceston that makes it great for a few nights away from the capital.
How to get to Launceston from Hobart
From the centre of Hobart head north on Brooker Highway (Highway 1), past MONA ( be sure to drop in if you have not been!), and cross over the River Derwent on to the Midland Highway.
Keep heading north through rolling green hills and small historic villages and you will find Launceston well signed. Things to stop and see along the way include the Old Kempton Distillery, Callington Mill at Outlands and the village of Ross where you can visit the Female Factory and grab something from their great bakery to eat at their beautiful, historic bridge.
‘Launie’ – pronounced Lonnie – is set at the confluence of two rivers, the North and South Esk Rivers, which converge here to feed into the much larger River Tamar. Boats plough the water of the river; you can get in on the action with a River Tamar cruise – a very chilled way to soak up the natural scenery.
Settled by Europeans in 1806 Launceston is one of Australia’s oldest cities. It was named after a town in the UK and was the first Australian city to have hydroelectricity and underground sewers. The town was originally used as a port for the pastoral industry and was also used for whalers and sealers coming up from the south.
It’s location in the beautiful and very bountiful Tamar Valley makes it a thriving port today with trade original focused on apples and wool and more recently, wine.
The jewel in the crown of Launceston’s nature credentials has to be Cataract Gorge. Take a short stroll from the centre of town, and you’ll be witnessing one of Tasmania’s prime attractions – a compact slice of pristine nature. The handy chairlift offers a way to gaze upon the gorge without too much legwork!
But if you happen to like legwork, nearby Narawntapu National Park will provide you with ample opportunity to stretch your legs on its many trails.
Elsewhere, there’s history. Founded officially in 1806, Launceston has a lot of it. The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery is an excellent place to explore the art history of Tasmania. You may want to simply stroll around town, checking out Victorian era sites such as Albert Hall and Prince’s Square.
Highlights of Launceston
- Taking a tour of historic Boag’s Brewery, founded in 1833
- Catching sight of Cataract Gorge
- Exploring the Tamar River and its wetlands by boat
- Bird-spotting in Narawntapu National Park
- Have fun in Hollybank Treetops Forest
- Sampling local wines at the Tamar Valley Wine Centre
- Visit world renowned Josef Chromy Winery for lunch and wine tasting
Where to stay in Launceston
One of the very best places to stay for a weekend getaway Tasmania in the whole state is wonderful Stillwater Seven, a selected of stunning rooms in a converted silo that is also home to the award winning Stillwater restaurant. Their approach to hospitality ( and particularly their mini-bars) is simply outstanding!
Elsewhere in Launceston beautiful heritage Highfield House and The Florance are both worth checking out and Peppers Silo is in another silo conversion and is a fairly new addition to the Launceston arena.
For privacy and lush tranquility pretty Glebe Cottage is a tiny house conversion located in the heart of Glebe Gardens, a multi-award winning garden center. Very popular with couples!
For families and groups Magnolia Cottage is a charming, fully renovated 1940s house that can sleep up to 12 people in 4 bedrooms and is right near Cataract Gorge.
The Tasmanian Lakes District
Where are the Tasmanian Lakes?
The Lakes District is easy to reach from Hobart. Just a couple of hours by car will take you into the Central Highlands, where you’ll find a plethora of lakes. It’s an area that remains one of our very favourite places for weekend getaways Tasmania.
There are plenty of lakes to choose from, perhaps none quite as famous as Lake St Clair – the deepest lake in Australia, though it’s a little further to the east.
It’s cooler in this area than many other Tas locations, making it a popular spot in summer.
One of the best ways to soak up the scenery is to take the Highland Lakes Road from Hobart, which will whisk you past stunning landscapes with the bonus of hardly any other drivers around. This means you’ll be able to stop off at the various lakes at your leisure.
The village of Miena, set on the main road, sits on the edge of Great Lake – the largest lake in the district. If you’re a fan of fishing or hiking – or simply want to find a place to get away from it all – then this is a great place to stop.
Highlights of the Tasmanian Lakes
- Trying out a spot of trout fishing at Miena
- Visiting the Central Plateau Conservation Area for stunning scenery
- Staying at a lakeside hotel or self-catered lodge
- Catching a glimpse of the local birdlife
- Sitting by a log fire cosied up in winter
- learning about the amazing Hydro-electricity network powered by the Lakes
Where to stay in the Tasmanian Lakes District
Pumphouse Point is a stunning hotel that is one of the most remarkable in Australia. The hotel consists of two former pumping stations on Lake St.Clair that have become home to luxury rooms and common areas and, the case of the Lake-side building also a communal dining room.
It is surrounded by the lake and the mountains and national park as is an incredibly tranquil place to stay a few days.
Nearby Derwent Bridge has a number of interesting things to see and do and the Derwent Bridge Chalets and Studios are quite charming.
Another excellent option is Lake St Clair Lodge.
Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula
Where is Post Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula?
Just an hour and a half from Hobart, Port Arthur is the place to go to get a taste for the history of Tasmania.
Head north on the A3 motorway and across the Derwent River onto the Tasman Highway. It’s a lovely drive out onto the Tasmanian Peninsula with a number of great spots to stop on the way including Barilla Bay Oyster Farm and Bangor Vineyard Shed.
About Port Arthur
It’s an important place to visit, and something you should definitely consider if you’re in the market for a weekend getaway from Hobart. It’s played a huge role in the history of Australia for a couple of reasons, all quite tragic.
It was originally settled as a 19th-century penal colony and was the site of extreme hardship for convicts from Britain. It was also the site of Australia’s worst mass-murder which took place in 1996 and led to a significant change in the country’s gun laws.
Founded in 1830, this notorious locale is counted among one of 11 similar sites that make up Australia’s UNESCO-recognised convict history. Here you’ll find jails, administrative buildings, and graveyards, all pointing back to Australia’s colonial past.
While Port Arthur is a historic site, the nearby village provides a great spot to stay if you’re looking to explore the surrounding area – which is something you should do.
If you’re exploring the site with friends or family, a trip to the 1830 Restaurant and Bar is a great way to round off the day.
Set within stunning natural scenery, from Port Arthur, you can also check out beauty spots such as Crescent Bay and the rock formations at Remarkable Cave.
Highlights of Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula
Where to stay for Port Arthur
NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park has been looking after budget conscious visitors for many years and have a number of Bungalows for rent.
Port Arthur Villas are very good and have a couple of large villas that are great for families and groups.
On the otherside of the peninsula Parsons’s Bay Cottage is just a few minutes walk to White Beach. Sleeping up to 5 people in 3 bedrooms this relaxing, cottage is ideal for a weekend getaway on the Tasman Peninsula.
Parsons Bay Cottage
Tasmania’s Cradle Country
Drive for about four hours from Hobart, and you’ll eventually come to Cradle Country. Set towards northwestern Tasmania, but part of the Central Highlands, Cradle Country is all about dramatic vistas
How to get to Cradle Country from Hobart
The quickest way to get to Cradle Mountain is to take Highway 1 north and turn west just south of Launceston passing through Campbell Town and Deloraine along the way. If you have time you cant stop at various locations and points of interest in the Tamar Valley.
A slightly longer route is taking the A5 past Kempton and moving onto the Highland Lakes Road. This passes through some of the Lakes District including Great Lake, Haddens Bay and various lagoons and is very pretty.
If you take the A10 you will pass through more lakes such as Bradys Lake and Lake Binney and will be close to Derwent Bridge and Lake St.Clair ( see above).
About Cradle Country
Set towards northwestern Tasmania, but part of the Central Highlands, Cradle Country is all about dramatic vistas.
It’s all centred around the incredible Cradle Mountain. Nobody is sure why it’s called that. Some people say it’s named after a baby’s cradle, others after a miner’s cradle.
What we do know is that it’s beautiful, and stands at 1,545 metres above sea level. Amazingly, there’s been evidence of human habitation around the area for over 20,000 years!
Part of Lake St Clair National Park that makes up the UNESCO Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain is a popular destination in Tasmania. That’s despite the fact that it’s not even the island’s tallest mountain (it’s the fifth tallest).
The landscape here, formed by glaciers, is now a year-round destination to explore. The views are amazing whichever way you look at it. There are mountaintop lakes to discover on your adventures as well as treks to numerous peaks for – you guessed it – yet more of those impressive views.
One of the most popular hikes in Australia is, in fact, the Overland Track which covers over 65kms from Lake St.Clair to Cradle Mountain ( or vice-versa). The track is well used and maintained and there are public huts to overnight in along the way.
Not only hikers but gourmets will love this area, too. There’s a ton of produce to sample, and the chance to go wine-tasting at a selection of wineries.
Cradle Country also happens to be home to one of the world’s few remaining stretches of temperate rainforest. Visit and be in awe of this super scenic spot.
Highlights of Cradle Country, Tasmania
- Catching sight of the iconic shape of Cradle Mountain itself
- Heading out on a multi-day trek to really get immersed in the nature scenery
- Getting out on horseback and exploring trails
- Embark on a Lost World Canyon Tour
- Spotting wildlife such as the very cute Pademelons
- Tackle the Overland Track hike or its splinter trails
Where to stay in Tasmanian Cradle Country
There are some great choices on the mountain.
Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is at the upper end of the scale and offers rooms and chalets at a standard you would expect of the brands.
The iconic Cradle Mountain Hotel continues to be a favourite with good value rooms and an excellent lounge bar and restaurant.
Cradle Mountain Highlanders also offer cozy, comfortable Bushmans huts , some with spa baths and great mountain views.
A weekend getaway on The Huon Trail
From Hobart in Tasmania’s south, you hardly have to drive at all to begin this awesome trail running through the Huon Valley.
Where is the Huon Trail?
Just half an hour south of Hobart by car, and you’ll be there. From this point, it’s a simple matter of following the winding road as it makes its way to the southernmost place in Australia reachable by road.
About the Huon Trail
Perfectly picturesque for road trips, the Huon Trail takes you along the lush Huon River valley, passing through places like Port Huon and the very scenic Bruny Island. There are a selection of tiny settlements and bustling towns to stop at along the way, too, such as Gordon and Huonville.
Huonville is the area’s largest town. This is where you’ll find most amenities. It’s an excellent place to stop and grab some all-important road trip essentials before heading out. From here, you can drive around 20 kilometres along the Huon River until you reach the sea.
This area is a great option for a weekend getaway from Hobart if you like wine and apples – it’s famous for both! There are plenty of roadside stalls where you can sample some fresh produce and purchase some for your trip.
It’s also the gateway to the Hartz Mountains National Park, which lies at the southern end of the valley. Dotted with dolerite peaks and strange rock formations, it makes for a magnificent place to hike.
Highlights of the Huon Trail
- Taking a boat trip down the Huon River to see scenery reflected in the water
- Enjoying a taste of some of Tasmania’s most famous produce
- Hiking through the majestic shapes and ‘scapes of Hartz Mountain National Park
- Stopping off at small, picturesque villages
- Climbing up Shot Tower for views out over the Derwent River Estuary
Where to stay in the Huon Valley
Cygnet Old Bank in Cygnet is an elegant B&B in a grand historic building that was once a Bank. Rooms are named after old currency and have period features and private bathrooms.
For families and groups, you really can’t go past incredible Quarry Hill Lookout – an award winning architect designed house in Dover that can sleep up to 9 people.
In Ranelagh it’s possible to rent this stunning riverside house with beautiful views over the valley and an acre of green lawns, gardens and wildlife.
Quarry Hill Lookout
Tasmania’s East Coast
The East Coast is one of the best spots in all of Tasmania. It’s a great combination of just about everything the island has to offer – from historical towns to beautiful beaches. The scenery here is breathtaking and deserves to be explored.
It’s the place to go if you really want to take time to chill and reset.
How to explore the East Coast of Tasmania
One of the best ways to see it is by hitting the road and exploring the Great Eastern Drive.
Encompassing 176 kilometres of coastline, you’ll pass through national parks, skirt sweeping sandy beaches, and get some amazing views.
There are no less than five national parks along this coast, including Freycinet National Park with its pink granite peaks, as well as Mount William National Park, Maria Island National Park, and Douglas Apsley National Park.
The gateway to Freycinet is Coles Bay, one of the most beautiful spots in the region, where sheer granite peaks meet the sea. Just north of the Freycinet Peninsula is Bicheno.
Naturally, this place also boasts some pretty spectacular slices of coastline. While the sea offers up some incredible diving spots at Bicheno, the town itself is a well-established, family-friendly holiday town, meaning there will be something for everyone to enjoy on a trip here.
You’ll be able to reach all of this in just over two hours’ drive from Hobart, making it a very viable – and attractive – option for a weekend getaway. It’s practically on the doorstep.
Being Tasmania, the climate is also perfect for wineries, with a whole lot to choose from.
Highlights of Tasmania’s East Coast
- Hiking through Mount William National Park on the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk
- Bushwalking through Freycinet National Park
- Going snorkelling or diving off this beautiful stretch of coastline
- Making a beeline for Cranbrook and its selection of welcoming, historic wineries
- Catching sight of the jaw-dropping Wineglass Bay for the first time
Where to stay at East Coast Tasmania
This area is home to one of Australia’s most luxurious Lodges, Saffire Freycinet. Fully inclusive and delivering the highest standard of food, service and comfort there are views to die for in its enviable position.
Not far away is Freycinet Lodge and the great value Swansea Beach Chalets.
In Denison we’ve had our eye on Sea Stacks at The Denison for some time – very cool, bespoke beach shacks straight out of Architectural Digest.
Additionally in Little Swanport award-winning Saltworks Beach House is a historic cottage conversation with a modern extension and is right on the powder-soft white sand beach.
Saltworks Beach House