Cradle Mountain is the jewel of the Cradle Coast, but you’ll also find a region overflowing with gourmet food, stunning coasts and a vibrant arts scene.
Experience all this and more when you include the Cradle Coast in your Tasmanian road trip itinerary!
This page contains affiliate links. If you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Read our full disclosure policy here.
For those travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, the Cradle Coast is your first mouth-watering taste of Tasmania. Stretching from Devonport in the east to Stanley in the west it’s the perfect place to slow down, unwind and relax.
The iconic Cradle Mountain is a must for any Tasmanian road trip itinerary, and further afield you’ll find quirky letterbox trails, towns colourfully draped in murals, spectacular volcanic ‘plugs’, and the largest working craft fair in the southern hemisphere.
Oh, and did we mention the food? All the food! Luxurious chocolate truffles, award-winning cheeses, the smoothest whiskies, the coldest artisanal beers – it’s a foodie paradise!
Nestled high in the alpine reaches of the UNESCO Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain has to be seen to be believed!
The views from Table Cape lighthouse up and down Tasmania’s north coast are spectacular year-round, but spring (Sep-Oct) is the perfect time to visit Table Cape.
Why? It’s tulip season!
With the bright white lighthouse and steel-blue waters of Bass Strait a fierce backdrop, the sweeping rows of vibrant purple, pink, red and yellow tulips are an Instagrammer’s dream 📷
It’s hard to believe, but Holland actually imports tulip bulbs from Tasmania. True story!
With the wild and woolly Roaring 40s in your hair and feet dangling high above the village of Stanley, you’ll understand why a chairlift is the best way to explore the ‘Nut’.
An ancient volcanic plug, the ‘Nut’ can be seen for miles around with its flat table-top sitting high above the shores of Bass Strait like a giant Lego brick.
Back at sea level, Highfield House is one of Tasmania’s earliest and most beautifully restored European settlements. Take a self-guided walking tour to discover all its secrets before returning to Stanley for a delicious hot meal at one of its quality cafes or restaurants.
If you’ve got the time, extend your road trip to the wild beaches of Arthur River and spend a day exploring the mysterious Tarkine – Australia’s largest remaining expanse of cool temperate rainforest.
Take a deeeep breath, because measurements at Cape Grim show Tasmania’s north west coast has the cleanest air in the world! 💨💨💨
Close to Devonport and at the foot of Mt Roland is the tiny town of Sheffield. It might be small, but it packs creative punch!
You could spend hours walking its streets admiring the colourful artistic masterpieces adorning the walls – they don’t call it the ‘Town of Murals’ for nothing.
Nearby, quaintly named ‘Promised Land’ is home to Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot. The kids will have a ball exploring one of the world’s largest hedge mazes and walking the funny little streets of Lower Crackpot.
Still looking for things to do in Sheffield? Take the drive between Wilmot and Cradle Mountain to see one of Tasmania’s strangest sights – the Wilmot Novelty Letterbox Trail!
Are you an adrenaline junkie? Or maybe you want to get up close and personal with some of Tasmania’s unique wildlife? The Cradle Coast is the place to be!
Or perhaps you’d prefer to get your grunt on, exploring Mt Roland’s ‘Devil Country’ by quad-bike? Forests, farmland, rocks, mud and hill climbs – these tours by Quad Bikes Tasmania have got the lot.
Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary is not only where you can say “G’day” to a Tasmanian Devil or spotted quoll, but it’s also one of Tasmania’s leading centres for the conservation of its native flora and fauna. The kids will love it!
Is there anyone else in the world where you can still find fresh produce and an ‘honour box’ by the side of the road?
The scenery is spectacular, but if you’re a foodie you’ll find it impossible to take your eyes off all the delicious food found throughout the Cradle Coast.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth you’ll be in heaven at The Chocolate Gallery and Cafe in Stanley – tastings are free! High Tea at The Speckled Hen is another excellent option.
Truffle hunting isn’t something you come across every day. Farm tours at Cradle Country Farm (near Sheffield) are available year-round, but from June to August you can unearth your own piece of ‘black gold’ on one of their famous truffle hunts!
Between Sheffield and Deloraine keep your eyes peeled for Ashgrove Cheese, Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm and Van Diemens Land Creamery. All three are conveniently located within minutes of each other – food crawl anyone?
If you enjoy the odd tipple then you must visit Hellyers Road Distillery near Burnie, or Southern Wild Distillery in Devonport. Hellyers has a magnificent range of whiskies, while Southern Wild create truly innovative gins using 100% Tasmanian grown ingredients like saffron and pepperberry.
Barringwood Estate near Sheffield is excellent for a bottle of sparkling wine, and beer lovers will find it hard to leave the hoppy heaven that is Seven Sheds Brewery in Railton.
For fresh and locally grown fruit and vegetables and a chance to meet the makers, visit the Burnie Farmer’s Market on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month.
In 1886 Waratah was a booming mining town and it was the first place in Australia to receive electric street lights
Held every year in the heritage town of Deloraine, the Tasmanian Craft Fair is the largest working craft fair in the southern hemisphere. Held over 4 days, this festival celebrates artisans from all backgrounds and from all over the world.
The riverside city of Devonport certainly knows how to throw a family-friendly party. Featuring Tasmania’s highest quality producers, eateries and wineries, Taste the Harvest Festival is a fantastic day out in the sun.
The tiny town of Sheffield is covered in more than 60 murals year-round, but it really comes alive at Easter when it hosts the International Mural Fest. A competition for aspiring artists, and a festival for the public, Mural Fest showcases the very best in Australian artistic ‘street’ talent.
‘Wickedly delicious’ is the perfect way to describe this paradise for sweet-tooths. Tastings are plentiful, but best of all is the opportunity to join in one of the many chocolate-themed events. The ‘Chocolate Mousse Mayhem’ is a riot – think blindfolds and fast-feeding – and you’ll be intrigued by the ‘Wearable Chocolate’ competition.
Unearthing new film-making talent while celebrating the breadth and quality of Tasmanian adventure travel options, the Cradle Mountain Film Festival is a festival like no other. The films are short and plentiful, the location is picture perfect, and you’ll walk away full of inspiration for your own Tasmanian road trip adventures!
There are a multitude of accommodation options throughout the Cradle Coast, catering to all budgets and styles of road trip.
Near Cradle Mountain you’ll find Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village to be a comfortable base from which to explore the region – the spa bath is huge!
Guests staying at Cradle Mountain Hotel receive complimentary access to the inspiring Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery.
Or for something truly unique, book the King Billy Suite at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge and indulge in your own private outdoor hot tub.
Stanley has a lovely mix of heritage and modern accommodation options. The Cable Station is an absolute gem of a B&B with stunning customer feedback, while Stanley-Upstairs is a fantastic budget-friendly option.
Why not use Wynyard’s excellent location for exploring the coast between Devonport and Stanley? We recommend staying at the quirky Coastal Pods Wynyard – transport containers with a difference!
Campervanners and caravanners are spoiled for choice on the Cradle Coast. Discovery Parks Cradle Mountain offer powered and unpowered sites.
At the foot of the ‘Nut’ in Stanley you’ll find the award-winning Stanley Cabin and Tourist Park. And in Devonport there’s Mersey Bluff CP, Abel Tasman CP, and Discovery Parks Devonport – all excellent choices for your first night in Tasmania after arriving on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry!
Numerous petrol stations are located along the coast in Devonport (24hrs), Ulverstone , Penguin, Burnie (24hrs), Somerset (24hrs) and Stanley.
Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre has petrol, as do the inland towns of Sheffield, Westbury (24hrs) and Deloraine.
EV Battery Charging Stations (see PlugShare)
A list of Tasmania’s national parks can be found here: Parks and Wildlife
A valid permit is needed before you can drive into these parks. For more information on the which pass you should buy, click here.
Permits can be purchased online here, from National Park Visitor Centres, Accredited Tasmanian Travel Information Centres, the Spirit of Tasmania, Service Tasmania shops, or by mail/email following these instructions.
Discounts are available for Seniors.
For Tasmania Police emergency road closure alerts click here.
Snow is rare along the Cradle Coast, but may occur at high altitudes near Cradle Mountain Village. Check the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast here for the latest updates.
Watch out for ice on the roads in the early morning.
Campervanners, beware very strong winds at times. Slow down or defer your travel if necessary under these circumstances.
If you’re travelling clockwise, your next destination is Launceston and the Tamar Valley – we hope you love your wine!
Travelling anti-clockwise, your next destination is the beauty and fury of the West Coast wilds.
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive your Tasmania road trip packing list absolutely FREE!