It’s a small island, but Tasmania driving times and distances can be deceptive. Use our ‘Driving Time Calculator’ to plan your Tasmanian road trip the right way!
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When visiting a holiday destination for the first time it is easy to misjudge the time it takes to drive between towns.
To make your planning easy, we’ve created some easy-to-follow road trip itineraries that guide you from place to place, ensuring you never run short of time or miscalculate the distance.
To help you out, we’ve put this guide together to give you a good feel for how long it takes to drive between the major destination along the Lap of Tasmania road trip route, and to tell you more about the Tasmanian quirks that can cause unexpected delays on the road.
Things you should know about Tasmania driving times and distances
Tasmania is a small island, but sometimes you will need to allow extra travel time due to the mountainous terrain.
Slower speeds are often necessary to tackle steep and windy sections – both up and down – and you may get stuck behind slow moving vehicles like log trucks, caravans or campervans.
We have allowed for these mountainous sections in our custom itineraries and in the Driving Distance Calculator (below) – but if you’re creating your own road trip route then do keep this in mind.
Parts of the Lap of Tasmania route where there is more likely to occur include:
Derwent Valley [more] – The upper valley, between Wayatinah and Derwent Bridge on the Lyell Highway (A10).
West Coast [more] – The ’99 Bends’ on the Lyell Highway (A10) between Derwent Bridge and Queenstown, and then from Queenstown through to Strahan.
Cradle Coast [more] – The Murchison Highway (A10) from Parrawe down into Hellyer Gorge and through to Oonah.
North East Tasmania [more] – The Tasman Highway (A3) from Derby up to Pyengana, over the pass and down to Goulds Country.
East Coast [more] – A short section of the Tasman Highway (A3) between Orford and Buckland, and another up near Bust Me Gall Creek (yes, that’s a real place!) between Buckland and Orielton.
Tasman Peninsula [more] – Nearly the entire length of the Arthur Highway (A9) beyond Forcett is slow going, to Dunalley and Eaglehawk Neck, and then through to Port Arthur.D
Tasmanian weather - Snow, wind and fire
As you’ve probably heard, Tasmania’s weather is unpredictable and can change from bright sunshine to Antarctic storms in less than an hour. There’s no need to worry, as most road trippers end up having the time of their life without any disruptions at all – but it’s best to be prepared.
Snow is most likely during winter but can occur at any time of the year. Road closures along the route are rare, but if snow is forecast you can check for alerts on the Tasmania Police website.
Wind squalls are much more likely – gusts can approach 100km/hr – and if you’re driving a campervan or caravan you’ll need to slow down. Our best advice is to keep an eye on the Bureau of Meteorology website for storm warnings.
Bushfires occur every year in late spring, summer and early autumn and sometimes result in road closures. Check the Tasmania Fire Service Alerts Map for the latest information.
Wildlife after dark
Tasmania is covered in dense forests, making it a haven after dark for nocturnal wildlife like Tasmanian devils and possums. Wallabies and bandicoots also love to graze on the grasses by the side of the road at dawn and dusk.
We recommend planning your road trip itinerary to avoid night driving, but if this is’t possible then slow down by 20km/hr – even more in thickly wooded areas or where there are blind corners – and use your high beam lights wherever it is sensible.
Campervans and caravans
Here at the Lap of Tasmania we always include travel times for campervans, caravans and motorhomes.
However, other websites often only show travel times for cars. If you’re doing your Lap of Tasmania in a motorhome or caravan then we recommend adding 20% onto any ‘car’ driving times you might see on other websites.
Road works and road closures
Road closures are rare along the Lap of Tasmania route, but it’s worth a quick check of the Tasmania Police website before you leave each morning.
The Midlands Highway is a ‘special’ case. It doesn’t form part of the official Lap of Tasmania route, but it is the main road between Hobart and Launceston and it is in a constant state of upgrade or repair. If you find yourself at the pub, ask a local for their thoughts on the matter…
Delays normally aren’t too long, but expect to stop a few times along the way. Again, check the Tasmania Police site for more details.
Tasmanian 'Driving Time Calculator'
The table below lists all the major destinations along the route of the Lap of Tasmania at which you might want to spend a night or two.
Simply type in the town you’re interested in and it will filter the results to show you all the different options To/From that town.
Note: The times quoted here assume non-stop driving. Don’t forget to allow for additional time for photo stops, meals and rest breaks.
|Beauty Point||Low Head||45km||40mins||45mins|
|Coles Bay||Port Arthur||240km||3hrs||4hrs|
|Cradle Mountain Village||Stanley||170km||2hr 30mins||3hrs|
|Derby||St Helens||65km||1hr 10mins||1hr 30mins|
|Devonport||Launceston||105km||1hr 20mins||1hr 30mins|
|Devonport||Strahan (via Queenstown)||220km||3hr 15mins||5hrs|
|Hobart||Bay of Fires (Binalong Bay)||265km||4hrs||5hrs|
|Hobart||Coles Bay||200km||2hr 30mins||4hrs|
|Hobart||Derwent Bridge||175km||2hr 30mins||4hrs|
|Hobart||Mt Field||80km||1hr 15mins||1hr 45mins|
|Hobart||Port Arthur||100km||1hr 30mins||2hr 15mins|
|Launceston||Cradle Mountain Village (via Sheffield)||140km||2hrs||2hr 30 mins|
|Mt Field||Derwent Bridge (via Hamilton)||150km||2hrs||3hrs|
|New Norfolk||Mt Field||40km||45mins||1hr|
|Port Arthur||Richmond||80km||1hr 15mins||1hr 45mins|
|Port Arthur||Swansea||180km||2hr 30mins||3hr 30mins|
|Richmond||Coles Bay||170km||2hr 15mins||2hr 45mins|
|St Helens||Coles Bay||115km||1hr 30mins||2hrs|
|Stanley||Devonport||125km||1hr 30mins||1hr 45mins|
|Strahan||Cradle Mountain Village||140km||2hrs||2hr 30mins|
We see a lot of questions being asked online about travel times and driving times in Tasmania, so we thought we’d put them in one place so you’ve got all the information you need to plan your Tassie road trip.
How long does it take to drive around Tasmania?
Working out how long it takes to drive around Tasmania depends on your road trip route, how long you’d like to spend in each destination, and how much driving you’d like to do each day.
The Lap of Tasmania route [map] is a little more than 1,500km long, and we feel that a 7 day itinerary is the shortest you should consider.
Ideally, we recommend 14 days or more. This lets you stay in iconic locations for at least a couple of nights, gives you enough time to see the ‘Big 12’, and opens up the option of extending down into the Huon Valley, exploring the Highlands, or doing day-trips to Bruny Island or Maria Island.
What is the distance from Launceston to Hobart?
The distance from Launceston to Hobart is 200km (124 miles) along the Midlands Highway.
We recommend allowing 2 hours 30 minutes by car, or 3 hours in a campervan or motorhome, to drive between the two cities.
As we mention above, road works are ongoing on the Midlands Highway and short delays are not uncommon.
How long does it take to drive from Hobart to Port Arthur?
It takes around 1 hour 30 minutes to drive from Hobart to Port Arthur by car, or a little more than 2 hours by campervan or motorhome .
The multi-lane Tasman Highway (A3) between Hobart and Sorell is in great condition and the only chance of delay is if you are leaving Hobart during the afternoon peak hour (after 4:30pm).
The Arthur Highway (A9) from Sorell to Port Arthur is also in good condition, however it is single-lane for much of the route. Work is currently underway to increase the number of overtaking lanes and ‘pull-over’ lanes for slow vehicles.
Important: Between 28 December and 1 January the Arthur highway gets extremely congested between Sorell and Copping due to the annual Falls Festival that is held at Marion Bay. It can even extend back to Hobart at its worst.
What is the Launceston to Cradle Mountain driving time and distance?
The Launceston to Cradle Mountain driving time is 2 hours by car (via Sheffield), and around 2 hours 30 minutes if you’re driving a campervan or motorhome.
The distance between Launceston and Cradle Mountain is 140km (87 miles).
The Bass Highway from Launceston to Christmas Hills is one of the best roads in Tasmania. The road between Christmas Hills and Cradle Mountain Village is rural and in decent condition, although some sections are narrow and winding, and overtaking opportunities can be limited, particularly around Cethana.
How long does it take to drive from Hobart to Freycinet Peninsula?
It takes around 2 hours 30 minutes to drive from Hobart to Freycinet (Coles Bay) by car, or 4 hours by campervan or motorhome.
There is a narrow winding section just before Orford, but otherwise the Tasman Highway (A3) from Hobart is in great condition all the way to the Coles Bay turn-off at the Pondering Frog (Apslawn). Coles Bay Road is single lane and also in good condition.
Important: They may look very close, but it is not possible to cross the water from Dolphin Sands to Coles Bay.
How long does it take to drive from Hobart to Bay of Fires?
It takes around 4 hours to drive from Hobart to Bay of Fires (Binalong Bay) by car, or 5 hours by campervan or motorhome.
There is a narrow winding section just before Orford, but the Tasman Highway (A3) from Hobart is in great condition all the way up the East Coast to St Helens. The last 10kms along Binalong Bay Road is narrow and winding, but still in good condition.
Important: People often refer to the ‘Bay of Fires’ as though it is a town, but this isn’t correct and will give strange results when entered into a GPS navigator. The ‘Bay of Fires’ is a region and the closest town is Binalong Bay, with St Helens a further 10km away.
How long does it take to drive from Port Arthur to Swansea?
It takes around 2 hours 30 minutes to drive from Port Arthur to Swansea by car, or 3 hours 30 minutes by campervan or motorhome.
The Arthur Highway (A9) from Port Arthur to Sorell is in good condition, however it is single-lane for much of the route. Work is currently underway to increase the number of overtaking lanes and ‘pull-over’ lanes for slow vehicles.
From Sorell through to Swansea the Tasman Highway (A3) is in good condition.
Important #1: Between 28 December and 1 January the Arthur highway gets extremely congested between Sorell and Copping due to the annual Falls Festival that is held at Marion Bay.
Important #2: Don’t take Wielangta Road between Copping and Orford. It looks like a big shortcut, however the road is in very poor condition and is often impassable due to washouts.
How long does it take to drive from Hobart to Strahan
It takes around 4 hours 30 minutes to drive from Hobart to Strahan by car, or 6 hours or more by campervan or motorhome. This is a long drive, and for this reason we recommend breaking this section up and staying at either Mt Field or Derwent Bridge.
A short section of the Lyell Highway between Bridgewater and New Norfolk is known as ‘The Bumpy Bits’ for good reason. Beyond New Norfolk the Lyell Highway is in good condition and passes through open countryside all the way up to Wayatinah at the foot of the Highlands.
From Wayatinah to Tungatinah the road climbs and becomes very windy. The road is good, but larger vehicles will need to take it slow. The road from Tungatinah to Derwent Bridge is flatter, and it continues like this to King William Saddle where the long, winding descent to Queenstown begins. They don’t call it the ’99 Bends’ for nothing!
The road from Queenstown to Strahan is also narrow and windy and will take just under an hour to drive the 40km.
It’s a long journey between Hobart and Strahan, but the scenery is stunning and well worth the effort!
Keep planning your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Have you worked out how to get to Tasmania yet?
To learn about the different options available – covering Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie and covering both flights and the Spirit of Tasmania ferry – read our article on How to Get to Tasmania.
And if you’re wondering when to travel, check out our article on the Best Time to Visit Tasmania. Not only does it show you the best months to see Tassie’s iconic attractions, but it also helps you avoid school holidays and the peak tourist season.
And how about hiring a car or campervan in Tasmania – are you wondering where to start?
We’ve got two easy-to-read articles that compare the different options, recommend the best companies in Tasmania, and stop you getting caught by the pesky terms and conditions!
Happy road tripping!