Are you planning your road trip around Tasmania and wondering what essential items to include on your Tasmania packing list?
Knowing what to pack for Tasmania is important, and I’m here to help you get it right – first time!
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Tasmania is unlike any other place in the world. Its mountains, valleys, rainforests and beaches are pristine wilderness at its finest. Many travellers even compare its wonders to Iceland and Scotland – only with a lot less people!
It is also a remote island, with nothing between it and Antarctic to the south. This means the weather can be unpredictable, and even at the height of summer there is still the chance of snow.
The clean rains and temperate summers make the island lush and beautiful, but at the same time it’s important to be prepared and pack for all possible conditions.
As a Tassie local with years of experience, I thought I would help by creating this list of 12 essential items for your Tasmania holiday.
They won’t cost the earth, but they will help you stay warm and dry, to capture life-long memories, and most importantly to return home safely.
It’s funny how fast you acclimatise to a cool climate location like Tasmania – but I still remember taking my first step off the plane at Hobart airport more than 15 years ago…it felt like I was stepping out of the oven and into the Esky!
Tasmania is a lot cooler than most parts of Australia and I really wish someone had told me what to wear in Tasmania before making the big move.
Number one on my list was a woollen scarf.
As much as I love the Sea Eagles, my old synthetic footy scarf simply didn’t work in proper cold, and it wasn’t long before my wife and I had both bought ourselves lightweight woollen scarves.
They barely take up any room, weigh next to nothing, and make a huge difference at night or in Tassie’s alpine regions like Cradle Mountain or Mt Wellington.
At the same time I also bought myself a woollen beanie for much the same reasons. It’s amazing how much warmer you feel when you stop the heat escaping from the top of your head. As an early morning photographer I can’t tell you how glad I am to have this tucked away in my bag!
I love bushwalking soooo much and I’m you’re also looking forward to the hiking opportunities in Tasmania. There’s nothing better than breathing in Tassie’s clean air, whether that’s in an ancient rainforest or on the top of a snow-capped peak.
To get to some of these places though, or even if you’re planning a day of urban exploration, you’re going to be stepping past, over and through some puddles or streams.
Unless you’re a hardcore bushwalker you don’t need a big, heavy pair of hiking boots.
I’ve always liked the shoes made by North Face, Merrell and Keen, and many of these can double as a street shoe.
If you’ve got a favourite brand I’d love to hear from you, as I’m always on the lookout for recommendations
Hobart might be Australia’s second driest capital city, but it still makes sense to pack an umbrella on your road trip – especially if you’re visiting in winter or spring, or plan on exploring the West Coast (Wet &) Wilds.
Rain isn’t the only thing you need to consider though. I’ve always been frustrated by flimsy umbrellas, and if you experience the blustery ‘Roaring 40s’ of north west Tasmania you’ll be thankful you bought a super-strong umbrella that doesn’t turn inside-out.
The model I recommend here costs more than your average umbrella, but you definitely get what you pay for. I bought one of these for long-term travelling in the monsoons of SE Asia and it hasn’t let me down once!
For a more budget-friendly umbrella you might like this option. It isn’t as strong, but is Teflon coated, packs down small, and gets great reviews.
You may not have the time, but Smitten Merino is Tasmania’s best place to go for stylish woollen clothes and accessories. They have a huge range and the quality of both the wool and their workmanship is among the best you’ll find in Australia. Perfect for a souvenir of your time on the island!
A quality camera is essential for Tasmania. The landscapes are stunning and you’ll be wanting to capture it all in high definition.
A lot of people say you need a big SLR camera to get the best shots, but having spent more than 10 years photographing Tasmania with a range of gear I can assure you that’s a load of rubbish.
Who’s got the space to be lugging around a massive camera anyway? These days you can create stunning images with a camera like the the weather-sealed A6500 from Sony that will easily slip into your handbag or day pack and provide pro-level shots, even when the conditions get a little damp.
Or for an even smaller, more budget-friendly camera there’s the waterproof Olympus TG-5. I’ve got an earlier model, and even 5 years later it still does the job – it’s built like a tank! It’s a lot cheaper than the Sony, the image quality is perfect for social media, and best of all it is completely waterproof.
Something many road trippers have on their Tasmania bucket list is to see the Aurora Australis – often called the Southern Lights.
This colourful light show happens throughout the year and while it is occasionally visible to the naked eye the best way to capture all the colour is by using a tripod.
You can easily spend thousands on high-tech carbon fibre but unless you’re planning on some extreme adventures all you really need is a sturdy little option like this mini-tripod to keep your camera steady, without breaking the bank.
I’ve been using this exact model for years now, and I nearly use it as much as my pro-level tripod. It fits easily into any day pack, making it very handy for road trippers.
There aren’t many things that can ruin a road trip, but snoring and a bad night’s sleep is one of them!
My wife is a very light sleeper – apparently there’s a snorer in the house – and she tried dozens of different brands before she found one that did the job.
These ear plugs hardly cost anything but could save your holiday (and your marriage).
As much as I want to soak up the views all day, there’s times when I’m not behind the wheel that I love a bit of shut-eye.
Tassie also experiences really long days and short nights at the height of summer, which can really throw your sleep patterns out of whack if you’re not careful.
A comfy eye mask is great for keeping the early morning light out and making sure you wake up totally refreshed.
This is a biggie! It’s impossible to explain how much better you will feel wearing a quality pair of merino wool socks to protect your feet and keep them warm – you’ve got to try it for yourself.
I was a skeptic until my wife convinced me to buy a pair for hiking and now I wear them nearly every day!
They cost a little more than regular socks but the difference is huge.
Awesome temperature regulation, they won’t get ‘pongy’ on the nose like synthetics, amazing cushioning, and I’m finding that they last years longer than regular socks.
It’s easy to think of headlamps being for cyclists or spelunkers, but they are actually really handy on a road trip.
If you’re staying in a caravan park and need to get to the bathroom during the night, or if you’re visiting in winter and need to pack the car and make an early pre-dawn start then a head lamp is perfect for navigating in the dark.
You can get them really cheap these days, and the model I recommend above includes the batteries as well.
Many of us use our phone for taking photos on our holidays, and of course they can also be useful in navigating your vehicle.
Whether it’s the beach, the rain, the rivers (the wine?), the last thing you need is for your phone to get wet and stop working.
For just a few bucks we think a waterproof pouch for your phone is a pretty good insurance policy.
Speaking of photos, this one is really important.
If you’re anything like me you’re always taking photos on your holidays – literally hundreds per day.
I never thought it would happen to me, but when I was travelling through Mexico a couple of years ago I had one fail on me, and it was soooo frustrating!
I couldn’t take photos for days and days until I found a shop that sold overpriced, under-sized SD cards. Lesson learned!
Memory cards are pretty cheap these days, and even less when you buy online. I’ve found Sandisk to be the most reliable of the brands, and that 32GB or 64GB cards hit the best price sweet-spot.
An oldie but a goodie. You’ll find packing cubes mentioned on nearly every packing guide out there these days – and for good reason.
My wife swears by packing cubes, using them religiously whenever we travel. They help her keep her clothing organised and easily accessible, while also making it super easy to pack them into her suitcase without wasting any space.
Quality packing cubes like these will last for years as well, so it’s a handy little investment (we use them in all our travels at home and overseas).
There are literally dozens of things you may want to bring with you on your Tasmania road trip, but these are some other important things I suggest you consider packing.
Day Pack – It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the day pack options on the market, but we’ve always found these packs from Osprey to be among the best. They are really comfortable and will last you many years of travel.
Tassie Tuxedo – Have you heard of the Tassie Tuxedo yet? These down puffer-jackets are our official uniform no matter what the time of year – available in black, black or…black Super-cosy, perfect for winter, and they pack down into a tiny little package.
Merino Wool Leggings – Recommended for winter travellers, wool leggings will keep you warm in all conditions. I’ve always found those made by Icebreaker to be extremely comfortable.
Art Journal and Pencil Set – Photos aren’t the only way to capture your images of Tasmania. Bringing an art journal and pencil set will help you slow down and create your own unique memories on paper.
Motion sickness tablets – If you or the children are worried about motion sickness then we recommend stocking up on either some travel sickness tablets or a couple of travel bands. They are perfect for travel by road or on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Keep them in the car, just in case.
Travel pillow – If you’re camping your way around Tasmania or planning on spending a lot of time on the road, then a comfortable and ergonomic travel pillow will be handy.
First Aid Kit – Tasmania has some remote areas, and we strongly recommend keeping a first aid kit on you at all times, either in your car or in your day pack. It’s unlikely you’ll ever need to use it, but a safe holiday is a good holiday.
And last but certainly not least, don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure!
It won’t cost you a cent. It weights nothing. It is available 24/7, and it is the secret to the perfect holiday in Tasmania 👌
Happy road tripping!
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