North West Tasmania 10 Day Self Drive Itinerary

Looking for a Tasmanian itinerary?

We’ve had a few inquiries lately about what to see and do in North West Tasmania.

We’ve noticed a definite trend of visitors heading straight down to the state capital of Hobart and following along the east coast.

While the east coast has plenty of iconic locations such as the stunning Bay of Fires or Port Arthur, we think you shouldn’t be skipping the North West region.

It remains one of the most wild and isolated parts of this stunning island and boasts some of the best wilderness regions, stunning hiking locations and of course, the waterfalls.

Our 10 day, self drive North West Tasmania itinerary will take you off the beaten path, and share some of our favourite North West destinations.

Day 1 – Devonport to Burnie

Your first footsteps on the Apple Isle will be the port town of Devonport.

Sailing overnight on board the Spirit of Tasmania will have you landing sometime in the early morning.

Hopefully well slept and ready for a fun day of exploring Tasmania.

Spirit of Tasmania ferry at night
Spirit of Tasmania

Take your time in Devonport. Explore town a little, get your bearings, grab a bite to eat for breakfast and shake off those sea legs.

Once you feel refreshed and ready to hit the road, it’s time to head out of Devonport to start your day with some underground exploring.

Drive to Gunns Plains Caves and get onto one of the early morning tours. (First tour begins at 10am)

Gunns Plains Caves is one of our favourite Tasmanian tours and we think a must visit for everyone.

Drive time: Devonport to Gunns Plains Caves – 1hr 20mins.

The wedding cake rock formation, Gunns Plains Cave, Tasmania
The wedding cake, Gunns Plains Cave

Once you’ve finished marveling at the underground world, it’s time to begin the drive towards Tasmania’s fourth largest town. Burnie.

Drive time: Gunns Plains Caves to Burnie – 45mins.

We suggest taking the scenic ocean drive from Gunns Plains to Burnie via Penguin Road which begins in Ulverstone. Scenic drive time: Gunns Plains Caves to Burnie – 1hr.

Depending on what time you started your cave tour, you should be arriving in Burnie around midday to late midday.

We suggest grabbing a bite of lunch and heading out to some local attractions.

Both the Makers Workshop and Hellyers Road Distillery have food options.

Local attractions include the Makers Workshop, Guide Falls, Fern Glade or Hellyers Road Distillery.

Guide Falls waterfall in North West Tasmania
Guide Falls

End the day by heading to the foreshore at dusk  for a relaxing stroll down the boardwalk.

Keep your eyes open, you might just spot some Penguins.

Overnight: Burnie.

Little Penguin in Burnie, Tasmania
Curious Penguin

Day 2 – Burnie to Stanley

Day two of our North West Tasmania itinerary has you up early and heading to Table Cape lookout to enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the ocean.

Drive time: Burnie to Table Cape – 30mins.

Watch out for the local wildlife during the morning hours. Drive slowly.

While at Table Cape, be sure to check out the Lighthouse and take a walk through the fields of colourful tulips at Table Cape Tulip Farm. (September – October)

Field of different coloured tulips at Table Cape Tulip Farm
Table Cape Tulip Farm

A quick drive down the road will have you arriving at one of the best beaches in North West Tasmania. The picturesque beach at Boat Harbour.

Stop in for lunch and take a walk along the scenic beach or if the weather permits, go for a dip in the crystal clear turquoise water.

Drive time: Table Cape to Boat Harbour – 15mins.

Jump back on the highway and begin the scenic drive towards Stanley. Allow the way, make sure to take a short turnoff to visit Dip Falls and the Big Tree.

Drive time: Boat Harbour to Dip Falls – 1hr.

End the day by completing the drive to Stanley. Explore Highfield House or tackle the steep hike up the Nut if you’re feeling energetic.

The Nut at Stanley. Part of our NW Tasmania Itinerary
The Nut

Don’t forget to pig out on the fresh seafood at Hurseys Seafood!

Drive time: Dip Falls to Stanley – 45mins.

Overnight: Stanley.

Day 3 – Stanley to Arthur River

Day three of our North West Tasmania itinerary begins the morning by leaving Stanley and heading towards the town of Smithton. Here you can begin the Tarkine Drive which you’ll follow all the way until you reach Arthur River.

Stop along the Tarkine Drive at any attractions that takes your fancy, but don’t miss the Trowutta Arch or Julius River.

Julius River bridge crossing
Julius River Crossing

Drive time: Smithton to Arthur River – 2hr 30 min. (Does not include time at attractions)

Reach the wild coastal town of Arthur River and enjoy a sunset while standing on the Edge of the World.

Overnight: Arthur River.

Day 4 – Arthur River to Strahan

The day begins with a nice long scenic drive from Arthur River down to the remote coastal town of Strahan.

Drive time: Arthur River to Strahan – 4hr.

Once in Strahan, either take some time to relax and rest or head out and explore this remote wilderness town.

Enjoy a nice harbour walk or take the short hike to Hogarth Falls and enjoy the rainforest. (Just beware of the evil leeches!)

Twin waterfalls in rainforest
Hogarth Falls

Overnight: Strahan

Day 6 – Train Ride!

Choo! Choo! Jump on board the West Coast Wilderness Railway and steam your way through the wild rain forest.

Overnight: Strahan.

We stayed at Strahan Village during our stay. Great rooms, views and food.

Day 7 – Boat Tour!

Hop on board the Spirit of the Wild and cruise around the UNESCO Heritage listed wilderness with Gordon River Cruises.

Overnight: Strahan.

Day 8 – Strahan to Cradle Mountain

Have a hearty breakfast and get ready for a full on day!

Leave Strahan and drive towards Rosebery. Just before reaching Rosebery, take the turnoff towards Montezuma Falls.

It’s time for an epic rainforest hike to Tasmania’s highest waterfalls. The stunning 104 metre Montezuma Falls.

Tackle the 10km hike to the falls, which is around 4-6hrs return.

Bridge in a rainforest on the way to Montezuma Falls, Tasmania
The hike to Montezuma Falls

Drive time: Strahan to Rosebery – 1hr 15mins.

Finish off the day with a short drive to Cradle Mountain to rest those tired legs.

Drive time: Rosebery to Cradle Mountain – 1hr 30 mins.

Overnight: Cradle Mountain.

Day 9 & 10 – Explore Cradle Mountain and Home!

Spend your remaining time in Tasmanian exploring the Cradle Mountain national park.

The park has hiking trails of various lengths to cater for everyone. And be sure to keep your eyes open to catch a glimpse of the parks abundant Wombats and Echidnas.

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Iconic Cradle Mountain

You will require a National Parks Pass to enter Cradle Mountain.

Make sure to visit Devils@Cradle to see the iconic Tasmanian Devil and other Australian native animals while your in the area.

A curious Quoll from Devil@Cradle
A curious Quoll from Devil@Cradle

Sadly your time in Tasmania is over and it’s time to head home.

Depart Cradle Mountain in the afternoon and make your way back to Devonport to catch the night ferry back to the mainland.

Drive time: Cradle Mountain to Devonport – 1hr 15mins.

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