The Great Eastern Drive is one of Australia’s most epic road trips. Spanning roughly 176 kilometers from Orford and St Helens on Tasmania’s east coast, the drive can be completed in as little as a weekend. Offering lush rainforests, beautiful beaches, and azure blue oceans, the picturesque drive offers plenty for adults and kids alike to enjoy.
Preparing for your road trip
Invest in a reliable and dependable car to take on your road trip. Research car ratings and reviews to get a clear idea of what different car makes and models have to offer. Look for a comfortable car that gives you and your family plenty of room to relax and stretch out. It should score high for reliability, quality, and performance. You should also prepare your car by taking it in for servicing. Pack snacks, drinks, a first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, flares, and a lug wrench so you’re prepared for any emergencies on the road.
Hobart to Orford
Starting in Hobart, you’ll drive for roughly an hour along Tasman Highway north until you reach Triabunna. You’re then just a half-hour ferry ride away from Maria Island — a peaceful, secluded island perfect for exploring for the day. Here, you can walk any of the numerous hiking trails available and keep an eye out for the amazing wildlife — wombats, possums, lizards, and frogs are the most common species. You can also swim, snorkel, or scuba dive on the island’s stunning beaches. Then head back to mainland Orford and stay overnight in a local hotel.
Orford to Swansea
The next morning, hike the Three Thumbs bushwalk through Wielangta Forest — a two-hour, a four-kilometre circuit that offers stunning views of Orford, Maria Island, and Spring Bay. When you’re done, make the coastal drive towards the Freycinet Peninsula, which is comprised of sandy beaches, pink granite mountains, and blue ocean bays. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do here, such as, swimming, snorkelling, diving, or surfing in Wineglass Bay. You can also visit the Moulting Lagoon wetlands and birdwatch black swans and pelicans.
Spend the last night of your road trip in a bed and breakfast like Meredith House: a beautiful 1853 Colonial house overlooking Great Oyster Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula. Enjoy the award-winning full-cooked breakfast before spending the day exploring the beautiful Freycinet National Park — a memorable end to your epic road trip.
Written by Jennifer Dawson