Freycinet National Park (Coles Bay) to Launceston Road Trip: Stops + Things to Do

Freycinet National Park is a must do on any Tasmania holiday but getting there requires a road trip, whether you’re driving to Freycinet from Launceston or driving to Launceston from Freycinet National Park, this guide has everything you need to know about how to get there and where to stop along the way.

For me, Freycinet was the first stop on a 10 day Tasmania road trip and we drove from there on to Launceston before heading towards Cradle Mountain. You can find all the details of the first section of our trip here as well as the full 10 day itinerary and tips for campervanning in Tasmania.

While the Freycinet National Park is relatively big, the best place to stay overnight ad to base yourself during your visit is Coles Bay. These directions run to/from there, but you could easily join onto the route from anywhere else in the park.

Find my recommendations for Coles Bay accommodation here.

Driving from Coles Bay to Launceston

The drive from central Launceston to Coles Bay is 175 km and takes a bit over 2 hours 15 minutes, not including stops. Google Maps will tell you it’s 2 hours but that doesn’t properly account for the windiness of the roads and slower speeds in a van. If you’re in a car it would be closer to two hours.

Related: Campervanning Tasmania Guide

The drive from Freycinet to Launceston actually had the best roads of our entire Tasmania road trip because the bulk of the journey is on the main Hobart-Launceston motorway. However, that does mean there are heaps of big trucks on the road so you’ll want to be patient as you can easily get stuck behind them without many opportunities to overtake.

The first section of the drive involves backtracking out of Freycinet National Park. If you drove in from Hobart you’ll recognise the first quarter/third of the drive as it’s the same as the route north into Freycinet. The roads here are fairly quite but watch out for potholes,

Source: Tourism Tasmania

Once you’re past Cranbrook and turn north onto the Lake Leake highway you’ll feel like you’re going in the right direction again although you could be forgiven for thinking you’re lost because the road can be completely deserted for long stretches. We saw almost nobody for at least half an hour.

This section is very pretty with lots of Australian bush but it’s quite windy and some sections can be tricking driving due to the dappled sunlight. It definitely takes longer than you’d think from looking at the map!

There is nowhere really to stop between Cranbrook and Campbell Town but once you do reach Campbell Town you’re on the main highway the rest of the way with lots of options for petrol stations and food stops (although the quality isn’t awesome).

The section from Campbell Town to Launceston can breeze y very quickly however I’d recommend straying off the main highway to explores some of the smaller towns in the Tamar Valley area that surrounds Launceston.

The Tamar Valley is another of Tasmania’s foodie and drinkie(?) hubs with loads of small wineries, distilleries and producers. Check out the where to eat section below for some recommendations. Just make sure you have a sober driver to get you the rest of the way to Launceston!

Where to stop between Hobart and Coles Bay


Bicheno is technically a bit of a detour off this route but it’s worth it if you can get to see the famous Bicheno blowhole.

The blowhole is created by surf pushing water out of a hole in the roof of a sea cave and it looks a lot like a geothermal geyser. It’s easily accessible from the Douglas Street part of the esplanade. Fair warning, the blowhole can be underwhelming at low tide or on calm days and likely to soak you on rough days so plan accordingly.

Bicheno blowhole
Bicheno Blowhole Source: Tourism Tasmania

Bicheno is also a great spot for wildlife encounters. During the winter month of May to September, you may spot whales off the coast as they complete their annual migration. There are also around 600 little penguins who make their home on the beach around Bicheno, although they’re not often seen during the day.

Meanwhile at East Cost Natureworld you can meet Tasmania’s most infamous residents, the Tasmanian Devil as well as other native animals and birds. Entry is $29 for adults, and you’ll want to try catch one of the devil feedings at 12pm or 2pm, its gross but fascinating.

Bicheno, being a seaside town, also has some great seafood options if you happen to be passing through around lunchtime. Tasmanian Coastal Seafoods is one of the best fish and chip shops on the island while The Lobster Shack is a destination for crayfish lovers.

Woolmers Estate Convict Site

Woolmers Estate is one of the many Australian and particularly Tasmanian Convict Sites that are recognised by UNESCO World Heritage.

It’s not as impressive as Port Arthur by a long shot but it is quite pretty, to the point that it’s used as a wedding venue. There is also a nice restaurant on the grounds and various guided tours are available daily.

You’ll find the Estate just outside of Longford.

Woolmers estate stop on a freycinet Launceston drive
Woolmers Estate Source: Tourism Tasmania

Where to eat and drink along the way to Launceston from Freycinet National Park


It seems like Tasmania has hundreds of wineries and you’ll come across dozens of them on the drive from Freycinet National Park to Launceston.  These make great stopping points either for a winery lunch or for a tasting (assuming you have a sober driver with you).

Some of the best wineries along the way are Clover Hill, Bundaleera, Inglers Creek and Spring Vale. Spring Vale is close to Coles Bay while the others are just south of Launceston, off the main highway.

Clover Hill specialises in sparkling wines while the other wineries mainly produce the cool climate pinot varieties that are common throughout Tasmania. Both Clover Hill and Bundaleera offer food. Bear in mind though that most wineries close their cellar doors during the winter months.

winery on the way from freycinet to Launceston
Clover Hill Cellar Door Source: Tourism Tasmania

Van Dieman Brewing

If wine isn’t your beverage of choice, you’ll still find options on this road trip. There’s Van Dieman, an independent brewery specialising in ales, and Launceston Distillery making single malt whiskey.


Banjos is a bakery chain that’s all over Tasmania and it’s not the kind of place you’d normally find me recommending. However, they actually do a really good version of the curried scallop pie which is a Tasmanian specialty and something all visitors must try at least once.

Plus, if you want a cheap feed or have fussy kids, it’s. super easy option. And there aren’t many better options on the drive from Coles Bay to Launceston unfortunately. While there’s loads of drink options the area seems to be a black spot for food.

Where to stay in Launceston

  • Camping/Budget – Big 4 Launceston is a campsite with powered and unpowered sites as well as cabins for anyone looking for a budget option without a tent or campervan. They are very much in the suburbs so it’s a bit of a walk into the city centre.
  • Budget – Pod Inn, if you want something cheap and central this modern hostel-type spot is a good bet.
  • Mid-range – Waratah on York is one of many small hotels in Launceston that are in beautiful historic buildings
  • Luxury – Peppers Silo is the number one luxury accommodation option Launceston 9there aren’t that many options tbh). It’s right on the waterfront with great views.