What’s not to love about a Tassie road trip? Not only are you right in the midst of some of Australia’s most incredible countryside (quite literally all the time), but you’re also pretty much always on the doorstep of luscious vineyards and orchards, forests, windswept beaches and secluded spots where rivers meet the ocean. And, best of all, you can always keep your eyes out for an opportunity (and there are plenty!) to take those wheels off the beaten track for a tad of 4×4 fun.
With Launceston as our base, the Maxxis team recently got our RAZR AT811s rolling — yep, we went with the trusty, versatile and comfy all-terrains for this trip. With the Tamar Valley firmly in our sights, here’s a little of where our tyres took us…
Launceston’s the launching pad
Whether you’re travelling from Devonport after a ferry ride from Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania and need a place for the night before setting off further afield, or you’re venturing from another part of the Apple Isle, Launceston has every type of accommodation covered. True to Tassie character, it’s home to an extensive range of options, from unique boutique and family hotels to self-catering apartments and rustic cabins, catering to budgets high and low. Here are a few of our picks:
- For a trendy stay with a river view, while also being part of Launceston’s history right on site, the Peppers Silo hotel has been converted from the building’s original use as four grain silos and is an impressive landmark and feature of the town.
- The Leisure Inn Penny Royal Hotel & Apartments also has plenty of appeal. Brilliantly located in easy walking distance of the spectacular Cataract Gorge (which if you haven’t already been is an absolute must before setting off for the Tamar), the Penny Royal’s close to some of Launceston’s best pubs and restaurants while oozing Old English heritage style charm.
- If you’ve brought your ‘van or a bit of relaxed camping or a cabin is more what you have in mind, there’s also a Big4 within easy reach of the city centre with villas and powered caravan and camping sites ready to be your base to get your Tamar Valley adventure started!
A haven of cool climate wines
About 25 minutes from Launceston on the West Tamar Highway will get you right into the cool climate wine country (which also happens to be Tassie’s oldest wine growing area) and right to the door of the Tamar Valley Wine Centre. Located in Exeter, this is a hub of information on wines, wineries, cellar doors (as well as craft beers and other beverages) of the valley area and is a great first port of call to do a test and taste of wines from many vineyards, all in one spot! You can also tuck into a yummy pizza or platter packed with local produce, load up on friendly advice, visit the on-site shop and most importantly, get the next stage of your trip sorted. With 30 vineyards (and counting!) in the Tamar’s iconic wine-growing area, you’ll be spoilt for choice – check out this interactive map complete with opening hours and other details to help your planning.
No trip to this part of Tassie is complete without sampling local produce – especially when still growing right on the banks of the Tamar! Pick your own Hillwood Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries), buy a punnet or two to take away or visit the Farmgate Café for berries & cream and plenty more! Check the website for opening times and for what’s in season (it’s just 20 minutes from Launceston on Hillwood Rd, just off the East Tamar Highway).
Low Head Lighthouse and Penguins
Further on (a quick 5km out of character-filled George Town) and situated in a super-spectacular spot looking over Bass Strait with rugged views for miles around, the Low Head Lighthouse (Tassie’s second oldest) is an impressive sight.
Low Head is also home to a Little Blue penguin colony — you may well spot them heading out of the ocean and waddling along the beach on the way to their burrows. If you want to be extra sure you don’t miss out on this amazing experience, book in for a guided sunset tour. The Kanamaluka Trail (a walking and cycling track) between George Town and Low Head is another great way to take in this scenic area.
Seahorses and Platypuses
Across the Batman Bridge, the aptly named Beauty Point has a lot of exotic and beautiful things going for it! A peaceful setting and the perfect spot for a bit of fishing, kayaking or just soaking up the views, it is also home to Seahorse World, famous for its seahorse farming and conservation and nearby Platypus House where you can view and learn about Tasmanian Platypuses and Echidnas in their natural habitat.
Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre
Including a Mine Rescue gallery and exhibition, telling the legendary story of the rescue of miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb in 2006, the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre brings the history of the former mine back to life. Situated in West Street, Beaconsfield, it’s a stone’s throw (about 6km) from Beauty Point.
Let’s go off-road
If you’re up for a bit of 4WD’ing (and you’ll need plenty of 4WD experience and the vehicle to match) – head on down to Bridport and get your rig ready for some awesome off-roading — including some of the best sand dunes you’ll see anywhere! The 22km track from Bridport to Bellingham will give your RAZRs a chance to really show what they’re made of. Make sure you adjust your tyre pressures accordingly and have the necessary recovery kit on board. Bridport is a picture-perfect seaside town (with the renowned Bridestowe Lavender Estate and some great golfing in easy reach), so even if you’re not going off-road, there’s heaps to see and do!
Preparing for your adventure, let’s talk tyres
There’s no time like a little road trip to give your tyres a safety check! Along with making sure the pressures are right (remembering to adjust for extra load or if you are towing a trailer or van), checking the tread is ultra- important. Our conveniently located Maxxis dealers are always ready to help with friendly advice or assistance on rotating, replacing and choosing the best tyres for your ride!