If you like getting away from the main roads and the popular tourist routes, I have found a road that gives you that option. People driving from Hobart to the East Coast will travel up the centre of the state on Route 1 and turn off at either Campbell Town or Conara depending on their destination while others will choose the Tasman Highway to see a greater portion of the coast.

Hobart to the East Coast - Alternate Route
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Travel from Hobart to the East Coast, but take the long way around…

Alternative Route: Hobart to the East Coast

by Roger Findlay

I wanted a bit of Oatlands and Buckland plus the small town in between when heading from Hobart to the east coast. Mad! (Yes, I’m different but I had my reason).


 

Oatlands is only an hour out of Hobart and they have unique bread made from stone-ground flour that was milled over the road at the Callington Mill. The first time tourist will love the Callington Mill, the tour and the town in general.

From Hobart to Buckland via Oatlands

Now for the east coast! If you don’t mind getting your car dirty and driving on dirt roads, you can make a turn out of Oatlands that will take you to Buckland. This winding road is easy to drive and will show you a side to Tasmania that only those living there see. It’s mainly rugged sheep country and scrub where only the hardy will survive. I was interested in the small towns that were only names on the map when I commenced the trip; Parattah, Baden, Tunnack, Whitefoord and Woodsdale.

Hobart to the East Coast - Woodsdale Museum
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Woodsdale Museum, located between Oatlands and Buckland in Tasmania

Apart from the first mentioned, you wouldn’t want to blink else you’ll miss them. Renowned for heavy frosts, fine swedes and turnips I stopped in the centre of Tunnack, near the cemetery, just to get a feel for the place and what it would be like living there. I’d seen cheap houses advertised on Domain. Good value. Bargains; and I can see why. If you weren’t involved in farming, you would be stagnant and depressed where a scarce neighbour would be your only contact.

Hobart to the East Coast - Tunnak
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Tunnack Church and Cemetery, southern midlands of Tasmania

If you want to know more about these small towns, I can recommend the book titled A History of the Lower Midlands of Tasmania by J.S. Weeding.

Hobart to the East Coast - Callington Mill, Oatlands
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Callington Mill, Oatlands in the Southern Midlands section of the Heritage Highway (left)
A History of the Lower Midlands of Tasmania by J.S. Weeding (right)

From Buckland to Orford

Buckland features regularly on Think Tasmania. Why? The Church of John the Baptist and the magnificent stained glass windows therein. In all of Tasmania you won’t find a better church. In my opinion only the church in Deloraine comes close. Take a breather to walk the grounds. Enter through the solid wooden door with hinges and locks that were made to last. Marvel in the streams of natural light entering the stained glass windows. To show your appreciation, buy a booklet or leave a gold coin donation in the box. Drive away feeling spiritually better without feeling religious!

Hobart to the East Coast - Buckland Church
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History book of Buckland St John the Baptist Church and Window (left)
Buckland Church, 10 mins inland from Orford on the east coast of Tasmania (right)

Ten minutes and you’ll be on the east coast in Orford. Have a stroll, fish or play golf. Maybe stay the night in one of several choices that Orford offers. If not, continue to the sister town of Triabunna where you can do the same.

Hobart to the East Coast - Triabunna
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Travel from Hobart to the East Coast and arrive at Triabunna

Maybe try a large packet of fish and chips from the van or take a trip over to Maria Island. There’s so much to do in this part of the state and you need to allow plenty of time to do it.

Hobart to the East Coast - Fish and Chips
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After the drive from Hobart to the East Coast, enjoy fish and chips at the beach

From Orford to Swansea via Triabunna

If you’re continuing north, you will find the next part of the drive tedious. Swansea looks close on the map but in reality it’s further than you think. Just south of Swansea you will need to stop at Spiky Beach on your right before stopping again at Spiky Bridge on your left.

Hobart to the East Coast - Spiky Beach
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Spiky Beach on the east coast of Tasmania, opposite Spiky Bridge

Swansea is also a great place to stay. It’s a lovely town with unspoilt beaches and surrounds. For the serious fisherman, Swansea is the place to go. There’s a well-equipped pier, boat ramps, maps and parking. Quality restaurants, cafés and wineries will satisfy the gourmet traveller.


 

For all of that I would suggest allowing three days to drive from Hobart to the east coast. See Tasmania the sensible way. See it bits at a time and then come back for more just like me!

9 April 2013 ~ As a follow on from this article by Roger, we’ve published another from local Tasmanian and guest author Margaret Morgan: Hobart to the East Coast.

Roger Findlay spends all his holidays in Tasmania, then writes about the
experience for Think Tasmania. If you’d like Roger to visit you in the name of
research (so we can publish information about your business), please contact us.

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Map: Hobart to the East Coast, Tasmania…