Port Arthur to Freycinet Self Drive Tour
Self Drive Tour Itinerary from Port Arthur to Freycinet Tasmania
The Self Drive Touring itineraries in this section of Tasmania.com are designed to give you assistance in planning a great holiday in Tasmania. Finishing several hours travel away from the starting point, they are meant to move you from overnight stay to overnight stay as you explore Tassie.
The drives have been written by a local who has covered all the roads, enjoyed the sights and wants to show you the easy way to get around. It is about time and distance. It is about enjoying yourself.
Things To See on the Self Drive Tour from Port Arthur to Freycinet
Marion Bay, Copping, Kellevie, Nugent, Buckland Church, Orford, Three Thumbs Lookout, Maria Island, Eastcoaster Resort, Triabunna, Coastal Views, Spiky Bridge, Kate's Berry Farm, Swansea, Morris' General Store, Swansea Bark Mill Tavern and Museum, Cranbrook, Apslawn, Freycinet Vineyard Cellar and Picnic Area, Freycinet Marine Farm, Friendly Beaches, Moultin Lagoon Game Reserve, Coles Bay, Freycinet Lodge, Wineglass Bay.
Port Arthur to Freycinet Self Drive Tour Directions
While the drive from Port Arthur to Freycinet Coles Bay can be made in about 2 hours, the directions that follow can take up to a full day where you allow time to turn off to take the back roads and stop at the attractions mentioned. The East coast of Tasmania is very picturesque, and the scenery ranges from beaches to expansive coastline to wooded forest areas. This is a very picturesque part of the world, one to be experienced slowly.
Leave Port Arthur on the A9 Arthur Highway and follow it back across Eaglehawk Neck and on to Dunalley. After crossing the bridge over the Dunalley Canal, turn right and drive through the township. As the road curves gently to the left, watch for the Boomer Bay, Marion Bay turnoff to the right. Following this backroad (Bay Road) will take you beside the water as it curves towards the East Coast. When the road turns at a right angle to the left, there will be the option to turn off for the 1 Km drive to Marion Bay.
If you would like to walk on an almost deserted beach that is one of the most expansive in Tasmania, turn right and then park behind the dunes. It is a 2 minute walk to the beach. After time on Marion Bay Beach, retrace your steps and follow what is now Marion Bay Road as it climbs the hill (watch for the Bream Creek Vineyard on your right) and rejoins the A9 Arthur Highway at Copping. The Copping Colonial and Convict Exhibition will be on your right.
As you leave Copping, watch for the turnoff to the right to the Kellevie Road. Rather than follow the A9 back to Sorell and then the A3 to Orford, Swansea, Bicheno and Coles Basy Freycinet you can cut directly through Kellevie and Nugent to join the A3 Tasman Highway at Buckland. Not only will this save driving distance, it will route you through some charming rural and forest country as you head north. Follow the Kellevie Road to Kellevie. Watch for the turnoff to the left at Kellevie (the road will become Bream Creek Road - turn to the left and stay on the Kellevie Road towards Nugent) and follow it as it winds its way towards Nugent. After a series of particularly sharp hairpin turns, the road will emerge from the forest and onto open farmland. Watch for the turnoff to the right onto the Nugent Road. Drive through the hamlet of Nugent and follow the road through more forest until it joins the A3 Tasman Highway just to the east of Buckland. Turn left onto the A9 Tasman Highway and drive into Buckland. The Buckland Church is worth looking through, it is a fine example of early colonial church architecture.
From Buckland it is an easy 20 minutes through light forest and farmland and along the bank of the Prosser River to Orford. Orford is a popular East coast town much loved by Hobart residents as a weekend getaway. Many Hobart residents have weekend "shacks" (second weekend houses) in the area. Before crossing the bridge over the Prosser River to follow the A9 Tasman Highway north, there is a short drive to the Three Thumbs Lookout for spectacular views out over Maria Island, Mercury Passage and the East Coast as it stretches northwards.
Where the A3 turns hard left to cross the bridge as you come into Orford, turn sharp right instead onto Charles Street. Watch for the turnoff to the right marked Weilengata Road. Turn off and follow the Weilengata Road through the trees and watch for the turnoff to the right (uphill) to the Three Thumbs Lookout. It is a steep drive uphill, but the views are worth it. There are elementary picnic facilities at the lookout. Drive back to Orford, cross the bridge over the Prosser River and follow the A3 north towards Swansea and Bicheno.
If you wish to visit Maria Island, watch for the turnoff to the right onto Louisville Road and follow it to the Eastcoaster Resort. The boat transfer leaves from the Eastcoaster at regular intervals. If visiting Maria Island, be sure to allow about 4 hours for the round trip excursion, about half an hour each way on the boat, then 3 hours walking and exploring time on Maria Island itself.
Follow the A3 north through Triabunna. The Port facilities you see across the bay before Triabunna are the Woodchip Export facilities. Logs from Tasmanian forestry are trucked here from all over the State for chipping and export. It is a standing joke in Tasmania that the chipboard you buy at the building supply store in Hobart is made of Tasmanian wood that was cut, trucked to Triabunna, chipped, shipped to Japan or Korea, manufactured, shipped back, trucked to the store and then sold to Tasmanians. Said tongue in cheek, of course since only a fraction ever returns to Tasmania, the rest being sold on the world market. Forestry remains one of the major Tasmanian primary industries and has been the focus of much environmental discussion for many years.
The A3 runs north through open bush and farmland for about 20 minutes before coming back to the coast just after Little Swanport. The vistas out over Great Oyster Bay are indeed spectacular, with the Hazards and Freycinet Peninsula on the horizon to the east as you drive northwards to Swansea. Watch on the left for the Spiky Bridge, built by convicts in 1843 and noted for the unusual "spike" feature of the top course of stones, said to be set to discourage cattle from falling off the bridge. About 6 Kms further on, watch for Kate's Berry Farm on the left, and call in to meet the owner and look through her well laid out shop, the strawberry and raspberry bushes and the fruit farm itself. After visiting Kate's Berry Farm, drive into Swansea. Morris' General Store, on the right as you drive through town is a finely restored building and shop.
On the left as you leave Swansea is the Bark Mill Tavern and Bakery. While you might not need supplies, the Museum is a faithfully restored working mill which gives a fascinating insight into a lost industry. Wattle Bark, found in large quantities on the East coast of Tasmania, is rich in naturally occurring tannin and was much used by the hide and fur tanning industries from the late 1800's to the middle of the 1900's. The mill is well worth a visit if you feel inclined. From Swansea continue north on the A3 through Apslawn.
Watch for the Freycinet Vineyard Cellar Door on the left at Apslawn. They have a picnic area, food for sale, and wines available by the glass. Watch for the turnoff to the right onto Coles Bay Road. Turn off onto Coles Bay Road and follow it downhill through light bushland, past the turnoff to the Friendly Beaches and along the shores of the Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve. The Freycinet Marine Farm will be on your right a little further on - it is worth stopping for seafood that is as fresh as you can get it anywhere.
It is just a short drive into Coles Bay and the entrance to the Freycinet National Park.
There is a lot to do, and plenty of excellent walking in Coles Bay, the Friendly Beaches, Wineglass Bay and Freycinet National Park. This is a very popular area with local Tasmanians, so it is always wise to book your accommodation in advance to be sure you get what you want. Check out the Hotels in Freycinet and Coles Bay.
Self Drive Tours of Tasmania: