Self Drive Itineraries

Strahan to Hobart

My Strahan to Hobart self drive itinerary climbs up into the mountains to Queenstown, then across valleys and more mountains on the Alpine Plateau to Derwent Bridge at the southern end of Lake St Clair.

The Derwent River rises here, and the drive passes through the Hydro Electric generating area and follows the Derwent Valley downhill all the way to Hobart. Visit Russell Falls on the way. 

Allow a full day of it to drive from Strahan to Hobart. It can take up to about 10 hours, depending on how much you decide to stop and look around. To drive right through with only small stops will take about 6 hours.

Strahan is a harbour-side village with a dark and fascinating convict past set on the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Credit - Paul Fleming

Queenstown is the largest town on Tasmania's west coast. Queenstown streetscape, Tasmania, Australia. Image thanks to Derek Tickner.

Credit - Derek Tickner

Russell falls in the Mt field national park, Tasmania, Australia

Credit - keiichihiki

The Salmon Ponds, circa 1861, is the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere. Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett.

Credit - Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

Derwent Valley, New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia. Image thanks to Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

Credit - Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

Strahan - Queenstown

Featured stops  Queenstown | Acid Rain |

Take the B24 Lyell Highway and climb through the State Forests to Queenstown.

Gold was once again the driver for development. Its discovery at Queenstown in 1881 caused the Mt. Lyell Gold Mining Company to be set up in the same year, but it quickly changed its focus to copper,

A combination of woodcutting for smelters, smelter fumes causing acid rain, a high annual rainfall and thin topsoil caused the hills around Queenstown to be stripped of their vegetation in the early 1900’s.

The hills still look like a scene from the Moon. They are tough in Queenstown – the local Football Ground is not grass, it’s gravel.

Things to see and do...

Queenstown - Ouse

Featured stops  | Derwent Bridge | Tarraleah Hydro Electric Power Stations | Ouse | 

Follow the A10 Lyell Highway as it climbs out of Queenstown and runs over mountains and through valleys before coming out onto the Alpine Plateau near Derwent Bridge.

To really break the trip, you can stay at Derwent Bridge / Lake St. Clair overnight.

If you don’t have time for the extra night, it is worth a stop at the Derwent Bridge Hotel (for lunch?) – the fireplace in the main bar is a marvel of wilderness fireplace engineering. Derwent Bridge is at the southern end of Lake St. Clair.

For the next hour or so the Lyell Highway runs across the plateau, past lakes and lagoons, many man made as part of the Hydro Electric Scheme, before coming to the spectacular valley at Tarraleah.

Stop for a look at the Tarraleah and Tungatinah Hydro Electric Power Stations at the bottom of the valley.

After climbing back out of the valley, turn out to look back over the pipes that carry the water 290 metres down the hillside to the Tarraleah Power Station.

Ouse

When you get to Ouse, you are starting into the Derwent Valley farming area. From here you can look southeast and see the Derwent Valley stretching almost to New Norfolk.

Hamilton - Russell Falls

Featured Stops | Hamilton | Lake Meadowbank | Russell Falls & Mt Field National Park | 

Stay on the A10 Lyell Highway for another 40 minutes or so to come to Hamilton.

What is today a small country town was once slated to become the capital of Tasmania. The plan never materialized and Hamilton remains a farming centre.

It is well worth a stop at Glen Clyde House – their gift shop has an excellent selection of Tasmanian Handcrafts.

From Hamilton, retrace your steps towards Derwent Bridge for about 6 Kms and watch for the turn off to the left onto Dawson Road to Lake Meadowbank.

Follow Dawson Road as it crosses Lake Meadowbank and then becomes the Ellendale Road.

You will drive through some very pretty farmland before joining the B61 Gordon River Road at Westerway.

Turn right and follow the B61 Gordon River Road as it runs beside the Tyenna River. Watch for the turnoff to the right to Russell Falls and the Mt. Field National Park. Take the walk to Russell Falls.

If short of time and you do not wish to visit Russell Falls, just continue on the A10 towards Hobart from Hamilton.

Things to see and do...

Hopfields & Salmon Ponds

Featured Stops | Hopfields | The Salmon Ponds | New Norfolk |

Retrace your steps to Westerway, and turn right, staying on the B61 Gordon River Road towards Hobart. Drop down into the Valley – those are hopfields to your right – to Glenora and then keep on to Bushy Park.

The buildings with the funny “hats” on them are Oast Houses, used for drying the fine hops grown in the area. Derwent Valley Hops make excellent beer and are exported worldwide.

At Bushy Park, turn right onto the B62 Glenora Road and take the west bank of the Derwent River to New Norfolk.

If interested, stop off at the Salmon Ponds for a look at the history and development trout and salmon fisheries in Tasmania.

New Norfolk - Hobart

Featured Stops | New Norfolk | Hobart

New Norfolk is one of the oldest towns in Australia, having been established in 1807 by farming families resettled from Norfolk Island.

The Bush Inn has been continuously trading since 1815. It is worth dropping in for a feel of the old building.

On to Hobart

Follow the west bank of the Derwent River the last 30 Kms into Hobart.

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Strahan - Queenstown

New Norfolk - Hobart

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