Hobart is the cosmopolitan capital of Tasmania, a scenic island state in southeast Australia. Steeped in colonial history, the city is awash with centuries-old sites. A gorgeous natural backdrop of tree-studded mountains and glistening inlets enhances its allure.
While Hobart itself is worth a look, the city also serves as a strategic starting point to explore Tasmania’s vast, untamed landscapes. From wind-swept islands to hauntingly beautiful highlands, tiny Tasmania is a nature lover's dream.
“Tassie,” as the locals call it, also has some of the best RV infrastructure in Australia. Hundreds of picture-perfect free campsites lie scattered around the island, and you’ll find dump stations and water fill-up locations wherever you travel.
Immense natural beauty, compact geography, and abundant free camps make Tasmania a playground for free-spirited RV travelers.
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Renting a camper in Hobart is the most cost-effective and convenient way to explore the southern sections of the state. There’s a wide range of reasons why you should rent a camper in Hobart:
Affordable: You’ll get a wallet-friendly vacation with your accommodation and transport expenses rolled into one. Tasmania is a paradise for free camping.
Convenience: No need to circle back to your hotel each afternoon—pull up at the nearest campsite to retire for the night. Plus, you’ll have all your belongings in the van with you.
Freedom: Explore far-flung regions and draft impromptu itineraries as you go. A motorhome lets you follow the whim of the road.
Get close to nature: Overnighting at a scenic campsite brings you closer to nature than a hotel ever could. Don’t forget to look up and admire the twinkling stars.
On-board amenities: Drive and sleep in one vehicle. From a fridge full of food to fresh water and clean clothes, everything you need is within easy reach.
When embarking on a motorhome vacation, remember these essentials when driving around Tasmania in a campervan rental:
Cockle Creek is at the end of the southernmost road in Australia—and it's a spectacular spot to pull up stakes for the night. You'll find a series of scenic free campsites along the sheltered bay, including the ever-popular Cockle Creek Campground. Once you're done admiring the dreamy view, stretch your legs on the four-hour South Cape Bay trail.
Amenities: restrooms, fire pits
On the southern end of Lake Peddler, this beautiful secluded campsite is a great place to get away from it all. While you can't camp next to the water (a la Ted's Beach), you won't have to wander far to soak up a splendid lakefront view. Keen adventurers should tackle the strenuous ascent to the summit of Mount Anne.
Amenities: restrooms, trash cans, fire pits
As the most convenient campground in one of Tasmania's most sought-after national parks, this spectacular spot is always in demand. During Easter and the peak summer season, limited sites get allocated via a lottery system held several months prior. But don't worry; there are plenty of other options nearby.
Price: from $16 per site per night
Amenities: restrooms, potable water, showers, powered sites, trash cans
One of Tasmania's best beachfront campgrounds, this popular freebie fills up with sun-seekers all summer long. Friendly native animals, a salty sea breeze, and easy-going vibes make it a top spot to kick back for a few nights and unwind. Bicheno is a short drive away should you need to restock the fridge.
A hidden gem, this little-known site boasts some of the best waterfront scenery in southern Tasmania. The gorgeous Gordon Foreshore Reserve overlooks Bruny Island from a sparsely-populated peninsula in the Huon Valley. Respectable amenities and a rock-bottom price add to the appeal.
Price: from $5 per site per night
Amenities: restrooms, trash cans, bbq, dump station
Perhaps the best campground on Bruny, this beautiful spot sits on the southern end of the stunning Labillardiere Peninsula. Sites lie beneath a thick throng of leafy trees, from where you can spy the shimmering waters of Jetty Beach. Don’t miss the Cape Bruny Lighthouse while you’re there.
Price: from $10 per site per night
Amenities: restrooms, potable water, fire pits
An East Coast classic, this super scenic spot gives happy campers an epic ocean view. Park right up by the beach and soak up the spectacular scenery or venture inland to seek shelter from the wind. The popular vacation village of Swansea is just up the road.
Amenities: restrooms, fire pits
Overlooking Fortescue Bay, this beautiful twin campsite combines the best of both beachfront and forest camping into one. Decent amenities, including a coin-operated hot shower, ensure you won't have to rough it in this remote location. Avid hikers shouldn't miss the trails to Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy.
Price: $13 per site per night
Amenities: restrooms, showers, bbq
Near the visitor center, this well-designed campground straddles a babbling brook and offers plentiful amenities for a reasonable rate. It's the most convenient base for Mount Field adventures, including the Three Falls walk and high-altitude hikes among crystalline tarns. No room? Try Left of Field or the National Park Hotel.
Price: from $16 per site per night
Amenities: restrooms, showers, drinking water, powered sites, bbq, camp kitchen, laundry, trash cans
Could this be the best free camp in Tasmania? Wait until you witness a sunset before you decide. Lining the tranquil shores of Lake Peddler, Ted's is all about those dreamy waterfront views. Campers can park right on the hard-packed sandy beach for the optimal vantage point of this swimmer-friendly lake.
Amenities: restrooms, trash cans, bbq, camp kitchen
It's hard not to fall in love with Hobart. Despite its frigid winters, mainland Americans are packing up their possessions and moving to the city in droves—the real estate market is piping hot right now.
Part of the appeal lies in the town's spectacular natural setting. Straddling the tranquil River Derwent, the city is blessed with waterfront views. The 4,170-foot Mount Wellington looms in the background, where you'll find panoramic lookouts and the sublime sub-alpine Organ Pipes walk. The verdant Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens offer a glimpse of the island's natural splendor, while Rosny Hill Lookout is your best bet for a lofty cityscape view.
Historic Hobart hosts a multitude of intriguing old-timey sites. The convict-constructed Constitution Dock sits in the center, where shimmering waters cast a reflection of pastel-colored colonial homes.
The Hobart Convict Penitentiary and Cascades Female Factory provide insight into darker days. For a more light-hearted history lesson, order a pint at Cascade Brewery Bar, Australia's oldest beer maker. South of the downtown area, Battery Point is an atmospheric old neighborhood with sweeping views.
Present-day Hobart has a thriving contemporary side. At the helm reigns MONA, a whimsical subterranean space and world-famous art museum. Every Saturday, the Salamanca Market heaves with artisans flogging locally-grown produce and handcrafted wares. A smorgasbord of trendy hospitality venues peppers the center—Hobart is a great place to wine and dine.
A dazzling array of spectacular natural attractions resides within an easy drive of the city.
Venturing northwest leads you past New Norfolk towards Mount Field, one of Tassie's most sought-after national parks. Gushing falls, and rainforest shroud the mountain base—hit the Three Falls Circuit to admire them all. The steep winding drive towards the summit leads to more hiking adventures, including the sublime Tarn Shelf Track.
Heading west, stop at Styx Tall Trees Forest Reserve to marvel at monstrously large Eucalyptus regnans. Next, you'll hit the twin lakes of Gordon and Peddler, home to spectacular waterfront campgrounds and high-altitude trails. At the end of the road, the towering Gordon Dam makes for a top-notch photo op.
Just outside the city, Mount Nelson has a network of hilly hikes, while Kingston straddles a pretty peninsula and the panoramic Alum Cliffs Track. Pop in for pancakes at the Margate Train before jumping on a car ferry to Bruny Island.
Tassie’s most Instagrammable lookout resides at Bruny’s Neck, a razor-sharp isthmus separating north and south. South Bruny hosts the island’s best natural sites. Don’t miss Adventure Bay and the Labillardiere Peninsula.
Back on the mainland, the Huon Valley is home to a smattering of lovely riverfront towns. Swing by Woodbridge, Cygnet, Franklin, and Geeveston for quaint countryside vibes. The Huon is prime apple-growing territory—guzzle a bottle of locally-brewed cider at Pagan or Willie Smiths.
Hartz Mountains National Park is a worthy detour for its glacial lakes and lofty views. The same applies to Hastings Cave, with its enormous dolomite cavern and soothing thermal springs.
Travelers venturing down the long dirt road to Cockle Creek are rewarded with waterfront campsites and glimmering coves. The 10-mile South Cape Bay Track offers a taste of the wild Southwest National Park.
The eastern route first takes you to the Tasman Peninsula, a dramatic landmass with colonial sites and staggering sea cliffs. Eagle Neck is a narrow isthmus separating its two sides—it once helped keep convicts captive with its infamous, canine-guarded Dog Line. Don't miss the kaleidoscopic rock formations at the Tessellated Pavement.
Day hikes depart from Doo Town—the Waterfall Bluff Track is a winner. Further south, Fortescue Bay leads to the peninsula's most mind-blowing cliff-top walks. Tackle the steep steps to Cape Hauy or the overnight trek to Cape Pillar.
Not that energetic? You can book a cruise around this portion of the peninsula instead.
Port Arthur is Australia's best-preserved convict settlement. Allow several hours to explore its crumbling Penitentiary and other historic abodes. Further south, you'll find more jaw-dropping trails on Cape Raoul, plus the aptly named Remarkable Cave.
North of the peninsula, passenger ferries depart Orford for the wildlife-rich Maria Island, a car-free haven home to fuzzy wombats and ferocious Tasmanian devils. Some visit as a day trip. But if time permits, it's worth bringing a tent and camping overnight (you'll have to leave the van on the mainland).
North of Maria sits Freycinet, a dreamy national park packed with granite mountains and turquoise coves. The curvaceous white sand beach at Wineglass Bay is its most celebrated site, though avid hikers will find plenty more to explore.
The northern half of Tasmania hosts a plethora of pristine wilderness regions. If you plan to primarily explore the north, you're better off renting a campervan in Launceston or Devonport. Nonetheless, due to the state's small size, it's still feasible to visit the north from Hobart.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair is Tasmania's—and some say Australia's—most spectacular national park. Spell-binding walking trails and scenic lookouts abound in both the southern Lake St Clair and northern Cradle Mountain sections. You don't need to be a gung-ho adventurer. Easy-going family-friendly hikes cut through the rugged alpine terrain.
Other worthwhile northern sites include the likes of Cataract Gorge, Bay of Fires, Liffey Falls, Montezuma Falls, Leven Canyon, and Tarkine Drive. Of course, that's by no means an exhaustive list.
Tassie is a hiking mecca with endless breathtaking trails to explore. See the Parks & Wildlife Service 60 Great Short Walks for a cheat sheet of Tasmania's most scenic day hikes.
Long-distance hikers can enjoy an impressive selection of multi-day walks, including the world-famous Overland Track. Use a local transport agency to save on van rental fees during longer hikes. On short or overnight stints, you can leave your camper at the trailhead until you return.
As the southernmost drivable area in Australia, Cockle Creek is the literal end of the road. Nothing but the Southern Ocean and Antarctica lie beyond this point. Relax in the spectacular Cockle Creek Campground, or take a walk on the South Cape Bay Trail.
A steep 4.8 mile hike rambles toward Hartz Peak, where you’ll get unrivaled views of Tasmania’s spectacular southwest. More easy-going routes meander between glistening alpine tarns, and there’s a lovely little free campground at the bottom of the hill.
Not far south of Hobart sits Bruny, a sprawling Tasman Sea island separated by a scenic isthmus known as The Neck. Agriculture dominates the north section, while untamed landscapes abound in its national park-strewn south. Hit Adventure Bay for sheltered swims or tackle hardy hikes on the Labillardiere Peninsula.
At the southern tip of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Australia’s deepest lake shimmers with an ethereal glow. From leisurely lakeside walks to challenging alpine peaks, this pristine region is a popular spot for hikers. The lake is also the endpoint for the Overland Trail, Australia’s most well-known multi-day excursion.
A road trip to Lake Peddler showcases the raw, untouched wilderness of Tasmania's spectacular southwest. Rugged mountainous trails afford sweeping water views, and there's a gorgeous free camp at Teds Beach. The grand finale is Gordon Dam, a double curvature concrete arch stretching 460 feet high.
Within easy reach of Hobart, Mount Field is an outdoor adventure playground full of rainforest-shrouded falls and glistening glacial lakes. Hikers hit its vast network of trails in the warmer months, while winters entail skiing at the summit. Watch the towering eucalyptus forests give way to hardy alpine vegetation as you drive upwards to the peak.
As Tasmania's most-celebrated coastal park, Freycinet attracts crowds for its turquoise coves and striking granite ridges. Climb the lofty Mount Amos for an elevated view, and then scramble down to Wineglass Bay for a refreshing swim. Alternatively, avoid the crowds with an extended hike along the 18 mile, three-day Freycinet Peninsula Circuit.
A safe haven for native wildlife, car-free Maria Island is a must-visit for animal lovers. Stroll along undulating coastal trails while spotting adorable wombats and hopping marsupials along the way. The island provides your best opportunity for encountering the endangered Tasmanian devil—the fierce creatures gather around the Maria Island Campground.
As the best-preserved convict settlement in Australia, this World Heritage-listed site is a highlight for history buffs. The eerie, open-air museum has a huge penitentiary, several solitary confinement cells, and a revered convict church to explore. Early colonists chose the Tasman Peninsula to contain would-be escapees, who had to climb down ocean cliffs or brave ferocious guard dogs to find freedom—only a few ever got out alive.
Some of the world's tallest ocean cliffs encircle this inhospitable peninsula, which you can traverse via a network of vertigo-inducing trails. Tackle steep day hikes at Cape Raoul, Waterfall Bluff or Cape Hauy to admire the 300-meter precipices from above. For a longer walk, The Three Capes Track is a 48 km four-day adventure with luxury accommodations for a comfortable sleep (a free, shorter route departs from Fortescue Bay). None of these options appeal? Hop on a Tasman boat tour instead.
Here's an easy itinerary designed for travelers who want to spend more time sightseeing and driving less. You'll start in and near Hobart, and then on day two, you'll head north in a loop, returning to Hobart at the end of a relaxing week.MORE: East Coast 7-Day Itinerary
Highlights include the Port Arthur Historic Site and Coles Bay (which has over 300 days of sunshine annually - more than Gold Coast, Queensland!). You’ll also have time for a cruise on the world-famous Gordon River.MORE: Tasmania 14-Day Itinerary
Australians need a full and valid (no Learner, Provisional, or Probationary) class C car license to rent a camper in Hobart.
International travellers must have an International Drivers Permit or an English translation of a comparable foreign license.
Drivers under 21 can’t rent a camper in Australia. If you’re under 25, you’ll need to pay a young driver surcharge.
Many rental agencies don’t allow driving on unsealed roads (i.e., the southern parts of Bruny or Cockle Creek). Double-check your route with the company before you go.
Yes, the most popular route is Hobart to [Launceston]((australia/launceston) (or in the opposite direction). Vehicles can also be picked up in Devonport, though the choices there are limited.
Most campervan rental companies in Tasmania are located in Hobart, and hence the largest selection of campers is available there. As a result, many travelers decide to do a full circuit of the island, traveling one way along the east coast and the other along the west coast of the island.
This allows you to see many of Tasmania's popular tourist attractions, starting with visitor favorites Mount Wellington and Salamanca Market in Hobart City, through the Tasman Peninsula, Freycinet National Park, and Wineglass Bay on the east coast, to Cradle Mountain and the Tamar Valley up north and the Gordon River along the rugged west coast.
The majority of motorhome rental companies in Tasmania have their branch located in Hobart, so you'll find a wider selection of rental vehicles available there.
Not many rental RVs in Australia accommodate a bike rack. Let’s Go Motorhomes allows and hires bike racks (on motorhomes only) while Jucy allows but does not hire bike racks. There is also the option to store a bike inside a larger motorhome rental from Apollo, Cheapa Campa, and Hippie. It’s worth noting that bikes should be kept in a bag if stored inside and extra care should be taken if bringing your own bike rack, where it is allowed
Yes, it’s standard for most RV rental companies to allow an additional driver. This driver and any others must be named on the rental agreement and there may be a nominal fee.
Additional drivers must also hold an appropriate driver’s license and must meet driver age requirements.