Ever dreamed of packing up, escaping the daily grind and driving your family around in a motorhome?
Whether it’s for a few weeks or a few months, Tasmania has to be the perfect place to do just that. Australia’s southern state has wide open roads, spectacular scenery and plenty to keep the kids entertained.
Jason and Sam Ephraims recently returned from an Apollo motorhome tour of Tasmania with their children, Zander, 12, Natalie, 11 and Micah 7.
Dad, Jason, had never driven an RV before. But it didn’t take long to adjust.
“It only took a few hours to get used to driving an RV,” Jason says. “Once you get used to it the roads in Tasmania are really suited to driving an RV.”
Many of Tasmania’s towns take pride in being “RV-friendly.”
“There were areas set up for us to stop off in the middle of town near tourist attractions, so it was really easy to find our way around,” Sam says.
For the kids, the best part of motorhome travel actually was their time in the van. Long stretches of driving give a family time to get to know each other.
“Sleeping in the Apollo is really fun because my brother and sister all got to share the big space above the caravan itself,” Zander says.
The three kids sat at the dining table for long drives (there are seatbelts to keep them safe).
“We had a lot of fun looking out the big window and talking to each other along the way,” Natalie says.
So where should you go? That depends on how long you have.
The Ephraims travelled from Old Hobart town, to Port Arthur, all the way up to Launceston, Penguin, Sheffield and Cradle Mountain.
Starting in Hobart, the best way to get your bearings is to climb Mount Wellington – you can drive all the way to the top (it’s also possible to hike or cycle up to the top). The lookout provides spectacular views of the city below.
At Salamanca Place, you’ll find cafes, restaurants, galleries and craft shops. Every Saturday there’s a market which celebrates local talented artists, musicians and producers with a wide variety of food-stalls, jewellery, wooden ornaments and live entertainment.
Just north of the city, you will find Hobart’s famous Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). This place is great for all ages with varied exhibits involving light and sound.
A 90-minute drive south-east will take you to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site. One of Tasmania’s top tourist attractions, it offers the chance to step back in time and explore Australia’s convict history.
If you drive north to Launceston, you will find a town with plenty to keep the kids entertained. The city has more than 200 parks and reserves for the little ones to stretch their legs and run. City Park is one of the absolute best – with ducks, a train ride around the park and Japanese Macaque monkeys. Slightly older kids will love Seahorse World a visitor centre dedicated to protecting and celebrating different species of seahorses.
The city outskirts have plenty of farms where the kids can pick (and eat) strawberries, raspberries, loganberries and blackberries.
Platypus House, in the Tamar Valley is another top spot for animal lovers, offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch live Tasmanian platypuses and echidnas in daylight conditions.
If you have teenagers, head to Hollybank Treetop Adventure. This series of ziplines is an exciting, fun and eco-friendly way to discover Tasmania’s natural landscape.
No motorhome trip to Tassie would be complete, however, without a visit to the spectacular Cradle Mountain. The mountain was named due to its resemblance to that of a gold mining cradle. Cradle Mountain actually has four named summits; Cradle Mountain (1545m), Smithies Peak (1527m), Weindorfers Tower (1459m) & Little Horn (1355m)
Cradle Mountain’s famed 6-day hike may be out of reach with pint-sized bushwalkers, but there are plenty of shorter alternatives suited to little legs. The Rainforest Walk lasts ten to twenty minutes and is ideal for toddlers and young kids. Older, more active children will enjoy the Dove Lake track circumnavigating the deep, blue waters. It has a few (but not many) short steep sections and will take a couple of hours.
Of course, all of these activities are highly-educational. So it is possible to excuse the kids from school for a longer trip.
Want to know more about Tasmania?
Read about things to do in Hobart with kids here.
Find out about ghost tours of Hobart and Port Arthur here.
Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.