Travelling to Tasmania is on every Aussie’s list, but travelling to Tasmania with a toddler, for a week, in a campervan was our dream! And it came true in February when we managed to escape for a whole week in between lockdowns.
Planning your trip to Tasmania (with a toddler)
When we were planning our trip, we wanted to make sure that we cover enough ground but in a manner that it feels like a holiday. Mrs. FOMOist and I have done many holidays that we needed another holiday to get over. Plus, travelling with a toddler means that you can’t be as fast and agile as you would like. While Tasmania may look small, there are so many “must-sees” and must-dos” that you really have to do some planning before jetting off.
Our preferred option was to fly into Hobart and drive around the East Coast to cover the greatest hits (more detail coming up shortly). On our trip we met a lot of families that were either visiting for the second time and doing the West Coast, or doing a big loop around the state in one go. I really enjoyed the “one coast over one week” approach, but let’s be honest, I could have spent a lot more time doing that.
Flying to Tasmania with a toddler
As a first-time parent, we didn’t realise the level of planning required for flying with a toddler. However, once you’ve done it, it’s a breeze and some might say even better than travelling without one. Things to keep in mind are:
- Flight times – You want to ensure that you plan your flight in accordance with your toddlers’ nap time. We took a 10.00AM flight from Brissy to Hobart and 3.00PM back, which worked out perfectly. The flight is approx. 3 hours long so enough time for a nap, snack, [short-lived] excitement. And before you know it, you’re approaching your destination.
- Luggage Allowance – Flying with a toddler is so much better if you like to maximise your luggage allowance. In addition to your normal allowance you are allowed to take – a pram, a car seat, a portacot, portable high-chair. Just imagine the extra little spaces you could stuff! Disclaimer: We are not encouraging such behaviour, but merely making you aware of the opportunities.
- Priority Boarding – Since you’re travelling with a child, you get to go on the plane first! I never used to value priority boarding. I mean why would you want to spend more time on a plane that you have to? But when travelling with a toddler, it is a godsend! You have all the overhead locker space at your disposal and time to settle.
Hot tip! Travel with your toddler before they turn 2 because you only pay for the taxes. After that, it’s another ticket to purchase. If it wasn’t for Covid, we would have taken our little girl EVERYWHERE!
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Travelling around Tasmania with a toddler in a campervan
We only had a week. We suffer greatly from FOMO. So, to make the most of the time we had, we decided on renting a campervan for the first 6 days. This gave us the flexibility to:
- Be mobile and truly appreciate the scenic beauty of Tasmania. Even the drive in between destinations is breath-taking.
- Keep covering ground even in between naps. The other alternative would have been going back and forth between hotel rooms.
- Make the most of free campsites around Tasmania.
Things to consider when hiring a campervan with a toddler
It was easy as pie! We used a website called DriveNow.com.au. They seem to have the largest range at the best prices. If it’s your first time hiring a campervan (it was for us), navigating the choices can feel like a minefield. However, if you are flexible and not-too-fussed, it’s not that bigger deal. Things that I would recommend considering:
- How many beds do you need? With a family of three (us and Little Miss who was 14 months at the time), we only used one bed and it was very comfortable. Plus it kept us all warm on cold nights.
- Do you need a toilet/bathroom? We got one with the bathroom, but never ended up using it. With a toddler you make enough pit stops to manage any emergencies. Plus the “bathroom” is tiny for you to manage a toddler in there.
- Even if you have a heater in your campervan, it will only work if the camper is plugged in at a powered site.
- We would highly recommend hiring a car seat than bring your own. This way, you don’t have to worry about the mess your toddler will make.
Hot Tip! When hiring a campervan (or a car), rather than purchasing the additional comprehensive insurance cover from the rental company, consider using someone like RentalCover.com.au. This way of insuring your rental vehicle is a lot more cost-effective and efficient.
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Where is best to go in Tasmania with a toddler?
Our answer is – EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE! While travelling with a toddler is different (challenging at times), it doesn’t mean it has to be restricted. We took our 14 month old everywhere we wanted to go and she loved every minute of it.
As mentioned above, we decided to explore the East Coast of Tasmania and below is an overview of our little 7-day itinerary:
Day 1: White Beach
Arrived at Hobart International Airport and picked up our campervan. We really want to go check out the Salamanca Market. The market is only open on Saturday between 8.30AM and 3.00PM and we wouldn’t have made it there in time so we gave it a miss and headed straight towards Port Arthur. We stayed at White Beach Tourist Park where we settled in after watching the subset with a bottle of wine while Little Miss slept inside the camper.
Day 2: Port Arthur & Richmond
We had a slow start (a recurring theme for the trip), drove around Port Arthur, grabbed some yummy lunch at Port Arthur Lavender while circling the area, visiting the Remarkable Caves and hiking the Maingon Bay to the lookout, Devil’s Kitchen, Tasman Arch and Tessellated Pavements. For the second night, we decided to call a quaint little town of Richmond our home. I wouldn’t call it a must-see, but we loved it’s old worldly charm.
Day 3: Wineglass Bay Lookout
Wineglass Bay Lookout was on the list and my God it was stunning. I had Little Miss strapped to my chest in a carrier. We did the hike (there and back) with minimal fuss and were rewarded with unparalleled natural beauty that Tasmania is known for. We didn’t go don all the way to the beach, but chose to relax at Honeymoon Bay instead.
After soaking in the views, we decided we
wanted needed a glass of wine so we went to Devil’s Corner Cellar Door, where they had crisp wine, hearty food and (again) breathtaking views to match. To make sure we were maximising our time, we kept driving towards Bay of Fires, before settling in at one of the free camping spots at Cosy Corner North.
Day 4: Bay of Fires & Cradle Mountain
We admire the beauty of The Gardens, Bay of Fires and make our way to the Cradle Mountain. It was a long day, but so glad we did it. We only got to Cradle Mountain around 2.00PM, which is on the cusp of being too late. We did the Dove Lake Circuit which was perfect with the little one and saw wombats while waiting for our shuttle bus! I say it again – it was a long, tiring day, but Little Miss FOMOist is a trooper and we just wanted to test the limits of travelling with a toddler.
Needing a break from being inside a camper, we decided to splash out on a cabin at Discovery Parks Cradle Mountain.
Day 5: Leisurely drive from Cradle Mountain to Hobart via Launceston
We sleep in, making the most of our cabin at Cradle Mountain, before starting our journey back towards Hobart. It was going to be a chill day. There was no rush to get back to Hobart. So, we took our time, stopped over at Launceston for lunch and arrived in Hobart in the afternoon. Went to Cascade Brewery Bar, had lunch at the Ginger Brown Cafe, drove up with the (very windy) Wellington Point and settled in for the night at The Lea Scout Campground – Kingston Camp Ground. This is the most centrally located camp ground we could find and it was perfect for the night.
Day 6: Mooching around in Hobart (in luxury)
Mrs. FOMOist and I agreed at the start of the trip that after “roughing it out” in a campervan for days, we wanted to end our trip by staying some lush. So we checked into Lenna of Hobart. The hotel is in a heritage listed 1874-built sandstone mansion, on the waterfront, with all that Hobart has to offer at your doorstep.
After making the most of our comfy (lux) room, we walked around the harbour, drank expensive wine (and everything else) at Drink Co, devoured on crayfish and drowned ourselves in melting ice cream.
Day 7: Quick dash to MONA
I had heard so much about MONA that no matter what, I wasn’t leaving without seeing what the fuss was all about. We drove our camper to the “island” and were there for the 10.00AM opening. It felt like that we just made a quick dash around MONA before returning the camper and hopping back on the plan.
About MONA, if Little Miss was older (and more aware), I wouldn’t have taken her. It is definitely worth a visit, but not sure if it’s appropriate for kids. However, if you have an under-2 year-old, I highly recommend it.
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Finer details for travelling to Tasmania with a toddler
Accommodation: We didn’t really book anything in advance and called up places in the morning. It provided lots of flexibility but no certainty. If you prefer to know where you’re going (especially with a little one), I recommend do what will allow you to have the best time.
Shopping for groceries: Even though it’s a large-ish place, there are not that many big supermarkets around. If you are in the bigger cities like Hobart and Launceston, make the most of Woolies and/or Coles. They are few and far in between.
Most importantly, if it’s your first time travelling with a toddler (regardless of the destination), please share your experience with us in the comments section. If you are a seasoned travelling with a toddler expert and tips, tricks and hacks for us, we would love to hear them all.
We will definitely be returning to Tasmania. If you have any ideas on travelling around Tasmania, please feel free to share them too.