Tasmania, a mysterious piece of land, far south… That name sounded dreamy and fascinating when I was a child… And it was so far away… Not so much anymore now that I live in Sydney. My husband and I went to Tasmania on a mini-moon, just after our wedding and completely fell in love with the place. We’ve been back several times since and I can think of 6 things to do on a break on the East Coast of Tasmania. If you extend your road trip to Melbourne and Victoria, I recommend travelling to the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians National Park and Sovereign Hill.
Known as the Apple Isle, Tasmania is an isolated island state off Australia’s south coast and is known for its vast, rugged wilderness areas., such as Cradle Mountain. With a population of half a million, it is as big as Ireland, and was named after Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer who first discovered the island in 1642.
Cross The Bass Strait
In the middle of winter, my husband decided to book a passage on the Spirit of Tasmania, on a whim… And so we flew to Melbourne, and boarded the ship for an overnight journey to Devonport. As it was winter, we didn’t get to see much on the way out of Port Phillip Bay but we got to relax in our Executive Cabin.
Fun fact: The Bass Strait is only 60 m deep on average
Take a Tasmanian Road Trip
The best way to travel around Tasmania is by car. The roads are mostly good and not very busy. After a day meandering through Launceston and the Tamar Valley, we hit the road to Scottsdale and Derby, and were seduced by the beautiful scenery.
The drive from Launceston to the East Coast of Tasmania will take around 3 hours and is well worth doing. There are various villages along the way, some of them have funky details. Derby is a funky one with its fish-painted rock!
Marvel at the Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires is a spectacular stretch of coast north of St Helens, from Binalong Bay to Ansons Bay. The coastline is scenic and rugged, lined with orange-coloured granite rocks. It has some of the most amazing beaches in Tasmania and plenty of little creeks to explore. The water is crystal-clear and the sand so white! There are plenty of opportunities for fishing, camping, bird-watching, boating, walking and generally relaxing…
Fun fact: The Bay of Fires received it’s name in 1773, from Captain Tobias Furneaux, who spotted aboriginal fires on the coast.
Although it was winter, the water was very tempting… I have rarely seen such crystal-clear temptation…
Try the Seafood
The East Coast of Tasmania is a seafood-lover paradise. Oysters, mussels, prawns, scallops, rock lobster… All from the morning catch. If you enjoy seafood, take the time to enjoy a nice meal. Some of the best places can be a shack by the side of the road!
There are some great places in St Helens, a lovely fishing harbour south of the Bay of Fires.
When we first visited this place in 2009, it was just a shack, and we could never forget the incredibly fresh seafood. It’s a bit busy with tourist buses now but still very much worth it.
Experience Freycinet National Park & Wineglass Bay
Wineglass Bay is probably one of most famous images of the Tasmanian East Coast. A perfect cove with crystal blue waters, Freycinet National Park offers a range of activities from camping to bushwalking and sightseeing pristine nature and wildlife. There are some nice bushwalks to get you away from the tourist hustle and bustle. They vary in length and difficulty.
The weather wasn’t with us that day, too overcast… The colours are amazing on a sunny day though!
Relax in Swansea
Have I missed something?
Yes, Maria Island! We didn’t have time to stop on the way back to Hobart, but it’s definitely on the cards for next time !
Have you been to the East Coast of Tasmania? What did you enjoy the most?