Hello, from Tasmania, Australia!
Rasmus and I have been here in Tasmania for the last three weeks. We’ve been busy working and haven’t had too much time to sightsee. But in the middle of last week, I took the opportunity to explore some of Tasmania’s famous East Coast in the middle of Australian autumn.
What is known as the Great Eastern Drive is the coastline road trip up or down the eastern coast of Tasmania. This trip features dramatic coastlines, lush vineyards, and mountainous backdrops.
Maybe it’s just COVID, but Tasmania still seems severely under-discovered. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet some of the rural Tasmanian people who seem super down to earth. While touring the area, I hardly ran into tourists.
I think this will become a very hot travel destination in the future, post-COVID. I still have some of the breathtaking scenes from my trip stuck in my head; enjoy this blog on north-eastern Tasmania.
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We have been staying in Launceston at the Country Villas, at a local golf course. We are no strangers to Tasmania. We spent a few weeks in Hobart in January, which is down south. Tasmania is the last stop on our Australia tour before heading to Auckland, New Zealand, where we will be permanently based.
Launceston, or “Lonnie,” as the locals affectionately call it, is well known for its farmland, historic cities, and rolling hills. The town itself is pretty cute and laid back, with a population of almost 70,000.
It’s close to the Tamar Valley Wine Trail, famous for chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot noirs. We also enjoyed many of the little cafes in town, such as the Cafe Mondello, and for dinner, we can recommend Stillwater, Hallam’s, or the restaurant at the Gorge called the Gorge Restaurant.
One of the main attractions in Launceston is the Cataract Gorge, which is only 15 minutes from the city center on foot. There are walking trails that provide panoramic views of the river below.
At the base of the gorge, you’ll find a large pool of water and the world’s longest single-span chairlift. It’s a fun little journey across the water, definitely worth your $13! From there, you can explore the trails and cross King’s Bridge.
South of the river is a cafe and swimming pools, which looked lovely! I would have gone for a dip if it wasn’t freezing. On the northern side, you’ll find lots of peacocks, and if you get lucky, you’ll come across some friendly wallabies!
2 Day Roadtrip: Bay of Fires, Bicheno, Freycinet National Park, and Wineglass Bay
Launceston is the perfect location to fly into if you’re looking to do some exploring around the island. It’s a central enough location that you’re close to all of Tasmania’s main attractions. Hobart too isn’t far, and neither is Cradle Mountain, Bruny Island, or the Tasman Penninsula.
I took our ute (the Australian word for a truck) east across Tasmania and up to the Bay of Fires, followed by Bicheno, and ended at the Wineglass Bay before heading back up to Launceston. I highly recommend doing some driving around Tasmania.
In some ways, this coastal drive reminded me of driving up California’s famous 101 highway. It’s a great place to road trip, the state is exceptionally scenic, and you’ll be able to enjoy the countryside in any season.
The Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires is known worldwide for its clear blue seas, brilliant white beaches, and striking orange and red lichen-covered rocks. It’s one of the most idyllic holiday destinations imaginable. The Bay of Fires stretches across 50 kilometers from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point.
It’s in quite a remote spot. I wasn’t prepared for the small winding roads that took us there, mainly because it was my first time driving on the left side of the road. But it’s worth it!
You don’t want to miss these white beaches. There are tons of scenic pull-offs up to the Bay of Fires. We also found a fabulous breakfast spot in Scamander called Swims East Coast Coffee.
We stayed in a fabulous Airbnb in Binalong, which was 20 minutes from the Bay of Fires. I highly recommend staying in this area. Our BnB overlooked the ocean, and we woke to a stunning sunrise. Be sure to pick up some supplies in St. Helen’s if you stay in Binalong Bay because nothing is close by.
The Lonely Planet named the Bay of Fires as one of the world’s hottest travel destinations. The conservation area does offer beach-side camping that had amazing views. We saw quite a few camper vans, which also looked like a fabulous way to tour the Great Eastern Drive.
Don’t blink! Or you’ll miss this itty bitty coast town between the Bay of Fires and Wineglass Bay. Our friends, the Meechans, recommended this one, and I’m so glad I stopped.
I found a cute Airbnb apartment one row back from the ocean, and I recommend it if you’re only there for a night. It’s right next to the Redbill Beach where you’ll find white sands and pristine water.
The town has many cute locally-owned shops, restaurants, and a to-die-for bakery called the Blue Edge Bakery. Be sure to get yourself a pie (a pot pie as we know them in the states). For foodies, there's also a ton of fresh seafood in this fishing town, from crayfish, abalone to Australian salmon.
Bicheno is also a good spot for diving off the Governor Island Marine Reserve, known for reefs and beautiful sponge gardens. Another highly recommended activity is a penguin tour!
Meet Tasmania’s top bucket list item: the Wineglass Bay. It is part of the Freycinet Peninsula located in the National Park. The bay itself is considered one of the top ten beaches in the world.
Wineglass Bay is the most photographed spot within the state. You’ll also get the chance to explore Coles Bay on your way to the car park.
When I came to the Wineglass Bay lookout, there was a rainbow situated over the bay. This place is magical. The deep blues and aquamarines against the white sand and lush green backdrops are unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
I even got to see a big pod of dolphins feeding in the bay. Wineglass Bay has undoubtedly been the highlight of my time in Tassie.
My Footage of Tasmania:
Up Next: Auckland, New Zealand!
Rasmus and I part ways this week as I head to Auckland, and he finishes up a few basketball games here in Australia. He will come to Auckland on May 16th. We are super excited about our next chapter in New Zealand.
We’ve only ever heard marvelous things about New Zealand. Have you been to NZ? What were your favorite places to see or things to do? I want to know!
Love to your corner of the world,