East Coast Road Trip
Pack up, gear up and set the GPS for an east coast adventure.
3 Day itineraries
- Cradle Mountain
- East Coast
- Freycinet Peninsula
- Heritage Highway
- Hobart and Port Arthur
- Hobart and Beyond
- North West
- Launceston & Tamar Valley
Launceston to St Helens
Head to the forest at Underwood for a Hollybank Treetops Adventure. Apart from a three-hour zip-line tour of the canopy, they can lead you on a Segway journey through the undergrowth – a futuristic version of a bushwalk.
Five minutes up the road, stop at Lilydale Larder for a local-produce lunch before picking up takeaway afternoon tea from their provedore. Store your snacks carefully and drive on to Nabowla’s Bridestowe Estate – home to 265 acres of true French lavender. The incredibly fragrant gift shop here stocks a range of handcrafted lavender oil products – including an ultra-famous heat-pack bear named Bobbie, who achieved international stardom this year when he was posted on the Facebook page of Chinese movie star Viann Zhang Xinyu.
It’s a long drive east to St Columba Falls, but your reward will be visible the moment you arrive. It’s only a short rainforest walk to the platform for an up-close view of this 90-metre waterfall crashing down from the Mount Victoria foothills. Pull up a table at the picnic area and have afternoon tea amid the rainforest before heading to St Helens.
Check into your St Helens accommodation for the next two nights.
For dinner, treat yourself to fresh seafood (caught by local fishermen) at the Blue Shed restaurant on the waterfront.
St Helens and Bay of Fires
Rise, shine and jump straight in the car to the Binalong Bay Boat Ramp while it’s still dark. Take a seat at the lone picnic table that sits on the lichen-covered rock and watch the Bay of Fires’ beaches sparkle into view as the sun wakes up. Further on, at the northern tip of the Bay of Fires Conservation Area, ‘The Gardens’ lives up to its name. Now that it’s light, explore the coastline and dabble in a bit of bird watching (or, as some prefer, dolphin-spotting).
Back in St Helens, head down the river with Gone Fishing Charters. Over the course of a half-day on a trusty punt, you’ll be taught the know-how – and be given the equipment (and morning tea) – needed to help fishers of all levels reel in some catch.
Disembark, then climb aboard an even bigger boat in New Wharf. An actual paddle wheeler, called the Paddle Wheeler, will be your floating fish and chip shop for lunch. Then spend the afternoon delving further into the area’s heritage via numerous maritime, pioneering and mining artefacts at the St Helens History Room.
After a busy day, have a rest before dinner. When you’re ready, make your way to Binalong Bay Café for a generously portioned, lovingly prepared meal. From its coveted location, you’ll get tremendous views of the Bay of Fires, which you visited in the morning – a neat way to tie up the day.
Bicheno to Launceston
Hit the road to Bicheno and have breakfast with the beasts at East Coast Natureworld. Explore the 150 acres of parkland and meet all the local mammals, birds and reptiles – many of whom can be found casually wandering the grounds. Once you’ve eaten at the restaurant, head off to watch the Tasmanian devils and wombats get their own 10am feed.
Not too far away, plumes of water are spurting way up in the sky from the rocks just south of the Gulch. It’s the Bicheno Blowhole, Tasmania’s answer to Yellowstone’s Old Faithful. It’s a must-visit, but be careful – you’re likely to get soaked. Once you’ve dried off, take advantage of the East Coast’s free WiFi service to share all your wet-hair photos on Facebook and Instagram.
Wind up your trip with a famous (and healthy) Purple Possum veggie burger at Purple Possum Wholefoods and Café in St Marys. Sit outside with the herbs and veggies or inside with the tubs of nuts and grains – either way, the freshly baked date scones will provide delicious sustenance before your two-hour drive back to Launceston. Don’t leave without picking up some Tassie honey, flour and chutney – or leave your interstate address if you’re buying in bulk!
Availability of experiences in this itinerary may be subject to opening times, seasonal operation or booking requirements, please call ahead to plan each day.
Photo Credit: Tourism Tasmania. All rights reserved @Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett, Nathan Hendry