3 Day East Coast Trip
Start just outside Launceston on a Segway adventure along forest tracks, then head to the Bay of Fires to begin your Great Eastern Drive coastal sojourn and game fishing charter adventure at sea before returning to Launceston.
Launceston to St Helens
Head straight for Underwood, a little over thirty kilometres from Launceston Airport. Here you’ll find Hollybank Treetops Adventure and although today you won’t be zip-lining through the tree canopy (well you can if you like), this is where your Segway tour awaits. Your adventure kicks off in futuristic style through the thick eucalypt forest for two hours, gliding on what many describe as a self-balancing joystick. Lean left and the Segway responds, pull back and the obedient machine comes to a halt. It isn’t your typical forest wandering and with a professional guide sharing ecological and conservation wisdom at the helm, it’s a smooth transition into your Tassie escape.
Depart Hollybank and head for The Bay of Fires on the north east coast, a place Lonely Planet named world’s hottest travel destination a few years back. Ribbons of white empty beaches, punctuated with headlands of bright orange-lichen capped rocks may have something to do with this special honour.
Grab lunch inland at Lilydale Larder. Settle into rustic surrounds complemented by a wine bar, packed providore and a seasonal menu. Pop some goodies in your tote for the drive, such as Tassie smoked salmon, crackers and sharp local cheddar.
If you’re a fan of golf, head to Barnbougle Dunes, a course on the north coast near Bridport that’s regularly rated Australia’s number one public course. Tee off to the sound of crashing waves on a links course where sweeping beaches, farmland and manicured greens mix effortlessly in the background. Challenge yourself to 18 holes followed by a Tasmanian whisky in the clubhouse.
Or if you’d rather cast a rod than swing a club, head directly to St Helens for a fishing charter with Greg from Zulu Charterz. St Helens is a fishing haven and Greg is a master in the fine art of Tasmanian sport fishing, and he’ll help you hook up a huge range of species, such as Trevalla, Stripey Trumpeter, Flathead and Tuna of the Yellowfin, Bluefin, Stripey and Albacore varieties.
After you’ve pulled in a monster or two, head back to St Helens and check in to your St Helens accommodation for the next two nights. Walk to nearby waterfront fish punts for freshly cooked fish and chips. After dinner walk off your meal along the esplanade wandering out to the jetties to look at the local fishing boats before heading back to your accommodation for the evening.
Overnight St Helens.
St Helens and Bay of Fires
Rise early this morning; you’ve got a busy day. Start by grabbing a quick brekkie and venturing straight to ‘The Gardens’ near Binalong Bay. Here you’ll find a beautiful little beach known as Cosy Corner. Find yourself a rock and watch the morning sun sprinkle across the waves.
You’re not far from the Bay of Fires, in a private beach house that is your home for the day. Roz MacAllan of Kiss a Fish Cookery School runs classes by appointment that typically start with a forage down at the beach for sea asparagus and other tasty morsels.
The menu is an ever-changing feast that depends on what the day’s catch brings. Roz might have oysters from the oyster farm up the road, fresh Stripy Trumpeter, or juicy scallops. Learn how to skin, trim, shuck, fillet and scale. Make sure you’re prepared for an all day degustation at the shared dining table as the day progresses. The wood fired oven is a hit with most small groups, and Roz ensures that everyone walks away with more than one cooking technique – perhaps poaching and wok frying – and always just the right accompaniments to recreate at home.
After a day in the kitchen, let Mohr & Smith Café Restaurant and Bar take care of dinner for you back in St Helens. The menu ranges from market-fresh fish to locally raised Pyengana beef. An extensive wine list has a range of cool climate local labels to match.
Overnight St Helens.
Bicheno to Launceston
Head south down the coast until you reach Bicheno. Fuel up for the morning at Pasini’s Café with a mouth-watering breakfast backed up with Tasmanian roasted coffee.
After breakfast go straight to East Coast Natureworld. At 10am you can catch the devils having their breakfast. Alternatively watch over the marine life and local underwater environment from the comfort of Bicheno’s Glass Bottom Boat tour. With the East Australian current bringing many diverse life forms to these waters, every 45-minute tour is different. Before leaving Bicheno unwind on a peaceful foreshore trail or drop into Waubs Bay Gallery a fresh new art venue and the working space of resident wildlife artist Vanessa Richardson.
From here explore the wineries of the Freycinet region around Apslawn and Cranbrook. Grapes love it in these parts, and so will you, long summer days on Tasmania’s east coast create intensely flavoured wines, which are showcased at Freycinet Vineyard, Devil’s Corner, Gala Estate, Spring Vale and Milton.
All those little sips add up so sneak in the odd tasting plate or chat with a local winemaker. Many vineyards offer tasting plates but if you’re craving something more substantial the new-look Devil’s Corner cellar door at Apslawn might be the perfect lunch stop. A climb to the viewing platform presents jaw-dropping vistas of Moulting Lagoon and The Hazards mountain range. Similar views can be enjoyed outside on the deck. It’s picture postcard stuff and difficult to pull yourself away from – until you cast an eye over Tombolo’s mouth-watering wood fired pizza menu.
Take your time at Spring Vale Wines cellar door, sipping Pinot in the convict-built stables before detouring to Dolphin Sands. Pull up at the bright blue caravan of Melshell Oyster Farm Gate for a solid oyster primer. Plump oysters are served up naked, or with a touch of lemon. After a quick crash course, try your hand at shucking, or let Melshell’s ‘chief shuckers’ work their magic.
Jump back in your car and head towards Launceston, via Lake Leake Hwy en route to Launceston Airport. When you reach Campbell Town, grab a coffee at Red Bridge Café and Providore in Campbell Town and stretch your legs on a heritage walk around town. There are three well signposted walks around town and you can grab a map from the local information centre. Be sure to look out for the bricks along high street that share tales of convicts transported to Tasmania. If time is on your side, take a stroll around Evandale’s historic streets, popping your head into antique stores and galleries.
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, Stuart Crossett, Jeff Jennings, Sean Fennessy.