3 Day East Coast Trip
Start just outside Launceston on a Segway adventure along forest tracks, then head to the Bay of Fires and the begin your Great Eastern Drive coastal adventure before returning to Launceston.
Launceston to St Helens
Start your Tasmanian adventure in futuristic style on your very own ‘personal transporter.’ Head straight for Underwood – a little over 30 kilometres from the 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.
Rather than walking through the thick eucalypt forest for two hours, glide on what many describe as riding 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 Tasmanian escape.
Depart Hollybank and head for the north east coast, home to the Bay of Fires that Lonely Planet named world’s hottest destination a few years back. Ribbons of white empty beaches, punctuated with headlands of orange-lichen topped rocks have something to do with this accolade.
Lunch is all about local produce at Lilydale Larder. Settle into rustic surrounds where the countryside staff are as appealing as the wine bar, packed providore and seasonal lunch menu. Pop some goodies in your tote for the drive – perhaps Tassie smoked salmon, crackers and sharp local cheddar?
Drive on through to Barnbougle Dunes, a golfing destination on the coast in Bridport that’s been rated Australia’s number one public course more than once. Tee off to the sound of crashing waves on a links course where sweeping beaches, farmland and manicured greens mix effortlessly. Challenge yourself to 18 holes followed by a Tasmanian whisky in the clubhouse. Then make your way back to St Helens.
Check into your St Helens accommodation for the next two nights.
Enjoy the day’s catch from local fishermen tonight at the Blue Shed restaurant in St Helens.
St Helens and Bay of Fires
Rise early this morning; you’ve got a busy day. Start by grabbing a quick bite in town and venturing straight to ‘The Gardens’ near Binalong Bay. Here you’ll find a beautiful little area 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 full-day classes from November to April that typically start with a forage down at the beach for sea asparagus and other tasty morsels. Private classes can be booked by appointment.
The menu is an ever-changing feast depending on what the day’s catch brings. Roz might have oysters from the oyster farm up the road, fresh Stripy Trumpeter or scallops to work with. Learn how to skin, trim, shuck, fillet and scale. Oh and prepare to enjoy 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 the likes of locally caught market-fresh fish and locally raised Pyengana beef for those who have had plenty of fish on their plate during the day. An extensive wine list has a range of cool climate local labels to match.
Bicheno to Launceston
Fuel up for the mornings Bicheno wanderings at Pasini’s Café with a mouth-watering breakfast backed up with Tasmanian roasted coffee.
Arrive at wildlife sanctuary East Coast Natureworld by 10am to 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, every 45-minute tour is different. Before leaving Bicheno browse local galleries and shops or walk the foreshore trails.
From here explore the wineries of the Freycinet region around Apslawn and Cranbrook. Long summer days on Tasmania’s east coast create intensely flavoured wines – grapes love it in these parts, and so will you. Your list should include Freycinet Vineyard, Devil’s Corner, Gala Estate, Spring Vale and Milton.
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 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 and ‘The Fishers’ seafood selection.
Take your time exploring the old convict-built stables as you sip Pinot at Spring Vale Wines cellar door before detouring to Dolphin Sands and pull up at the bright blue caravan of Melshell Oyster Farm Gate for a solid oyster primer. Here, plump oysters are served up naked, or with a touch of lemon. After a quick crash course, try your own hand at shucking and slide a few babies down the hatch – or let the ‘chief shuckers’ work their magic.
Back on the road heading back towards Launceston, pass through Campbell Town en route to the Launceston Airport. Grab a coffee and stretch your legs at Red Bridge Café and Providore or pop your head into an antique shop. On the main strip, be sure to look out for the bricks that share tales of convicts transported to Tasmania.
3 days from $375pp*
Valid for travel 1 May – 30 September 2016
On sale 28 Feb – 16 April 2016
Inclusions: Enjoy a Segway Tour with Hollybank Treetops Adventures. Two nights accommodation at the Tidal Waters Resort with a bonus upgrade from the garden view room to a waterview spa room, a bonus continental breakfast daily, and bonus 11am late check-out. Self-drive with three days car hire of a Toyota Yaris or similar (pick up Launceston, drop off Launceston), *Terms & Conditions apply.
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.