Freycinet and the East Coast

By: Jenny Brewer

From the most adventurous to the novice car hire traveller, Tasmania has everything that would suit the most unique tastes. From rugged mountains to lavender farms and historical villages, there is so much to see in every part of this unique state. The east coast of Tasmania is no exception. It is nothing like the west, with pretty coastal towns, scenic drives and beautiful waters.

North from Hobart , the Tasman Peninsula is known more these days for the famous Port Arthur . Although this humble town has gone through shaky times it has recovered to once again become a popular tourist destination. Storm Bay Guest House is a popular bed and breakfast if you are looking to stay for a few days, and is found overlooking White Beach.

Driving towards the centre of the East Coast brings you to amazing scenery, and with a myriad of activities available, such as cruising, diving, surfing, horse riding, fishing, bushwalking, or just enjoying the wine and foods available, you will be relaxed in no time.

One of the first of these beach towns is Orford, also known as the gateway to the East Coast. Great for fishing and swimming, especially at Spring Beach , and another popular day trip is to catch the ferry to the mountainous Maria Island . Being a national park there are plenty of native birds and wildlife, with a variety of spectacular walks to choose from.

The convict town of Darlington , located on the island, is also rich in history and worth a visit.

Further north, the lovely town of Swansea has a number of interesting attractions especially for the family. Kates Berry Farm has local fruit and ice creams, and the Wool centre is educational and a lot of fun. With great fishing in Great Oyster Bay and majestic views of the ocean, there are boat tours available to see more of Freycinet National park.

To drive the East Coast from the Bay of Fires through to Maria Island you will be covering over 200 kilometres. However, the Freycinet Peninsula is most probably the jewel of this coastal drive. Known as one of the most spectacular regions of Tasmania , and undoubtedly in Australia , it is worth the drive from Hobart or Launceston. If you are driving with Freycinet in mind, it is quicker to leave from Launceston, but both directions will reward you with stunning attractions.

There are guided walks available through the Peninsula as well as rock climbing, but most tourists head for Coles or Wineglass Bay . Wineglass Bay is aptly named because it is shaped like a wineglass, and is one of the prettiest beaches you could find, with crystal blue waters and pure white sand, it is a lovely place to picnic and enjoy the pristine views. Sea kayaking is also popular here, as the bay is flat and peaceful, and there are so many places to explore.

One of the best places to stay is Coles Bay , which is situated on the edge of Freycinet National Park , and is a great base for venturing out to the parks, bays, beaches and lagoons. Self contained cottages are popular, such as Coles Bay retreat which overlooks the bay and mountains.

North from the peninsula is the fishing town of Bicheno . Known for its great beaches and diving, it also has great lookouts. The Freycinet Lookout has great views of the peninsula and surrounds, and also Whalers Lookout gives you some great photographic opportunities. There is a 3km walk along the foreshore, which takes you to an amazing blowhole. There are also fairy penguin tours, deep sea fishing trips and the East Coasts Animal Park is home to the famous Tasmanian devil which will captivate the children.

The entire east coast is appealing in its own right, but Freycinet National Park has a unique beauty for many reasons, maybe just for the sheer beauty of perfect blue water against deep green trees and vegetation along the sandy shoreline. With amazing coastal views and beautiful beaches, it is worth a long stay in this stretch of paradise.

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