Jul
31
2012

The ultimate east coast escape

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Travelling along Tasmania’s east coast is truly a feast for the eyes, with spectacular seascapes, granite masses and white sandy beaches lining the horizon.

There is, however, more to the area than its stunning scenery. A rich variety of cool-climate wines, fruit and seafood help to make this part of Tasmania a truly gourmet experience.
So, to help you get started on your next east coast escape, you might want to take drop into the following must-see destinations.

The drive from Hobart to Triabunna is an easy stage over a ridge and through the seaside playground of Orford (popular with locals) – and to get to famous Maria Island – is followed by a short ferry ride. Once you are on the island, it is time to explore pristine views and its free roaming animals, the remnants of earlier settlements – Darlington – now recognised by UNESCO as significant and part of Tasmania’s World Heritage Convict Sites, and the wide choice of coastal walks within the Maria Island National Park. A walk to higher ground will reward you with superb vistas.

If Maria Island was not on your list, then a quick lunch break should be had in Swansea, a great place to try local berries and wines along with the region’s seafood. The view over Great Oyster Bay and the tip of Maria Island is a delight to the eye.

While you are in the area, you will not want to miss Freycinet Peninsula, a turn off the main road between Swansea and Bicheno. Driving to Coles Bay will in turn lead you to Wineglass Bay, which is often described as a photographer’s dream. The white crescent of sand is unmistakable. You can view from above at the lookout or take more time to walk down onto the sandy beach itself; awarded one of the ten best beaches in the world a couple of years back.  This is not a crowded place – the sweep of the bay could be yours alone.

After this, it is time to head back to the main road and make your way to the fishing towns of Bicheno and St Helens.

If you are in Bicheno at dusk, you will want to make a beeline for their regular penguin tours or maybe catch a glimpse of a Tasmanian devil at the local wildlife park, while St Helens is famous for its deep sea fishing and nearby Binalong Bay.

Next on the to-do list is the pastel-coloured Bay of Fires – an iconic sight that is bound to take your breath away. It is also a great place to go snorkelling or scuba diving, however, in the winter it might be nice to soak in the view from the shore before heading back to see Binalong Bay with its rust stained rocks and beautiful settings..

Strike inland  and seek out cheeses at Pyengana and finish your East Coast experience by visiting the Pub in the Paddock and St. Columba Falls.
There are three ways over to Launceston. One takes you to join the Midland Highway just short of Campbell Town, another sweeps you through the Fingal Valley and out  north of Campbell Town; the last, including the cheese trail mentioned, will swing you into Derby and Scottsdale up through the North East. A further deviation onto B82 will have you take a northerly route past Bridport and onto the mouth of the Tamar at Georgetown.

So much to see and so many choices to make.

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