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    Australia | Tasmania – ‘Lonnie’ to Bay of Fires

    It’s the middle of July and we’ve taken time-out to fly to Tasmania for the Off Season. We’re staying in Launceston (affectionately known as Lonnie) for a few days. It’s a return trip because we missed out on experiencing the Bay of Fires in 2021. Two years later we are back in ‘Tassie.’ and we’re keen to see if the Bay of Fires, on Tasmania’s east coast, matches all the hype.

    The Bay of Fires is beautiful so yes, it is worth the drive. The area attracts lovers of swimming, camping, boating, surfing, and bush walking; during the summer months it could become overwhelmed with campers. We loved the fresh, salty air, climbing the rocks, sinking our winter boots into the white sandy beaches, and buying freshly shucked oysters to eat on-the-spot before our afternoon drive back to Launceston.

    Where:

    The Bay of Fires is a coastline that stretches 50 km from Binalong Bay in the south to Eddystone Point in the north. Our day trip focused on a small section of the Bay of Fires region: the stretch of road from Binalong Bay to The Gardens and everything in between.

    It’s a long drive from our Launceston base. We took the A3 (scenic route). After 192 km and over 2hours 40m minutes (plus a coffee stop in Derby) we reached our destination.

    What we saw:

    Our starting point was St Helens where I popped into the Tourist Information Centre to find out the best spots to visit as our time was limited to one day. We followed the recommendations of the Tourist Information Officer and drove straight to The Gardens and then snaked our way back to St Helens stopping off en route at Sloop Lagoon (Sloop Reef), Cosy Corner and Jeanneret Beach.

    First Stop: The Gardens. It’s is regarded as one of the top spots to capture the picture-perfect shot of the gargantuan boulders hugging the shoreline.

    The Gardens was extremely windy, but I can imagine its appeal on a hot summer’s day. There are a couple of paths you can walk offering you two perspectives of the same location. Both are good and warrant your time to discover their beauty.

    Next stop: Sloop Reef (not one of the recommendations but it is on the way) is very pretty and seems to be a local favourite with contemporary residences peeking their faces through the tree-lined landscape. The sandy beach was like a private cove and would be undoubtedly a sought-after swimming spot for locals and tourists alike.

    Finally: Cosy Corner and then Jeanneret Beach (also Tourist Information Bureau recommendations). Jeanneret Beach was our pick. Two beach access. The first leading to a vast expanse of picture perfect sand. This would be an unbeatable place to pitch your tent and stay for a few days, if possible, at least a week. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. Paradise found.

    Overall, each stop boasted white-sand beaches, giant orange-hued granite rocks and sweeping expanses of blue water.

    Food en route:

    Scottsdale is full of great coffee shops and bakeries, but we chose to stop at Two Doors Down in Derby (@bluederby). This is a great little café which doubles as a clothing and accessories shop for serious bike riding enthusiasts. A former tin-mining town, it is now the hub for mountain biking and, according to flowmountainbike.com has become the riding destination to end all riding destinations.

    Once you’ve had your fill of pristine, beaches with rocky outcrops and you’re heading home, take a quick detour to Lease 65 for freshly shucked Pacific Oysters. Beyond one’s imagination, these plump oysters are seriously sublime. In all my years of eating oysters (and that’s many years in many countries) these are standouts! Lease 65 is not a place to stop, have a glass of cold white wine or bubbles. It’s where the oysters are grown, farmed and sold to suppliers but lucky locals and tourists can also pop into Lease 65 and buy freshly shucked oysters on the spot.

    Drink:

    We passed quite a few local pubs along the way. One that stood out was Weldborough Hotel. It looked so quaint, but I can’t comment on its hospitality as time didn’t afford us the opportunity to stop. When you know you have a rigorous zigzag route ahead of you it’s best to stay focused.

    How to get there:

    We’re staying in Launceston for four days and Bay of Fires was our first port of call. We rented a car which is the best way to travel. There are day tours you can book but if you can afford the freedom of travelling on your own time and at your own pace then seriously consider renting your own wheels. This one-day trip was about 428 km return which also included a detour to the Little Blue Lake on our way back to Launceston.

    We travelled both to and from the Bay of Fires via the A3. It takes slightly longer than driving the A4 but it is regarded as the scenic route which appealed to us.

    Road Tip:

    Word of warning folks. If you are inclined to motion or travel sickness, then perhaps you should reconsider this route and opt for the A4. The roads are extremely winding and at times not for the faint-hearted. It could be, in some sections of the route, treacherous to drive in icy conditions. A couple of times I lost my nerve and was thankful I wasn’t the driver. Peering down the deep ravines reminded me of our local bus trips along the Amalfi Coast. The only difference, there wasn’t a view of vast stretches of water but a verdant landscape that may or may not stop your vehicle as it plunged to greater depths below.

    Vicki Montague is a freelance writer with a predilection for travel, European fashion, architecture that oozes history and charm, and objects that tell a story. She and her partner John are empty nesters - their three adult children have left the comforts of home to carve out their own paths in life. Vicki’s professional background is in marketing and public relations.

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