There’s nothing quite like an Apple Isle road trip – sun sparkling on the rivers and oceans, rolling hills, towering mountains and native forests – not to mention a Tassie Devil or two that may cross your tracks. The team at Vitora have planned a little drive to take in some of this spectacular scenery, so if you’re keen to get the new year going with a bit of exploring while giving a bit of support to local tourism — hop aboard and let’s get going!
Starting in Launceston, we’re heading to the stunning Bay of Fires and surrounding area. Stretching from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point on the north-east coast, this beauty spot is renowned for its orange lichen-covered granite rocks, pristine sandy beaches, expansive blue ocean, dolphins – and a whole lot more.
While the distance from Launceston is about 190km (travelling via the Esk Highway/A4 and National Highway), travel time can vary greatly and there are a number of routes to suit your agenda. If your goal is to get to this iconic destination as quickly as possible – you can be there in just under three hours, while taking things at a more leisurely pace and making some detours to enjoy some of the beautiful scenic spots, farms, cellar doors and other highlights along the way — could take a day (or threeJ!) Either way, pump up those tyres, get those Spotify playlists sorted and make the most of everything this magnificent landscape has to offer!
The all-important question of vehicle and tyres
Tassie’s roads can be winding, so being comfortable while enjoying the views is all part of the ride! A family-friendly SUV with Vitora CountryLife tyres will do the job perfectly. But hey, if you have an open-top, some Vitora SportLife’s could be just what’s needed to get you onto the open road and enjoying this Tassie summer-weather drive to the max!
Around the Bay of Fires and places to visit inland
With this part of Australia famous for its seafood (including the freshest oysters), it may not be a surprise that you’ll find the world around the Bay of Fires literally is your oyster! Here are some “must do’s” and suggestions to get you on your way:
- Stop off at St Helens and savour the sea breeze
Set on the picturesque Georges Bay, this fishing port town is the largest town on the north-east coast and sometimes referred to as the “fishing capital of Tasmania”. It’s all about the amazing seafood, the views and the beaches. Take the hour’s walking trail from St Helen’s Point to Beerbarrel Beach, throw a fishing rod in from the jetty, check out the fishing boats at the marina — and of course, enjoy some of the freshest fish n‘chips. With all sorts of accommodation on offer (including camping) you may find this the perfect place to spend a night or two!
- Get your Binalong Bay oyster fix!
Just minutes from the centre of St Helens on Binalong Bay Rd – Lease 65 has fresh oysters covered! Straight from the farm, they’re super, super fresh and tasty. Eat them immediately (which makes perfect sense!) or take them away, the choice is yours – but our guess if you’re an oyster enthusiast, you’ll be back for more on your return journey.
- Rest and relax at Binalong Bay
Ten minutes or so on from St Helens, Binalong Bay marks the start (or finish) of the Bay of Fires – perfect for swimming (warning — it could be a bit chilly!), snorkelling or letting your feet make their mark on the sugary, white sand. Or, just sit back and admire those iconic orange rocks.
- Purple ice cream anyone?
No road trip to this area of Tassie is complete without a visit to the world-famous and picture postcard Bridestowe Lavender Estate — a sea of purple in lavender season (around December to February). And it’s not just about the flowers. Visit the cafe for the lavender ice cream (yes, it’s bright purple) or delicious lavender scones!
- Say cheese at Pyengana Dairy!
With a rich heritage in cheese making, Pyengana Dairy (on St Columba Falls Rd) ticks all the boxes for cheese lovers. If you time it right you can see cheese making in progress, and there’s a café on site where you can sample some of the dairy’s products in stunning farmland surroundings.
- Have a picnic at St Columba Falls
Just 30km west of St Helens and not far from the Pyengana Dairy, a lush rainforest walk takes you down to the spectacular falls (it’s a little steep on the way back). There’s a picnic spot here – so perfect to kick back and enjoy the views.
- Birdwatching on the Welborough Pass Rainforest Walk
If you’re after a shorter walk (about 10 or 15 minutes) among myrtles and tree ferns – a quick stop is all you’ll need to do this trail and see some amazing native birds.
- Go fruity and farm fresh
For Tassie farm-fresh and award-winning fruits, jams and chutneys, stop in at Eureka Farm (about 20 km or so from St Helens) on Upper Scamander Rd. All grown on site in a beautiful farm setting, there is also some accommodation available here (make sure you book ahead).
We’re tipping the weather’s likely to be just perfect — as in Tassie it so often is at this time of year. You don’t have to pay for tolls on Tassie’s roads, which is a great bonus! And of course, don’t forget all the essentials – like your fishing rod, eskie and ice packs (so you can pick up those oysters!) — and that very important sunscreen for the beach. And most of all – enjoy the ride!