East Coast Tasmania

Highlights | Accommodation | Road Trip Essentials

© Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

ssshhhh….don’t tell anyone, but we think the beaches, wineries and seafood of East Coast Tasmania are the best in Australia. 

The perfect way to experience this beautiful sun-drenched coastline? A self-drive road trip of course!

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There’s no other way to say it – the East Coast of Tasmania is simply stunning!

At every graceful curve in the road you’ll find pure white sands, sparkling blue waters, hidden waterholes and pristine islands.

Go Camping at Bay of Fires on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Camping at Bay of Fires | 📷: Sean Scott

And when you feel like a break there’s always an award-winning cool climate winery, the freshest seafood straight from the Tasman Sea, or a peaceful stretch of sand just waiting for you to spread the blanket and relax with a picnic.

See pristine beaches on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Pristine Beaches | 📷: Sean Scott

The East Coast of Tasmania is a road trip paradise, and we know you’ll have the time of your life!

Keep reading to find out more about the East Coast of Tasmania and how you can plan your Lap of Tasmania road trip itinerary.

🤔 Did you know…?

Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park is consistently ranked in the world’s Top 10 beaches! 🏖️

Highlights of the East Coast of Tasmania

Bay of Fires

Cool waters of Bay of Fires are a must on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Bay of Fires | 📷: Sean Scott

Tiny coves splashed with vibrant red and orange, sweeping beaches, tumbled down boulders and rolling dunes – the stretch of coast known as the ‘Bay of Fires‘ is one very special corner of the world.

Binalong Bay is not only gorgeous, but its convenient location and range of accommodation options make it a great base from which to explore the region. We recommend slowly working your way up the coast from Binalong Bay, stopping into Swimcart Beach and The Gardens before continuing by foot through the dunes and along the water’s edge.

Bicheno and Apsley Gorge

See the exciting Bicheno Blowhole on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Bicheno Blowhole | 📷: Poon Wai Nang

Bicheno is one of Tasmania’s most popular holiday destinations for the locals, and it’s easy to see why.

When the swell is pumping the Bicheno Blowhole is the place to be. Remember to keep your distance though, or you might get very wet!

Penguin tours are a lot of fun for the whole family and surfers will have a blast at Redbill Beach. Apsley Gorge has a range of hiking trails – or you could simply take your swimming togs and float across the cool, turquoise waters of Apsley Waterhole.

Freycinet and Wineglass Bay

See a magnificent sunrise from Mt Amos on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Sunrise at Wineglass Bay (from Mt Amos) | 📷: Daniel Tran

You thought the Bay of Fires was beautiful? Just wait until you feel the squeaky clean sand of Wineglass Bay between your toes!

Freycinet National Park is one of Tasmania’s gems, and the fantastic thing is that you don’t need to be an ultrafit athlete to see its best bits.

See the magic of Wineglass Bay on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Wineglass Bay | 📷: Tourism Australia & Hugh Stewart

Coles Bay is right on Freycinet’s doorstep and it’s a fun place to put your feet up. Just minutes away is Tasmania’s most popular short walk – Wineglass Bay Lookout – while the more adventurous can either catch a sunrise from Mt Amos, or walk all the way down to Wineglass Bay and back along Hazards Beach. 

Our friends at Fork+Foot have a great description of this Wineglass Bay hike.

Want to see the perfection of Wineglass Bay from the skies – why not splash out on a scenic flight

Maria Island

Do a day trip to Maria Island on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
'Painted Cliffs' on Maria Island | 📷: Tourism Tasmania & Popp Hackner Photography

No cars. No shops. The only sounds are the wind in your hair, waves on golden sand, and the occasional wombat snuffling its way to its next feed – this is the marvelous Maria Island!

A weekend is ideal, but even a day trip to Maria Island is all you need to see the swirling colours of the Painted Cliffs, discover ancient fossils at Fossil Bay, and learn about Darlington’s fascinating history. Take the ferry from Triabunna wharf and be prepared to fall in love with this untouched corner of Tasmania.

🤔 Did you know…?

The Bay of Fires was named for the burning fires Captain Furneaux spotted while exploring the region in 1773 – not the stunning red lichen that covers the granite boulders 🔥🔥🔥

Where to Eat and Drink on the East Coast of Tasmania

Enjoy oysters on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
The Freshest Oysters | 📷: Supplied Courtesy of Saffire Freycinet

The East Coast food and wine options are so plentiful it’s hard to know where to start!

St Helens

Around St Helens you’ll find excellent Pinot Noir wines at the cellar door of Priory Ridge wines – so good they are served at Bennelong restaurant at the Sydney Opera House! Fresh Pacific Oysters are available direct from the shed at Lease 65, while Lifebuoy Cafe makes the best breakfast in town.

Try the beers at Ironhouse Brewery on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Ironhouse Brewery | 📷: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

Bicheno

Driving south to Bicheno you’ll see the signs to Iron House Brewery at Four Mile Creek. Stop by and taste one of four styles of beer, ranging from their aptly named East Coast Pale Ale to the unusual Sweet Milk Stout.

Bicheno is a town built on fishing, so why not pick up a seafood platter from the Lobster Shack and have a lazy day by the water? Or if you’re short on time you’ll appreciate the Farm Shed East Coast Wine Centre. They’ve got wine-tastings and sales covering not only all the East Coast wineries, but even some of the lesser known East Coast gin and whisky distilleries.

Drop by Devil's Corner Cellar Door on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Devil's Corner Cellar Door | 📷:Lusy Productions

Cranbrook and Apslawn

It’s south of Bicheno that things really start to heat up! Cranbrook and Apslawn may be tiny, but between them you’ll find more than half a dozen wineries offering stunning views, clever wines and delicious meals for discerning foodies. Devils Corner, Milton Vineyard and Gala Estate are three of the best. And as the weather starts to warm you can’t miss the Summer Barbecue sessions at Spring Vale Winery!

Try the East COast wines on your Road Trip in Tasmania
East Coast Wines | 📷: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

Coles Bay

Coles Bay may be famous for its natural attractions, but if you love your seafood then Freycinet Marine Farm is an essential pit stop on your road trip itinerary. Scallops, lobster, abalone…they’ve got the lot, and it’s all 100% local.

Swansea

As you make your way south towards Swansea and beyond we recommend stopping at Kate’s Berry Farm where you can pick your own fruit and enjoy some delicious desserts. It’s guaranteed fun for both littl’uns and big’uns.

And that’s just scratching the surface of all the foodie options on Tasmania’s East Coast!

Try the desserts at Kate's Berry Far on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Kate's Berry Farm | 📷: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett

🤔 Did you know…?

No one is quite sure of the reason behind Swansea’s famous ‘Spiky Bridge’ – maybe you can discover it’s secret?

East Coast Tasmania Events

Bicheno Food and Wine Festival

Experience the Bicheno Food and Wine Festival on the East Coast of Tasmania on your Lap of Tasmania road trip.
Bicheno Food and Wine Festival

From sea to vine, Bicheno is central to Tasmania’s East Coast food and wine scene and every November they celebrate with the exciting Bicheno Food and Wine Festival. Vineyard lunches, lobster and wine pairings, surf schools and music on the lawns – festival tickets often sell out, so don’t leave it too late!

Whale Watching

Go whale watching on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Humpback Whale Calf | 📷: Tourism Tasmania & bodhiimages

What an unforgettable experience to see a whale’s huge fluke slapping the water, or the spray from its blow hole as it takes another deep breath. Tasmania’s East Coast is one of the best places in Australia to witness these majestic creatures as they slowly make their annual migrations north and south.

  • Where: Great Oyster Bay or Bicheno
  • When: Humpbacks – May to July or September to November / Southern right whales – June to October

Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival

See the Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival on the East Coast on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival

It’s when the temperature drops that the East Coast arts scene heats up! Every June you can follow the arts trail from Binalong Bay to Four Mile Creek, enjoying live music, dance, exhibitions, cooking competitions and much, much more.

East Coast Tasmania Accommodation

There are so many fantastic places to stay on the East Coast of Tasmania and we couldn’t possibly cover them all, but here are a few that really stand out and that we know you’ll love.

Blu-Sea Mermaids Holiday Home in Bicheno
Blu-Sea Mermaids Holiday Home in Bicheno

Bay of Fires

Can you find better views of Binalong Bay than those from Sea Eagle Cottage? Unlikely!

The popularity of the Bay of Fires does make value accommodation hard to find, and that’s why Bay of Fires Eco Hut is a welcome option. This is glamping in style!

Four Mile Creek

In beautiful Four Mile Creek there’s the tastefully appointed Watercolours – customer reviews show this is one of the most loved holiday homes on the East Coast!

Bicheno

Bicheno has plenty to offer, with Apartments on Fraser conveniently located in the heart of town and just a short walk from Waubs Bay.

Another excellent option is Blu-Sea Mermaids near Redbill Beach – fellow travellers regularly comment on how cosy and peaceful it is.

Experience luxury at Supplied Courtesy of Saffire Freycinet on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Luxury at Saffire Freycinet | 📷: Supplied Courtesy of Saffire Freycinet

Coles Bay and Freycinet

Coles Bay provides many accommodation options close to the hiking trails and beaches of the magnificent Freycinet National Park. 

Freycinet Lodge is the only accommodation inside Freycinet National Park. Their ‘pavilion’ rooms are spectacular.

Experience stunning panoramas of the iconic ‘Hazards’ from Edge of the Bay Resort – or for the ultimate in luxury you could stay at multi-award winning Saffire Freycinet right next door.

Swansea

Swansea is an excellent option if you want to be within driving distance of Freycinet, but need a more cost-effective place to stay. Stretch your road trip dollar further at Swansea Beach Chalets or Swansea Motor Inn.

Stay at the Freycinet Lodge - Coastal Pavilion on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Freycinet Lodge - Coastal Pavilion | 📷: Supplied Courtesy of RACT Destinations

Caravan Parks

Campervanners receive a very warm welcome up and down the East of Tasmania. Close to the Bay of Fires is NRMA St Helens Waterfront Holiday Park.

In Bicheno there are two excellent options in Bicheno Caravan Park and Seaview Holiday Park.

And in Coles Bay you’ll find everything you could possibly need at Big 4 Iluka on Freycinet, or there is free camping available at River and Rocks Camp Ground (facilities are limited).

East Coast Weather

Ask a local and they’ll all tell you the East Coast of Tasmania is the best place to be year-round due to its mild temperatures and low rainfall.

Read More: The Best Time to Visit Tasmania

In summer you can look forward to sunny days averaging between 12°C at night up to 22°C during the day. It doesn’t happen often, but temperatures can rise as high as nearly 40°C, so don’t forget to pack your beach gear! In winter you can expect temperatures to range from 6°C up to 14°C.

East Coast Tasmania Road Trip Essentials

Wondering what to pack for Tasmania’s cool climate?

To help you out we’ve created a handy Tasmanian road trip packing list.

It lists all the most important things you need to take on your road trip, making your road trip planning a breeze.

Get it Here: Tasmania Road Trip Packing List

Read More: Driving Times and Distances in Tasmania

Derby ⇌ St Helens: 65km / 1hr (1hr 30mins for campervans)

St Helens ⇌ Coles Bay: 115km / 1hr 30mins (2hr for campervans)

Coles Bay ⇌ Port Arthur: 240km / 3hr (4hr for campervans)

Coles Bay ⇌ Hobart: 200km / 2hr 30mins (4hr for campervans)

Petrol Stations:

St Helens, Scamander, St Marys (24hrs), Bicheno, Coles Bay, Swansea, Triabunna (24hrs)

EV Battery Charging Stations (see PlugShare):

  • Coles Bay – Freycinet Lodge (patrons only) – Tesla
  • Coles Bay – Saffire Freycinet (patrons only) – Tesla
  • Rocky Hills – Dragonfly Lodge – Tesla
  • Triabunna – Triabunna Cafe – Tesla – Free for public use

A list of Tasmania’s national parks can be found here: Parks and Wildlife

A valid permit is needed before you can drive into these parks. For more information on the which pass you should buy, click here.

Permits can be purchased online here, from National Park Visitor Centres, Accredited Tasmanian Travel Information Centres, the Spirit of Tasmania, Service Tasmania shops, or by mail/email following these instructions.

Discounts are available for Seniors.

For Tasmania Police emergency road closure alerts click here.

The road between St Helens and Binalong Bay is narrow with many curves and few opportunities for overtaking. It’s only short, so take your time and enjoy the views.

It might look tempting, but please don’t use Wielangta Road as a short cut between Orford and Dunalley or vice versa. The southern section of this dirt road is impassable in 2WD vehicles due to heavy erosion.

Next destination?

If you’re travelling clockwise, your next destination is the beauty and history of Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula.

Travelling anti-clockwise, your next destination is Tasmania’s North East – home of the ‘Tin Dragon’.

North East Tasmania

Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula

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Dog and bear in suitcase - Lap of Tasmania Road trip

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