My Tasmania adventure continues down the east coast as I visited Derby, St. Helens and spent a whole day exploring Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires. If you’re just tuning in, I’d recommend reading my first Tasmania snapshots post where I share all my pictures from Launceston and Evandale.
Before continuing along, just wanted to add that a selection of photos in the post can be purchased as prints or printed on other home-ware items such as pillow cases, stationary cards, and rugs on my Society6! If you buy anything definitely send me a photo through direct message or tag me on Instagram, I would love to see.
After two nights in Launceston, I left the city relatively early at around 9 a.m with St. Helens being the end destination. This was my first time driving on the Tasman Highway and damn it’s definitely different that any highway I’ve ever experienced. There’s so many twists and turns in the road that you literally can’t take your eyes off the road for even a second. You’re driving on the side of a mountain so the views are unreal and I noticed that despite all this, Tasmanians still drive really fast. Even though I was driving speed limit, I still had other drivers overtaking me when they got the opportunity.
Derby was one of the cities that was on my list to visit so I made sure to stop and check it out while I was driving through. It’s a town known for mountain biking and you can definitely tell because there is a bike shop and iron bike artwork thing that you can spot as soon as you pull up into town. I didn’t leave the main street but I read that there’s a ton of really nice tracks for mountain biking called the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails. There’s always just something about small towns that either makes you feel cozy or a bit on edge. I would say that Derby was one that had a nice vibe to it and I’m sure it’s packed and a good time when the Enduro World Series is hosted there.
My main reason for stopping in Derby was to see the Little Blue Lake located close by in South Mount Cameron. Little Blue Lake is a natural wonder caused by pioneer mining from back in the day. It was originally a mine hole and reflects a bright blue colored water due to the minerals at the bottom.
It was another rainy day, but I wasn’t going to let the rain stop me. Little Blue Lake is one of those places that can be a bit tricky to get to but there’s different directions posted online. I had no idea what to look for so I just typed the address that came up on Google into my GPS and crossed my fingers. It ended up leading me down a long dirt road that eventually came to an end and I assumed that I had reached my destination. The rain really started coming down so I waited it out for a few minutes before making my way down to where the water met the land.
It definitely didn’t look the same as it did in some of the photos I saw online but I blame that on the shitty weather and the fact that I didn’t go to the same lookout point that majority of those photos were taken. In the end, it was still cool to see this peaceful kinda blue lake and get my first taste of the nature in Tasmania.
I started to get hungry after that bit of exploring, so my next stop was to visit the Pyegnana Dairy Company Farmgate Cafe and try something off of their menu. It was still pouring rain when I got there, so I didn’t get to sit outside and enjoy the views of the farm but the interior was still really nice and cozy. There was a fire going and only a few other people there which is usually how I like it. I eat like a bird sometimes and often find adult portions to be too much for me so I ordered a chicken burger off the kids menu.
The Farmgate Cafe is known for using the freshest ingredients and I could 100% tell with this burger. The chicken was cut like it was right off the bone versus being shaped into a nice circle patty. Besides the chicken, the only other things on it was a tomato, lettuce and bit of mayo and it was one of the tastiest chicken burger I’ve ever had. Just by looking at it you can see how fresh all the produce was. The chips that came as a side where also really good too and it can be easy to fall short on chips with lack of seasoning and crispness.
After fueling up both my stomach and the car, I headed off to St. Helens for the night kinda of in a rush because I wanted to make it before sunset. My Airbnb was located just outside of the city centre with a short drive to the Bay of Fires. Luckily I made it before the sunset so I was able to take pictures of the space before I spread my stuff out. It was without a doubt the cutest Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in. There was a living room, full kitchen, full bath, two bedrooms, a front balcony and a back patio that I had all to myself. I absolutely loved the layout and think that it’s perfect for a single individual with the open layout and lots of windows. If you’ve never used Airbnb before it’s a rental platform that allows you rent an entire space or just a room in someone’s home. It’s a great and affordable way to experience the place you are visiting. Click this link for $40 off your first rental and $15 to use towards an experience.
I spent the rest of the night in with a long day ahead of me exploring the coast. The Airbnb was only booked for one night so I had to check out by 10 a.m. the next day. I barely managed to make it out on time but I did and made my way to Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires.
On the way out, I made a quick stop at the pier across from the Airbnb. It was the first day that it wasn’t raining so the sun and clouds were out and the sky was blue. Even during the day, the whole town felt so calm and peaceful like everyone is just minding their own business and living their best lives.
All the recommended spots along the Bay of Fires where so easy to access with a ton of places to just park your car and walk straight down to the beach. Winter is the best time to visit Tasmania because there was barely another soul in sight. The Bay of Fires was absolutely gorgeous with all the bright orange red colored rocks and the clear blue water. It was so peaceful and quite a wonder to witness with my own eyes. There were a ton of different spots that you can look out into the ocean from so I got a lot of different photos of the bay.
The beaches I’m familiar with are contaminated with musty water and brown sand (I’m talking about you Galveston Beach) so it was unreal to see water so blue, bright and clear complimented with white sand. Again, there was barely anyone else on this long stretch of the beach so I made sure to soak everything in and enjoy it. The pictures truly don’t do it justice so you need to go see it for yourself in person.
Swimcart Beach, Taylor’s Beach, Sloop Reef, ____ and ___ where just some of the other natural wonders that I had on my list to check out and were are really easy to access to. Everything is located off of one main road with signage for each entrance. Beach after beach, bay after bay, reef after reef and lagoon after lagoon none of the spots disappointed with the clear water and peaceful atmosphere. It was drizzling a bit throughout the day but that didn’t let the sun stop shining and the sky turn gray.
I spent quite a few hours out there so it was getting close to sunset and knew I had to make it to Bicheno for the night. Fish and chips were on my mind so I put it in my GPS and bolted off to Tasmanian Coastal Seafood at The Gulch. The sun was going down during my drive and it was the perfect cotton candy sky with pink, purple, and blue. There was a sign for the Denison Beach along the road so I made the swift decision to turn into the lot and walk the short path to the beach. Again, there was no one else in sight so it was just me, this long open stretch of the coastline and a heavenly sunset. I wish I could have stayed and watched the entire sunset but I didn’t want to have to drive in an unfamiliar area too much at night.
The fish and chips shop at The Gulch looked really authentic. At the front, there was a small shack where you place your order and outback is the window where you pick it up. Also out back, there’s a huge room with lots of table seating in addition to outdoor seating right on the water. The menu features a variety of fish and chips based on the caught of the day. I ordered the kids fish and chips and the portion was basically adult size I couldn’t even finish it. The meal came with a lemon but I paid $3 for a side of tartar sauce because it ain’t fish and chips unless you got the sauce. I left that night super satisfied and would definitely recommend eating here if you visit Bicheno.
My original plan was to stay in Freycinet that night but I wasn’t going to make it in time so I decided to just stay in Bicheno for the night. It was another small coastal town so I didn’t feel unsafe camping in the car. There was a backpackers lodge that I saw but it was already 7 p.m. and I honestly didn’t want to deal with sharing a small space with a stranger.
I took advantage of my night under the stars and attempted some astrophotography. Lots of online articles were read but I managed to get a final shot that I’m proud of although it’s pretty simple on the scale of how spectacular astrophotography can be.
Even though this was only two days worth of travel you can tell that I managed to see a lot and cover a good amount of ground.
The next stops on my solo road trip are Friendly Beaches, Freycinet National Park and Cole’s Bay so stay posted for that.
Have you ever been to the east coast of Tasmania, what was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create and grow!