Famous for its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and orange lichen-covered granite boulders, the Bay of Fires is one of Tasmania’s most popular conservation reserves. Enjoy discovering Binalong Bay, Eddystone Point Lighthouse, and Ansons Bay.
North East Coast, Tasmania
(27 kms walking +kayaking on Day 3)
‘The Bay of Fires conservation area extends along the coast from Binalong Bay in the south to Eddystone Point in the north.
Its name refers to the Aboriginal fires spotted by Captain Tobias Furneaux when he sailed past in 1773, but it could also apply to the brilliant orange lichen that grows on the granite boulders lining the bay. There is still evidence of the lives of the first Tasmanian along the coastline, in the form of middens (shell and bone dumping grounds).
The conservation area is divided into three sections, with Anson’s Bay dividing the southern and northern ends. A scenic view of the bay can be glimpsed by driving along the coast to The Gardens.
The Bay of Fires area contains rocky gullies, with many small secluded beaches and inlets to explore. Binalong Bay is the area’s main beach – a beautiful stretch of white sand and clear water for swimming, snorkelling, surfing or simply relaxing.
There’s a wealth of local wildlife to discover, too, including birds that can be encountered on self-guided and guided walks. The area is renowned for game fishing, with numerous boat ramps. The offshore reefs contain rich marine biodiversity that attracts divers and snorkelers.
Campsites are located in the southern and middle sections of the conservation area, with toilet facilities in the southern beach sites. Camping is not allowed in the northern section, but there are campsites at Deep Creek, just outside the conservation area in the adjoining Mount William National Park.
Other accommodation is available in and around Binalong Bay, including remote eco-lodges. The coastal town of St Helens is located at the southern entrance to the conservation area and offers more places to stay, plus services and facilities.’ from Discover Tasmania website.
Who I did it with?
I did this walk with a group of friends new to multi-day hikes. It was glamping, but it had enough natural beauty to inspire them to consider more challenging hiking expeditions in the future.
- Easy graded walk mostly along beach areas
- Variety of scenery – bushland, coast, and lakes
- Guided walk provided by Tasmanian Walking Company
- Knowledgeable guides with excellent information on flora, fauna, and land formations
- Good briefing/checking of participants’ gear at the start with equipment hire options
- Restaurant quality meals provided
- Luxury eco-accommodation – permanent tents at Forester Beach and Bay of Fires Lodge
- Full packs but without the additional weight of food
- A comfortable introduction for learner hikers
- Expensive but felt we were getting value for money
- Tight Schedule but opportunities for small excursions near accommodation e.g. swim, walks
- Lengthy bus drive to get to their base camp, Quamby Estate, from Launceston and then to start of walk at Mt William National Park Boulder Point
How long does it take?
It takes 4 days. Not much walking on the first day and even less on the last with a choice on Day 3 to kayak on Ansons Bay or take it easy. For full itinerary details visit the Tasmanian Walking Company site.
It is an incredibly beautiful part of Tasmania and a photographer’s dream. I particularly liked the orange lichen on the massive granite boulders lining the coast. The shape of these smooth rounded rocks was mesmerising. Many resembled other animals, like turtles and elephants.
I enjoyed visiting Eddystone Point Lighthouse with its striking pink granite tower jutting out into the sea. Surrounded by the sea, we sadly saw the unfortunate passing of many migrating mutton birds at its base. Many bird species have died at lighthouses built to aid human navigation, becoming confused by beams of bright light along the birds’ pathways of flight during natural avian migrations. The ferocity of the elements here may have also contributed to their plight. Nature is wonderful to behold, but this incident awakened my senses to the fragility of life and the power of nature.
From mainland Australia, you fly into Launceston for an overnight stay before the tour operator picks you up the following day. Upon completing the Walk, you are returned by bus to Launceston. There is the opportunity to fly home on one of the late evening flights, but most hikers prefer a celebratory dinner and another 1-night stay in Launceston before departing for home the next day. Allow 6 days to complete this adventure.