East Coast, Tasmania

Freycinet Peninsula is really as stunningly beautiful as photographs of it suggest. It therefore comes as no surprise that its most wondrous attraction, Wineglass Bay, has been labelled one of the world's top ten beaches. Recognised as one of Tasmania's most iconic destinations, Wineglass Bay is located on the stunning and pure Freycinet Peninsula, an area full of turquoise waters, scenic surrounds and a cool, crisp atmosphere that invigorates the soul. To the Peninsula's south is Maria Island, a unique location where the visitor feels they have left civilization behind and stepped into another world. The whole place is a treat for the senses, and an opportunity to experience something civilisation lost more than a century ago.

Tasman Peninsula, in the region's south, is another extremely scenic part of Tasmania that is dominated by rolling pastures and heavily timbered hills and surrounded by dramatic coastline of sheer cliffs, towering rocky outcrops, sheltered bays and sea caves. Walking tracks and kayaks give access to the area's more isolated corners. And if that isn't enough to entice you to jump on a plane to Tassie and go see it for yourself, there's the added bonus of the peninsula being steeped in Australia's convict history; it contains some of the country's most important convict heritage sites, the jewel in the crown being the Port Athur settlement.

In stark contrast is the hinterland, a mountainous area where once miners extracted tin and gold from the ground, but today farmers plough patchwork quilts of rich dark soil, where bountiful crops grow alongside verdant pasture. But the untamed natural majesty of the region's rugged mountainous terrain is never far away, encircling the farmlands are deeply wooded rainforests where the Whtie Knights, the world's largest eucalypts, grow in abundance, rivers flow over waterfalls and wildlife abounds.

Upper East Coast

The east coast of Tasmania, which begins at Cape Portland, at the the north-east corner of the state, features wide sweeping beaches punctuated by headlands of granite, much of which is covered in orange lichen. The crystal clear waters, the ribbons of clear white sandy beaches and the brightly painted rocks that punctuate them, have led to these beaches being ranked internationally among the best in the world.



Bicheno

Bicheno is a charming fishing port on Tasmania's east coast, which in recent years has grown in popularity as a holiday resort. One of Bicheno's more well known coastal features is the town's blowhole, which is located near the Esplanade Reserve. Nearby is also the Rocking Rock, 80 tonnes of rocking granite, which has been rocking for thousands of years. The Bicheno Blowhole is located right next to the water, along the sandy and granite coastline. Like most of Tasmania's east coast, Bicheno is noted for its distinctive red lichen on granite outcrops and its impressive blowholes. Granite coastal boulders can be found at the Blowhole and run north for 300m to a large block with more at Peggys Point.



Coles Bay

Situated at the northern edge of the Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay is the service town and entry point for the wonderful Ferycinet National Park. As such it is well served by accommodation, caravan sites and camping facilities. It is one of the justifiably famous wilderness beauty spots on Tasmania's east coast. The town came into being in 1934 when it began to become a popular haunt for fishermen and bushwalkers. Coles Bay is also the major tourist centre on Tasmania s east coast and though it has plenty of holiday accommodation, the increased popularity of the Freycinet Peninsula as a tourist destination has meant you need to book ahead if you intend staying here overnight or longer.



Freycinet Peninsula

Nubeena is a small, sleepy and attractive holiday and fishing village, in spite of being the largest town on the Tasman Peninsula. Nubeena lies at the head of Wedge Bay on the western flank of what is virtually an island guarding the eastern entrance to Storm Bay. Further offshore is Wedge Island which is an important nesting habitat for the shearwater. Nubeena is 113km south east of Hobart and 12 km from Port Arthur. The town is halfway along the west coast of Tasman Peninsula, on Parsons Bay, which is a narrow continuation of Wedge Bay. From Port Arthur (A9) it on a circuit drive - via Saltwater River - back to the main road at Taranna (B37), a picturesque alternative to driving straight from Port Arthur to Taranna.



Schouten Ialand

Schouten is a rugged island with the highest point, Mount Storey (400 metres). Mt. Daedalus is the summit peak of a substantial granite area on the island and small tin workings can be seen in the vicinity. The island is surrounded by cliffs, broken by sheltered bays. A north-south fault line divides the island where the eastern part of the island is composed of granite while the western part is dolerite overlying sedimentary and supergroup rocks. The natural vegetation of the island is dominated by eucalypt forest on the dolerite soils in the west, and by scrubland, heathland and sedgeland communities on the granitic soils of the east. Areas associated with previous human disturbance, such as clearing, grazing and frequent burning, are dominated by grasses and herbs.



Swansea

A small historic coastal township that has gained notoriety as a centre for deep sea and river fishing. Swansea sits on Great Oyster Bay and gazes across at the rugged mountains of the Freycinet National Park. It is a pretty setting and it boasts a very substantial number of historic homes and buildings which give this fishing and holiday destination a distinctive charm. Swansea is a popular place to retire, as it has the largest percentage of over-65-year-olds in its population of any town in Tasmania. Swansea is 134 km from Hobart; 133 km from Launceston; 67 km from Campbell Town on Great Oyster Bay.



Little Swanport

Little Swanport is a small village on the shores of Great Oyster Bay, between Swansea and Triabunna. It takes its name from the Little Swaqnport River and sits alongside the little river's mouth. Just north of Little Swanport is Mayfield Bay camping area, a popular spot among caravanners looking for a little seaside camping and fishing. The beach also has boat-launching access. If you are not into fishing, there is a lovely beach that offers good snorkelling, wonderful views across Great Oyster Bay to Freycinet Peninsula and the 1845 convict-built Three Arch Bridge is nearby. The reserve has shady trees and toilet facilities but you'll need to bring your own drinking water and camping gear.



Great Oyster Bay

A broad and sheltered bay which opens onto the Tasman Sea in its south, Great Oyster Bay is one of the most scenic stretches of water in Australia. The Tasman Highway runs close to the West Coast of the bay with spectacular views of the rugged granite peaks of the Hazards of the Freycinet Peninsula which are incorporated in the Freycinet National Park, and Schouten and Maria Islands to the south. Sea kayaking in the sheltered waters on the east side of the bay from Coles Bay is very popular, with many small and isolated beaches on the Freycinet Peninsula to explore. Recreational fishing is also popular activity in the bay with flathead, Australian salmon, trevally, trumpeter and squid regularly caught. Dolphins and Australian Fur Seals can often be seen and whales often frequent the bay in winter.



Triabunna

A prosperous fishing port and timber town located on the shores of Spring Bay, Triabunna began life as a whaling base in the 1830s. The townsite was once a garrison town for the Darlington convict settlement on nearby Maria Island. The town is today driven largely by its fishing industry (it is known for its scallops and abalone) and the huge woodchip mill at Point Home (it can be clearly seen from the ferry across to Maria Island). Triabunna is the starting point for tours and/or visits to the island and the many wilderness beauty spots on Tasmania s east coast.



Maria Island

Maria Island is a unique location where the visitor feels they have left civilization behind and stepped into another world. There are no noisy cars or machinery, just the sound of the wind rustling in the trees and the occasional bird calling to another. The air is clean; the only smells that accost the nose are the perfumes of the plants in the bushland and the salt in the air, blown off the sea which surrounds you. The whole place is a treat for the senses, and an opportunity to experience something civilisation lost more than a century ago.



Orford

Situated on a substantial coastal inlet called Prosser Bay, Orford is an attractive coastal hamlet. The village is centred around the mouth of the Prosser River. Beyond Prosser Bay are the waters of the Mercury Passage, with the strong relief of Maria Island providing a spectacular backdrop to the view. Orford has several clean, picturesque beaches - including Raspins, Millingons, Spring and Rheban - with a popular campsite at Raspins Beach. Nearby is the well-regarded 9-hole Orford Golf Course and the Darlington Vineyard.



Buckland

The district around Buckland was originally known as Prosser Plains. It was settled in the 1820s and the oldest house in the district 'Woodsden', which lies north east of the town, was built in 1826. In 1846 Governor Franklin renamed the tiny settlement Buckland, after William Buckland, Dean of Westminster (1845-56) who as a noted geologist (he had been appointed Professor of Mineralogy at Oxford University in 1813) had tried to reconcile geology with the Bible. The Buckland timber mill operated from 1948 until 1981.





Nugent

The small village of Nugent is notable for its local hall, in which many small gatherings occur for the locals only, maybe extending to nearby towns such as Sorell, Buckland and Dodges Ferry. It is a stereotypical "small country town", an ever shrinking group of small establishments. Nugent is 46 km north-west of Hobart and 35 km west of Richmond.