St Helens and North 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.
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.
Situated on Georges Bay, St Helens is the largest town on the north-east coast of Tasmania. A popular resort for fishing, swimming and other aquatic activities, its position makes St Helens a good base from which to explore the whole north-east corner of Tasmania. The town is famous for its crayfish, scallops, abalone and flounder. The Scamander River is noted for its bream.
The Bay of Fires, a beautiful piece of wilderness coastline in the north-east corner of Tasmania, stretches from Eddystone Point in the north to Binalong Bay in the south. Characterised by stunning blue water, fishing lagoons, spotless white sandy beaches and orange lichen covered granite boulders, the area is often mentioned internationally in lists of the world's top beaches.
A popular holiday town and its beaches are ideal for swimming, surfing and fishing. The Scamander River is noted for its bream, while beach fishing and gamefishing in the deep waters offshore are also popular. Scamander is also northern Tasmania's major surfing centre. Located at the mouth of the Scamander River, Scamander is sited on a particularly beautiful and quiet stretch of coastline, noted for its secluded beaches which are popular with surfers and surf fishing enthusiasts. Like all coastal resort towns Scamander is noted for its water activities. In summer, surfing and swimming are popular and the river is noted for its bream which can be caught.
Time has stood still at Ansons Bay. This small fishing village on the far north eastern coast of Tasmania hasn't changed since the 1940s. The temporary fibro houses, the tinnies waiting to be pushed off in search of fish and the quiet and sleepy holiday ambience make it one of those wonderful secrets which is known only to the locals and a select group of anglers. Fishing is spectacular around Ansons Bay. The best time to visit is in October and there are plenty of great fishing spots. The Bream fishing is especially good and the best bet is to fish in around 2 foot of water around the weed patches. There are also plenty of great Australian Salmon to be caught on the Anson River.
10 minutes north of St Helens is the little community of Binalong Bay, which marks the beginning of the Bay of Fires. Originally a fishing hamlet, the town is now a village with a large proportion of holiday dwellings. Noted for its rock and surf fishing, it is here that visitors first see the bay's large expanse of untouched coastline, lined with clean, white beaches punctuated by picturesque granite outcrops covered in orange lichen. With an array of accommodation, fishing and diving facilities, and a general store and cafe, Binalong Bay is an idyllic location for those seeking a 'holiday in heaven' and an ideal starting point for walks along the coastline.
A small historic coastal township that has gained notoriety as a centre for deep sea and river fishing. Swansea sits on Great OysterPointing west across Ringarooma Bay, Cape Portland is the north eastern tip of Tasmania. It was named after the Duke of Portland by Matthew Flinders during his 1798 circumnavigation of the island in the sloop Norfolk with George Bass. It is an important bird breeding area for the Cape Barren Goose, Chestnut Teal and the threatened Hooded Plover. There is a small fishing community at Cape Portland.
Explore The Hinterland
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.
Situated in the Esk Valley, Fingal is the centre of Tasmania's coal mining industry. Evercreech Forest Reserve in the Fingal area is the home of the famous White Knights, the tallest white gums in the world. Finga's wide main street features several impressive 19th Century buildings. The Holder Brothers Store dates from 1859 and nearby is the old Tasmania Hotel, constructed, in part, from the stones which were originally used to build the Prison Barracks in the 1840s. It became a hotel in the 1850s and is now the local Tourist Centre. It sells arts and crafts from the district.
Cornwall is a small, strangely-quaint coal mining town in the Fingal Valley. The Blackwood mine, also known as the Cornwall colliery, is run by the Cornwall Coal Company. It is the only supplier of coal mined in Tasmania. The major consumers of Tasmanian coal are currently the Cement Australia plant at Railton and the Norske Skog newsprint mill at Boyer. Production of raw coal in 2009 and 2010 totalled 646,148 tonnes, with 372,441t of saleable coal produced.
Somewhat of a ghost town today, Mathinna was once the scene of an important gold strike. After gold was discovered at Mangana, Mathinna was for a time was the third largest town in Tasmania. The Mathinna goldfield started, like many others, with the discovery of alluvial gold in Black Horse Gully. The area contains one of Tasmania's largest gold mines, the New Golden Gate. The area is riddled with abandoned mines, prospects and old workings, and is mostly crown land, meaning fairly easy access.
Pyengana is a rural farming region with sites of such significant natural beauty and it is well worth leaving the highway that bypasses it, and stopping to savour a little of what it has to offer. Not far from Pyengana is St Columba Falls, one of Tasmania's highest waterfalls, with water plunging 90m from the Mt Victoria foothills to the valley of the South George River. There is a delightful walk from the car park to the falls through one of the most captivating rainforests you will see in a long time.
Trail of the Tin Dragon
This interesting former tin mining town, which wanders along a hillside overlooking the Ringarooma River, retains the atmosphere of its pioneering history. A classified historic town, it lies about halfway between Launceston and the east coast and therefore has become something of a natural stopover point for travellers.
These days if you blink you might miss it, but in years gone by, Weldborough was a tin mining boom town. During the 19th century, Weldborough had the largest Chinese community on any tin field in Australia. Weldborough was the cultural centre for the Chinese miners, this was the site of mining camps, festivals and a casino. A replica statue of Guan Di resides at the historic Weldborough Hotel. There are a series of tracks on nearby Blue Tier that offer a variety of experience, duration and level of challenge for walkers.
Branxholm is a typical north-east Tasmania timber town nestled into the rolling hills. It is notable for its saw mills and its hop fields. It has a sprawling street pattern which makes the small town spread across the valley floor. Branxholm offers the visitor good fishing in the Ringarooma River. Close to the town is Mount Horror, known for excellent scenic views it is surrounded by extensive pine and gum plantations.
Tasmania's most north easterly township, Gladstone is one of the few in the region still involved in tin mining. The small town has a colourful history as a centre for gold and tin mining activities. Gladstone is the gateway to the largely unknown far north-eastern corner of Tasmania. Though mining has been replaced by tourism, the district has many tin mining ruins, notably at Boobyalla (17 km north west) which was once Gladstone s port. Little Blue Lake (above) is the flooded remnants of a tin mine. These former mine sites are popular destinations for bushwalkers, as are the impressive geological formations of the area.
There is little evidence in the sleepy village of Pioneer in north-east Tasmania that it was once one of the most prosperous tin mining towns in both Tasmania and Australia. The big producer, the Pioneer Company mine, closed in 1930. The hole in the ground that the mine left behind Pioneer Lake has been flooded and is today stocked with trout and used for water sports. Abandoned houses and mine workings a short distance away mark the site of Garibaldi, a tin mining town that had many Chinese workers. Other villages in the area are Herrick and Winnaleah. At the 2006 census, Pioneer had a population of 144.
The small village of Legerwood was put on the map in 2005 when Eddie Freeman from Ross sculptured the trees here as a memorial to World War I soldiers with his chainsaw. The tree carvings are set in a quaint little public park with excellent public toilet and picnicing facilities, just a short detour off the main highway. There is a plaque giving the history of the men at the base of each tree.