Summer is a time of celebration on the East Coast. There is a definite feeling of festivity. Families are unwinding, little ones are making the most of school holidays, couples are romancing and everybody you meet is having a great day.
It is the perfect time to get out and explore every corner of the East Coast. Even if you have been here before, there’s still always so much to see and do – all on one of the best scenic drives in the country.
Top spots for safe swimming
With 221km of coastline, the East Coast has a myriad of beaches for summer time fun, but not all our beaches are recommended for swimming due to strong tides, large waves and rips. For families travelling with younger children, or for those who are looking for a more relaxing beach swim, we’ve made a list of some of the safest swimming areas along the coast:
- Bicheno – Waubs Bay
- Binalong Bay – in the rockpools near the Skeleton Bay Reserve
- Coles Bay – Muirs Beach and Richardsons Beach (National Parks Pass required for Richardsons Beach
- Orford/Triabunna – Raspins Beach and Spring Beach
- Scamander – at the river mouth (depending on the river flow)
- St Helens – St Helens Point Rd at various beaches along the road
- Swansea – Waterloo Beach
Fish and chips by the sea
Could there be anything more East Coast than having fresh fish and chips by the ocean? The Triabunna Fish Van is always a crowd pleaser, stop on the way for a snack and a stretch. In Bicheno, there is The Gulch or the Lobster Shack for fish and chips, and further north, Skippers has been delighting locals and travellers alike for years.
Get out on the water
One of the best ways to explore the East Coast is being out on the water. We have some of the whitest beaches and bluest waters anywhere in Australia, and there are multiple ways to discover our pristine waters.
Kayak through the pristine water of Freycinet National Park. Take a boat cruise on the Bay of Fires or Wineglass Bay. Hang ten and catch a wave with a private surf lesson on the shoreline at Scamander. Jump aboard a fishing charter and catch dinner for the family while taking in some spectacular sights.
Cool off in the forest
OK, so not technically “The Coast”, but our forests and waterfalls are a much-adored facet of the region. Cool off in a tranquil waterhole or deep river gorges in Douglas-Apsley National Park. Head just slightly inland to St Marys through Elephant Pass, wind down the windows and see if you can pinpoint when the air shifts from salty goodness, to rainforest fresh. Stop for a snack and a poke around some of the quaint country boutiques in St Marys, then keep on driving through to the fertile landscape of Fingal. The Evercreech Forest Reserve is home to the world’s tallest white gum trees (The White Knights) with waterfalls just nearby.
Or if you are further north, pop in for some lunch at cheese lovers haven Pyengana, or a beer, or both! Afterwards, you can head inland just a little further to visit St Columba Falls, a short and accessible walk with water that flows all year round.
Dog friendly adventures
If there’s anything better than exploring East Coast Tasmania, it’s exploring with your doggo’s. From short walks to mountain summits to beaches, there’s plenty of options for adventure-minded dog owners on the East Coast of Tassie.
Generally speaking, the coast is dog-friendly but finding a place to stay, camp, eat and walk with your furry pals can be restricted due to the abundance of National Parks and native wildlife (much of it protected), so we’ve created a bit of a list that might be helpful.
Each place has its own set of rules so do please check the website listings and direct questions to management where needed.
Explore our lighthouses
Tasmania’s lighthouse heritage goes back to the early days of settlement in Tasmania. There is an abundance of lighthouses around the state, some offer the opportunity to go inside and others are great to marvel at from the ground, sea or air with one of the many tours on offer.
With remarkable coastal views of Freycinet National Park and a well-constructed walkway, the elevated track loops around the lighthouse at Cape Tourville and is a great way for everyone to experience Freycinet.
Looking north from The Gardens near Ansons Bay as you stand on the dramatic boulders you can see Eddystone Point lighthouse some 18 kms to the north. Take the inland road and make your way north to this fabulous rock point situated within the Mt William National Park.
Get the rod out
All along the East Coast from Orford to St Helens and the Bay of Fires, you’ll find opportunities to throw in a line and try for catches of Australian salmon, flathead, bream, even shark and skate.
More adventurous fisher folk can also try for a catch of abalone or southern rock lobster (licences required) or join a deep sea or game fishing charter. Join a guided fishing tour or seek out a beach, jetty, river or estuary and try your luck.
You’ll find boat ramps in most coastal towns, and the inland streams offer tranquil locations to test your skills against local river trout.
If you’re an adventurous soul with a love of two wheels, you’ll find some of the best mountain bike trails you could wish for. Tasmania’s East Coast is also a classic cycle-friendly destination. The mild climate, gently curving roads and incredible views create a superb environment for bike touring. Travelling by bike also means you can take full advantage of the fantastic experiences of the East Coast, at your own pace.
Cycle all or part of the way on the coast road, take your bike to Maria Island to explore the island on two wheels, or take your mountain bike off road and try out the fantastic trails at St Helens Mountain Bike Trails.
Shop up a storm at local markets
Tasmania is a haven for markets and the East Coast is no exception. East Coast markets are more than just places to source (unbelievably good) fresh fruit and veg; these are vibrant celebrations of our region’s food and culture—complete with music, art and entertainment. Local markets also provide a wonderful opportunity to meet the region’s passionate producers, to hear the story of the things they grow and make and to discover what it is about Tasmanian produce that has captured the world’s attention.
During December and January, there are markets right along the coast. Check out our events calendar for what’s on and where.
Start planning your summer time adventure on the East Coast of Tasmania – a place where you can kick back, relax and take some time and enjoy this beautiful part of the world.