There’s definitely no shortage of breathtaking places to visit in Tasmania, and even though the state is quite small, you could easily travel around it for weeks and not see them all. The Bay of Fires is one of those amazing places.
This hidden gem of Tasmania stretches fifty kilometres from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point along the eastern coast of Tasmania. The best part about it is that it’s nowhere near as touristy as the popular Freycinet National Park further South, or the Cradle Mountain National Park further West.
How is that possible? I don’t quite know! Especially since a few years back Lonely Planet pronounced the Bay of Fires one of the world’s “hottest” travel destinations. But we’re certainly not complaining. We were able to enjoy it, even in peak season, without having to dodge the crowds. We didn’t even have to fight for a parking space like you do in many of Tasmania’s more popular destinations.
What’s so special about the Bay of Fires?
The Bay of Fires has some of the most beautiful sandy beaches we have ever seen. Their sand is so fine and white that it almost looks like sugar! The water is just as appealing. It is turquoise blue and ever so clear and inviting. You feel like jumping in straight away!
But the best part about the Bay of Fires is its stunning rock formations that are covered in orange lichen. This provides such a beautiful contrast of colours and makes the area a photographer’s paradise. The whole bay is a real treat to the eyes.
Where does the name come from?
Although you might think that the bay gets its name from the bright, rusty-orange coloured rocks for which it is famous, this is not actually the case. When the bay of Fires was discovered by Captain Tobias Furneaux in 1773, the explorers saw plenty of fires blazing as they approached by ship. Those fires were lit by the native Aborigines who lived in the area. This is where the name “Bay of Fires” comes from.
Binalong Bay, the pearl of the region
Binalong Bay is a small seaside village of 210 people located at the entrance to the Bay of Fires region. This small town contains mainly holiday homes and shacks. It’s a great place to base yourself when exploring the region.
Be sure to take a walk along the 1.6-kilometre long beach, all the way to its northern end where you can climb up onto the orange lichen boulders and be mesmerised by the amazing views of the entire bay.
You can also do all sort of water activities in Binalong Bay, such as swimming, boating, fishing,
Lying right behind Binalong Bay Beach is the Grants Lagoon. This large body of water is mainly filled with rainwater and a little bit of seawater. The area around the lagoon has some nice walking tracks. Our favourite began at the car park at the end of the road, just on the left before you reach the start of Binalong Bay beach. Walking across the bridge that spans the lagoon, you end up on a narrow sand dune. You can then walk along the top of that dune, with the beach on one side and the lagoon on the other.
Drive up to the Gardens
From Binalong Bay, take a twenty minute sealed road drive up to the Gardens. The Gardens are found at the end of the sealed road, so you can’t miss them. This conservation area is absolutely stunning and ever so quiet. In the Gardens, you’ll find more picture-perfect beaches, more orange lichen-covered boulders and more amazing beauty.
On your way back to Binalong Bay, make sure you stop a few times along the way to explore some of the other beaches, such as Honeymoon Point, Taylors Beach, Sloop Reef, Cosy Corner, Swimcart Beach or Jeanneret Beach. Take time to wander along the sand, or bring a picnic lunch with you, to enjoy as you soak up the incredible beauty of the bay.
A boat ride with Bay of Fires Eco-Tours
Bay of Fires Eco-Tours is a small family run business that offers daily cruises (either 1.5 hours or 3 hours long) around the Bay of Fires. It’s the number one activity in the area and we highly recommend it if you want to experience the bay from a different perspective.
We went out with them on their ‘INFURNEAUX’ boat for a three-hour cruise, from Binalong Bay all the way to Eddystone Point and then back again. As we cruised along the pristine coastline we were surrounded by so much beauty, with so many stunning panoramic views. But it’s not just about the scenery because there was also abundant wildlife. Several pods of dolphins came to say hello, swimming alongside our boat. There was also an incredible amount of birdlife in the area. We saw huge flocks of shearwaters, along with albatross and plenty of other types of birds.
Their boat is custom made and it only fits eighteen passengers, so the experience did not feel crowded, even on the Australia Day long weekend. In fact, the boat was not even at full capacity. It’s so refreshing compared to other cruises we’ve done in Southern Tasmania, which were fully booked, even in winter!
Check out the video of our tour below:
The far end of the bay – Eddystone Point
Eddystone Point is just over an hour drive from Binalong Bay, mainly on a gravel road. This means that not many tourists venture that far. But don’t let the gravel road stop you. It’s well maintained and it’s easy to navigate. You do not need a 4WD. We drove there with the cheapest hire car we could get. I believe it was a small Toyota hatchback of some sort (I know nothing about cars!).
Once you make it to Eddystone Point, you can walk around deserted white beaches, check out the old stone lighthouse and take more photos of the incredible scenery. As you can see from the pictures below, it’s worth the detour even on an overcast day.
Where to stay around the Bay of Fires?
Binalong Bay and St Helens (10 minutes drive from Binalong Bay) are the main places people stay while exploring the Bay of Fires.
This little green beach shack is an Airbnb gem. It’s situated up on the hill overlooking the waterfront, right opposite the beautiful Binalong Bay Beach, and right next to the Lichen restaurant. This one bedroom shack offers beautiful views but the best part was sitting out on its deck and enjoying those views with a glass of local wine. It’s ideal for couples! Prices from AU$180.
Pelican Point Sanctuary
Ideally located between St Helens and Binalong Bay, Pelican Point Sanctuary offers one to three bedrooms villas and cottages. The villas overlook 87 acres of land flanked by the Georges River, ponds, endless greeneries, cows, ducks and an array of birdlife. Prices start from AU$190. Click here to check out the latest prices.
Bed in the Treetops B&B
This quiet hideaway only has two rooms but offers friendly hosts, amazing views and a delicious homemade breakfast in the morning. What more could you want? Prices start from AU$300. Click here to check out the latest prices.
If you like camping, there are many places to camp in the National Park and some places have beach access.
Use the search box below to find alternative accommodation in Binalong Bay, the gateway to the Bay of Fires.
Where to eat?
Located right across from Binalong Bay Beach, this restaurant has an outdoor deck, where you can eat while enjoying the views. They also have a pizza oven where they cook some pretty amazing pizzas. If like us you stay in the Burgess cottage and are feeling a bit lazy, you only have to walk ten metres to pick up your takeaway pizza! This is also the only restaurant in Binalong Bay.
Oyster Buoy Wine and Seafood Shed
Oyster Buoy is located in St Helens and offers fabulous views of Medea Cove, along with delicious seafood and a very relaxed atmosphere. It’s a great place to enjoy lunch on a beautiful day.
East Coast Village Providore
Although you can’t eat there, you can stock up on mouth-watering local produce and wines, to take back to your accommodation for dinner and breakfast.
How to get to the Bay of Fires?
The Bay of Fires is a 175 kilometre (2.5 hours) drive from Launceston, and a 260 kilometre (3.5 hours) drive from Hobart. Your best option is to rent a car and drive there because you’ll also need a car to explore the area.
Day Tours to the Bay of Fires
If you really don’t want to drive, there are day tours available from Launceston, but the area is so beautiful that it really deserves more than a just few hours of your time.