Nestled along the north-eastern coast of Tasmania lies the Bay of Fires region, a mesmerising area of this island-state that is renowned for its unique orange lichen-covered boulders set against a backdrop of pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.
This coastal wonderland is a popular destination for day-trippers and enthusiastic walkers, who have the choice of several guided tour operators that offer a range of experiences, from easy coastal walks to guided multi-day hikes that vary in distance covered and what kind of luxury experience you can enjoy along the way.
A longer, more luxurious experience will tend to be more expensive and can involve overnight glamping or accommodation in beach or lighthouse-keeper cottages. Alternatively, an easier coastal walk can include less-exotic individual hikes, utilising the basic campsites in the area.
The time you should allow for a guided walk varies, but four days is at the top end of the scale.
The Bay of Fires stretches 50km along Tasmania’s north-east coast, from Larapuna/Eddystone Point in Mount William National Park to Binalong Bay near the picturesque fishing town of St Helens. While the vibrant lichen-covered rocks do give the bay a ‘fiery’ appearance, the region was named by the English Captain Tobias Furneaux in the 1770s after he sighted Aboriginal fires along the coast lighting up the sky at night. Shell and bone dumping grounds from cooking fires, known as middens, are still evident in some places.
Larapuna/Eddystone Point Lighthouse
The appeal of camping and walking through the Bay of Fires region comes down to the area’s natural beauty — stunning white sand beaches, brilliant blue sea, orange lichen-covered granite rocks, lagoons and rocky bluff, all against a thick low-lying coastal vegetation that is so representative of the region.
Enjoy the beautiful sweeping views of the surrounding land and seascapes from the Binalong Bay viewing platform or at the headland at The Gardens, which is named after the tracts of wildflowers that grow in the area. The Larapuna/Eddystone Point Lighthouse is another popular spot to appreciate the Bay of Fires’ vistas.
For the water-lovers, there are plenty of aquatic activities to enjoy such as swimming, snorkelling and whale and dolphin watching. On land, there is an abundance of birds to keep an eye out for, as well as signs of the Aboriginal activity that gave this area of the Tassie coast its name.
Being on Tassie’s north-east coast, the Bay of Fires enjoys a fairly temperate climate, meaning the mild to warmer months of spring and summer are the more preferred seasons to visit — with the by-product of larger crowds and the chance of increased prices for any accommodation and activities. If you decide to brave the area during the autumn and/or winter months, be prepared for colder temps and more regular rainfall — so plan accordingly.
Bay of Fires Walk Details
A typical four-day guided walk at the Bay of Fires region will kick off at Boulder Point near the low-lying Mount William in the north, then trek south along the coast to finish near Ansons Bay, a fishing village in the south. Revel in the breathtaking natural surroundings, cross rocky gullies and explore the many small, secluded beaches that dot the coastline — including the iconic Binalong Bay.
Depending on the tour, and any detours, the distances you can cover over this four-day max period can vary enormously, however the walking is generally not difficult due to the flatness of the terrain. However, be prepared for areas with soft sand. But any physical effort is well repaid by the overall beauty and unique experience that the Bay of Fires region offers.
Days to complete: Four
Distance: Up to 50km
Requirements: Bookings recommended/optional.
Camping in the Bay of Fires
There are plenty of camping opportunities at the Bay of Fires, with around eight camping areas to choose from in the Bay of Fires Conservation Area. Camping is free, but does operate on a first-come, first-served basis — so prepare in advance as it is popular among locals and visitors alike.
The facilities available and any restrictions vary between the camping areas, so it’s best to check the Parks Tas website before you go.
Please note, camping is only permitted in the designated campgrounds.
Waterfront camping at Swimcart Beach on the Bay of Fires (Image Chris Whitelaw)
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