Travel to the Bay of Fires for Research? Tough!!

Bay of Fires Beach
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Bay of Fires Beach (Photo by Dan Fellow)

Bay of Fires Tasmania: arriving at St Helens, you are offered terrific service facilities for a town of 5,000 locals, with a fishing fleet and a pleasant location.  My local source (the check-out operator at the supermarket), informed me the population more than doubles in the summer, when tourists flock to the area for the love of a good beach.  Must say at this point, however, that the only flock on this particular day was of the feathered variety.

St Helens Marina near Bay of Fires National Park
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The marina in St Helens, base for the Bay of Fires Park

Bay of Fires: Hot Topic

St Helens, in northeast Tasmania, has a big range of activities within comfortable driving distance of both Hobart and Launceston.  But that’s a whole other story. This current report is chiefly regarding the winner of the “hottest travel destination 2009” title:  the Bay of Fires (as judged by The Lonely Planet).

Sceptical of tourism brochures showing idyllic, tropical-island images;  a first-hand visit actually confirms this one.  The sands are pure white, the water is turquoise and the vast expanse was deserted.  Enticing enough to strip down to one’s underwear and dive in for a swim.  Well, almost!

Binalong: Bay of Fires HQ

Anyway, Binalong Bay is at the southern end of the Bay of Fires in north east Tasmania.  Apparently it was named due to the sightings of aboriginal fires by Captain Furneaux as he sailed by in 1773.  The significance of the area has now been acknowledged with proposed national park status.

The Gardens, Bay of Fires National Park
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The Gardens, Bay of Fires National Park

Driving about 13kms along the scenic road with views of the picturesque bay to The Gardens, I checked out the rugged camping sites along the way.  Here, you either seriously rough it or take your own luxuries with you in some form of motor-home.  The northern end of the section, via unsealed roads, includes Mt William National Park and the Eddystone Point Lighthouse on the most eastern tip of the state.

Sand Dunes at St Helens Point

Judging by the map, the only point that might be a squeak more east than Eddystone is St Helens Point.  Running parallel to Binalong Bay Road, separated only by Georges Bay, is a road leading to Peron Dunes.  Great fun for energetic kids and a delightful prospect for the amateur photographer!  You get the impression that you are the first to stumble across this treasure, all wind-swept and natural bushland.

St Helens Point near Bay of Fires
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St Helens Point, East Coast Tasmania

The Lonely Planet didn’t mention this jewel, but its close proximity to the Bay of Fires could have them as a dual attraction. Not that you need more incentive to travel here.

Peron Dunes near Bay of Fires
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Peron Dunes & St Helens Point accompany the Bay of Fires

The Bay of Fires Rocks!!

A final highlight from the experience to finish with?  The rocks!!  How could rocks be a highlight, you may well ask?

  • Besides being a pushover in the photography stakes,
    they have a magnetism all their own
  • Rounded and ranging in colour from granite pink to fiery orange,
    they dominate the seaside landscape
  • They can be perched on for maritime viewing; clambered over
    for fun and exercise; or just examined for lichen
Bay of Fires Rocks
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Orange lichen on the Bay of Fires rocks (Photo by Dan Fellow)

What more do you need from a highlight?  Well okay – not everyone is into rocks.  But the lure of the Bay of Fires:  it has something for every beach lover.

Click here to check out my favourite Bay of Fires photo, taken by Dan Fellow.

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Map: Bay of Fires Tasmania…