The Changing Face of the Douglas River

by Roger Findlay

The Douglas River can be found on the east coast of Tasmania about 15 minutes drive north of Bicheno.  It has many changing faces as it runs down out of the hills of the Douglas Apsley National Park and out into the sea.

Douglas River - East Coast Tasmania Beach
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Spectacular beaches: Douglas River region on the east coast of Tasmania

Since we first visited about eight years ago the beach has now accumulated timber that has washed down from the hills.  You may be aware that St. Mary’s and the Elephant Pass has been hit by floods in recent times and this is the result.  This hasn’t stopped us visiting our favourite spot in Tasmania.  In fact it is quite the opposite.

Douglas River - Fishing
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Roger & Jeanette like to go fishing for bream in the Douglas River

Douglas River Family Farm & Fishing

There is just one family living on the Douglas River and they’re right on the estuary where we like to fish for bream.  This family work the land right along the front and down to the beach.  Sheep, beef cattle and pumpkins provide their living and have done for years gone by.


 

Being such regular visitors, we are treated like family.  They are always glad to see us and we feel the same.  The evening drinks are relaxing for both parties and the conversation is non-pretentious, basic stuff: weather, Tasmanian politics, Home & Away, etc.

Douglas River - East Coast Beach
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Douglas River: one of the pristine beaches of the east coast of Tasmania

You’ll Own the Beach!

As we are given a key to a gate, we have access to private land and a deserted beach that stretches for miles in both directions.  One day we got such a fright when another person appeared!  Walking towards Bicheno, the sand dunes have been eroded into a formation that our friends call The Porches.  Bird life is abundant and the giant kelp creates an attraction of it’s own.

Douglas River - Beach Seaweed
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Roger is fascinated by the seaweed on the beach at Douglas River

Looking back up the estuary, the hills of the Douglas Apsley are often capped by cloud.  You can see the weather changing.  At times the Douglas River can be running fast but when the tide is out it can be extremely calm.  About a year ago the authorities installed a steel platform in the river close to the bank.  It may have been to monitor the flow.  The experienced land owners advised what to expect and, when the floods hit, the platform washed away!

Douglas River - Tasmanian Weather
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The changing weather in the Douglas River region near Bicheno, Tasmania

Accommodation Near Bicheno, Tasmania

If you are looking for good, clean and reasonable accommodation near Bicheno, I can recommend Douglas River Cabins.  A three night stay would be ideal for visiting Bicheno, Coles Bay and St. Helens to the north.  For the walker, the Douglas Apsley National Park can be accessed close by.  There are two cabins that are suitable for a couple, small family or large group.  Give it a try but don’t tell the world!  You will not be disappointed.

Douglas River - Douglas Apsley National Park Region
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Near the Douglas Apsley National Park on the east coast of Tasmania

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Map: Douglas River Cabins: