On leaving St Helens you have a couple of options – stay on the main road (the A3) and head inland towards Scottsdale, or take a detour to the Bay of Fires, or another detour to the far north east and Mount William National Park.
We had heard that the Bay of Fires was a spectacular section of coastline so definitely wanted to visit. Although not on the more beaten tourist path, the Bay of Fires has recently been named the world’s “hottest” travel destination for 2009 by Lonely Planet, so I have a feeling this is about to change!
Bay of Fires
We were advised that the best way to fully enjoy what the Bay of Fires has to offer was to join a four day guided hike. As appealing as this sounded we didn’t have four days to spare so had to make do with a quick visit.
Take the road to Binalong Bay and enjoy the views here first. Just north of Binalong Bay is the beginning of the Bay of Fires which stretches all the way north to Eddystone Point and there is a minor road which takes you a little further up the bay.
The Bay of Fires features amazing white sandy beaches, the most wonderful blue waters and lichen-covered rocks which, with their red colour, look almost as though they’ve been painted! The area also has a diverse ecology and much wildlife.
Mount William National Park
From the Bay of Fires we travelled back on ourselves to the A3 in order to take another minor road, the C843. This is a gravel road which takes you up to Eddystone Point in the Mount William National Park.
This is another destination where you could easily spend several days attempting to see everything the park has to offer. There is camping here, for example, and attractions include a multitude of wildlife – the park is a sanctuary for the Forester kangaroo as well as wombats and Tasmanian pademelons, echidnas, brush-tailed possums and more. Birds include kookaburras, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and albatrosses.
If you leave the park on the C843 but in the opposite direction from which you came you will shortly arrive at the tiny town of Gladstone.
This was once a bustling town, spurred on in 1870 by the mining of tin nearby. Now there is little more than a general store, one hotel and a police station, but the town remains the major entry point to the Mt William National Park, so tourism keeps it going.
If you’d like to spend some time here there is plenty of opportunity for bushwalking in the area and Gladstone’s cemeteries provide an interesting glimpse into the town’s past. There are many graves of Chinese miners who were attracted to the area.
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‘Touring Tasmania – Tasmania’s Far North East’ by Claire Bolgil