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Tasmania's Bay of Fires - Lonely Planet's No 1 Destination for 2009

by Brenda Bourne

As a holiday destination, Tasmania attracts many of its visitors thanks to its well justified reputation as an ideal location to experience pristine wilderness. So, for those visitors who enjoy walking in remote areas Tasmania has heaps to offer.

As a result, and despite Tasmania being Australia's only island state, it seems many people are unaware of the abundance of pristine beaches and sheltered coastal areas offering equally attractive experiences. This may be about to change.

Tassie Devils at East Coast NatureworldThe 2009 Lonely Planet International Guide hails Tasmania's Bay of Fires at Binalong Bay as '... the world's 'hottest' travel destination, a castaway bay with a 29 km ribbon of sea and surf spooling out from the old whaling town of St Helens...'. Not only are the beaches blessed with the finest white sand but with a '... Bombay Sapphire sea, an azure sky - and nobody' the guide says. The Bombay Sapphire sea certainly has an intoxicatingly appealing sound to it!

If deserted, never-ending stretches of sand and sea are what you crave as your place to relax and unwind, then Tasmania's East Coast boasts impressive expanses of beaches, coves and inlets, with dramatic coastal scenery along the way.

The coastal road south from St Helens passes the quiet seaside towns of Beaumaris and Scamander, offering surfing and fishing plus well-marked walking tracks and magnificent views of coast and hinterland. Falmouth, Four Mile Creek and Chain of Lagoons pop up along the road to Bicheno.

Here, in the Douglas-Apsley National Park, walks through forests, where over half of the State's eucalypt species are found, are interrupted only by the intermittent sounds of more than 65 bird species and cool tranquil rock pools.

Bicheno is home to East Coast Natureworld where you can meet Tasmania's devil and a visit to the Blowhole is a must.

Continuing south, passing several first class vineyards, the State's oldest historic coastal township of Swansea, settled in the early 1820s, appears, with spectacular vistas of the Peninsula across Great Oyster Bay. Swansea is an ideal base to explore historic midland towns, Freycinet National Park at Coles Bay, with Wineglass Bay just beyond, and is only 35 minutes to the ferry for the award-winning Maria Island experience. Swansea also offers a variety of good eating places and excellent accommodation choices.

So, if you want a holiday with boots, backpacks and bush-bashing - Tasmania is for you. If you prefer bays, beaches and basking in the sun, on quiet shores listening to the waves and birds - then Tasmania is certainly for you too.

If you want a holiday with the lot - do we have it? I think so.

Brenda Bourne is the website designer Webwoman and owner of
Mole Creek Lodge bed and breakfast in Tasmania.

The Hazards, Coles Bay

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