So, you’ve made up your mind to make the crossing to the Apple Isle but with so many picturesque places on offer, where do you go and how do you locate the best camping spots? Here’s an overview of my four favourite Tassie destinations, exceptional in beauty and affordable in price.
Tucked away along Tassie’s wild west coast, Strahan is known as the gateway to the mighty Gordon River and the World Heritage-listed Tasmanian Wilderness Area. The quaint harbour town has a fascinating convict past, with infamous Sarah Island the site of the unforgiving penal settlement.
Bush camping is available at Macquarie Heads, 15km out of Strahan. Facilities are limited to drop toilets. For enquiries, ring the caretaker on (03) 6471 7382. Cost is $6 per family per night.
The Tasman Peninsula offers a perfect mix of intriguing Tassie history, set alongside dramatic coastal scenery, including the highest vertical cliffs in Australia. There is a beautiful campground right on the beach at Fortescue Bay, with a fantastic swimming beach and a boat ramp, where you could easily spend the entire weekend – but you wouldn’t want to miss out on everything else there is to see. Time permitting, visit the Port Arthur Historic Site, but allow at least a full day to do the place justice.
Fortescue Bay, 22km south-east of Port Arthur, has bush camping facilities, including drop toilets and coin-operated hot showers. For enquiries, ring the Parks and Wildlife office on 03 6250 2433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is $13 per couple per night and bookings are advisable. Generators are allowed in one part of the campground, and there are limited sites suitable for caravans. A national park entry fee applies.
Freycinet National Park is one of Tasmania’s most popular national parks with about 160,000 visitors a year. The major attraction is the walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout, a 1.3km uphill climb with over 300 bush steps. For the more adventurous you can continue the walk by descending to Wineglass Bay and enjoying a swim in the azure-blue waters; just make sure you bring enough drinking water.
A trip to Cape Tourville Lighthouse is also a must-do. A boardwalk gives you spectacular views of the steep cliffs and the often wild and stormy Tasman Sea. Don’t miss a walk on Friendly Beaches with long stretches of unspoiled, white sand and panoramic views.
The national park campground, located behind the visitor information centre, has power and water. Hot showers are coin-operated. Fees are $13 per two people per night for an unpowered site (family $16) or $16 for a powered site (family $22). Bookings are advisable. Ring the information centre on 03 6256 7000 or email email@example.com.
Bay of Fires
It’s no wonder Lonely Planet has called the Bay of Fires, “the world’s top travel destination”. Long stretches of white sandy beach with clear turquoise-blue water, surrounded by lichen-stained rocks, make for breathtaking scenery.
With six different camping areas from which to choose, there is room for everyone. The area at Jeanneret Beach is especially suitable for families with young children.
Camping is free but sites are on a first-in, first-served basis. Maximum stay is four weeks. For enquiries, contact St Helens visitor information centre on 03 6376 1744.