If you want to know the best locations to visit, just ask a local. In stunning northern Tasmania, on the shores of Binalong Bay, we caught up with pharmacist and keen photographer, Angela Siejka, who shares her top spots within an hour of her holiday home near Bay of Fires.
Located on the shores of Binalong Bay, the region has some of Tasmania’s best beaches, oyster farms, waterfalls and walks. Here are Angela’s beautiful photos and tips on what to see and do in the Bay of Fires Tasmania region.
Bay of Fires Local Tips
1- The Gardens
The Gardens are a conservation area at the end of a road from Binalong Bay to the Bay of Fires.
It’s a spot mostly frequented by locals and one of my absolute favourites.
As you drive (approximately 20km), you pass the following beaches:
Jeanneret Beach, which includes Round Hill (a protected sand dune), Swimcart Beach, Sloop Reef and Seaton Cove and Cosy Corner.
Then there’s Taylor’s Beach and Honeymoon Point and then The Gardens.
These beaches are either sweeping long white sandy beaches or secluded coves.
The coves are separated by stunning lichen-covered granite rocks in sunset hues, from red to orange and yellow.
This is one of the things that makes the Bay of Fires really special.
The water at any beach in the Bay of Fires region is usually an amazing aqua leading into dark blues.
The colours deepen, especially on a sunny day.
We spend many days picnicking in this area or just driving through. I love it.
The Gardens at the Bay of Fires is a special place. Not only because of its amazing beauty but also because of its ever-changing appearance depending on weather, winds, sun and storms.
If you visit around the full moon it’s a brilliant location to watch the moon rising.
We sometimes take our gas ring and a pot, and friends with crayfish licenses swim out around the rocks and collect crayfish and abalone for our picnic.
The only other thing I bring is the lemon! No wonder the pelicans love it here.
The Bay of Fires is fabulous for snorkelling and though I haven’t done it for a long time, a Recreational Sea Fishing Licence can easily be obtained online for those wishing to seek abalone and rock lobsters (you do need one for either pot, rings or diving).
To get to The Gardens from St Helens, take Binalong Bay Road, which is signposted to The Gardens. From the end of the road, you can continue walking so pack the boots if you like a scenic walk.
2- Red rocks at Bay of Fires
While the rocks have this amazing red glow from the lichen this is not how the region actually got its name.
Instead, it was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux in 1773 after seeing many Aboriginal fires on shore as he sailed past.
There are magnificent rock pools to explore with blood-red sea anemones swaying peacefully, surrounded by vibrant green seaweed of varying hues.
Further out large shiny clumps of kelp move hypnotically with the waves.
This is #1 when you visit my backyard.
Do you think the Bay of Fires should be on our Australian landmarks list?
3- Halls Falls near Binalong Bay
This is an easy 45-minute drive west from Binalong Bay and located up near Blue Tier within a region called the Pyengana. Allow 20-minutes’ walk to the falls (40 minutes if you are a photographer).
I love this area just for the sheer serenity, peace and calm.
The Tasmanian Tree Ferns, hundreds of years old, tower above you in some areas.
Us locals call them “Man Ferns”.
They are so lush.
There are also areas of huge eucalypts and at all times of the year, I discover fungi.
The smell is pure, crisp and even more delightful if it has just rained.
The first set of waterfalls is naturally occurring but wander another five minutes and there is a man-made weir (it’s just as stunning to see).
The weir was built in the late 19th century to divert water into water races.
The reason this was done was for slurring minerals and to power pelting wheels at the Halls Falls Sawmill.
Some of my photos aren’t as centered as others, due to the fact that I choose not to go in the water.
This is for a few reasons, the first being for my own safety.
The rocks are extremely slippery.
The other reason is that if we all trampled through the soft banks and onto the moss-covered rocks, we are creating a lot of disturbance and disrupting many micro-systems.
I like to protect my amazing back yard, however, I can.
The popular St Columba Falls is worth seeing and it’s only a further 20-minute drive.
If visiting this area, I also suggest going to the “Pub in the Paddock” where the pigs can be given a beer to drink!
A few kilometres from here is the Pyengana Cheese Company and Holy Cow Café, a good spot to stop for a bite to eat and some cheese tasting.
You may also see the cows in the paddocks getting a back massage after being milked!
4- Grants Lagoon near Binalong Bay beach
This is a large body of water directly behind the Binalong Bay beach.
You can walk here, with the beach on one side and the lagoon on the other.
While it may not be a hidden secret, few people realise what else is around this naturally formed lagoon.
The lagoon is filled by rainwater run-off and the occasional breakthrough of the sea water.
There are walking tracks, designated camping areas and a boat ramp.
The lagoon is very popular for water sports like fishing, kayaking, sailing and even those into remote-controlled boats.
It’s a beautiful and exquisite area to explore with many wildflowers during different seasons that are unique to our area.
Birdlife is prolific with white-bellied sea eagles, pelicans, cormorants and penguins to name a few.
Look closely and you might even spot an eel in the water.
Basking in the sun, on land, I often see blue tongue lizards on my walks.
The water here is always a few degrees warmer than the Binalong Bay beach water.
It makes it an ideal family location.
While our children were growing up, we spent a lot of family time around the lagoon enjoying various water activities.
Nearby, Lichen is our favourite restaurant-takeaway.
It’s open six days a week.
St Helens is only a 10-minute drive away.
If you love a good coffee, try Quail St Emporium Café. We have many other little eateries but no big brand chains.
I have to say we have the best seafood in Tasmania!
5- Humbug Point behind Binalong Bay
The point is part of the Humbug Point Recreation Park, in the hills behind Binalong Bay.
There is a walk to Dora’s Point which overlooks the notorious narrow, shallow Barway that leads into the large Georges Bay, the home to many secret spots and the best oysters and mussels in Tassie!
The township of St Helens is situated within the bay and is the main shopping area closest to Binalong Bay.
It has everything you would need while holidaying in the area.
We get together with other family and friends, load up the boats with water sports equipment, the BBQ, food, snorkels, cricket bats and cameras and head on out.
If you don’t have a boat there are various charters you can take.
Local boatman Rocky Carosi guarantees a catch every time.
Snorkelling or diving will show you skates, rays, coloured seaweeds, various fish like parrot fish and garfish and, if you’re lucky, maybe even a seahorse.
We often head out onto the rocks around Moulting Bay, where we find hundreds of mussels to steam open – just add a squeeze of lemon!
To protect the area, there’s a limit to how many you can collect.
Moulting Bay is where the oysters are plentiful!
As an oyster lover, I’m pretty happy to live in the back yard of Georges Bay, as they are considered one of the finest oysters in the world.
My top tip for the best lease to buy from is Lease 65 in Moulting Bay.
The beaches here are more of a fine gravel rather than sand, but still comfortable enough to walk on in bare feet, even for younger children.
There are also walking tracks from Binalong Bay to this area but allow two to three hours.
About Angela Siejka
Angela is a born and bred Tasmanian. Her and husband John and their four children have a great passion for their backyard and spend much time exploring.
‘As a child we spent every holiday in different parts of Tasmania. Either in caravans, shack rentals, camping …anything. Lots of fishing trips, some bushwalking and time spent at Cradle Mountain.
Sheer love of my own family history, this amazing diverse state with so much natural beauty is what keeps me here. I did try a short stint in Brisbane in the ‘80’s but Tassie lured us back.
I am fortunate to have a holiday home in one of the best places in the world, the Bay of Fires.
We purchased this little old fisherman’s cottage 30 years ago and have had nearly every Christmas there since, sharing it with both my husband’s family and my family.
Our children’s most special memories are from our time spent here.
What I love about Tasmania is that you can travel there so easily these days from the mainland. This makes staying and visiting Tasmania so uncomplicated.
Even though my children are beginning to spread into Queensland, I am very content staying here and visiting them occasionally.
Angela spends her days working as a pharmacist, being a mother, enjoying her hobbies: photography, bushwalking and time with their dogs.
There are some fantastic places to stay in Bay of Fires, including luxury houses, cottages and retreats.