Having recovered from our long flight to get here, we headed out to pick up our car via Subway for lunch! We had booked our car with Apex Car Rentals, who are a budget company but who we were incredibly pleased with and found ourselves driving off in a spacious Hyundai Elantra that was around 5 years old.
It took a bit of getting used to the automatic transmission but once we go going we headed to Sorrell and Woolworths to pick up supplies. (For those old enough to remember this is nothing like Woolworths in the UK but instead is a large supermarket chain similar to Sainsburys!). After getting over the shock of the cost of food in Australia, we headed up the East Coast to Coles Bay where we would be spending the next two nights.
We were roughly following the Coast-to-Coast self drive plan from the Discover Tasmania website, however being winter we found that there were a few places closed and at times we made up our own plans. However this route was a great basis and gave us some insights on where to stop along the way.
Sorrell – Coles Bay
The drive on the A3 up the East Coast was due to take us around 2 hours 45 minutes, and we were surprised by how quiet the roads were. The scenery was stunning and before we knew it we were pulling over to see a beach we had spotted. A good chance to stretch our legs and appreciate the stunning views.
Continuing our journey, our next stop was ‘Spikey Bridge‘ which was built around 1841 by convicts and there is some controversy as to why the spikes were included!
Driving further up the coast, we took in more stunning views and in need of somewhere to stop we encountered our first childrens play area – Swansea Beach Park. You will see as we get all of our blogs written that these feature a lot in Tasmania – every village has one complete with public toilets and a bbq area.
A bit more driving and we arrived at Big 4 Iluka on Freycinet Holiday Park which was to be home for the next two nights.
Freycinet National Park
Wineglass Bay is one of the most photographed bays in the world and whilst you may not have heard of it I’m sure you would recognise it! Our photos don’t do it justice but here is a peak of what we are talking about…
We knew we wanted to be able to walk to the lookout over this bay, but weren’t sure on the suitability of the walks for children. We needn’t have worried – on arrival in the national park, we popped into the visitors centre to get our parks permit – for anyone visiting Tasmania get a holiday pass as this will save you money. We chatted to the staff who recommended the walk to the lookout point over Wineglass Bay, the lighthouse and Sandy Bay.
The girls found the walk tough at time but they managed it and we all had a fantastic day, especially the encounter with our first Wallaby.
We ended the day by watching the beautiful sunset from Muirs Beach.
Coles Bay – St Helens
The following day we set off further up the coast to St Helens. We decided we would stop by Friendly Beaches on the way but discovered that the road to them was much less than friendly! It was a gravel track full of potholes! We stopped at the first opportunity and took a walk to the lookout point and before we knew it Sophie was off towards the beach – we got about half way down to find there was no path and sadly had to turn back. It was another stunning beach though.
We then drove onto the deserted Douglas Aspley National Park where we found the amazingly beautiful water hole, that had it been Summer we would have all been swimming in! We were lucky enough to even see some piglets on a farm on our way through.
We then headed back to the quiet but beautiful town of Bicheno where we found a fantastic park area complete with outdoor stage, more stunning views over the bay and anenomes in the rocks. The perfect place for a picnic, at least it was until Dave starting throwing crumbs to the seagulls!
Further north we then drove towards St Helens, stopping at the side of the road when we spotting this amazing beach, the sand whistled like it does in Porth Oer in North Wales and the waves were fantastic to watch.
Just before we got to St Helens, we drove through Scamander and just had to stop at yet another amazing play area, right on the beach for a play and walk before our final drive.
We arrived at Big 4 St Helens Holiday Park to find we had complimentary ice creams, time for a bounce on the jumping pillow and a game of table tennis before sunset.
That concludes our whistle stop tour of the East Coast. Did we have enough time – no. Will we be going back – absolutely yes!