East Coast Tasmania: Things To Do And Accommodation For Road Trippers

Few regions offer visitors as much natural beauty as the east coast of Tasmania. This really is a stunning and captivating part of the world and a paradise for nature lovers.

Pretty coastal towns, abundant seafood and produce, world heritage sites and not only the best beaches in the state, but in the country are all found on the east coast. It’s a massive contrast to the rugged west coast.

Some of the main attractions tourists visit Tasmania for are located on the east coast like Bay of Fires and Wineglass Bay, but there is so much more to do and see here. 

We have explored this region extensively and want to help you make the most of your visit.

Below, we give you full information about everything Tasmania east coast has to offer including the top things to do east coast Tasmania, a Tasmania east coast itinerary for your road trip, best accommodation Tasmania east coast, Tasmania east coast camping, Tasmania east coast wineries, Tasmania east coast weather and more.

If you are interested in Tasmania’s North East, make sure you check out our full guide here.

Let’s start!

wineglass bay
The beautiful Wineglass Bay – the most famous attraction on Tasmania’s East Coast

Introduction To East Coast Tasmania

Many of the stunning attractions Tasmania offers can be found on the east coast, so it’s no surprise that when visitors venture outside of Hobart, many choose to come here. 

The east coast is sparsely populated and you won’t find large towns or cities. Instead, this is an area where you can witness the beauty and diversity of nature, particularly when it comes to beaches. Water is idyllic blue and beaches are lined with white sand, and two of its main attractions – Bay of Fires and Wineglass Bay – are listed among the top beaches in the world.

During the tourist seasons attractions can feel vibrant and lively with many visitors. At other times certain spots can feel like you’re the first person to ever visit. Nevertheless, the east coast is a popular getaway spot for locals too, with towns like Bicheno, Orford, Scamander and Swansea being popular spots for fishing, camping and relaxation.

Conveniently for visitors, roads are mostly in great condition, and it’s very easy to get around by car. The road hugs closely to much of the east coast, and a drive can be just as stunning as the destination. 

Weather is also more mild than west of the state, with fewer days of rainfall and more sunshine.

This area also upholds Tasmania’s reputation for great seafood and wine. Fresh seafood and world class wine are never far away.

It’s fair to say that the east coast has a lot to offer!

East Coast Tasmania Map

The east coast region of Tasmania on this site covers everything up the east coast from Orford and Maria Island to the tip of the east coast as well as the North East section of Tasmania to the east of the Tamar Valley. Below is our map of east coast Tasmania which shows everything covered in this guide.

East Coast Tasmania map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

Top Tasmania East Coast Towns To Visit

There are some great places to visit in east Tasmania. Here are full guides to the top Tasmania east coast towns.

Top Things To Do East Coast Tasmania

There are some great things to do Tasmania east coast while visiting this region. Below, we describe our top picks of the must see Tasmania east coast attractions for east coast tours Tasmania.

Explore Maria Island

Views from the Fossil Cliffs Maria Island
Views from the Fossil Cliffs

When it comes to unique east coast Tasmania attractions, Maria Island stands out. Located approximately 4km from the coast and with no permanent inhabitants (except the abundant wildlife), a visit to Maria Island is like leaving civilization behind.

Maria Island can be accessed by the comfortable passenger ferry (Encounter Maria Island ferry) or by visiting as part of a day tour. The passenger ferry departs from Triabunna and takes about 30 minutes each way. Ferry times depend on the seasons but usually depart 1-2 hours apart (find full details on the ferry here).

The ferry docks at Darlington, an old convict settlement, where you can begin to explore the heritage site and convict buildings. Many of the best east coast Tasmania walks are located on Maria Island, and I recommend visiting early in the day and following one of the tracks. There are a range of walks depending on your interests and stamina. The Painted Cliffs is a popular coastal walk, as well as the Fossil Cliffs walk. 

Fossil Cliffs circuit Maria Island wombats
Wombats!

Wherever you go, you are nearly guaranteed to see wildlife. The island is brimming with birds, wombats, wallabies and even Tasmanian devils. There are also some fabulous beaches around and stunning spots for divers too.

It’s possible to hire a bike if you prefer to explore this way. It’s also possible to stay overnight, either by setting up camp or staying in the dorm penitentiary accommodation.

Important to note is that there are no shops on the island, and like any good explorer in a remote part of the world, planning ahead is essential. There is a van at the ferry terminal where last minute snacks can be purchased, but the main stores are in Orford.

This is one of our favourite east coast Tasmania tourist attractions and you can spend hours or days here, enjoying the experience of feeling isolated from the rest of the world.

Click here to read how to get to Maria Island.

Eat Berries At Kate’s Berry Farm

Eat Berries At Kate’s Berry Farm
Delicious pancakes at Kate’s Berry Farm

Tasmania is famed for its fine produce, so it’s only natural that one of east coast Tasmania things to do is sample some of it. A visit to Kate’s Berry Farm is a must.

This cafe is positioned in a beautiful spot in the town of Swansea and offers berries farmed here. These were the first berries to sell well from the east coast, with the cool climate resulting in delicious, flavourful berries.

The onsite Just Desserts Café is a popular lunch spot with a simple but delicious menu. You’ll find a range of desserts like belgian waffles, fruit mince pies, scones and coffee (which is popular too) as well as some savoury foods available for purchase. I recommend trying the surprisingly tasty lavender ice cream!

You’ll also find a great gift shop with the finest jams, chocolates and other delicacies. They even sell a special strawberry wine!

Combined with views over Great Oyster Bay, this is a wonderful place to enjoy a bite to eat on our list of things to do on the east coast Tasmania.

Sip Wine At Some World Class Wineries

wine

Tasmania’s reputation for quality wine and produce has earned it international recognition, and we recommend visiting at least one winery when looking for Tasmania east coast things to do.

There are many east coast Tasmania wineries dotted along the coast with wine grapes being some of the most valuable in the country, resulting in premium cool climate wines. Many of these are small, family owned businesses but there are larger establishments with restaurants that combine stunning views with premium drops. There are many options when looking where to go.

If you’re heading from Kate’s Berry farm, Milton Vineyard is a winery east coast Tasmania offers just outside of Swansea, with excellent sparkling wines and pinots. The setting is stunning, overlooking a lake and vineyard, and they also offer a seasonal restaurant with tasty tapas.

A further 10 minute drive from Milton Vineyard is the popular Devils Corner Cellar Door, one of the best wineries Tasmania east coast offers visitors. You’ll find excellent wine, food like seafood and wood fired pizzas, and stunning views year round. 

Further north, other popular wineries east coast Tasmania include Ironhouse Vineyard. This is one of the vineyards east coast Tasmania offers with more than just wine to taste. They have whisky, beer and spirits tastings too, as well as delicious food. There are several other wineries nearby too including Gala Estate, a family run business and the second oldest in Tasmania.

Further north still and close to Bay of Fires is Priority Ride, a family run vineyard with a 1920’s style cellar door, excellent aged reds and tasty whites.

For the smaller vineyards it’s recommended you check they’re open before visiting. But there is no shortage of options!

Hike To Wineglass Bay

The hike to Wineglass Bay
The hike to Wineglass Bay

Seeing Wineglass Bay is a major drawcard for Tasmania east coast tourism. Even when seen in photos, there’s no question why this is such a popular east coast Tasmania sightseeing attraction. Whether seen from above or down below on the beach itself, Wineglass Bay is stunning.

A visit to Wineglass Bay starts at Freycinet National Park Visitor Centre. Here, they can help plan your walk and discuss your options, and you can also purchase a national park pass if you haven’t got one yet.

The walk from the carpark to the Wineglass Bay lookout is by far the most popular track, and it’s one traversed by people of all ages. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the lookout. It is fairly steep but has many spots to stop and rest along the way. 

Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park
Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park – view from the lookout

When you reach the top, you’re rewarded with a truly stunning view of Wineglass Bay. The observation deck is large enough to take photos and relax in awe. There will be no question why this is one of the top things to see in Tasmania east coast!

Most visitors return from here on the easier downward slope, but you can also hike to the beach below. It takes about another 30 minutes to get to the beach and longer to hike back up the stairs. Note, it’s steep!

If you want to see more of this region, Sleepy Bay and Cape Tourville are both shorter 20 minute return walks offering their own scenery. Or, if a longer walk is what you’re after, the Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Circuit is nearly 12 km and takes you along the beach. This way, you can avoid the steep stairs up to the lookout.

If you’re interested in seeing more of this area, you can also do a cruise or scenic flight, or stay longer in one of the boutique hotels in nearby Coles Bay – probably the best romantic getaways Tasmania east coast offers!

Eat Fresh Oysters At Freycinet Marine Farm

oysters at Freycinet Marine Farm
Nothing better than juicy oysters and a nice glass of white

Freycinet Marine Farm is highly regarded for their excellent fresh oysters and muscles which are caught daily from their very own farm. If you like seafood, this is one of the places to visit in Tasmania east coast worth stopping for!

The site is made up of a couple of buildings with plenty of seating both indoors and outdoors, with crushed shells lining the ground. There is a nice atmosphere here inline with the area, and you can order food and eat on the deck, or order takeaway and find a quiet place to eat.

The real reason to visit is the fresh seafood. There’s a variety of seafood on offer but I recommend sticking to what’s farmed here – the oysters and muscles are gold. As an oyster lover, I can say that the oysters here are some of the best I have ever eaten. So fresh! 

Undercover seating at Freycinet Marine Farm
Undercover seating at Freycinet Marine Farm

No surprises that the menu mostly consists of seafood. Our meals were served with salad and bread, and we were able to buy chips for the kids. We were also able to purchase some local wine, the perfect accompaniment to our meal. It’s not cheap here, but worth the price.

If you want to see more of the farm, there are also tours you can do. This is an awesome option if you want to see a working oyster farm. Part of the tour involves catching, shucking and eventually eating your own oysters. It doesn’t get fresher than that!

Click here to read our full review.

Swim At Douglas Apsley National Park

Tasmania has no shortage of national parkland, and Douglas Apsley National Park is another example of the diversity this small state offers. Here you can take a walk through one of the last remaining dry forests in the state and… take a swim!

From the carpark off Rosedale Road, take a walk through bushland and you’ll arrive at the tranquil waters of the Apsley Waterhole which connects to the Apsley River. The waterhole is only 10 minutes away from the carpark so even if you’re not up for a big walk I’d still add this to your list of things to do on east coast Tasmania. However, if you want more you could also continue on to Apsley Gorge for more stunning scenery.

This is one of the things to do east coast of Tasmania that I’d recommend during summer when the water is great for swimming, but anytime is a good time to visit.

Mountain Bike Around St Helens

Mountain Hiking St Helens
Cycling in St Helens

When it comes to what to do east coast Tasmania, the east coast has its fair share of adventure sports and activities. If following scenic bike trails, riding on downhill slopes or cross country trails sound fun to you, St Helens has something to offer.

St Helens has a network of over 66km of bike tracks with links from the centre of town, with the main trail starting at Flagstaff Road. These stunning tracks can take you from “the mountains to the sea” and range from easy to difficult. There is a track here for every level, including families or adrenaline junkies.

There are several short loops you can do like the Trailhead Loop which is just 300 metres, up to the still easy but slightly more challenging Eagle Eye Track for developing your confidence. From Loila Tier there are more challenging tracks with frequently changing terrain, slopes, climbs and jumps if you want to catch some airtime. The best part of all is the stunning scenery and you can even end your journey at the Bay of Fires!

I recommend planning your visit before you go. You can check out the bike tracks in St Helens here.

Experience Bay Of Fires

Bay of Fires
Bay of Fires

Previously listed by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 places to visit in the world, Bay of Fires is a top attraction for Tasmania east coast holidays and a must see spot.

Boulders coloured orange by lichens sit against turquoise blue water and create a stunning backdrop, complemented by long stretches of white sand and stunning rock pools. This is a place to bring your camera! Wildlife and marine life are abundant in this area too, and divers and deep-sea fishers enjoy it alike.

The best thing to do here is walk and explore the beaches, boulders and rock pools. The beaches are a pleasure to walk along. Starting at the tiny settlement of Binalong Bay, you’ll find beach tracks and campsites dotted along Gardens Road. There are a range of secluded beaches as well as self-guided walks you can do (although these are not sign posted). 

This is one of those places where at times it can feel like you’re the first person to visit. Outside of the tourist seasons beaches are rarely crowded. Of course, if you’re visiting in the warmer seasons this is a superb place to swim, snorkel, surf and camp.

Stretching over 50km of stunning coastline, there’s plenty to explore. This is a must visit spot when you’re in this part of the world and one of the top Tasmania east coast tourist attractions.

Read more about some of the East Coast’s attractions below…

Tasmania East Coast Road Trip

The main roads are in great condition which makes an east coast drive Tasmania really enjoyable. It’s a great place to explore by car and there can be some great coastal views as you take your Tasmania east coast drive. 

Of course, to start your road trip east coast Tasmania you’ll need a car. You can bring your own car over on the Spirit of Tasmania, but this is only really convenient if you’re coming from Victoria. 

The best places for east coast car hire Tasmania are the bigger towns like Hobart, Devonport and Launceston. You can book ahead or hire one when you arrive, although I recommend booking ahead especially during the peak seasons. 

If you’re not keen on driving yourself there are also Tasmania east coast tour options, including day trips from Hobart to Wineglass Bay (here), Tasmania east coast tours to wineries and Bay of Fires, and the popular 4 day coastal walk at Bay of Fires.

Painted cliffs at Maria Island National Park
Painted cliffs at Maria Island National Park

Tasmania East Coast Itinerary

Here is a Tasmania east coast drive itinerary you could use for your east coast Tasmania road trip or you can find an alternative 7-day Tasmania itinerary here which includes the Tamar Valley and Port Arthur as well.

  • Day 1: Drive to Triabunna (1 hour and 15 minutes from Hobart) and take a ferry across to Maria Island. Spend the day hiking and then come back later in the afternoon and stay at the Eastcoaster Resort.
  • Day 2: Leave early and have brunch at Kates Berry Farm (a 40 minute drive), then continue on to one or two of the wineries for some tastings and scenery. Afterwards, head to Freycinet Marine Farm for a delicious seafood lunch, and then hike to the Wineglass Bay lookout for a stunning view (a 50 minute drive from Swansea). Spend the night in Freycinet.
  • Day 3: In the morning visit Apsley Waterhole (a 40 minute drive from Wineglass Bay) for a quick dip if the weather’s right, and then continue on to St Helens (a 1 hour and 10 minute drive). Head to the St Helen’s mountain bike tracks or start exploring the nearby Bay of Fires. Stay at NRMA St Helens Waterfront Holiday Park.
  • Day 4: Continue exploring the beaches and boulders of Bay of Fires. Head back to Hobart (a 3 hours and 45 minute drive) or Devonport (a 30 hour and 30 minute drive) stopping at a winery on the way.

You can find our 7 day East Coast itinerary in the article below.

North East Tasmania

Read our full guide by clicking below to this part of Tasmania.

Tasmania East Coast Accommodation

There are some great Tasmania accommodation east coast options from luxury accommodation Tasmania east coast to caravan parks east coast Tasmania. You can also read our full guide to the best accommodation in east coast Tasmania here.

NRMA St Helens Waterfront Holiday Park Review – Caravan Park

NRMA St Helens Waterfront Holiday Park
Our cabin

Positioned on a lovely waterfront setting in St Helens, NRMA St Helens Waterfront Holiday Park is a popular option for families. Here all rooms are self contained and offer outdoor seating. There are two bedroom cabins for groups of up to 6 with bunk beds, and studios for couples. Rooms are bright and modern, with plenty of natural light.

When it comes to facilities there is an on-site playground and jumping pillow to keep the kids entertained, as well as a recreation room with games like foosball and table tennis.

People also camp here and there’s a nice big camp kitchen, as well as an on-site shop called Providore with a range of snacks and drinks. Their on-site restaurant, Parkside Bar and Kitchen, is open for lunch and dinner and sits facing the waterfront.

Click here for the latest prices.

Saltwater Sunrise, Falmouth – Luxury Accommodation 

If you want to make the most of the stunning east coast scenery, I recommend staying at Saltwater Sunrise, Falmouth. Here you’ll find luxury villas with stunning views in a remote setting where you can truly get away.

Options include one bedroom villas with all the conveniences you can imagine – a coffee machine, TV with DVD player, bluetooth music player, bath, BBQ, outdoor seating, yoga mats and more. There’s also a luxury option with jacuzzi and sauna. 

If you need more space, stay at The Saltwater Residence – a three bedroom house with all the conveniences expected, as well as extras like a piano and fresh flowers.

While the accommodation is bright and lovely, the best part of staying here is taking in the stunning scenery.

Click here for the latest prices.

Eastcoaster Resort, Triabunna – Resort Accommodation

eastcoaster resort outdoor pool
Outdoor pool

Eastcoaster Resort offers affordable family accomodation is conveniently located in Triabunna, just a 6 minute drive from the ferry to Maria Island. 

The accommodation here is of an older style but still clean and fresh, with lots of room types including cabins, villas and motel style rooms. With kitchenettes, living spaces and full bathrooms they are great for families.

Staying here is made better by the range of facilities – there’s a lot on offer for families! Indoor and outdoor pools, a small gym, squash, basketball and tennis courts as well as a playground. 

You’ll also find the Eastcoaster Resort restaurant, Springbay Seafood and Wine Bar and a nice jetty for a stroll. 

Click here to see the latest prices.

Read more about some of the best options below.

Camping Tasmania East Coast 

Camping on the east coast is very popular among tourists and locals alike, and there are some fabulous camping grounds east coast Tasmania with adequate facilities. 

Where you camp depends on where you go – there are east coast Tasmania camping spots all around. However for the best camping east coast Tasmania options you’ll need a national park pass as most of the free camping east coast Tasmania options are in national parks.

If you’re visiting Maria Island, for example, you’ll need a parks pass and to pay a camping fee listed here. Darlington campground is the most popular place to camp but there’s also Frenchs Farm and Encampment Cove further south. There are backpackers east coast Tasmania options at Maria Island Penitentiary accommodation.

You can camp near Wineglass Bay at Friendly Beaches as well as Richardsons Beach, Honeymoon Bay and Ranger Creek. If you’re doing a longer walk there are also campsites at the beaches of Wineglass Bay, Hazards and Cooks.

There is a campground near Apsley Waterhole.

Around Bay of Fires, there are many free camping Tasmania east coast options including around Binalong Bay and The Gardens. You must camp on one of these sites (you can’t camp on the beach). During holidays and long weekends it can be hard to find a place to camp – the best spots fill up fast!

If glamping east coast Tasmania is more your style, there are options at Bay of Fires Retreat and Scamander Sanctuary Holiday Park.

Maria island camping with a wombat
A wombat visits a tent on Maria Island

There’s also many paid options at holiday/caravan parks in major towns on the east coast.

Weather East Coast Tasmania 

Like much of the state, east coast weather Tasmania is fairly mild with four distinct seasons, although there is significantly less rainfall than on the west coast. 

The weather forecast east coast Tasmania obviously depends on the day and season. You’ll find the best Tasmania east coast weather forecast for swimming at the beaches towards the end of spring and into summer. These days are generally warm and mild, and could be anywhere from 12 degrees celsius to 30. Needless to say this is the most popular time to visit.

Visiting in winter and autumn isn’t off the cards either. While you’ll want to rug up on most days, the weather is rarely extreme and still great for walking, seeing the scenery and visiting the wineries. The water can be at its warmest in autumn.

East Tasmania With Kids

bay of fires with kids
The kids loved exploring the Bay of Fires

We loved visiting the east coast with kids. There always seems to be something else to see. Many of the walks are short and it doesn’t take long to see something amazing. All our kids have walked to Wineglass Bay from 4 years old (with just a little help).

Even an east coast Tasmania drive with kids is fun. There’s always a place to stop and there’s many good accommodation options for families along the way. 

Although there’s no big, show stopping attractions, I think the whole point is exploring nature and spending time together.  I remember my youngest saying at the Bay of Fires it was the “best day ever” when all we were doing was walking on rocks. High praise 🙂

We hope you love exploring the Tasmania east coast highlights as much as we do. Find more places to discover and explore in Tasmania here.