Binalong Bay, Bay of Fires Conservation Area, Tasmania
From stunning fields of lavender to encounters with native animals, this five-day adventure is filled with beautiful sights.
By Ute Junker and Georgia Rickard
What to expect
- Tasmania’s Insta-famous fields of lavender
- A globally acclaimed wine region
- Kangaroos, Tassie devils and echidnas
- Time: 5 days
- Distance: 680 kilometres (422 miles)
- Transport: Car
- Nearest major city: Launceston
- Price: $300 a day
Prepare to be wowed: this five-day itinerary has been engineered to take in Tasmania’s most beautiful sights. From ancient wildernesses to cute little villages, gorgeous wineries and entire fields of bright purple lavender, you’ll find a photo opportunity around every corner.
Day 1: Go wildlife spotting at Bay of Fires
Just a two-hour drive from Launceston, you’ll find one of Tasmania’s most beautiful sights: the Bay of Fires. Known for its striking orange rocks, which contrast spectacularly with the turquoise waters, the Bay of Fires is a 50-kilometre (31-mile) sweep of bush-fringed shore where many of Australia’s most famous animals live. Take one of the walking trails that skirt the water’s edge and you might come across wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, Tasmanian devils or wedge-tailed eagles (they’re not hard to find!). Or, take an Eco Tours cruise: it’s a good opportunity to spot local marine life, including dolphins, fur seals and migrating whales. Afterwards, head to the sweet little fishing town of St Helens, to bed down in one of the local accommodation hotspots.
Day 2: Wander through fields of purple
Today you’re heading to one of the most Instagrammed sights in all of Tasmania – but first, food. One of Australia’s celebrated food and wine stars is just a short drive from Bay of Fires: Pyengana Dairy Farm, famous for their excellent variety of cheeses (try one of their cloth-bound cheddars). Watch the cows being milked, learn the secrets of cheesemaking and enjoy a bite to eat in the cafe before heading for the pretty town of Derby (less than an hour away). Here, you’ll find cute historic houses and, just outside of town, a local secret. The Little Blue Lake is a startling shade of bright turquoise, which gets its colour from the minerals in the water. Don’t tell anyone!
From here, you’re just 45 minutes from a social media celebrity: Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Initially made famous for its stunning lavender fields, which have featured on big-name social media accounts such as @icecream and @infatuation, the farm later became the star of a global frenzy when Chinese model Zhang Xinyu visited. After she shared a picture of herself with her lavender-stuffed purple teddy bear, the farm’s popularity spiked, sending social feeds into meltdown and forcing the business to impose limits on visitor numbers and shop purchases. Wander amid the 650,000 plants, spread across 105 hectares (260 acres), or purchase your own lavender filled teddy bear – be warned though, there is a strict maximum of one per customer, and the bears are often sold out.
From here, it is a three-hour drive to the ancient wilderness of Cradle Mountain. Check in at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, located on the edge of the national park, and rest up before a big day tomorrow.
Day 3: Hike amid 1000-year-old trees
Ready for the fairy-land forests of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park? With its mossy myrtles, buttongrass plains, woodlands heavy with eucalypt and sub-alpine heathlands, there is plenty to explore with your camera in this World Heritage-listed wonder. Take the easy walk to nearby Pencil Pines Waterfall – especially spectacular after rain – or stroll among giant King Billy pines, some of which are up to 1500 years old. A walk along the banks of the Pencil Pine River near dawn or dusk gives you the opportunity to spot an elusive platypus.
Looking for a more challenging walk? Try the Dove Lake Circuit, with magnificent views across the lake to the mountains, or the Crater Lake Walk, which leads to a hidden glacial lake. Along the way you will pass stands of fagus, or deciduous beech, which puts on a spectacular show in April and May when its leaves turn striking shades of gold and rust.
Day 4: Linger in Launceston
Head back towards Launceston, stopping along the way in pretty Deloraine, a mecca for design and craft aficionados: numerous studios and galleries fill the Georgian and Victorian buildings lining the streets. The town also hosts the largest craft fair in Australia every November.
From here it is a short drive to Launceston, Tasmania’s second city. Part of Launceston’s charm is its walkability, so get out and go exploring. If you are in town on a Saturday, Harvest Market Launceston is the place to feast on local produce, from smoked salmon to honey and cheese. Alternatively, take the 15-minute walk to Cataract Gorge (or ‘The Gorge’, as locals call it) to ride the world's longest single-span chairlift and snap the classic ‘dangling feet’ shot of the epic views beneath you. Afterwards, explore Design Tasmania, a showcase for artisans from around the country. Dinner at the acclaimed Stillwater, housed in a converted mill overlooking the river, is a must.
Day 5: Explore Tamar Valley’s wineries
One of the most appealing things about Launceston is the world-class wineries that lie on its doorstep. The Tamar Valley is filled with inviting places to visit, including the sleek new Clover Hill Wines cellar door, where you can sample some of Australia’s best sparkling wines. Prefer to discover a new talent? Try the family-run Sinapius Wines, known for aromatic whites and single-block pinot noirs. Enjoy a gourmet lunch at Josef Chromy Wines’ picturesque restaurant before making your way to Launceston airport.
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