Widely regarded as one of Australia’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, the Bay of Fires occupies a 50km stretch of Tasmania’s east coast, enticing visitors with dramatically contrasted aquamarine coves, bright white sand, and vibrant orange boulders. Even though the area was named by a passing explorer, Captain Tobias Furneaux, who saw dozens of Aboriginal fires burning brightly along the shore, Bay of Fires really is the perfect name to describe this otherworldly coastline, alight in a rainbow of fiery red rocks and cool blue hues. During our recent road trip around Tasmania, we fell totally in love with the Bay of Fires and its inimitable beauty. Exploring secluded beaches and skipping along lichen-covered granite boulders, here are just a few of our favourite places to inspire your own romance with this coastal paradise.
Recommended by our local Airbnb host before we even arrived in Tasmania, The Gardens was at the very top of our list of places to explore in the Bay of Fires— and it absolutely did not disappoint. This is a small conservation area located about halfway between Ansons Bay and Binalong Bay, and even though there are heaps of beautiful beaches along this stretch and you could practically occupy an entire day stopping at every amazing view, the first spot to visit is the lookout located all the way at the end of Gardens Road. There’s a carpark here and a short network of boardwalks, including a little lookout platform. The best way to get up close to the vibrant orange lichen and crystal-clear water that have made the Bay of Fires one of Tassie’s biggest draws, though, is to rock-hop all the way down to the white sand beach and go for a swim.
Put this in your GPS: 1284 Gardens Rd, The Gardens TAS 7216
Driving time from St Helens: 25min
A small township full of charming cafes, boutique B&Bs, and even plenty of scenic campsites, Binalong Bay is probably the best-known spot in the entire Bay of Fires. And with its incredible white-sand beaches flanked by golden lichen-covered boulders and water so blue that it almost seems to glow, it’s no surprise why travellers consider this to be one of the most photogenic places in all of Australia. Whether you’re spending an entire weekend on the beach or passing through as you hit up all the best photo spots along the coast, you can’t visit the Bay of Fires without Binalong Bay.
Put this in your GPS: 74-82 Main Rd, Binalong Bay TAS 7216
Driving time from St Helens: 15min
Skeleton Bay Reserve
One of our greatest random finds in Tassie, Skeleton Bay Reserve is just down the coast from beautiful Binalong Bay, and yet the scenery is still entirely unique. The water may not have the same wild shades of turquoise and aquamarine that you’ll find at The Gardens, but the lichen-covered rocks are even more intriguing here, lighting up the landscape in a million shades of red and orange and yellow. These wild splashes of colour provide a surreal contrast to the green myrtles and gums on the bank, the deep blue water, and the white sand of Binalong Bay in the distance, making for a phenomenal photo backdrop. This is also one of the most perfect swimming or snorkelling spots as it’s sheltered from any swell by the rocks and far less crowded than the surrounding beaches, so pack your flippers and stay for a while.
Put this in your GPS: 14-16 Main Rd, Binalong Bay TAS 7216
Driving time from St Helens: 15min
The Bay of Fires meets peaceful Ansons Bay at Policemans Point, where glassy blue water belies the wicked undercurrents beneath, white sandbars rise out of the ocean like Antarctic icebergs, and there’s nothing but scalloped beach as far as you can see down the coastline. You may not find a rainbow of rocks here, but the water is absolutely magical and the landscape is beautiful in its own right. If you’re looking to stay somewhere well removed from the hustle and bustle of Binalong Bay or St Helens (bustle being a very relative term in Tasmania), there’s also an awesome free campsite right at the point where you can enjoy the serenity for nights on end.
Put this in your GPS: Policemans Point Rd, Ansons Bay TAS 7264
Driving time from St Helens: 40min
Bay of Fires Lodge
This secluded luxury lodge near Ansons Bay isn’t somewhere you can just drive for a quick peek— you’ll need to pay upwards of $2,500 to join a guided 4-day Bay of Fires Walk with Tasmanian Walking Company— but there’s no way I could leave these views off the list. We were lucky enough to score an invite to a Locals Day BBQ at the Lodge, where we were treated to incredible food, local Tasmanian wine, a tour of the facility, and some truly amazing scenery. Even though I haven’t done the walk myself, seeing the complimentary post-hike pedicure baths was enough to convince me that this is worth recommending. If you’re a lover of both luxury and adventure, you can walk along the pristine beaches (can you spot the tiny people in the photo above?), kayak through the impossibly blue water, and still end your day in a bathtub set right over the Bay of Fires.
Best places to stay in the Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires stretches from Binalong Bay in the south to Ansons Bay in the north, so really anywhere between these two towns will provide you with reasonable access to all the scenic spots. We enjoyed the Bay of Fires from a beachfront Airbnb in Ansons Bay, which was incredibly beautiful and led to some of our favourite memories of the entire trip, but honestly it was just a bit too far out of the way for me. If I went back again, I’d probably stay in either Binalong Bay or Cosy Corner, which are both within a reasonable distance of St Helens (the main town) and all the views on this list.
Here are just a few places that were directly recommended to us or that we passed through while exploring:
- Grants Lagoon Camping: basic free campground on the lagoon in Binalong Bay
- Cosy Corner South: free campground on the beach about 4km from Binalong Bay
- Cost Corner North: free camping just north of Cosy Corner South
- Sloop Reef Camping: a beautiful spot north of Cosy Corner
- Policemans Point Camping: free campground in Ansons Bay
- The largest town near Bay of Fires is St Helens, so this is a good place to stock up on food, alcohol, and assorted other supplies before you go off camping or to other accomodation farther up the coast. There’s an IGA, Liquorland, a bakery, and assorted other shops.
- Mobile reception is absolutely dismal in Bay of Fires (with the exception of Binalong Bay and St Helens), so it’s a good idea to do most of your research and planning before you arrive— we found it a bit challenging to organise ourselves in Ansons Bay with no Wifi and no cell service.
- If you have a snorkel, bring it! I kicked myself about 50 times a day for not bringing my snorkel gear to explore the amazing shallow waters.