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Bay of Fires Tasmania: Ultimate Travel Guide (+ Map)

Bay of Fires Tasmania: Ultimate Travel Guide (+ Map)

Discover the best things to do, top places to see and where to stay in this ultimate Bay of Fires Travel Guide!

The Bay of Fires in Tasmania hit the global travel stage in 2015 when it was mentioned in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Places to Visit in the World. However, the truth is that Tasmanians have long recognised the Bay of Fires as being one of the most beautiful coastal regions in the country.

What drew me to this rich coastal icon on my first trip was the incredible colour pallet. Rich, deep-orange granite boulders scatter the coastline on the banks of fluorescent, turquoise waters. Sweeping white-sand beaches carve the coast as far as the eye can see and weathered, wind-swept bushland hangs onto the edge of its shores.

After exploring every inch of the region over a few weeks on our van trip around Tasmania, I’ve written this travel guide to help you plan your own visit!

Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

Important Things to Know About Visiting the Bay of Fires

  • The Bay of Fires is located on the Northeast coast of Tasmania, stretching from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point.
  • The main access routes to the Bay of Fires are through St Helens, 165 km from Launceston or 252 km from Hobart. Binalong Bay Road (C850) or Reids Road (C849) lead to the best areas to visit.
  • Make sure to stock up on supplies if you're staying overnight in St Helens, including food, water, and fuel.
  • You can stay at the Bay of Fires in various accommodations from freedom camping near the beach to accommodations in Binalong Bay and The Gardens.
  • Notable free sites include Swimcart Beach, Cozy Corner South, Dora Point, Sloop Reef, and Grants Lagoon.
  • There are so many fun things to do in the region, from self-guided walks, multi-day lodge walks, swimming on beaches and in crystal-clear rock pools, surfing, and 10+ more ideas below.
  • Wildlife: Be on the lookout for sea eagles, Tasmanian devils, black cockatoos, wallabies, and pademelons, especially early in the mornings!
  • National Parks Pass: Not required for Bay of Fires but needed past Ansons Bridge if you're continuing up to Mount William National Park.

Where is the Bay of Fires in Tasmania?

Bay of Fires is located on Tasmania's Northeast coast. The name refers to the long, 50 km stretch of pristine coastline from Binalong Bay in the south, to Eddystone Point on the northern end.

However, in my opinion, the best place to visit in the Bay of Fires is the area between The Gardens and Binalong Bay for the most pristine beaches, clear-water rock pools and fun things to do.

Bay of fires map

How to Get to the Bay of Fires

To get to the Bay of Fires region, you'll need to head towards the town of St Helens, which is located approximately 165 kilometres from Launceston, or 252 kilometres from Hobart. St Helens is the main town on the east coast of Tasmania. This is a great place to stock up on food, get water, dump waste and book tours and activities in the Bay of Fires.

From St. Helens, you can get to the Bay of Fires by heading towards Binalong Bay, taking either Binalong Bay Road, C850 (sealed road) or Reids Road, C849 (unsealed road). When we visited, the main sealed road (C850) was closed due to flooding. So, we were forced to take the alternate unsealed road to access the coast– I recommend checking in advance on Services Tas.

Don't worry though, this road is fairly well-maintained and we had no trouble in our big van.

Binalong Bay is a small township within the Bay of Fires area. Most of the epic campsites, white sandy beaches, amazing rock pools and other attractions, activities, and things to do are found along the coast north of Binalong Bay, along Gardens Road (C848).

The gardens bay of fires tasmania

Booking a Bay of Fires Tour from Hobart

If you're planning a trip to Tasmania, consider this epic 5-day adventure from Hobart which is one of the most popular guided trips in Tasmania.

This trip combines the rugged highlights of the east coast including the Bay of Fires and Freycinet National Park (Wineglass Bay) as well as wild rainforest and alpine highlights on the west coast including Strahan and Cradle Mountain.

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Bay of Fires Attractions Map

Below I've created a useful map with all of the highlights listed in this guide to the Bay of Fires. It includes the best red rock pools, beaches, camping spots and points of interest.

All of the pins are colour-coded to help you find the attraction you're looking for. Below I'll dive into each attraction and point of interest!

Infographic map of the bay of fires showing beaches, rock pools, campsites and points of interest.

Travel Hack: Click on the map above and it will load on your Google Maps app. You can save it by clicking the grey star at the top, which will add it to "Your Places" on your Google Maps account. This way, you have a handy digital app on the go with all of the best things to do in the Bay of Fires– just refer back to this blog (or bookmark it) for the explanations & details!

Things to do in Bay of Fires Tasmania

Initially, we had only dedicated a short two days to exploring the Bay of Fires on our Tasmanian road trip.

However, we quickly realised that this would be much too short. In the end, we stayed here for over a week exploring all of the best things to do in the Bay of Fires. Below are some of the highlights that I could recommend for anyone visiting the area.

1. The Bay of Fires Walks

Since the Bay of Fires coastline stretches over 50 kilometres, covering it all on foot would mean a multi-day hike.

Luckily, some reputable tour agencies operate in the area and lead walkers to the best spots on organised walking tours. Below I've linked to one of the best in the region but keep reading for some ideas on self-guided walks.

The gardens bay of fires tasmania

Self-Guided Walks in the Bay of Fires

If you'd prefer to take your own, self-guided walks around some of the Bay of Fires highlights, then I'd suggest having a car. This way, you can drive to most of the spots and enjoy walks along the coast.

Some of my favourite short Bay of Fires walks include:

  1. Rock-hopping from Swimcart Beach to Sloop Reef
  2. Walking the stretch of Taylors Beach to the Gardens
  3. Bay of Fires Coastal Walk north of The Gardens

Most of these tracks aren't official "trails" and won't be found on maps or in tourist brochures. However, if you check out the points mentioned on the map, you'll easily find great walking routes along the coast.

Fancy reef the gardens bay of fires

2. Swim in Incredible Orange Rock Pools

If you've looked up photos of the Bay of Fires on social media, then you know that there are some very scenic, crystal-clear water rock pools in the area. There are loads of awesome spots to discover and all make for a great swim and fantastic photo opportunities.

I recommend just driving around the coastline stopping at the many pull-over points and accessing the beach and headlands. You'll quickly discover that there are hundreds of beautiful rock pools surrounded by orange-ochre boulders.

However, to help you find some of the best Bay of Fires rock pools, I've pinned them on the map found above. I've also included some photos of the spots below with GPS coordinates to make it easy for you.

Why are the rocks orange at the Bay of Fires?
The ochre boulders scattered along the Bay of Fires coastline are orange due to a combination of algae and fungus known as lichens. These lifeforms live together in a symbiotic relationship and create the orange colour you see on the boulders.

Bay of fires rock pools

My Favourite: Cozy Corner North Rock Pools

GPS Coordinates: 41°13'01.4"S 148°17'05.6"E

After spending long days exploring the best of the Bay of Fires coastline, I think I found my favourite spot.

At the north of Cozy Corner (Cosy Corner), you'll find a secluded hidden beach with large lichen-covered orange rocks on both sides. If you continue north around the headland, you'll soon see a wide and hip-deep turquoise pool hidden behind the huge headland boulders.

However, you'll need to plan your visit here during high tide as the water disappears during low tide.

Bay of fires rock pools

Suicide Beach Rock Pools

GPS Coordinates: 41°10'19.2"S 148°16'51.4"E

While not a very nice name, the south end of this beach near The Gardens has some of the best rock pools in the Bay of Fires. While not very deep, the boulders here are super orange. This creates a beautiful scene where you can swim or simply sit and enjoy the view for hours.

Man at suicide beach bay of fires

The (Fallen) Lone Tree Pools

GPS Coordinates: 41°14'52.3"S 148°18'43.8"E

The Lone Tree was an iconic tree located at the end of Binalong Bay. Unfortunately, this iconic tree fell down a couple of years ago. Prior, it was a highlight in itself (especially for photographers). However, this spot is still great if you're looking for some great rock pools where you can swim.

Unfortunately, the water isn't quite as blue in Binalong Bay as it is further up the coast. Still, it's a great spot and I recommend stopping by if you make it to the town.

Lone tree binalong bay tasmania

The Gardens Rock Pools

GPS Coordinates: 41°09'44.8"S 148°17'03.1"E

The Gardens is a flatter region to the north of Binalong Bay and marks the end of the sealed road in the Bay of Fires. The area is a popular spot to stop and take photos.

There are also some great orange boulders here to take photos of just to the right of the walking track leading from the carpark.

The gardens orange rock pools tasmania

Sloop Reef

GPS Coordinates: 41°12'33.3"S 148°16'48.1"E

Sloop Reef is one of the most scenic spots at the Bay of Fires. Here you'll find crystal-clear waters and amazing views of the coastline looking north.

This part of the coastline features a higher headland than the rest, where people often camp. The entire area around this headland has some great rock pools to swim in, as well as some secluded, white-sand beaches.

Sloop reef tasmania

You might be mistaken in thinking that the name "Bay of Fires" originates from the unique orange boulders scattered along the coast. However, the name stems from Captain Tobias Furneaux, who sailed past the Bay in 1773 and named it after the hundreds of aboriginal campfires that dotted the coast. Indigenous Australians named the bay Larapuna and recognised the place as an important area for gathering, fishing and conducting ceremonies. You can still see ancient piles of seafood waste known as "middens" all across the Bay of Fires.

3. Visit the Gardens

As mentioned above, the Gardens marks the end of the sealed road heading north from Binalong Bay. It's also a popular spot for people to stop and admire the coast. There are bird nesting sites here, as well as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Bay of Fires: Fancy Reef.

The coastline here is mostly flat and clearer compared to what you'll find further south. You will also find large private properties with horses grazing beside the ocean.

The gardens bay of fires

4. Go Surfing/Beach Hopping

By now, you've probably figured out that there are some ridiculously beautiful beaches in the Bay of Fires. One of the best things to do in the area is to go check some out.

For surfing, we noticed that Swimcart Beach and Cozy Corner had good breaks. Some other notable beaches in the Bay of Fires include:

  • Jeanneret Beach
  • Taylors Beach
  • Fancy Reef Beach
  • Suicide Beach
Bay of fires beaches
Surfing at bay of fires tasmania

5. Mourn the Remains of the Lone Tree at Binalong Bay

The Lone Tree at Binalong Bay was an iconic, twisted tree growing amidst the lichen-covered orange rocks on the Tasmanian coastline, serving as a popular subject for photographers visiting the Bay of Fires.

Unfortunately, as of November 2021, it was reported that the tree no longer stands, likely due to the strong Tasmanian winds.

Still, this section of Binalong Bay is one of the best places to watch the sunset. So, while you won't get to see the tree, you can still witness some of the most magical skies in Tasmania!

Lone tree sunset bay of fires tasmania

6. Experience Some of Australia's Best Sunsets

There are so many reasons why this region suits its name so well.

One of those is that the sky absolutely lights up every single night! I'm not sure what it is, or if we simply got lucky, but we found that the Bay of Fires offered us some of the best sunsets we've ever seen.

The best sunset locations in the Bay of Fires are:

  • Binalong Bay: The iconic starting point of the Bay of Fires, offering expansive views where the sky and sea merge in a kaleidoscope of sunset colors, framed by vibrant orange rocks.
  • The Gardens: A serene spot where the flat landscape meets the ocean, providing a panoramic backdrop for the setting sun, with the added allure of scattered boulders along the shore.
  • Sloop Reef: Known for its elevated headland views, Sloop Reef delivers a unique vantage point to watch the sunset, with sweeping coastal vistas and tranquil waters.
  • Cozy Corner North: Offers a secluded beach setting for sunset lovers, where the contrast of orange rocks and turquoise waters under the fading light creates a stunning visual spectacle.
  • Swimcart Beach: A popular camping spot that transforms into a sunset paradise, offering unobstructed ocean views that capture the essence of the Bay of Fires' natural beauty at dusk.

Below are some sunset photos I've captured from the Bay of Fires.

Bay of fires sunset tasmania
Sunset camping at the bay of fires, swimcart beach

7. Freedom Camp Right Next to the Beach

I honestly couldn't believe my ears when I was told that the majority of the campsites in the Bay of Fires are free. There are also loads to choose from, ranging from sandy, beachside spots to isolated camping near the lagoons. Here are the best sites:

  • Swimcart Beach: Free. Beachside camping with direct access to pristine sands and clear waters– ideal for those wanting to wake up to ocean views.
  • Cozy Corner South: Free. Offers ocean views and sheltered spots, perfect for a peaceful stay close to the water's edge.
  • Dora Point: Free. Situated near a lagoon, it's a favored spot for both beach and estuary access, catering to fishermen and swimmers alike.
  • Sloop Reef: Free. Elevated sites with panoramic coastal views– suitable for adventurers seeking a mix of solitude and scenery.
  • Grants Lagoon: Free. Enclosed by natural bushland, providing calm, sheltered camping options for birdwatchers and nature lovers.

Travel tip: The Bay of Fires is best enjoyed over several days. That way, you can truly experience just how much beauty this region has to offer. Even if you can't, at least staying for sunset is a must in my opinion!

Bay of fires sunset tasmania

Bay of Fires Accommodation

Not planning on camping in the Bay of Fires and looking for a hotel or accommodation instead? Below I've summarised the best-reviewed and best deals you'll find for accommodation in the Bay of Fires Tasmania.

Sunrise at driftwood bay of fires

1. Driftwood at the Gardens Binalong Bay

Driftwood is one of the best accommodation homes in the Bay of Fires offering three bedrooms, a TV, kitchen, and incredible ocean views from the balcony.

Ocean views from the cove accommodation near swimcart beach, tasmania

2. The Cove Binalong Bay

Another incredible holiday home within 14 minutes of Swimcart Beach. The Cove offers three bedrooms and a kitchen. Best of all, there's a great view of Sloop Reef from the balcony.

Dorm bed layout at bay of fires bush retreat

3. Bush Retreat Bay of Fires

The Bush Retreat is one of the closest accommodation options near Binalong Bay. It features a bar, garden, and shared kitchen. You'll have the choice of booking bell tents, large king rooms, or a family bungalow. This is the highest-rated accommodation option in the Bay of Fires!

Camping at Bay of Fires

While I've touched briefly on camping at the Bay of Fires in the above section on things to do, I also thought I'd note the best places to camp.

We spent our first night in our van at Swimcart Beach but quickly moved to Cozy Corner South when we saw there was a free spot with ocean views. We stayed here for quite a while since it was truly just so magical. Other free campsites in the region include:

  • Dora Point
  • Sloop Reef
  • Grants Lagoon

For more campsites, make sure to check the Campermate App.

Tips for freedom campers: You'll find drinking water and black water dump stations at St Helens Recreation Grounds. Try to get in early if visiting on weekends as the best campsites can fill up fast. Bring mosquito spray as sandflies and mozzies can get brutal when the sun goes down

Swimcart beach camp ground cozy corner

Campsite Access

Most of these sites are accessible by 2WD vehicles. However, expect unsealed gravel roads leading from The Gardens Road to each site. You don't need to book any free campsites in the Bay of Fires as it works on a first-in-first-served basis.

There are plenty of flat spots in nearly all of the campsites for campervans, caravans and tents.

Fires are also permitted along the Bay of Fires coast but collecting firewood isn't. Therefore, it's a good idea to stock up in St Helens if you plan on having a fire. Also, all of the campsites we visited had drop toilets.

Wildlife At the Bay Of Fires Conservation Area

Tasmania is a wildlife spotter's dream! And, the Bay of Fires having its own conservation area status makes it no exception to this. If you're looking to spot some iconic animals, look out for:

  • Sea eagles
  • Tasmanian devils (very rare)
  • Black cockatoos
  • Wallabies
  • Pademelons

Remember, most of the wildlife will come out early in the morning! This is the best time if you're looking to take some unique nature photos.

Wallaby

If you enjoyed this travel guide to the Bay of Fires, why not check out some of my other adventure travel blogs from Tasmania? Below I've linked some posts that I think you'll enjoy, go on, have a read, I bet you'll find some travel and adventure ideas for your next trip to Tassie!

Sunrise at mount amos tasmania

The Ultimate Tasmania Travel Resource

Looking for more Tasmania travel guides & adventure inspiration? Below are my most comprehensive blog posts that will serve as a great free resource for your trip.

Below are some more shots that I managed to snap during my visit to the Bay of Fires Tasmania. Let me know what you think!

Cozy corner bay of fires
Bay of fires tasmania travel guide
Bay of fires tasmania
Bay of fires coastline
Bay of fires sunset
Bay of fires sunrise waves
Sunrise at the bay of fires
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you.

Stephanie

Friday 10th of March 2023

Loved your blog - the simplicity and sensible, relevant, straightforward advice and descriptions! Some are so long winded and self indulgent I can’t get through them! Yours is interesting and informative. Thank you! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! You should publish a book— I would certainly buy it! Happy travels!! Stephanie

Diana

Friday 6th of January 2023

Very helpful website and amazing images!

Dave Andrews

Sunday 8th of May 2022

Hi Olly, top info cheers. We're heading to Tas next January and will be touring in a Moho. Timing wise is a bit unfortunate as we land just before Australia Day. How busy does it get ? Will we have any chance of the freedom spots along this coast ? Any insight is appreciated. Cheers

Olly Gaspar

Sunday 8th of May 2022

Hi Dave, I'd say you'll have a chance if you get there and wait before Australia Day. The freedom camping sites in the Bay of Fires get super busy on public holidays. If you show up on Aussie day, I really doubt you'll get a spot.

Justy

Thursday 6th of January 2022

Big thank you for taking the time to share all the info. I greatly appreciate it and find it very useful. Love your shots! Hope 2022 brings days filled with memorable trips and experiences. Thanks again!

Olly Gaspar

Saturday 8th of January 2022

Thanks Justy, same to you!

Lauren Jenkinson

Monday 10th of May 2021

These images are stunning! Thanks for the comprehensive guide to The Bay of Fires! Not gonna be able to spend more than half a day in the area and your guide has helped me establish which areas I’m gonna priorities! Thanks

Olly Gaspar

Monday 10th of May 2021

Hey Lauren,

Glad the post was useful! Hope you have a great time in the Bay of Fires, it's incredible