In 1773, Captain Tobias Furneaux was sailing along the east coast of Tasmania when him and his crew noticed multiple fires along the bay that were lit by the Indigenous Australian people, he then named the area the Bay of Fires.

The Bay of Fires is on the north-eastern part of the coastline, stretching for about 30-35 kilometres from Binalong Bay in the south to Eddystone Point in the north.

Bay of Fires
Bay of Fires

Bay of Fires is the top part of Tasmania’s Great Eastern Drive. With the pristine sandy beaches and relatively calm turquoise water along the entire patch of coastline, there are lots of places where you can pull in and have a swim, although the main drawing card that brings people to the area are orange lichen rocks.

Without first learning about the history of the area, it’s easy to believe that the name came from the from the colourful boulders, although it’s nothing more than a nice coincidence.

Bay of Fires

While you’re driving along the Bay of Fires, if the weather is right, you won’t be able to resist heading in for a swim, but otherwise be sure to bring your wet suit along as the water can be pretty cold, although there are some great snorkeling spots in the bay that are well worth some underwater exploration. When the swell is right, there are a few decent breaks that are ideal for surfing.

If you’d prefer to stay dry, then instead soak in the views and take a walk along some of the stunning short trails, including a wander through the Bay of Fires Conservation Area – The Gardens.

There’s an abundance of Australian native trees, plants and wildlife in the area, which includes a variety of Eucalyptus trees, wildflowers, lots of Wallabies and at the right time of the year, keep an eye out for Marine life, including Dolphins and Wales.

The Bay of Fires is so stunning with enough to see that you’ll want to stay a while. Luckily, there are multiple campsites in the area, close to the bay, you can take a look at them here on the Parks Tasmania website.

Getting to the Bay of Fires

The Bay of Fires is about a 2.5 hour drive to the east of Launceston. There’s no direct route, as there are a lot of mountains and harsh terrain between Launceston and the coastline, so it’s worth budgeting some extra time to allow you to stop and take a look at some other sites along the way.

If you’re heading here from Hobart, it’s right up the other end of the island. Start by heading to Orford, which is around an hour to the north-east of Hobart. You’ll then be at the southern starting point of the Great Eastern Drive. Just follow the road north along the coastline until you reach Binalong Bay, which is a further three hour drive, although allow a lot of extra time, even several days as there’s just so many incredible, word-class and unique places to stop in at along the way.

Picnic at bay of fires