A charming fishing port on Tasmania’s east coast, which in recent years has grown in popularity as a holiday resort.
Where is it?: Bicheno is 176 km south east of Launceston and 182 km north east of Hobart (via the Tasman Highway).
Visitors Centre: 41b Foster St. Bicheno. Ph (03) 6375 1500
The Gulch and Governor Island: Marine life and seabirds abound in Governor Island Marine Reserve – stay dry in a glass-bottomed boat or scuba dive amid sheer rock walls, deep fissures, caves, sponges and sea whips. Tasmania is considered one of the best temperate water dive sites in the world.
One of Bicheno’s more well known coastal features is the town’s blowhole.
Penguin tours are one of the town’s most popular attractions, while the local wildlife park has a wide array of fauna, including kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and pelicans.
Douglas-Apsley National Park is an inland reserve that lies between Bicheno and St Marys. The park includes three river catchments (Douglas, Denison and Apsley), gorges, cascades, rocky forested hills and a heath plateau. It has many points of interest – spectacular dolerite boulders and rugged hills including Nichols Cap, lower lying sandstones and historically explored and mined coal measures, sweeping coastal vistas, varied bushwalks, wildflowers, forested hills, waterfalls, swimming holes, abundant birds and wildlife. Website >>
Just off the coast to the north of Bicheno is the Diamond Island Nature Reserve. It is possible to walk across from the mainland at low tide. The granite island is home to large numbers of fairy penguins. It is a popular walk for visitors. Coming from the north, turn left into Bicheno on Burgess Street it is possible to see the Gulch, the grave of Waubedebar, and the local blowhole. Waubedebar (after whom Waub’s Harbour was named) was an Aboriginal woman who saved two white men when their boat was smashed against the rocks during a storm. It is said that snowdrops bloom on her grave every spring.
Jutting out between The Tasman Sea and Great Oyster Bay on Tasmania’s east coast, the Freycinet Peninsula (36 km south) is a rugged and beautiful stretch of land, noted for its white-sand beaches, secluded coves, panoramic vistas, rocky cliffs and excellent bushwalks through the Freycinet National Park. The park is famous for Wineglass Bay, named one of the world’s top 10 beaches by Outside magazine, just one of its white sandy beaches and the pure clear turquoise waters that are perfect for sea kayaking, swimming and scuba diving. The Hazard Range offers climbing, abseiling and mountain walking, and the coastal heathlands have wonderful day walks. More >>
Brief history: Peggy Point was used as a base for sealers and whalers from 1803. Their settlement became known as Waub’s Boat Harbour. The first permanent settlement began in 1849 after coal was discovered and began being mined at nearby Douglas River. More coal was discovered at Denison River in 1854 and a 7km horse-drawn tramway was constructed to the mine. Both mines fell into decline in the mid 1850s when the miners left to join the Victorian goldrush. Between the World Wars, Bicheno was revived as a cray (lobster) fishing and tourist centre.
St Marys (44 km north)
Scamander (58 km north)
Coles Bay (38 km south)
Swansea (43 km south)