TRAVEL GUIDE: THE BAY OF FIRES WALK IN TASMANIA
It’s no secret how much I love Tasmania; in fact, I know you guys do too because it’s some of my most read content on Mister Weekender! In case you’re just getting up to speed, over the last couple of years I’ve spent time exploring the East Coast, Cradle Mountain and the wild south coast of Tasmania with some very special people. Each corner has been vastly different to the next but it does have similarities – it’s wild, it’s romantic, it’s untamed. The Bay of Fires, along the east coast of Tasmania is a long stretch of coastline I had yet to explore. Sadly, I didn’t have enough time on my more recent trips so when the opportunity came to do the Bay of Fires Walk with Tasmania Walking Co, I couldn’t believe my luck! It involves two awesome guides (hi Justin and Dee!), a judge, a retired magistrate, and a solicitor, lots of awesome food, a tale of a mobile phone that went swimming, and an outdoor bath. So sit back, relax and enjoy my travel guide to the Bay of Fires Walk in Tasmania. Enjoy!
DAY ONE After assembling in Launceston we drove in a small bus for about 30 minutes to Quamby Estate (I could totally get married there) and were introduced to our guides. It’s here where we meet everyone else on the walk, have our trip preparation meeting and pack our bags with the essentials. From here we jump back into the bus for another couple of hours and make our way to the northern part of Mount William National Park, and begin our walk at Boulder Point. We stopped for lunch along the way, which was already prepared for us and consisted of a salad wrap, a protein ball and a little cake – so good! After lunch we hiked along Cod Bay, which has some of the whitest sand and bluest water I’ve ever laid my eyes on. So gorgeous!
After 10km or so, we finally made it to our final resting spot, Forester Beach Camp. It would have to be one of the most gorgeous beachside camping spots I’ve ever stayed in. Here we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, relaxing by the camp, enjoying glasses of wine and snacking on a very lush cheese platter with the other hikers on my trip. What I love most about these trips are the incredibly interesting people I meet; on this trip in particular there were three couples, whilst I was rolling solo. There was a retired British couple who had been married for over 40 years and were on a quest to travel as much as possible – hi Graham and Kim! There was a married Barrister and Solicitor who left their kids at home for the weekend – hi Ben and Anne! And there was a couple who both respectively lost their loved ones to cancer but by chance, met and a few years later and are now married. They spend heaps of time sailing and were super fit, very inspiring – hi Jane and Nigel! Talk about being in the most amazing company!
After a couple of glasses of wine, we enjoyed a delicious and healthy dinner cooked by our guides – barbequed salmon served on a bed of Asian greens and soba noodles, followed by chocolate mousse with meringue and kiwi fruit. Delish! I then retreated back to the beach to take photos of sunset over the east coast of Tasmania and waited for the moon to come up before heading back to my tent; I may have been on my own but I never felt alone. I never do in the wilderness.
Day One Tips: Don’t be fooled by the relaxing start, the first day is surprisingly tough. Soft sand hiking in hiking boots is not easy. I highly recommend using hiking poles. The weather conditions in Tasmania are also ever changing, so be prepared for it all! My Akubra flew off my hat by a gust of wind and when I went to rescue it from the ocean, aka dived into the ocean fully clothed with my boots on, I completely forgot I had my phone in my bra. Bye bye phone. But the company and the surroundings quickly distracted me. Plus my amazing guide Dee let me use her phone for the rest of the trip, which was so kind of her. Thank you Dee!
DAY TWO Being an early bird, I awoke before sunrise – but my body was aching. Day One was tough! I threw my down jacket on, grabbed a mug of hot chocolate and walked down to the beach to photograph sunrise. And I literally had the best time on my own. The swell was unusually large due to a cyclone over in Fiji so for the rest of the day I couldn’t stop staring at the massive swell! After a scrumptious breakfast (aka feast) of muesli, fresh juice, fruit, baked beans and pancakes, we packed our backpacks, lunch boxes and set off again.
We continued our walk towards the Bay of Fires Lodge past Picnic Corner Beach, North Abbottsbury Beach and the mind blowing Shell Coves. We stopped to have lunch by the lighthouse and walked up to explore the surrounding area. Following this we finally walked down the Bay of Fires towards our lodge. And finally after 16km or so, we finally made it to the lodge. As soon as we arrived at the private beach, I threw down my backpack, took my hiking boots and socks off, and ran into the water. The water was fresh and crisp, and I felt utterly content with everything around me. This is the magic of hiking. It makes you feel so good about yourself. It does wonders for my energy levels and creativity! Following this, we walked up the hill and were shown the lodge and our rooms by the lodge managers. What followed was a necessary shower, a foot soak, lots of wine, a three course meal of quinoa and root vegetable salad, meat balls and twice cooked potatoes and lemon tart, and a one-hour solo astrophotography session where I managed to capture a very bright Milky Way over the Tasman Sea – talk about spoilt! Then I retreated very sleepily back to my private room that overlooked the Bay of Fires. And I can vouch that night was one of the best sleeps of my life.
Day Two Tips: I felt that the second day was more exciting as we had more time to stop and enjoy the flora and fauna. I also knew my group a lot better and was able to spend quality time with everyone along the walk. Upon reflection I think what I enjoyed most about this part of the hike was the gorgeous coastline colours and being able to hike in absolute solitude. Everyone hiked at their own pace and because Justin loaned me his walking poles, I was able to steam ahead and really kick my legs in to gear. It was awesome!
DAY THREE On Day Three I was a little cheeky and slept in, I couldn’t help it… The day started with a delicious cooked breakfast muesli, cooked mushrooms with feta cheese, freshly baked bread and fritattas. I think what I like most about Day Three is that its up to the guests how they would like to enjoy the area. There was the option to go for a hike and a kayak at Ansons River, but I really felt the need to sit back, relax and enjoy the wilderness on my own. I am often so flat out and going at such a fast pace when I travel, so it was nice to indulge and pretty much do nothing except swim, sleep, read and eat. I also indulged in a massage and an outdoor bath…see below for drool inducing photos. I had my first outdoor bath experience in Tasmania a couple of years earlier and it certainly left an impression, so I was excited to have the opportunity to do it again but with a view over the Bay of Fires. There really is nothing like sitting in a bath outdoors whilst listening to the leaves in the trees above rustling in the wind.
The day winded up when the rest of the group arrived back from their adventure and here we spent the evening by the fireplace, sipping on wine, and enjoying another three course meal of Moroccan chicken and cous cous salad, and a vanilla panacotta with balsamic strawberries.
Day Three Tips: If you don’t feel like going for another hike and a kayak, don’t! The third day is really up to you and how you feel. Personally I think the trip is very active, so it was nice to have some down time and really appreciate the surroundings and wilderness.
DAY FOUR The start of day four is very slow, which we all loved. After breakfast I packed my backpack and retreated to the reading room for a bit where I enjoyed catching up on the pages of my latest novel with a mug of hot chocolate. After spending some time here, I cruised into the main living room to chat with the rest of the group for a couple of hours. Before we knew it, we were being hustled to throw on our backpacks again for a quick one hour hike through the eucalypt forests and coastal heath land. Most people tucked into lunch as we waited for the bus to arrive, but as I was still full from breaky, I got stuck into mine when we jumped on the bus and headed to Dr Andrew Pirie’s Apogee Vineyard for a tasting experience. I had to admit, this is such a brilliant way to finish the Bay of Fires Walk with the Tasmania Walking Co – it felt very luxurious and naturally I walked away with a bottle of bubbles. From here we had a short trip in the bus back to Launceston.
Day Four Tips: Try to get as much out of the lodge as you can on this final morning. Go for a walk down to the beach, read a book in the library, sit out on the deck and enjoy the view, eat as much food as you like. It’s really about enjoying a slow pace and making your way back to Launceston feeling extremely relaxed.