When you set off for a day trip somewhere, how far do you go? Are you a little crazy like us and take off on a trip that really needs a couple of days to do? Oh well, we were just wanting to “get on out there” so off we went! Let me tell you about our quick trip to St Helens from Launceston in Tasmania.
Here is the trip map of our journey. As you can see we made a round trip starting from home which is about 20 minutes north of Launceston. We went clockwise and covered about 371 kilometres. It took us longer than 5 hours 11 minutes as shown on the map as we had lots of photo stops. Anyway, I’ll walk you through our journey and give you a bit of an idea what you can see.
From our place there are two ways you can travel from Launceston to St Helens. The way to the south is longer in kilometres but much easier travelling. The way across the top is very windy as it snakes its way through the hills.
We were very happy we chose to go south first as once we got onto the other side of Launceston we ran smack bang into fog. We were a little surprised as we didn’t get away from home all that early and it must have been at least 10.30. Fortunately we could see our way through the fog without too much problem because it lasted on and off for an hour or so.
Although we couldn’t see the surrounding hills and mountains for the fog, it still has its own kind of beauty. As we passed by the North Esk River which joins the Tamar River at Launceston, I just had to take a photo in all that swirling fog.
A little further on there was obvious frost on the ground and as I stood there I could hear the trees dripping quite loudly.
Still travelling east we could see this definite pyramid in the distance. As we approached closer it was gobbled up in fog but fortunately, after passing through St Marys, there it was again.
Doesn’t look so much like a pyramid now but you could easily see the rocks on top.
This is the top of the “pyramid” we saw. It’s called St Patrick’s Head. We didn’t have enough time to go check this out… another time.
Fun Historical Fact:
St Patrick’s Head was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux way back in 1773 when Captain Cook was on his second journey around Australia. Nobody was interested in this corner of Tasmania, or Van Diemen’s Land as it was called back then.
It was another 67 years before they began to build a station of probation to house 300 convicts near St Mary’s. These guys had to build the road to the east coast, crossing the mountains which became St Mary’s Pass. And what a road it is!
Before we knew it we were going down and through St Mary’s Pass. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a single place to stop to take photos within risking another car running into us. It’s a shame really as I’d love to show it to you. I’ve been on scarier, but it sure was interesting enough. Narrow, winding, and a long way down over the edge! You could see the ocean in the distance… East Coast, here we come!
Occasionally St Mary’s Pass is closed for repairs which causes a lot of headaches for the local people. It’s hoped they can keep the closures to a very minimum otherwise St Mary’s would be in jeopardy of becoming a ghost town. But the pass is quite something to have to negotiate and slips and landslides do happen.
Taken near Scamander. It was just so lovely. The first thing you notice is how clean it is. The water is crystal clear with the brilliant white sand stretching far into the distance. The only person I saw was this lone fisherman on the rocks.
This is taken from the same spot looking up the beach. A couple of nice little islands out there.
A close up of that gorgeous water… wonderful.
Here we are at St Helens, Tasmania’s most remote town. There’s lots of saints around here… have you noticed? Anyway, St Helens is situated on George’s Bay (it’s a wonder it’s not St George!) where there’s a lot of boats moored, both big and small as the harbour is very sheltered.
The East Coast is known for its warmer weather than most of Tassy and we noticed it almost immediately. They call it the “Gold Coast” of Tasmania. Far stretch from the Gold Coast in Queensland in just about every way, but never-the-less it’s really a beautiful place.
Fun Historical Fact:
St Helen’s was never a very important place until they discovered tin in the surrounding hills in the 1870’s, then it became a very busy port. Today it feels like a “happening” place with all the modern conveniences you could expect.
From St Helens we travelled out to Binalong Bay. I have memories of this place when we visited here long ago. Selwyn’s cousin took us somewhere there to swim. I’ve dreamed of it ever since! I remember the big smooth rocks and the wonderful aqua water in the deep pools. Well today it lived up to my expectation in its beauty. Look at the little shack on the bluff all by itself! Imagine the holidays spent there… fishing… relaxing. Magic outlooks… secluded… it’s someone’s holiday home for sure.
This area is known as the Bay of Fires. Can you see the interesting colour on the granite rocks? It’s actually produced by a lichen. This whole area is known for the blue colour of the water; the incredible white sand and the granite rocks with the orange coloured lichen.
This place started out as only a fishing hamlet but it’s grown, mainly with holiday dwellings. This place also comes with some history:
Fun Historical Fact:
Apparently when Captain Tobias Furneaux sailed past on his way to New Zealand, he could see little fires right along the coastline. Those fires were Aboriginal camp sites. Imagine what it was like back then… just Aborigines and nature!
Australia was originally claimed for Great Britain in 1770 and they began bringing the colonies into Sydney in 1778. So along came the white man to Australia with all his trouble! Kind of sad.
Taken from the same spot. Trent took one look at this photo and announced he wanted to sit on that very rock to go fishing! We must take him there one day soon.
OK, the day was marching on so we had to make tracks homeward. We travelled back to St Helens and headed north west. The route through here was wonderful, but as I said before, I’m glad the fog had long gone. Would have been tricky driving home with that. Look at all the Tree Ferns… opps sorry, they call them Man Ferns down here. Same difference.
I don’t think this particular area sees too much sun judging by the amount of moss on the trees. The dominant species of tree in that cool temperate rainforest is the myrtle-beech tree and as soon as I saw them I knew they were not something I was accustomed to seeing. Apparently it’s a Tasmanian tree, although there are a few of them in Victoria. They can grow up to 50 metres tall and in excess of 500 years old.
Just as we were leaving the rainforest behind and the bush started to open up we spotted an echidna. It was so lovely to see, although we have seen them just outside our property. He was lolling along and disappeared into the scrub almost immediately. Geez you’ve got to be quick! Photo is a little bit blurry in my hurry to bring him up really close… but I wanted to show you anyway. 🙂
Finally we left the rainforests behind and the road opened up into some wonderful cattle country. I’m a real sook when it comes to cattle and couldn’t resist these gorgeous calves. Here we are approaching Scottsdale which is well known for its rich soil surrounded by these lovely blue hills. It was so pretty. Scottsdale has a mild climate as well. Lovely area.
See what I mean?
Oh well, still on the homeward journey while the sun is setting. I told Selwyn this was the last photo!
Opps, couldn’t help myself! As we whizzed past I caught a glimpse of the setting sun in this little dam. Backed up and finally took “the last photo”!!!
So after travelling over 371 kilometres from Launceston to St Helens in a round trip, was it worth it? Well, we really enjoyed the day, but come on… really… it was too far for one day! Too far to take in everything we would have liked to have spent time with. So decision made… we will do it again, but next time we’ll stay over on the East Coast. We’ll take the morning to wander over, spend that afternoon and the next morning looking around, and then may be we’ll drive home in the afternoon. I guess we got a little carried away. 🙂
So do you want to come with us? Next time we go to St Helens from Launceston, I hope we have you in the car with us. How about it?
Great article. Love the pics – born an bred in Tassie for my 1st 25 years!
Oh thanks Peter! Wow, you lived here and got to enjoy all its beautiful scenery etc too. In some ways, it must have been hard to leave.
I love the photos you’ve shown here… it all looks so wonderful. A big day though. I think I’d do it in 2 days.
Hi Judy… thanks for that, much appreciated. I agree, 2 days next time! It was quite tiring. Marilyn
I really enjoyed reading about your adventures around Tassie. I was there over the New Year break, and checked out a few things in and around Hobart, including the Food Festival and also visited Bruny Island.
You took some pretty amazing pictures, and I love the scenery and the greenery of Tasmania!
Keep up the great work!
Thank you Dave! Where did you come from?You would have seen Tassy during it’s dry period as we’ve had drought… but received a good dumping of rain later on in January which has greened everything up again.
I appreciate your comments. 🙂
Nice. I like places like you show here. Got some more?
hi Roseflower! Thanks for that. Yes, I certainly do have more… it’s just a matter of taking the time to put them up. Keep watching as I’m about to get busy on it. 🙂 Marilyn
I see you’re a sucker for cattle too! I’m always taking photos of different cattle!
Oh! Er… yes I do like them very much. They are generally really friendly and inquisitive. I like that. Marilyn
Love the photos of your lovely area. Hope to visit that part of the planet one day. Enjoy your website in general. Bill
Oh I hope you can come and tour around this lovely island of ours. I’m sure you would have a wonderful time Bill. Thank you for the comments of my website and I’m so happy it’s helpful to you. Marilyn
I loved your post and with all those lovely photos I got a great sense of what it is like to make the journey you did. It looks like a beautiful place!! I visited Australia some time ago but never got to Tasmania unfortunately. Australia is so big with so much to see it is easy to eat up your time just travelling from place to place there. Looking at the map of the whole of Tasmania I didn’t realise it was that big if the journey you made was 371 Km, which looks to be just the north east corner of the island. I would definitely consider a visit to Tassy if I get back to Australia at some point.
Wise decision! Tasmania is a top tourist destination and there certainly is lots to see. I’m happy you enjoyed the post and the scenery. So sorry to be so long in answering but I’ve been away.
This site is quite surprising, I thought it would be just about how to be healthy but I found myself getting very interested in your trip around Tasmania, which is a part of the world I’ve always wanted to visit. As we’re visiting New Zealand next year, I’m thinking now that we should do a detour to Aussie and spend a couple of days in Tasmania, it looks beautiful.
Back to the subject of your site. There is much information here about how to keep yourself in tiptop condition naturally and it’s a site that you need to look at more carefully and come back to.
What a wonderful home you’ve found in Tasmania. A quick question Has Tasmania been depleted much of its nutrients by over farming as is the case in the USA. It’s my perception that this island may be under utilised agriculturally and that the soil is still rich in all the nutrients we need to be healthy, sincerely hope so. Ches
Thank you Ches, I’m glad you were surprised… pleasantly! Yes my site is really about me and my life, what I do and what I love… where I go and what I enjoy!
I think it would be a fantastic decision to come to Tasmania. There is such a lot to see in Australia generally, but here in Tasmania is a treasure all of its own.
New Zealand is also a wonderful place… very dramatic, especially the South Island… I love it so.
We have some amazing soil here in Tassy… especially if you travel to the northern parts, it has the richest, reddest soil ever… volcanic soil. Beautiful. No, generally it’s not over farmed and Tasmania is renowned for it’s crops and foods. Wonderful.
As I drive into the city (about 20 minutes) I pass by paddocks of black cattle and other paddocks of white sheep. Lots of them. So together with the river views and the mountain views, our 20 minute drive is so lovely.
Thanks for coming by and yes, I do hope you’ll be back… who knows what I’ll put up next time. 🙂
I must say my wife and I tend to do road trips all the time by leaving in one direction and return from the other where you spend 4 – 8 hours on the road site seeing and stopping here and there along the way.
It is great how much difference there is in scenery that you had on your trip. From the mountains to the sea it looks like from Launceston to St Helens offers a lot to take in. I get the feeling someone new to the place like myself could easily spend a week or two just to check out a small part of the area.
Hi Travis, thanks for comments and sharing your thoughts!
Oh, so you are one of my kind aye? I think taking the time to have a day out in nature is like taking a small holiday in between all the other stuff we have to do. I’m so glad you do the same.
Yes, Tasmania is very diverse in its scenery and you don’t have to travel far to enjoy the changes. Although it is relatively small (in comparison to the mainland) don’t be fooled into thinking you could do it in a week. So many people come over here and think they can do it quickly and see everything… but not so! There’s plenty to see and do.
Hi, great trip review with all that pictures. I really like what you have done here. We got to know so much more about one part of Australia. The next time before I travel to Australia I will be checking on your website.
Whats more it seems that besides the great place that you had visited there are so many other useful information as well. Enjoy the read from your careful and nicely done trip posting.
Thanks Joel, I appreciate your comments! Gradually I’ll build more content in so you can have many more experiences along the way.
Australia is a big country with so much to see but the mainland also has many kilometres to travel between the sights. Here in Tasmania you can see many different types of scenery just in a single day’s trip. Whatever you do, if coming to Australia, please make sure you add Tasmania to your itinerary. It will be worth it.
Yes, but the main thrust of my blog is on making one small change at a time towards healthier living. I’ve observed so much yo-yo dieting etc and the fact that generally speaking people have such a little understanding of what is really good for them, and what isn’t. I hear it all the time. I would just like to help people understand the simple basics.
Enjoyed reading your great site…since I’m all about your niche of healthy living….you certainly cover many topics in that goal!
One of the most unique openings to a site I have seen…your description of your trip was fascinating…however, after moving on to another page I had difficulty returning to it for more reading….the home page goes right into content….
You do have a page on “moving” for health….but wondering if a little more offerings on exercise facts/options could be included since it is such an important part of healthy living….which is your main niche…
Great site Marilyn…congrats and good luck! Bruce
Hi Bruce, thanks for your encouraging comments. I do try to work on the uniqueness but more than that I guess I just like to share my passions and to incorporate them together in one place.
I would love for you to share with me a little bit more of your “user” experience as I don’t quite understand the problem you faced. “the home page goes right into content” is confusing to me. Ahh, now wait a minute… I think I just had an idea… to get to the place where everything is you would need to click on BLOG. The home page is just a presentation page.
OK, I’ll try to deal with that and make sure I put a link to the main blog content on the presentation page.
Have I got it right? Please let me know if I’m off course here. But I can see that would be a great improvement anyway.
Yes, I’m gradually working at filling out some of the subjects and exercise definitely needs some work. I’ll look into it too.
Your article is so pleasant and I really like the pictures.
I love travelling especially when it’s spontaneous .
I personally wouldn’t climb up there, but definitely would walk on the shorelines. My phobia is to climb on Montaigne. How is the weather in St Helene? .
Thank you very much for this great blog
Oh Daniella, if you “wouldn’t climb up there” you wait until I tell you about another trip I made! Makes that one feel like it wasn’t very much at all. Anyway, more on that later!
The beaches over on the East Coast are super-fantastic… in fact, perfect. The water is so clean and blue with the white sand to show it all off. I love it.
The weather in St Helen is milder and more enticing to swimming in the summer time.. I want to go back there next summer and enjoy some of that beach delight! Not that we don’t have beaches within 25 minutes of where I live, which is very nice, but not quite to the standard of the East Coast.
Thank you for your nice comments which is greatly appreciated.
Wow! What an experience, and so many gorgeous pictures to go along with it! It looks incredibly beautiful and I’m glad you had a good time.
I enjoy travelling, but haven’t made it as far as Oz yet for any big experiences. I have jumped on a plane, booking only a couple of days in advance, and headed to different places in Europe on my own. I’ve gone from the UK to The Netherlands, Germany and Gibraltar at different times.
I love getting away and experiencing new places. It’s such a thrill.
Thanks Lisa, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Do you know how envious I am that you can make a spontaneous decision to go to Europe on the spur of the moment? It takes planning when you live over here! Never-the-less, I’m fully intending on tripping over your way with the UK and Europe definitely in my sites.
I’ve been to Egypt though which was an amazing experience and one day I’ll make a few posts on that. I remember when I was there thinking that Europe is “just over there” and wishing we could simply take off in that direction when we completed our time in Egypt.
I agree with you, it really is a thrill to experience a new place. We moved here to Tasmania only last year and although I’ve visited family here quite a number of times getting out to really “see” the place has been wonderful.
I remember my first trip to Tasmania was a “weekend thrill”. I made a spur of the moment decision to fly down for the weekend with my boyfriend as he was going home for the weekend. I thought to myself, why not, I’ll most probably never go there again. Wrong! I married the man. Haha!