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Great Eastern Drive

With scenery as delicious as its wines and produce, enjoy a few leisurely days with long lunches in Swansea and Bicheno.

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3 days around Swansea and Bicheno

Grazing the east

With scenery as delicious as its wines and produce, a trip around Swansea and Bicheno is made for long lunches and a few leisurely days.

Day 1 - Hobart to Swansea

The East Coast Heritage Museum is housed in a red roof colonial building on a busy corner of Swansea.

East Coast Heritage Museum / Maureen Martin Ferris

  • Set out early from Hobart and cross to the east coast. Stretch your legs at Mayfield Beach, the site of a little-known three-arch bridge built by convicts from the nearby Rocky Hills Probation Station. There's another good beach stop ahead at Kelvedon Beach, featuring one of the state's most evocatively located boat sheds.
  • Linger over lunch, handcrafted chocolates and berry ice-cream in sight of Great Oyster Bay and Freycinet Peninsula at Kate's Berry Farm.
  • See the best of Swansea and its coast on the loontitetermairrelehoiner walk, a 2.3-kilometre circuit that starts in the centre of town and rounds Waterloo Point, the site of Swansea's first settlement in 1827.
  • Pay a visit to Swansea's fascinating East Coast Heritage Museum, which runs the course of history from Tasmanian Aboriginal artefacts to convict and whaling days. Ever seen a Tasmanian tiger trap?
  • Overnight at Swansea, where options include Swansea Beach Chalets and the former coaching inn of Schouten House.

Day 2 - Swansea to Bicheno

A couple buy oysters form the Mellshell Oysters caravan store front

Melshell Oyster Shack / Rob Burnett

  • Crank into the day on a cycling trip with Swansea Cycle Tours. Two options: pedal through private land between three vineyards, or cycle the quiet road (or the sands of Nine Mile Beach, if tides permit) to Melshell Oyster Shack.
  • If you haven't cycled to Melshell Oyster Shack (or perhaps even if you have), take the detour into Dolphin Sands on leaving Swansea. The quirky “shack” is an old blue caravan on a working oyster farm serving only the freshest shellfish, with tables overlooking the leases. Tours and shucking lessons are available.
  • Driving through the vineyards around Cranbrook will likely generate a thirst, which leads to the Farm Shed East Coast Wine Centre in Bicheno. The shed showcases wines from every vineyard on the east coast, including those without cellar doors.
  • If ocean conditions are sweet, Bicheno has prime surfing and snorkelling.
  • Meanwhile, Bicheno's nightlife is truly wild - watch little penguins waddle ashore with Bicheno Penguin Tours, or join a Devils in the Dark tour at East Coast Nature World to observe Tasmanian devils living nocturnally.
  • Overnight at Bicheno – there’s plenty of options, including seafront Sandpiper Ocean Cottages

Day 3 - Bicheno and Douglas-Apsley National Park

A young couple walk hand in hand across rocks on the coast line near Bicheno, where small boats float in the bay

The Gulch, Bicheno / Stu Gibson

  • Fuel up at Bicheno's Blue Edge Bakery, then join Bicheno's Foreshore Footway, which follows the town's coastline for three kilometres between Redbill Beach and the watery gargles of the Bicheno Blowhole. A short, steep climb leads to Whalers Lookout for views over Bicheno.
  • Take off to Douglas-Apsley National Park at Bicheno's edge. A short stroll leads to Apsley Waterhole - take the plunge on a warm day – or spend the day on a circuit walk that returns through the narrow and rocky chasm of Apsley Gorge.
  • Bicheno is the perfect launch pad for an exploration of Freycinet Peninsula.


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