Bicheno is a fun and relaxed coastal town, a working fishing port, and a popular summer holiday destination for surfers, families, and visitors who are keen to explore Tasmania’s East Coast.
Just a half-hour drive north of Freycinet Resort, Bicheno makes for an easy and relaxing day trip. Like all the seaside towns on the Great Eastern Drive, Bicheno is very pretty and offers beautiful views. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, and several great options for coffee, seafood and wine.
Eating and drinking in Bicheno
There are several great cafes in Bicheno if you’re looking for an early morning caffeine fix.
The Rainy Day Café and Laundromat is one of those delightful and uniquely Tasmanian places that seamlessly combines several different services. Yes – it’s a café. Yes – they also do ice cream. Yes – they sell an incredible selection of puzzles and board games. Yes – they organise dumpling nights. And – yes you can get your clothes washed in the laundromat out back. Amazing.
Little Bay Patisserie is another great option, for coffee and fresh-baked pastries that showcase local, seasonal produce. The carrot cake and dark chocolate sea salt cookies are both incredible – but if you visit in summer don’t go past the incredible cherry danishes. Little Bay also offers a thoughtfully curated selection of knitwear, jewellery and ceramics.
Governörs ia an all-day-affair, open from 7am to 7pm, with occasional live music in the evenings. It’s a stylish little spot that does incredible toasties, baguettes, fresh juices and a range of tasty sweet treats (hello vanilla buns!).
For lunches and early dinners, The Lobster Shackoffers one of the best waterfront dining locations in Tasmania, overlooking Bicheno’s iconic Gulch. Fortunately, the menu is every bit as good as the view. Choose from a wide range of dishes, including sushi, prawns, chowder, salmon, scallops and octopus – they’re all delicious. Our recommendation would be the famous lobster roll. Fresh cray served on a lightly toasted sesame seed milk bun, with crispy lettuce and house made lobster sauce. What could be better?!
Finally, if you want to enjoy the full offerings of the East Coast’s wineries – without having to spend your entire holiday on the road – head to The Farm Shed East Coast Wine Centre. This one-stop shop right in the heart of town has 24 wines available each day for tastings. They also stock a selection of wines from smaller producers that don’t have their own cellar door.
Walks in and around Bicheno
Bicheno is ideally located for visitors who would like to explore the delights of Douglas Apsley National Park. It’s less than a forty-minute drive to this park, which is often overlooked in travel guides, but is a real local favourite.
There is a good range of walks in the park – from easy 15-minute circuits to 5-hour treks and multi-day hikes that are best left to experienced bushwalkers.
You can expect deep gorges, waterfalls and serene pockets of rainforest. The forests and heathlands are home to orchids and wildflowers, while birdwatchers will enjoy seeing a wide selection of species including wedge-tailed eagles and even endangered swift parrots on their annual migration. Head to Apsley Waterhole in summer for a cool dip in the crystal-clear water.
For more information on the walks, and to organise your parks pass, visit the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife website.
If you’d like to enjoy some walking in Bicheno itself, there’s an excellent 4km, clearly signposted foreshore track that runs between Redbill Point and the Bicheno Blowhole. The blowhole is one of the town’s main attractions – a a spectacular natural feature where water erupts out of a hole in the top of a sea cave. Right beside it, you’ll find The Rocking Rock, an impressive 80-tonne chunk of granite that nature has positioned so perfectly it moves back and forth with the movement of the tide.
If you do take a stroll along the foreshore track, keep an eye out for whales during the migration season – they are a regular sight that always inspires awe and delight.
Tours and attractions in Bicheno
From watersports to wildlife – and whatever the weather – there’s something for everyone in Bicheno.
The town falls within the stretch of the East Coast (that also includes Scamander, Beaumaris and St Helens) which is popular as a surf destination. Redbill Beach at Bicheno is a curving kilometre-long beach that is easy to access and suits surfers of every ability. Check the conditions on the Surf Forecast website, and hire some gear from one of the surf shops in town if you don’t have your own.
Divers also love Bicheno – there are half a dozen easily accessible shore dives within Waubs Bay, which bottoms out at just 45 feet. Expect to see skates, pot-bellied seahorses, weedy seadragons, and nudibranchs. On the eastern side of the Governor Island Marine Reserve, you’ll find some deeper dives that will suit more experienced divers – and even then it’s best to be accompanied by a local guide. If you do make it down into the depths, you’ll be rewarded with impressive kelp beds, a dazzling array of fish species, and spectacular geological features.
If you’d like to enjoy the beautiful marine life without getting wet, book a spot on Bicheno’s Glass Bottom Boat and enjoy a forty-minute tour of the clear waters. Common sights include stingrays, sharks, jellyfish, and seals from a nearby colony.
For other encounters with Tasmania’s incredible native wildlife, you might like to visit East Coast Natureworld. Explore 150 acres of bushland and lagoons, home to a combination of wild and rehabilitated wildlife, including echidnas, wombats and wallabies.
Last but not least – if you’ll be staying in Bicheno overnight, don’t miss the Penguin Tours! With a focus on conservation and environmental sustainability, Bicheno Penguin Tours depart at dusk and take around an hour. Enjoy learning from a knowledgeable local guide as you watch native fairy penguins in their natural habitat.
– Ruth Dawkins ( commissioned by Freycinet Resort)