Wine glasses clink as we toast the beginning of our four-day ramble in Tasmania’s secluded north east with the alluring name, The Bay of Fires.
Our annual sisters’ trek was extra special this time with one of us celebrating a milestone birthday. We could not resist kicking off our all-inclusive guided walk adventure with a touch of luxury so we trade our big packs, shared huts and camp food for the pleasure of a comfortable bed, hot shower and a prepared meal. The five of us gather in Launceston to meet our two guides and fellow guests — five affable women from Canberra and Hobart.
Our party of 12 is soon winding through rich farmland sprinkled with wineries to Musselroe Bay at the northern end of Mt William National Park. We don our day packs and set off on fresh legs with the cheerful anticipation that marks a new adventure.
Tasmanian Aborigines knew this magnificent stretch of coastline as Larapuna. British explorer Tobias Furneaux sailed past in 1773 and named it Bay of Fires as he watched the smoke rise from their fires. It is a private and pristine stretch of white sand and blue water, its boundless shores strewn with shells and kelp and enormous granite boulders embellished with deep orange lichen.
Our guide shows us egg casings of shark and sting ray and points out various shore birds like hooded plovers and pied oystercatchers. We leave the beach and 45 minutes later we are atop Mt William with panoramic views over the coast and inland. In the distance is the inky outline of the Bass Strait islands.
The next morning, we fill our day pack with snacks and salad wraps and head to the beach to start a 15 kilometre stretch from Boulder Point to Deep Creek. We are grateful for the deserted beach and glorious blue sky. At times, we fall into an easy reverie as we appreciate the scenery and the meditative trance of a long
We skirt a huge Aboriginal midden, formed over time by layers of shell, animal bones and stone artefacts. It is sacred ground so we give it a wide berth, respecting the traditional custodians. The glittering water beckons for a quick lunch swim. Everyone gasps at the first plunge — nippy but tremendously refreshing.
Day three is hot and clear as we set off from the dramatic granite lighthouse at Eddystone Point. We skirt burnt orange outcrops and crunch over deep deposits of shells. We can see the whole Bay of Fires stretching from Binalong Bay to the lighthouse, about 30 kilometres of unspoilt paradise.
We shrug off last day blues for the final 15 kilometre leg from Policeman’s Point to The Gardens. We head into the Bay of Fires Conservation Area and test the leg muscles on long stretches of soft sand fringed with gentle lapping waves. A quick dip at lunch soon cools us down before we hop over rocky headlands and weave along a surprise forested track.
A wallow in the placid waters of Gardens Beach is a fitting finale. Now good friends, our group marvels at our luck; lots of sunshine, beautiful scenery, great company and that gorgeous turquoise Tasman Sea.
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