Why we did the scenic route to St. Mary's and Fingal via the Elephant Pass from Bicheno, was so we could stop at the Mount Elephant Pancake Barn. We had heard reports about it, and wanted to try one for ourselves. We were not disappointed, large & delicious, yes, we will return again one day!
The road was built by convicts in the mid 1800s and leads over the elephant toward Bicheno with magnificent views of the coastline.
SO THEY SAY.......It is the outline of an elephant lying down with his trunk stretched out. Situated just too the right of St.Patricks Head. You will have to use your imagination big time!!
There is not a lot at either of these towns.....St Marys is a mountain town with timber cottages, and a gallery featuring Tasmanian products and the St. Mary's Hotel does meals.
Near Fingal, we went to the Evercreech Forest Reserve, with the famous White Knights (white gums), this is worth doing, and the nearby, Mathinna Falls has an amazing array of cascading waterfalls. Mathinna was once a thriving gold mining town.
Another Waterfall that is worth a stop and a look.
A short, 15 minute return walk from the car park to the viewing platform to see the spectacular tall waterfall plunging into the Cygnet River into a gorge.
It can get a little slippery on the dirt and rocky track descending towards the wooden platform so do take care!
Feeling enegetic? I wasn't! But if you are, there is a track leading to the Cygnet River in the Gorge.
There is a picnic shelter & Toilets at the car park.
St Columba Falls are the tallest falls in Tasmania
The waterfall is a lovely, multi tiered falls, that plunge about 90m down the side of Mt Victoria.
Much of the falls can be viewed from the road, but do the short 20-minute easy return walk as you pass through giant man and tree ferns.........they are magnificent!
For more detailed information, stop at the Scottsdale Visitor Information Centre at the Forest EcoCentre in Scottsdale.
Eddystone Point lighthouse is situated in the Mt William National Park 15 kilometres north of Ansons Bay on the easternmost point of Tasmania's north-east coast.
It is a circular stone tower made of locally quarried granite and stands 36 metres high.
Opened in 1889, it was originally lit by a kerosene lantern, now it is fully automatic and visible for 38 kms, and is no longer manned.
There are three light-keepers quarters on the station, also built from local granite. They form one of the earliest surviving group of original quarters within Tasmania.
This coastline was renowned for the number of shipwrecks during the early years of white settlement.
North of Ansons Bay has been the resting place for 30 vessels wrecked between 1846 and 1963.
After visiting Evercreech, head on another 16 kms to Mathinna Waterfalls. The falls consist of a four tier waterfall which cascades over a total drop of about 80 metres - a spectacular sight!
An easy 30min walk will take you to the base of the falls.
Access to this waterfall is from a mostly sealed road leading north from the township of Mathinna. The general area is in the northeastern forests of Tasmania
The Blue Lake is about 1hours drive from Scottsdale, about 17ks on the Gladstone road.
The lake is here because of the tin mining carried out in this area. Its a very pretty azure blue. Swimming is allowed, remember, its very deep. Its also big enough for water skiing.
You can camp here, and if you want, go fossicking for gems, quartz, topaz and amethyst are found.
This reserve is located in the Fingal Valley, and is signposted from the town of Fingal.
Here, you find the 'White Knights" THE TALLEST WHITE GUMTREES IN EXISTENCE.
..... more impressive and taller than the Big Trees in the Styx Valley.
A 20 minute loop walk takes you past the tall trees, into a grove of manferns and tall Blackwoods, before heading up the hill to get a birds-eye view over the White Knights. Interpretive signs tell you about the Tree's.
Make this Forest Reserve your stop for lunch or a barbecue at one of the peaceful streamside areas.
A 20 min loop will take you around the gum trees and a 45min loop will take you to the Evercreech falls. This is a pretty park with lots of lovely rainforest and Tree ferns.
The Bay of Fires is situated between Binalong Bay and Eddystone Point.
The entrance to the Bay of Fires - Binalong Bay, is 10 minutes from St. Helens.
The Beach here is white, with lovely green/blue water.
We stayed at St. Helen's but I would imagine it would be nice staying here, there was accommodation, a general store & cafe, all in this pretty, peaceful location. Plenty of fishing, (lagoon's & sea) and diving for the experienced!
The rocks are really pretty, with their red lichen against the white sand.
About a 45km drive from St. Helens.
St Helens, located in a pretty setting overlooking Georges Bay, is the largest town on the north-east coast, with a population of about 2,000, and is also known as 'THE GAME FISHING CAPITAL OF TASMANIA"
St Helens is a popular destination for fishing, and each March the St Helens Game Fishing Classic . It's also popular amongst divers for its extensive kelp forests and underwater caves.
We made St. Helen's a base and did some nice drives, went to Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires, which extend to Eddystone Point. The Bay of Fires is a coast of white sandy beaches dotted with giant granite boulders. Then another drive to St. Mary's, the Pancake parlour, more waterfalls and gorgeous rainforest.
In St. Helens, take the one-hour return walk to St Helens Point where you will find the spectacular Peron Dunes and vast ocean beach.
Have a look at the Mural on the side of the building in St. Helens, depicting the forestry industry. Its located in the main street.
It was a good base for a few days, we enjoyed our time here.
Photo 1 Sign and scrub in the coastal protection area
Photo 2 Dunes in the coastal protection area
Photo 3 Dunes in the ‘Motorised Recreation Area’
Photo 4 Four flats – anyone got a tyre pump?
Photo 5 Sign designating uses of the area.
The southern bank of George’s Bay is a long sand spit, known as St Helen’s Point. It’s a pleasant drive with substantial sand dunes to the right once you pass Stieglitz. Back in the early 1800s, the French explorer Baudin named these dunes the Peron Dunes after his second in charge. The dunes now have been designated for various purposes: a cultural protection zone, a motorised recreation zone, and a coastal protection area.
Even as a motoring enthusiast and 4WD owner, I’d have to say that I was quite uncomfortable that a section of this lovely area has been turned into an adventure playground for, it seemed, the more gung-ho fringe of the 4WD community. There were tracks in all directions and large bare areas of sand. Sometimes you have to laugh though. A sign advised would-be 4WD adventurers to lower their tyre pressures on the sand – when we arrived, the owner of a 4WD with four very flat tyres asked if we could assist him with a pump, telling some story about how his had broken (we didn’t see one and I suspect he had deflated his tyres without thinking). Ooops! Maybe the sign also should have said ‘think first’!
Just a little further on, the coastal protection area was a real contrast. The track passed a sign about protected birds and through a belt of ti-tree scrub to the dunes which looked pristine with their broken cover of grasses and other vegetation. I took the walkway through and went to the beach, where I tested the water and confirmed that swimming was not on the agenda!