The pit stop: St Helens
A bustling harbour town with a laid-back vibe, St Helens is a gateway to the iconic Bay of Fires coastline. Renowned for the plumpness of its oysters, there’s bounty on land and at sea.
Furneaux is a blend of French and modern Australian fine dining, with a distinct nod to its owner’s Michelin-starred background. The menu abounds with French classics such as confit of duck and crepes Suzette, but with strictly Tasmanian ingredients. The elegant rooms and dedicated team welcome diners for dinner daily. Book well in advance.
For a convivial place to sample local craft beers, wine and spirits, The Social Tasmania beer garden has nailed top spot. With street food and tapas served from the on-site caravan kitchen, it’s tempting to let the afternoon slip into evening – especially when there’s live music, fairy lights and a quirky, retro-style interior to enjoy.
Artist Kerry Agius displays her colourful native flora-inspired work – as well as ceramics by Australian makers – in her weatherboard cottage studio. There’s fine timber wares and collectables next door at The Lifebuoy Cafe & Quail Street Emporium. With the clink of coffee cups from a leafy courtyard out back, this is the coffee, arts and homewares hub of St Helens.
Just 10 minutes’ drive north of St Helens is Binalong Bay, the start of the spectacular Bay of Fires region. Bay of Fires Eco Tours helps you see it from its best vantage point – on the water. Pristine white sandy bays and lichen freckled granite boulders, bird and sea life: it’s well worth wrapping up warm and getting aboard. Tours daily.
Nestled into the hillside at the top of town, Tully Cottage is a boutique home from home. Self-contained and beautifully appointed inside, it’s surrounded by lush gardens filled with birdsong. With breakfast and treats from the region at hand, and a chiminea crackling on the covered deck, it’s the perfect sanctuary.