8th February, 2018.
Our Freycinet Peninsula adventure behind us, we moved on to the seaside town of Bicheno, just a very short drive to the north.
This time we had no choice but to stay in a Caravan Park as there are no freedom camps in the area. Never our favourite places, nonetheless this CP was very good, even though it was almost full we managed to get a drive through site and a 10% discount for a 3 night stay. One of the best features was being walking distance to town, in fact just a hundred metres or so. So after setting up, we went for a walk armed with a map of the town.
Cute little church in the centre of Bicheno.
There is a great lookout right in the middle of town. Whalers lookout offers 360 degree views over the town and out to sea.
Looking north across the main part of town.
A cute little lizard on the path.
On the far side of Whalers Lookout, views over Governor Island.
Another cute lizard.
Coming down from the lookout, we decided to walk to the Blowhole along a track on the foreshore which at times led us over rocks but with clearly marked directional arrows painted to show the way.
The Blowhole was quite spectacular at times but getting the right photo at the right time is quite difficult.
Sooty Oystercatchers keeping their beaks dry.
We retraced our steps back to our starting point and then continued on the path past Governor Island and around to the most easterly point before turning west and walking back up the main street to the Caravan Park.
These Terns were having a bad hair day!
Pelargoniums were growing wild all along the walk.
Looking up at the southern lookout on Whalers Lookout from ground level.
Some unusual wildlife at the caravan park.
9th February, 2018.
Next morning we decided to make a loop drive to the north. We had heard much about Elephant Pass and wanted to do the drive without the caravan. It certainly is not for the faint hearted but I really quite enjoyed it as there was almost no traffic and it was picturesque though very winding and steep and no places to stop for photos. Eventually we got to the town of St Marys where we had a look at the camping area at the Recreation Grounds. It looked like a good spot, although rather crowded at the time. St Marys also looked like a town we would like to explore so we kept driving, making a mental note to have a stopover there once we had finished touring the east coast.
Descending St Marys Pass was another steep and winding drive but only around 6kms so the apprehension was short lived. As we were making good time it seemed a good idea to head further up the coast to check out our next camping possibilities. We have learnt that the opinions of others about suitable campsites do not always coincide with ours and scoping out different areas without the van is working for us on this trip as the distances are relatively short.
Dianas Basin, about half way between the coastal towns of Scamander and St Helen’s, had been well recommended but the reality for us was disappointing. As we approached St Helens we stopped at a park for Erich to take a few photos.
We pressed on past St Helens towards the Bay of Fires. A bit of inattention on my part had us on the road to Binalong Bay where there is no camping but it was a fortuitous mistake as the views were just stunning.
Had the sun been shining, the vivid colour of the algae covered rocks would have been even more impressive.
We headed back to where we should have turned north and checked out Swimcart Beach campground which was completely full along the beachfront but had some nice spots back among the bushes. We also stopped in at Jeanneret Beach, another highly recommended campground which turned out to be very crowded and not really suited to our size rig. Grants Lagoon campground was a big open area with plenty of room but not much else going for it but an alternative should Swimcart Beach be full when we eventually arrived.
After a successful reconnoitre, we returned to Bicheno along the coastal route.