Bicheno, a popular seaside resort town on Tasmania’s East Coast, is known for its seafood and its iconic blowhole. With big waves, the bursts of water coming out of Bicheno Blowhole are unexpectedly powerful making it almost impossible to escape and not to get drenched.
Bicheno Blowhole on the East Coast of Tasmania
The East Coast of Tasmania, with the Bay of Fires in the north and the famous Freycinet National Park in the south, is home to Tasmania’s most popular driving route. Called Great Eastern Drive, the road goes through a stretch of aquamarine waters and secluded white sandy beaches sparsely dotted with seaside villages.
No trip to the East Coast is complete without a taste of the local produce, or more precisely, wine and fresh seafood – oysters, scallops, and Tasmanian rock lobsters. Inevitably, on our way from the Bay of Fires to Freycinet National Park, we stopped in Bicheno, a popular seaside resort town, for seafood. And for its blowhole.
The popular Bicheno Blowhole is easy to find. It’s located right next to the sea, along the sandy beaches and the rocks with a distinctive red colour as a result of lichen, the same found in the Bay of Fires. A diamond-shaped rock on the granite outcrop marks the location of Bicheno Blowhole.
It’s midday. The light is so harsh that photography is terrible.
If you are lucky, and the waves are big, this hole in the granite rocks shows its best action! The bursts of water coming out of the blowhole are powerful. Water can shoot up to 20 metres in the air, and it’s almost impossible to escape and not to get soaked by the unexpected wave.
While we were alone for a while watching these spectacular sprays of water, soon, more and more people started to arrive. Bicheno is a popular fishing town, both with tourists and locals, and everyone has a blowhole on the agenda.
Bicheno was not always a fishing town. It used to be a whaling port on the east coast of Tasmania known as Warbs Harbour. The harbour with its Waubs Bay were both named after Wauba Debar, an Aboriginal woman known for her brave rescue of two European men during a storm, and her grave is found in Bicheno. She was one of many Aboriginals enslaved by sealers and whalers during the European colonisation of Tasmania. The name of the town was later changed to Bicheno after James Ebenezer Bicheno, the British Colonial Secretary. The whalers and sealers were replaced by coal miners but the use of Bicheno as a coal port was short-lived as many miners left the town during the Victorian gold rush. Bicheno became a sleepy fishing village before recently becoming a popular beachside holiday town.
With tourists around, it became fun. Many hesitantly peer over the edge of the blowhole. Nothing happens for a while, their confidence grows only to have a powerful spray of water raining down on them and making them completely drenched. Unsuspecting the force of water, and cold water, they run away, too late, completely soaked.
Another group of people, cameras and phones at ready and prepared to get wet, is patiently waiting for the water to burst out between the rocks. Soon, their patience runs out and they put down their cameras, disappointed. And then, it blows!
East Coast Natureworld, Bicheno sanctuary for wildlife
Nearby, around 7 km from Bicheno, there is a local wildlife park, where we stopped by. Maybe not that big, the Natureworld is an opportunity to see many of Australia’s animals and birds in once place. It’s also a rare chance to see Tasmanian devils, the iconic symbol of Tasmania. These carnivorous marsupials, once native to mainland Australia, are now found in the wild only in Tasmania. But they are now considered endangered species. Since the late 1990s, the facial tumour disease has drastically reduced their population, and Tasmanian government are currently running different programmes to save the Tasmanian devils from extinction.
Although we missed the feeding time, the best time to see Tasmanian devils, we had other opportunities to see many of them. Errol even played with one for a while until being told that their teeth are like razors.
There are other typical Australian animals, including Bennett’s wallabies and kangaroos, some are more than friendly.
Location: Bicheno is located north of the Freycinet Peninsula on the east coast of Tasmania, an isolated island off Australia’s south coast. Bicheno is at the heart of the Great Eastern Drive.
How to get to Bicheno: The best way to see Tasmania is to hire a car. There are many local companies offering cheap car hire. Public transportation is widely available in Tasmania, but many areas are very time-consuming to reach using buses. Bicheno is located about 2h30 drive (177 km) from Hobart.
If you are still determined to use public transportation, you will find information on www.rome2rio.com. Bus services to Bicheno are available from Launceston and Hobart – Tassielink and Calows coaches.
How to get to East Coast Natureworld: East Coast Natureworld is located about 7 km north of Bicheno.
Accommodation: Wotif is a very popular website in Australia for finding hotel deals. AirBnB is another good option to find a nice place to stay – apartments are often less expensive than hotel rooms.
Sign up using this AirBnB link to get a discount on your first booking.
Besides being a nice beachside town, Bicheno can keep you busy for a while.
Great food. Bicheno is famous for its local produce, from fresh seafood, including crayfish, Australian salmon and abalone to local wines and award-winning tarts. If you are in Tasmania in November, Bicheno holds its annual Bicheno Food and Wine Festival.
Diving at Governor Island Marine Reserve. The Governor Island Marine Reserve is known as one the best diving sites in Australia. You will find information on Bicheno Dive Center.
Glass bottom boat tour. If you don’t dive, you can still see the local sealife on board of a glass bottom boat.
Famous Bicheno fairy penguin tours. These guided tours conducted at dusk at the protected private penguin rookery allow to see little fairy penguins return to their burrows after spending the whole day catching food in the sea.
Diamond Island Nature Reserve. Popular with nature lovers and bird watchers, this easily accessible island is home to little fairy penguins and local birds.
Rocking Rock. A huge 80 tonne piece of granite balanced so that it rocks with the movement of the tide. which is precariously balanced so that it rocks backwards and forwards with the movement of the tide.