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Whale Watching Wonderland: A 3-Day Tasmanian Costal Campervan Roadtrip

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Greetings, fellow adventurers! Today, we embark on a journey of a lifetime as we explore the breathtaking wonders of Tasmania with lutruwita, our fully off grid van. Our destination? The pristine East Coast of Tasmania, where we'll indulge in the mesmerizing spectacle of whale watching while immersing ourselves in the rugged beauty of this island paradise.

About Whale watching in Tasmania


Tasmania, enveloped by the Southern Ocean and the Tasman Sea, stands as a premier destination for whale watching, offering an opportunity to witness a diverse array of fascinating whale species.

Photo of a humpback whale jumping out of the water in Coles Bay
Credit: Tourism Tasmania & bodhiimages

Among these;

  • Southern Right Whales, distinguished by their head callosities adorned with barnacles, grace the Tasmanian coastline during migration, notably in areas like Coles Bay and Frederick Henry Bay.

  • Humpback Whales, easily recognizable by their long pectoral fins and distinctive arching humps, migrate through Tasmanian waters, showcasing captivating behaviors.

  • Orcas, also known as killer whales, occasionally make appearances, revealing their intelligence and social structure, providing thrilling moments during whale-watching tours.

  • Minke Whales, characterized by their acrobatic leaps, add a touch of playfulness to the waters,

  • Blue Whales, the largest animals on Earth, present awe-inspiring spectacles with their distinctive mottled blue-gray coloration.

  • Pygmy Right Whales, smaller in size and unique in jaw structure, offer a fascinating encounter for those fortunate enough to spot them in the Southern Ocean.

Remember that the best times for whale watching in Tasmania typically coincide with the whales' migration seasons, which vary depending on the species. Conservation efforts in Tasmania also promote responsible whale watching to ensure minimal disturbance to these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.


Day 1: Whale Retreat in Great Oyster Bay

Aerial Photo of Freycinet and wineglass bay
Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Peter Bellingham

As we hit the road in our cozy van, the scenic coastal drive to Great Oyster Bay offers a taste of Tasmania's diverse landscapes. The bay, with its crystal-clear waters and stunning coastal vistas, serves as a tranquil haven where visitors can embark on guided whale-watching excursions. Against the backdrop of the Hazards mountain range and the Freycinet Peninsula, the bay becomes a prime location for spotting majestic marine giants such as Humpback and Southern Right Whales during their migrations.


These whale-watching tours in Great Oyster Bay provide an intimate connection with nature, allowing enthusiasts to witness the incredible displays of these gentle behemoths in a serene and breathtaking maritime environment. Whether from the deck of a boat or the shores of the bay, the combination of panoramic views and awe-inspiring whale sightings creates an unforgettable experience in this Tasmanian coastal gem.


Camping

Mayfield Bay free campsite at sunset
Credit: Ash Thomson Photography

We recommend camping at Mayfield Bay which offers an immersive escape into the pristine coastal beauty of Tasmania, offering a tranquil haven for nature enthusiasts seeking a seaside retreat. Nestled along the east coast, Mayfield Bay boasts secluded camping sites that provide a perfect blend of serenity and natural splendor. Set up your tent amidst the sheltering eucalyptus trees and wake up to the soothing sounds of the ocean waves lapping against the rugged shoreline.


As the sun sets, the bay transforms into a spectacle of colors, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink. With its unspoiled sandy shores and proximity to the Bay of Fires, camping at Mayfield Bay offers an idyllic setting for stargazing, beachcombing, and reconnecting with the essence of coastal Tasmania. Whether you're a solo adventurer or sharing the experience with loved ones, Mayfield Bay provides an unforgettable camping experience, immersing you in the untamed beauty of this Tasmanian coastal gem.

Photo of a Tasmanian dolphin swimmming next to a boat in Freycinet national park, tasmania
Credit: Tourism Australia

Here, we take a leisurely hike for panoramic views before returning to the van for a gourmet meal prepared in our fully-equipped kitchenette. The following morning, we woke up to the soothing sounds of the waves and, from the van's elevated vantage point, spotted a pod of dolphins gracefully dancing in the morning light. Freycinet's rugged beauty and the serenity of the van life allowed for an immersive connection with nature, creating cherished memories of a unique whale-watching escapade along Tasmania's pristine coastline.


Day 2: Whale Watching Extravaganza in Coles Bay

Coles bay with freycinet national park in the background taken from a drone/aerial perspective
Credit: Jason Charles Hill

Today, we set our sights on Coles Bay, known for its prime whale-watching opportunities. Embarking on whale tours in Freycinet is a mesmerizing exploration into the marine wonders of Tasmania's east coast. Guided by seasoned experts, these tours offer an immersive experience, allowing visitors to witness the majestic migrations of Southern Right and Humpback Whales against the backdrop of the iconic Freycinet National Park. Setting sail from Coles Bay, the tours navigate the pristine coastal waters, unveiling the beauty of these colossal creatures as they breach and play in their natural habitat. The knowledgeable guides enhance the adventure by sharing insights into the whales' behaviors, migrations, and the local marine ecosystem.


Dolphin watching boat tour in Tasmania
Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Joe Shemesh

Whether from the deck of a boat or a vantage point along the stunning coastline, each whale tour in Freycinet promises an unforgettable encounter with these gentle giants, creating cherished memories amid the breathtaking landscapes of one of Tasmania's most renowned natural treasures. Some of the Tasmanian companies that offer whale & dolphins watching tours:

Camping


Camping at Friendly Beaches Campground is a gateway to the untamed beauty of Freycinet National Park, offering a unique blend of coastal tranquility and natural wonders. Nestled within the park, this campground provides an ideal setting for camping enthusiasts, with well-equipped sites surrounded by native vegetation. As the sun dips below the horizon, the pristine white sands of Friendly Beaches transform into a canvas of colors, creating a serene backdrop for a campfire under the starlit sky.

It's essential to obtain a National Park Pass for entry into Freycinet National Park, allowing you to explore the diverse landscapes, including the iconic Wineglass Bay. This pass not only grants access to the campground but also supports conservation efforts to preserve the park's unique ecosystems. Camping at Friendly Beaches, combined with a National Park Pass, promises an immersive experience in one of Tasmania's most cherished natural treasures, where each day unveils new coastal wonders and the serenity of the great outdoors.


Day 3: East Coast Magic – Bicheno to Bay of Fires


Continuing our journey along the East Coast, we make our way to the charming town of Bicheno. Here, we explore the little blue penguins before heading further north to the renowned Bay of Fires. Our van becomes our mobile oasis, providing a comfortable haven amidst the coastal beauty.

Humpback whale jumpin int Tasmania near Bichemo
Credit: Tourism Tasmania & bodhiimages

Whale watching in Bicheno and the Bay of Fires, promises a unique and enchanting experience. Bicheno, a charming coastal town, serves as a popular whale-watching hub, particularly during the annual migrations of Humpback and Southern Right Whales. Numerous tour operators based in Bicheno offer guided excursions, providing visitors with opportunities to witness the whales' majestic displays against the backdrop of the Tasman Sea. The tours, often led by knowledgeable marine guides, may include the use of hydrophones to listen to the captivating sounds of the whales beneath the surface, enhancing the overall immersive experience.

Aerial photo of orange roacks on a calm day in Bay of Fires
Credit: Stu Gibson

Moving north to the renowned Bay of Fires, famous for its pristine beaches and distinctive orange-hued granite rocks, whale watching becomes a magical part of the coastal scenery. The Bay of Fires is occasionally visited by migrating whales, and the elevated viewpoints along the coastline offer excellent opportunities for spotting these marine giants from the shore. The combination of the Bay of Fires' stunning landscapes and the thrill of encountering whales creates a truly memorable experience.

Camping

Drone photo of a campervan camping on Taylors Beach, Bay of Fires, Tasmania.
Credit: She Who Explores

Camping at Cosy Corner South Campground unveils a unique blend of comfort and rugged coastal beauty along Tasmania's shores. Nestled in the heart of nature, this campground provides an ideal setting for those seeking a self-sufficient camping experience. Park lutruwita amidst the coastal heath, and as the sun sets over the Southern Ocean, immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surrounding environment. With the convenience of off-grid capabilities, you can enjoy the pristine simplicity of the campsite without sacrificing modern comforts. The rhythmic sounds of the ocean serve as a soothing backdrop to your night, creating an intimate connection with the raw beauty of Cosy Corner South.


As our unforgettable journey concludes, we bid farewell to Tasmania with a heart full of memories. lutruwita allowed us to experience the magic of whale watching, explore coastal wonders, and immerse ourselves in the wild beauty of Tasmania—all in the lap of luxury. So, fellow explorers, if you seek a perfect blend of adventure and comfort, Tasmania awaits with open arms and the promise of a van life like no other. Cheers to a year of incredible travels, and here's to many more adventures on the horizon! 🚐✨

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