27 November, 2019

Say hello to Bicheno, where penguins parade and the seafood’s A-grade!

This east coast town’s perfect for seaside holidays and springing into nearby Freycinet National Park.

Three hours’ drive south-east of Devonport, or two from Launceston, Bicheno welcomes anyone who loves the sea. A whaling station that became a fishing town, it’s also popular with visitors drawn to the natural wonders in its clear blue waters, and along the shore’s white-sand beaches and rugged rock formations.

What to see and do

One of the most popular options for visitors to Bicheno (pronounced ‘bish-en-oh’, in case you’re wondering!) is an official Penguin Tour. These cute little critters waddle up a secluded beach every day at dusk, in especially large numbers during their summer breeding season. Another favourite is the Glass Bottom Boat, which reveals Governor Island Marine Reserve’s kelp forest and sponge gardens. This underwater world, rich with creatures like purple anemones and yellow sea-spiders, is paradise for scuba divers, but there’s also plenty for swimmers and snorkelers to admire in sheltered Waubs Bay.

Fishing isn’t just for Bicheno’s professionals – try your luck from the shore or charter a boat. The surf’s often up at Redbill Beach, while the famous Blowhole shoots seawater up to 20 metres high. It’s the highlight on a seaside stroll that might also reveal dolphins and whales, while at low tide you can cross an isthmus to Diamond Island if you don’t mind getting a bit wet.

Bicheno Penguin Tours (Image: Bicheno Penguin Tours)
Bicheno Penguin Tours (Image: Bicheno Penguin Tours)

The family-run Natureworld sanctuary is home to numerous native animals such as bettongs, quolls and cockatoos. The extensive natural setting includes walk-through aviaries, a lagoon and an area dedicated to Tasmanian Devils – don’t miss their noisy feeding time! The closest you will likely get to seeing these endangered nocturnal creatures in the wild is with Bicheno’s Devils in the Dark experience. This tour takes you to 10 hectares of bushland where they roam virtually free but safe from danger.

Looking for more? There’s also the Motorcycle Museum’s 60-plus vintage wheels, and the Bicheno Food and Wine Festival each November.

Natureworld (Image: Natureworld)
Natureworld (Image: Natureworld)

Where to eat

If you like seafood you’re going to love Bicheno, where fresh-daily catches include southern rock lobsters, abalone, scallops and trevalla. Take your pick of the fishy business along the Esplanade, including Lobster Shack, which serves ‘em up whole, by the half and in lobster rolls, or The Wharf Fish & Chips (whose Tasmania Coastal Seafoods shop is gold for self-caterers).

Half Lobsters (Image: Lobster Shack)
Half Lobsters (Image: Lobster Shack)

Blue Edge Bakery is a sure bet for on-the-go sweet and savoury pastries, bread and cakes, or relax in the cafe – their cooked breakfasts are loved by locals and visitors alike. A deli, cafe and wine bar in one, Pasinis is also popular, from smashed avo and quality coffee to Tasmanian oysters and sparkling wine. The Pondering Frog Cafe hits the spot too, especially their handmade chocolate-coated berry ice-creams.

Pasinis (Image: Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman)
Pasinis (Image: Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman)

Where to shop

The Farm Shed East Coast Wine Centre offers tastings and sales of wines from 20 regional vineyards, as well as local spirits, gourmet products, arts and crafts.

If you’re looking for fun souvenirs and practical holiday items, from sunglasses to fishing gear, make a beeline for the Log Cabin Store. Long Point Surf Shop and Bicheno Surf have got you covered when its time to hang 10 or just get that beach-ready look.

What’s nearby?

Bicheno is between Douglas-Apsley and Freycinet national parks – get your parks pass on board Spirit of Tasmania or from Bicheno Visitor Information Centre. Most East Coast Wine Trail cellar doors, including Freycinet Vineyard and Devil’s Corner, are also just up the road. Want a break from driving? Whether you’re into wine or outdoor adventure, Bicheno’s Tiger Adventure Tours’ half and full-day experiences will be tasty because your driver’s also a chef!

Bicheno (Image: Pete Harmsen)
Bicheno (Image: Pete Harmsen)


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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