Montana Wolf

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Bay of Fires Sparks the Soul

Bay of Fires and the Tasman Sea
Tasmania Blog Five

Bay of Fires here we come! -- but not before some unplanned stops. It was the road trip shuffle.

Miles of vineyards overlook the sea in this part of Tas
We were almost past the entrance when we swerved into Devils Corner winery. It's all in the name, right? And there was plenty of parking. We hit the tasting room first. Tasmania is making it's mark with fine wines and I was about to find out first hand. I was so impressed I bought four bottles for gifts. It seemed a grand idea at the time. I would later doubt my choice as my luggage got heavier and heavier. As in, "Christina, there are so many light and easy things you can bring back!" No argument, a taste of Tas it was.

We pulled out of Devils Corner and headed toward Bicheno. But first we turned off for a gander at a historic stone bridge with formidable stone spikes protruding from the top. No one knew if they were for livestock or people. The bridge's function remained a mystery.

I turned the pages of Lonely Planet for lunch places in Bicheno. We were passing places left and right when I spotted a familiar name: Pasini's: "antipasto plates, wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas and 'Ooomph' fresh roasted coffee. We'd just dropped into heaven. I ordered an antipasto board that was, hands down, one of the most flavorful meals EV-aaa. I asked to buy their fresh ground coffee and even though they didn't sell it tthey fixed me up a container. We topped off the lunch with a lemon cheesecake so light it floated down the gullet.

Fresh smoked salmon, fresh-made mozzarella, homemade bread, prosciutto, ham, fresh calamari, a dolmada, marinated olives, spiced marinated tomatoes ... every taste a foodie high
It may seem that $22 Australian (about $17 US) was a lot to pay for this lunch until one remembers there is no tax and one does not tip in Tas. Wages are good! Restaurant service and demeanor was consistently the best I have experienced in any country. People are happy here and it shows. (They also have free health care.)

Up the coast we continued, pulling off once more to take a short beach walk. It was a nondescript pullout with a narrow path to the sea. A few steps revealed one fisherman, an unforgettable sea view and shells like that I have never seen.

We arrived Bay of Fires late afternoon. We searched out the boondocking area beyond St. Helens, north toward The Gardens. After a couple unsuccessful tries (campsites maxed out,) we pulled into Cosy Cove and found a primo spot with privacy. Bay of Fires was described as 18-mile long "sweep of powder white sand and crystal-clear sea." I could not believe the scene that unfolded before me as I topped a small knoll. In all my world travels I'd not see a beach this spectacular. Fine white sand like gypsum. Lichen draped rocks that glowed like neon.

Greg sat and breathed in the sea while I walked up the beach. I spied a couple on a rock taking photos and was curious what they were doing. A twenty minute walk and climb delivered me to their sides. I asked if they were rangers. The man smiled. No, he said, he was an aboriginal descendant. His wife pointed her camera into a cleft in a rock where she photographed a sea rat. Rare to see them, she said. We began to talk of our passions for the planet and the wild as I shared a bit of my life. He explained that Bay of Fires was named for the line of fires lit along the shores by his people when the Bay was first seen by explorers. He began to tell me a near by aboriginal site he had discovered, looked in my face and asked if I had time ... he would take me there. Time? Linear time would not get in the way of this meeting.

It wasn't far. We hiked inland up a sandy wash and around a couple of curves to a circular area that unfolded before us. He explained how he was certain this was a permanent settlement. He pointed out the trees and bushes by name and how they would have supplied food and medicines in addition to the bounty from the Tasman Sea. He described cleared out spaces in the center of the area, and how they would have been used. I was in awe; deeply thankful for his time and care. I could tell you would appreciate this, he said, I saw it in your eyes. I did not want our encounter to end as the sun slipped down. We hugged our goodbyes and I turned and walked down the beach, drinking in the magic. From penguins to Aboriginals, synchronicity was in play.

In praise of the ephemeral

We welcomed dawn with Ooomph espresso on the beach. We found high tide sitting rocks to feel the power of the waves, thrilling until a big one swept us off the perch and soaked us good. Laughs galore. I found a calmer spot for  tai-chi-like meditation to the sun and the four directions; then we returned to the van and packed. My Aboriginal friend had told me not to miss The Gardens before we departed. We were on our way to the end of the road.

The Gardens: 

The Lagoons along the way ...

Tasmanian Pelicans!


Tasmanian Black Swans

Black Cockatoo, Greg's spirit bird

Cockatoo in flight


The Gardens: from calm to raucous

Who goes there??

Ms. Wallaby!

Imagine fires burning as far as the eye could see: Goodbye Bay of Fires

Goodbye Aboriginal Friends


  1. WOW! What beautiful photos. The food looks good too.


    1. The food was an unexpected surprise. Culinary delights everywhere, right down to the fresh scallop pies. Organic food stands all along the roads.

  2. What a fabulous trip, so full of magic!

  3. Thank you Beth. I know you were right along with me. Do you have similar wildlife?

  4. Amazing and magical trip, captured with these beautiful photos and your writings! Thanks Christina for sharing your life!

    Mary Fay

  5. Such beauty and wonder in your life. Love reading about your fearless journeys in life.

  6. Thanks for sharing this amazing place with us. Now I have a new entry on my bucket list!! Love, Brooke

    1. Heartfelt thanks, Brooke. Indeed ... I want to return. And I pray that you will journey to these magical lands.