Bicheno, the jewel of Tasmania’s East Coast, situated north of the Freycinet Peninsula, is a picturesque seaside town famous for its sandy beaches, mild climate and its penguin residents. There’s plenty to do there with scenic walks to Rocking Rock, the Blowhole and along the sandbar to Diamond Island Nature Reserve. The Governor Island Marine Reserve has some of the best diving spots in Australia, with kelp-covered reefs and spectacular sponge gardens.
For foodies, there’s a bounty of fresh seafood in this fishing town, from crayfish, abalone to delicious Australian salmon. The Farm Shed in the centre of town stocks a good range of East Coast wines and other local delights to sample.
Cod Rock Point is the pick of the quality places to stay and is centrally located with an enviable position right on the waterfront.
The private Cod Rock garden leads to a beach track where there are rock seats, perfect for experiencing the flow and moods of the ocean and enjoying an evening glass of wine. Guests may encounter the delightful company of shy resident Fairy penguins who may wander through the garden to their nest.
These little creatures are diurnal and spend the largest part of their day swimming and foraging at sea. During the breeding and chick-rearing seasons, little penguins leave their nest at sunrise, forage for food throughout the day and return to their nests just after dusk to feed their young. The shy little penguins only move around on land after sunset when their land predators are sleeping. Penguins are seabirds that don’t fly; they have a beak, feathers and lay eggs in burrows.
They gather together on the water’s edge before making a dash up the beach to their burrows. Cod Rock hosts David and Dinky suggest it’s best to stay away from the beach and the rocks as they are trying to return as they may get scared away, so try not to get between the water’s edge and the burrows. Also, be very aware of your surroundings so penguins or burrows are not accidentally trampled. Keep still and quiet when waiting for the penguins to return from a day’s feeding and only use dim, red lights to watch the penguins – a special torch has been provided in the apartments.
Some interesting facts
Cod Rock/Bicheno Location
Conveniently located at the heart of the Great Eastern Drive Bicheno is a 2 hr 30-min drive (182 km) north-east of Hobart (about 20 mins from Freycinet National Park) and approximately 2 hours drive from Launceston.
What’s great about the winter months in Bicheno
• The average day time temp from June – September is around 14 or 15 degrees, very mild and perfect for walking.
• Tasmania’s East Coast has far fewer rainy days in winter than summer, or for that matter, anywhere else in the state.
• There are far fewer people on the walking tracks.
• It’s completely possible to walk any of the beaches and have them entirely to yourself. If you’re brave enough take a quick skinny dip, we guarantee you will feel more awake than you have all year!
• The sunsets are magical.
• There is a chance to spot some whales. They visit briefly, heading north during the cooler months of June and July. Visitors include Southern Right, Humpback, Pilot and very occasionally Minkys. Also common are bottle nose dolphins.
• Wildlife is more adventurous with fewer people around, penguins, wallabies and possums venture regularly into yards and public spaces.
• For photographers…. the light. You know what we mean. Winter light is amazing. The rock formations along the coastline are spectacular; and sunrise and sunset shots are much more convenient when the days are shorter!
• It gets darker earlier, which is the perfect excuse to curl up with a book and a glass of wine and enjoy a few quiet, cosy nights in.