So, you’ve been to MONA, driven to the top of kunyani/Mt Wellington to admire the stunning views and wandered Salamanca Market on a Saturday morning. You’ve probably also done a couple of days trips out of Hobart to Port Arthur, Mt Field and Bruny Island. But, have you explored Hobart’s Eastern Shore, the other side of the Derwent River from the city, which starts when you cross the Tasman Bridge?
Often neglected by visitors, the Eastern Shore has a lot to offer. It has Hobart’s best beaches, the Coal River Valley wine region, some great restaurants and cafes, Hobart’s best views (looking back at the city and the mountain), and a long list of activities to experience.
Hobart's tourist number have grown dramatically in recent times. This has coincided with the expansion of the shared economy, which has opened up accommodation options all over the city, including the Eastern Shore. Consequently, visitors are increasingly finding themselves staying in this part of town.
Well, here’s how you can spend three excellent days on the Eastern side of the river and not have to cross the Tasman Bridge. All three days are spent within the local government area of Clarence, so the terms Clarence and Eastern Shore refer to the same place.* (See map at the bottom for the location of the main places mentioned in this post).
Note: bolded text are hyperlinks to relevant websites for that subject.
Day 1: Explore the Beaches and Coastline
Start your day with breakfast at one of the eateries at Bellerive Village while admiring the marina and ambiance of beautiful Kangaroo Bay.
Next, head out along the South Arm Highway to Clifton Beach, Hobart’s best surf beach.
After a swim or surf take a walk up the beach to commanding Cape Deslacs and up to the viewing platform situated amongst a shearwater rookery. You can see all the way to the Tasman Peninsula from here.
Returning to the highway continue to South Arm. Stop to check out the coastal vistas at South Arm Recreation Area.
End your drive at Opossum Bay, which is almost at the end of the road. This is one of Hobart’s prettiest beaches. It’s usually calm waters and great views back towards the city and mountain make for an excellent picnic spot. If you didn’t bring a picnic lunch with you can grab a bite at the Opossum Bay Store or Ye Olde South Arm Store.
In summer Opossum Bay can be busy (by Tasmanian standards, which isn’t very busy) so, if you want somewhere a bit quieter, you can go to the nearby small beach in Blessington Street, South Arm Beach or Hope Beach.
If you prefer sedate beaches without a lot of surf the coast from Lauderdale via Roches Beach to Seven Mile Beach is for you. All or part of this stretch can also be done as an easy coastal day walk. Click here for our post on the Roches Beach to Seven Mile Beach Trail.
Finish your beach day by purchasing some fish and chips at one of a number of local take-aways and enjoy it in a park, such as Bellerive Beach Park beside Bellerive Cricket Ground (Blundstone Arena).
To help settle that delicious, hearty breakfast drive the short distance from Lindisfarne to Geilston Bay to do the short walk to Shag Bay and back.
It’s now time for a bit of history, so take a drive to Richmond, one of Tasmania’s oldest settlements.
Richmond was a convict station and military post. It is home to Australia’s oldest bridge built in 1823 by convicts.
The Richmond Gaol and Historic Site is worth a visit, as is the Old Hobart Town Model Village.
Or you can just stroll the streets admiring the Georgian architecture.
Whenever we go to Richmond we grab something to eat at the Richmond Bakery and enjoy it on the village green.
Make your way back to Hobart via the Southern Tasmanian Wine Route. This runs through the Coal River Valley between Richmond and Cambridge (a suburb of Hobart near the airport). There are many wineries in the valley. Some operate on-site restaurants and even accommodation. Click here for a guide to what’s on offer.
With all that wine, cheese and fruit, as well as the bread you bought at Richmond Bakery, it’s time for a picnic at one of Clarence’s many pleasant parks. With river and mountain views two of our favourites are Simmons Park at Lindisfarne and Montagu Bay Park beside the primary school.
But there are many more and this handy link to part of the Clarence Council website not only lists the parks but shows you what facilities are available. Click Here http://www.ccc.tas.gov.au/parks Facilities include barbeques, skate ramps, fenced areas for small children, fitness equipment, cycling, play equipment and toilets.
Day 3: Let’s Get Active
After all that eating and drinking yesterday it’s time for some exercise today.
Start the day with a continental breakfast at your accommodation then choose your favoured activity to build up a sweat. Here are some options, and yes, they are all still in Clarence.
Cycling: Cycle the Eastern Shore Cycleway. It follows the river 12 kilometres from Howrah in the south to Geilston Bay in the north. It is family friendly, safe and free.
Mountain Biking: If the cycleway is a bit too tame for you then you could head out to Clarence Mountain Bike Park. This consists of a network of trails in the Meehan Range (the hills to the north of the Tasman Highway as you go to or from the airport). This area is much drier than kunany/Mt Wellington (which also has mountain bike trails but can get boggy in winter), so is rideable all year around. Trails are graded green (beginners), blue (intermediate) and black (advanced), so all levels are catered for. And it’s free too. For more details click on this link.
Golf: There are number of courses to choose from in Clarence. These include Rosny Park, Llanherne, Royal Hobart, Tasmanian Golf Club, Richmond and Richmond Valley. If you need to warm up before your round there’s a golf driving range near the airport and a putt putt course at Cambridge, if you’d prefer.
Walking: If you didn’t get to Shag Bay yesterday then now’s your chance. But if you did there are many more picturesque short walks. One of our favourites is the circuit around Risdon Brook Dam, where you can walk, jog or ride the 4 kilometres. We also recommend the Lauderdale to Seven Mile trail, and South Arm Peninsula Trail. Clarence Council lists 26 short walks (under 2.5 hours) and 6 longer walks (around half a day), as well as a number of Historic Walks, including the 12km Charles Darwin Trail, which follows a route he took on a visit to Hobart in 1836. Click here for a link for more detailed information and maps on the various walks.
Water sports: We’ve already mentioned the beaches for surfing and swimming, but the Eastern Shore also has an undercover heated facility – Clarence Aquatic Centre, where you can do your regular regime of laps, or just take the kids for a dip. Sailing, kayaking and boating are all popular in Clarence which has numerous boat ramps.
Parks: Whether it’s somewhere for the kids to play or a place for the grown ups to kick a footy about there are many public parks to check out. Some of the best, especially if you have kids, are Simmons Park (Lindisfarne) Bellerive Beach Park, Wentworth Park (Howrah) and Anzac Park (Lindisfarne). There are also seven skate parks. Again, there’s detailed information about all parks in the district and the facilities available on the Clarence Council website. Click here. http://www.ccc.tas.gov.au/parks
Ok, it’s time to wind down after all that exercise. If you’re in the mood for a movie there’s a Village Cinema complex at Rosny Park.
For exhibitions and performances there is a regular program of events at the historic Rosny Barn.
And if you happen to be here in late February there is the week-long Clarence Jazz Festival.
As you’ve cruised around Clarence over the last three days you’ve no doubt realised that some of Hobart’s most spectacular views are from this side of the river. We think the best spots for a classic view of kunanyi/Mt Wellington are Rosny Hill Scenic Lookout, Bellerive Bluff, Ralphs Bay (Lauderdale), and Opossum Bay/South Arm.
Sunrise provides the best views looking west to the mountain as the sun rises from the east. But, it’s still a pretty good option to take up position with a glass of Tassie wine in hand and watch the sun set. You’ll still be sitting in sunshine when the city on the western side of the river is in shadow. Yes, that’s right, the Eastern Shore also has Hobart’s best weather!
Hopefully, by now, we’ve convinced you that there is plenty to see and do on Hobart’s beautiful Eastern Shore. Much of what we have described here is low cost or free. And we’ve only touched on some of the possibilities. So, when planning your Tasmanian holiday be sure to factor in some time in Clarence. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Ken and Cally
1. We live on the Eastern Shore and operate a small Airbnb studio apartment. Click here if you want to know more.
2. Businesses mentioned are ones we have personally used and found to be good. We have not received any payment for these recommendations.