Binalong Bay, Tasmania: Best. Campsite. Ever.

The mountain included a drive to see the local wildlife, but they are most active around dusk and dawn, and we had made it to the park around lunchtime. We took the Kangaroo Drive into the park to do a short walk to the top of Mt. William. The weather hadn’t gotten any worse, but the low-lying clouds of the overcast sky prevented us from seeing anything spectacular.

There were other sights in the area, like some sand dunes and a lighthouse, but the weather really made the decision for us. We hadn’t been very impressed so far by the park, so the decision was made to press on. We headed south towards St. Helens and the Bay of Fires, one of the best coastal areas in Tasmania and according to some of our leaflets, the world.

Tasmanians seem to be rather proud of their attractions, and all the leaflets we read usually said that whatever-it-was was the best _____ in the southern hemisphere, or the highest _______ in Australia.

St. Helens is certainly a one-street town. You know how most small towns in the US are so described by counting the number of traffic lights? Well we drove for about a week before seeing a single stoplight. And St. Helens was no different. The town survives on it’s tourism and fishing industries, but was relatively quiet both times we drove down the main street.

We stopped by the St. Helens visitor center to see what were the must-see sights in the area. Then we drove up the coast to an area called the Bay of Fires and got out to look around. The sky had started to clear from the west and we got some peaks of light as the sun set. A major attraction of the Bay of Fires (so called because of aboriginal fires the first explorers saw as they came upon the bay) were the rocks along the shore that had been colored different shades of orange by sediment in the water.

I really liked the contrast on this one, from the shades of gray to the almost neon colored orange. Also the pattern on the lower half — as the water cut what looks like bubbles into the rock.

Jake (pictured) may or may not have just finished peeing on the rocks.

After taking an absurd number of pictures of orange-colored rocks, we headed back down the coast to find a campsite. We drove through a few  — packed with other campers — and finally found one that had campsites spread out in a row lining the beach, with clear views over low vegetation of the beach and water on one side, and the mountains on the other.

The sun kisses the vegetation and water as it sets below the mountains. This is looking right from the campsite …

And this is looking left, towards the Bay of Fires.

The bay was called Binalong Bay and we all agreed later that it was the best campsite we had found on the trip. The skies to the west had cleared enough to give us some spectacular sunset shots as the day drew to a close. We cooked our spaghetti, drank our Carlton Colds (and polished off the leftover Boag’s Draughts) and marveled at our good fortune.

The sunset actually makes the car look a little better, doesn’t it?

My favorite sunset shot, the sky looked like it had been set on fire.

That night on Binnalong Bay, as I sat near the beach, putting a few cold ones back with the guys, surrounded by towering mountains, a picturesque beach and the sound of waves crashing against the shore, I actually worried that I would have to end the trip early and head back to Melbourne, hoping I wouldn’t win the auction for Australian Open tickets. Normally, I would have put all my time into watching the auction and ensuring I was the winner, but it’s something about these road trips that can easily change your tune: the Aussie Open is held every year, but this trip would only happen once in a lifetime. Tennis could wait.

Although you can probably already figure it out, stay tuned to find out if I won the auction. Oh, and there’s a beer-drinking pig too.

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