St Helens & Stiegiltz

St Helens is a melting pot of the industries that support the neighboring townships. It is the largest township in the municipality and is very proud to be the gatekeeper to the many adventures awaiting throughout the area.  Located 260 kilometers  north of Hobart and 172 kilometers east of Launceston, St Helens is ideally located as your next place to stay and relax after exploring the hustle and bustle of Tasmania’s larger centres.

The seaside town of St Helens is the largest town and administrative centre of the north-east region. Lying within easy distance of a treasure trove of natural attractions including Peron Dunes just past Stieglitz and Akaroa.  St Helens makes an ideal base for exploring the spectacular north-east region with the Trail of the Tin Dragon, Mt William National Park, Bicheno, Freycinet National Park, the Bay of Fires and the Fingal Valley all being within a 120km radius of St Helens.

St Helens Marina

Discover the region’s charms and learn about the rich history, superb natural attractions and people of this remote and beautiful corner of Tasmania. For the experience four wheel drive enthusiast, why not visit hidden locations far off the beaten track that are inaccessible to the majority of tourists with endless tracks and roads ready to feel the tread of your tires. Why not sand board down Peron Dunes or if soaking up the sun is more your style, stretch out on Beer Barrel Beach and let the day slip by.

Chamber Sand Dunes

St Helens has a variety of accommodation options on offer, from upmarket resorts and bed and breakfasts to hotel accommodation, cosy seaside cottages, stylish 21st century holiday homes, cute fisherman’s cabins, and caravan and camping parks.

The bustling town centre boasts two supermarkets, an array of quaint shops selling everything from antiques to handcrafts, several cafes and restaurants and an enticing chocolate shop that is a chocaholic’s dream come true.  Rent a movie, visit the town’s surf and sporting goods shops, try your hand at golf, challenge the kids to chip ‘n’ putt, explore the stone fruit orchard, find hidden treasures in the gallery’s and bric-a-brac shops, get set for a days fishing at the fishing and tackle shops, or enjoy a cool ale at the pub or RSL.  You’ll find all other amenities in town too, including a library, on-line access centre, pharmacy, hospital, banks and other important community services.

St Helens port bustles with fishing boats, which ply the waters of Georges Bay as well as the outlying reef and continental shelf 30 nautical miles off-shore for the fresh seafood for which St Helens is famous.

Jetty in Moulting Bay, St Helens

Seafood aficionados encounter heaven-on-earth at St Helens: oyster farms near Binalong Bay grows these plump, delicious molluscs, which are highly sought-after in upmarket eateries across Tasmania and the mainland; mussels farmed in the pristine waters are the freshest you’ll find anywhere; you can feast on fresh-cooked fish at the local fish and chip shop, or purchase just-caught seafood from the town’s local fishmongers.

The History Room is an excellent source of regional information. Housed in the St Helens History & Visitor Information Centre, the History Room features fascinating displays and books of Aboriginal history and more recent history of European settlement, including tin mining, farming and fishing. Friendly staff will help with any amount of information on the region, provide maps of local walks, and assist family researchers tracking down family history via an extensive genealogy library.

The glorious beaches around St Helens and Georges Bay are ideal for swimming, with access to some of the purest waters on the planet: St Georges Bay features 50 kilometers of shoreline, so visitors are guaranteed to find a quiet spot to relax by the gentle waters of the bay at any time of the year.

History

St Helens and the Bay of Fires have a long and interesting history that started back in 1773 when Captain Tobias Furneaux, sailing aboard the ‘Adventure’ marveled at the fires of the aboriginal natives along the coastline. Hence the name ‘Bay of Fires’.

Although Furneaux did not touch land at this point, the naming of the area was one of the first imprints on the area by ‘the white fella’ and was closely followed by his naming of Georges Bay and St Helens Point after St Helens on the Isle of Wight.

In the early 1800’s, St Helens, then known as Georges Bay, was used by whalers and sealers, but it wasn’t  until tin was discovered in the surrounding areas in the 1870’s that St Helens became a vital shipping port for the mines. The first land grant was issued in 1830 and in 1835, the burgeoning township was renamed St Helens.

As the tin mines closed, leaving just one or two in production until the early 1990’s, the workers mainly settled into town life in St Helens. The final mine, Anchor Mine, closed only to be reopened in the mid 80’s but the venture was not successful. The remnants of the mine remain with the stories of blood, sweat and tears enthralling many a visitor to the St Helens Visitor Information Centre where you can see a working example of the Anchor Stampers – an incredibly detailed replica made by hand by Jack Sutton.

The Chinese played a large part in our history and their heritage is celebrated on the Trail of the Tin Dragon, and explosion of colour and interactive points between St Helens and Launceston via Derby and everywhere in between. The starting point is the St Helens History Room where you are greeted by a huge mural and a life size fire breathing dragon.

From tin, St Helens moved to timber and fishing and in most recent times, St Helens and the greater surrounds rely predominantly upon fishing and tourism.

And if you have too many things to do and not enough time, then you simply must return and visit again!

Check out our sample itineraries:

3 DAY ROAD TRIP

http://gobehindthescenery.com.au/itinerary/3day-east-coast

 7 DAY ADVENTURE

http://gobehindthescenery.com.au/itinerary/7day-east-coast

14 DAY INDULGENCE

http://gobehindthescenery.com.au/itinerary/14day-coast-to-coast