St. Helens is the largest of Tasmania's northeast coastal towns. The town overlooks Georges Bay which is a popular destination for chartered fishing. The waters near St. Helens are teeming with deep sea delights such as marlin, lobster, albacore and yellowfin tuna. Underwater caves and kelp forests feed a dazzling population of colourful fish which beckons divers. As the state's second largest fishing port, St. Helens attracts ocean-loving tourists from all over the world.
The jaw-dropping beaches of the Bay of Fires have made Lonely Planet's top-10 regions of the world, and the southern end of those beaches is only a few kilometres from St. Helens. Situated just a few minutes from Binalong Bay, St. Helens is the perfect land and sea adventure destination.
St. Helens sits 164 kilometres east of Launceston and 252 kilometers northeast of Hobart. There is no direct road from Launceston, but a combination of the Midland and Esk Highways will take you there.
St. Helens is a small town with a laid-back vibe, but this small town has all the amenities that any big town has to offer. The coastal town is littered with restaurants, bar and shops, and is a great place for people watching. Grab a seat, a pint and some freshly caught seafood to watch the ships roll in on the harbour.
The main income for St. Helens is the fishing industry. The economy is also driven by nearby timber. But much of the town's money comes from the tourism industry, so you'll find plenty of adventure charters, souvenir shops and accommodations. And the locals appreciate the business with a friendly smile.
St. Helens is one of Australia's best ecotourism destinations and is a must-visit for any outdoor adventurer. It's easy to toggle back and forth between laidback beach days and more invigorating ocean days.
The pristine waters of the Bay of Fires are just a short drive away from St. Helens. The stunning white sands, moss-covered boulders and crystal clear waters make the Bay of Fires a world famous beach destination. Visitors also like the 1-hour return walk to St. Helens Point overlooking the Peron Dunes where you can join beachgoers as they watch surfers battle the waves.
In town, you'll find all sorts of adventure outfitters. Chartered fishing boats take you out to the abundant waters beyond the bay for a day battling marlin on the line. Or you can squeeze into a wetsuit to explore the kelp forests which keeps the fishing industry vibrant. Image thank to: Tourism Tasmania & Warren Steptoe (Fishing) and Tourism Tasmania and Dan Fellow (Sand dunes)
You'll have to drive to this coastal destination. St. Helens is 3 hours north of Hobart by car, but it's recommended to take an extra 30 minutes of driving to take the scenic route along the southeast coast. The overland drive from Devonport is the same 3 hours. And while St Helens looks close to Launceston on a map, it's more than a 2-hour drive because there are no direct roads.
You can find just about any type of accommodation in town and most come with beautiful ocean views of the Tasman Sea. St. Helens is a small town despite the tourism industry, so accommodation is abundant and large resort hotels won't get in the way of your stunning views. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Mark Lane (Hotel view)
Most of the restaurants and shops are on Cecilia Street in the heart of town. Seafood is abundant and fresh from the local fishing industry making St. Helens a seafood-lovers paradise.
Captain Tobias Furneaux was the first European to explore what would become St. Helens back in 1773. The captain sailed to the south end of Georges Bay and names the peninsula St Helens Point. A small settlement grew in the area and was known as Georges Bay while the local Aborigines were known as the Georges Bay Tribe.
The town was renamed St. Helens in 1935 after an official land grant. It was originally a whaling and sealing port back in the 19th century. Tin was soon discovered in the nearby hills in the 1870's which forced the coastal town to become a mining port. The economic explosion from the tin industry opened up the first road to St. Helens which had previously only been accessible by ship.
The tin mines prospered until the dawn of the 20th Century. Miners settled into the coastal towns after the mines dried up and over 1,000 migrant Asian miners had a significant cultural impact on the area. Now St. Helens is a fishing port with an abundant tourism industry.
St. Helens boasts a mild temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are incredibly nice with sunny days and highs in the low 20's Celsius. The ocean waters insulate the town of St. Helens keeping the winter temperatures warmer and summer temperatures cooler than inland areas. It rains in St. Helens throughout the year and peaks slightly during winter. Needless to say, you'll need a wet-suit for your adventure diving in the Tasman Sea. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy
There's a nice walk from the scenic St. Helens Point to Beer Barrell Beach where you can see the impressive Peron Dunes.
Charter fishing is all the rage in St. Helens, but you don't need to charter a boat for good fishing. Bring your fishing pole to drop in the water right off the jetty. The kelp forests keep the sea life abundant throughout the bay and beyond.
St. Helens is a part of the Break O'Day Council which includes the nearby town of Binalong Bay. Binalong Bay is on the southern end of the Bay of Fires and has some of the world's best beaches. It's an easy day trip from the tourist haven of St. Helens.