Coles Bay is on the east coast, 192km north-east of Hobart and 209km south-east ofLaunceston, being the main entrance point for visitors to the Freycinet National Park.
The town is on the northern end of Great Oyster Bay with stunning views of the red and pink granite peaks known as The Hazards, on the Freycinet Peninsula. Each Easter the town is one of the three locations for the Australian Three Peaks Race, a continuous sailing and running event starting at Beauty Point just north of Launceston and ending at Hobart with runners scaling three mountains including Mount Freycinet (33km run; 620m ascent).
Whaling parties, tin and coal miners pastoralists are some of the many people who have lived and worked on the Freycinet Peninsula since European settlement. These old mine shafts, old farmers' huts and whale shafts remains today attract many tourists.
The town became one of the first in the world to ban Plastic shopping bags in April 2003, after a two-year campaign. Local bakery owner and Coles Bay Tourism Association president Ben Kearney organised all the Coles Bay retailers to stop using plastic bags and worked with Planet Ark to introduce alternatives including recycled paper bags which can be purchased for a small fee and reusable calico shopping bags. The Tasmanian Government awarded Coles Bay an Environmental Excellence Award for banning use of plastic bags.