We had finally made our way to the East coast of Tasmania and the final National Park of the island for us in Freycinet National Park. This, along with the earlier visited Mount Field National Park, was declared as Tasmania’s first National Park in 1916.
Having lost a part of the day to the wine route along the way (and finding the best coffee of our trip at Tombolo), once we had checked in to the campsite, we didn’t waste any time, and sticking to the apparent theme of the day, set out almost immediately on the Wineglass Bay walk, having heard a rumour that the beach had been voted one of the 10 most beautiful in the world.
A short 3.5km drive from the visitor’s centre is the Wineglass Bay carpark where the trail begins. A well-built track carves its way upward between the boulders along the Western flanks of Mount Amos from very early on. The landscape is a drier, almost Mediterranean-cum-bushveld one and the climb tests the legs and lungs as it rises to give increasingly elevated views of the Great Oyster Bay to the West.
Having climbed nearly 250m in approximately 1.5km, we reached the saddle between Mount Amos and Mount Mayson, where studded by massive eroded granite boulders, the world-famous Wineglass Bay Lookout Point perches, providing the first view of the Tasman Sea to the East of the Freycinet Peninsula. It is from this point that the name of the beach becomes self evident, as the white beach cuts the shape of a perfect arc into the coastline. The walk up to this point is quite popular with tourists and can be quite busy, but it seems that most of them stop there, and as we descended down over the other side of the saddle to the beach itself, we noticed a significant decrease in traffic.
The descent is a steep one comprised predominantly of stone steps as you navigate through the brush. It flattens out towards the end, finally emerging at the northern end of the quartz beach, where a rocky outcrop caps the top of the arc. We ambled casually along the shore where the azure blue waters lapped up at the pure, perfect, pearl-white sands until about the halfway point of the beach.
A benefit of being there out of season, despite the less than ideal beach weather, was that we pretty much had the beach all to ourselves at this point, and a dip in the inviting waters was unavoidable. We splashed around for a few minutes before then having a little picnic on the beach, accompanied by a single bottle of bogan beer which was magically produced and shared between us. By the time that was done, the early-evening cold forced us to get moving again and retreat back to camp.
We returned the same way we had come, by going up to the top of the beach and then climbing the hundreds of stairs to the lookout point and down again to the carpark. It is worth noting though that there are numerous options for any people with more time on their hands. One option is to take the Isthmus track from the top of Wineglass bay, traversing directly across the peninsula around the Southern base of Mount Mayson to Hazards Beach and then looping back up along the North-Western coast of the peninsula to the carpark. Alternatively, you could make a multi-day trip of it by getting onto the Peninsula Track at the Southern end of Wineglass Bay and following it to Mount Graham and Mount Freycinet and beyond to pitch a tent at the remoter Cooks Beach and Bryan’s Corner for a full 31km round trip.
On our way back to the campsite, we pulled the campervan off at Honeymoon bay to admire the sunset over the dramatic granite peaks of the Hazards which contain Orthoclase, a mineral which gives them a pink tint which complements the sunset.
This was yet again another example of an easily accessible but thoroughly rewarding walk that Tasmania seemed to offer so much of on our trip. Freycinet as a National Park also reinforced the diversity of the landscapes we’d been experiencing, with the location of the peninsula sheltering it from much of the typically wet weather that dominates other parts of the island, and putting it in stark contrast to the forests we’d earlier explored.
This full walk was just over 9 kilometres. Freycinet National Park also has many more short walks across the park which suit all abilities and lead to more secluded bays, clean beaches and lagoons with an abundance of birdlife.
Sadly our time in Tasmania had come to an end but we weren’t quite done just yet and we still had one more adventure planned. Stay tuned to find out what it was.