Freycinet Peninsula overlooks Nine Mile Beach and is home to stunning geology and the famous Wineglass Bay.
Rachael Sutton shares her Freycinet Peninsula Trek
East Coast Tassie’s extended December sunsets were working in my favour, especially after I had gotten ‘lost’ walking along Denison Beach. It was nearly seven by the time I was ready to leave Bicheno and the sky was changing. The Freycinet Peninsula was cast in a flattering light by the time I reached it and on the approach to Coles Bay I sensed a change. I pulled into the caravan park, and my patient hosts greeted me before confirming my fears…storms had hit Launie, and they were on their way.
Cheeky winds played havoc as I set up camp, but I was too pleased it was still dry to worry, and was almost giddy when I pulled down the door ahead of the rain. Thermals, polar fleece, wind, rain, shelter, stew…bliss. The Jayco withstood the overnight storm, though my less fortunate neighbour was forced to flee.
Iluka, where I was staying, is about a street and a half away from the Coles Bay township. It faces Muirs Beach which has a boat ramp, with red rocks on one side and yellow sand on the other. The Iluka HC sits high behind a service station, pub, cute bakery, and grocery store, and from my small, tidy campsite I had limited views of the bay.
I rose early and while I waited for the clouds to burn off slowly, I savoured a croissant and coffee at the bakery before setting off for Freycinet NP, 3km down the road. It wasn’t blowy, but I knew that my postcard shot of Wineglass Bay was definitely not a sure thing at this point. The attending ranger was consolling. “It’s perfect weather for bushwalking.” I figured that if I was to do the famous Wineglass Bay-Hazards Beach Walk, taking in the lookout over the eponymous bay, it would have to be now, regardless of the conditions.
When it comes to walking, inexperienced hikers should interpret any reference to a lookout that’s more than five minutes away as a warning that you have to climb a hill. Predictably, the first 40 minutes to the turnoff for the Wineglass Bay platform were slow, but Freycinet’s distinct pink granite rocks sheltered with Tasmanian blue gums disappearing into fog were worth it (If you pace yourself, this is the hardest part of the walk).
By the time the trail forked at the Wineglass Bay lookout, I noticed for the first time that the sky had cleared. Sun was filtering through branches, so I walked up and got my postcard. What you have to remember in Tassie is that the weather can turn good, or bad, in a few moments.From here, the walk descends, changing from the rocky outcrops to pleasant bracken-like fern forest as you approach the beach. I spotted a Bennetts wallaby feasting on the sea grasses
near the ocean, emerald from the evening storm.
The walk from here to Hazards Beach is predominately Banksia, until you reach a boardwalk over marshes of attractive bright green grasses and occasional wildflowers before it rolls up a sandy track to Hazards Beach. Six more kilometres to the car park from the end of the beach, the track winds through a combination of amber lichen-licked rock and sand. The track’s gentle gradient into dry forest and open mountain scrub belies the heights you reach and I was amazed to see how far across Promise Bay I could see.
The walk took about five hours to complete, carrying a backpack, camera gear and tripod, including an early lunch stop at Wineglass Bay and regular snaps on the way.
There are a few short strolls at this end of the Freycinet NP as well, including the 10-minute walk to Sleepy Bay, and Cape Tourville, by the lighthouse, which even in fog has breathtaking views. There is also a steep 3-hour walk to Mt Amos which is said to offer the best view over Wineglass Bay.
COLES BAY, TAS, EAST COAST TASMANIA
Ranked as one of the world’s best beaches, the perfectly sculpted Wineglass Bay is only 1.5km from us here at ...Read More
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