Thoughts on Location No 24
Freycinet National Park, Lower East Coast, Tasmania
What a lovely place to stay and one we are glad we didn’t miss.
After leaving St Helens on Monday morning, our first destination was Freycinet National Park. The peaks of the peninsula greet you long before you arrive and I had Dean pull over so I could photograph them. The Freycinet is effectively two eroded blocks of granite joined by a sand isthmus.
Unable to park our van in the designated area of the National Park (can you believe our mini home was too big?), we then headed to the Big4 Iluka and Freycinet Holiday Park at Coles Bay and promptly paid for two nights. It was already after 1:00 pm and the walk we wanted to accomplish needed to be tackled in the morning, not late in the afternoon.
We set up and settled in, went for a walk along the beach, hand in hand I might add, and enjoyed dinner at the Iluka Tavern.
Tuesday morning we set off and were surprised to discover it was quite some distance from the park Information Centre to the assigned car parking area for walkers. We’d planned to do the Wineglass Bay/Hazards Beach Circuit and we headed off at 9:00 am to enjoy all the splendour of the Freycinet wilderness along this five to six-hour bushwalk.
It was nice to have a registration station with forms for recording your details – name, date, walking track, car registration and mobile number. This is the first time we’ve come across this type of safety regulation and it would be nice to see it elsewhere though not all parks have staff managing them full time.
As we headed up the track, it wasn’t long before we came to a ‘fork in the road’ so to speak. On the left, the Wineglass Bay Lookout. On the right, the Hazards Beach Circuit. Although I must admit I wanted to see the bay from the lookout, it was tempting to not go in that direction. The sign, however, said it was only 40 minutes, so we decided ‘why not?’. We would venture towards the lookout first, then back-track and continue along Hazards Beach Circuit.
Taking the left side of the fork would prove to be a very good decision.
The track led steeply to the lookout and the going was not without the odd break or two to catch my breath, but the view when we finally arrived was breathtaking of another kind altogether.
On the way to the top, we met a lovely young lady named Tami who told us this was her favourite place in the world. She spoke of visiting Canada and Ireland, and yet, right there, looking down on Wineglass Bay, was just the best in her books.
We hadn’t realised we could continue on the Hazards Beach Circuit from the lookout when we started our walk and I thank the Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania for the clear signage throughout the park.
In taking the left side of the fork earlier, we ended up walking the Hazards Beach Circuit in a clockwise direction and as I said, this proved to be a very good decision. Leaving the lookout behind and following the track, we then headed down to Wineglass Bay. This was a very steep descent, down purposefully placed stone steps.
My initial comment was ‘wow’, but 30 minutes later, all I could say was ‘Thank Goodness’. Thank Goodness I was walking down the steps and not up them.
We enjoyed an early lunch on the shore of Wineglass Bay and then walked across the isthmus to Hazards Beach.
The track continued along the beach and after leaving the beach behind, the balance of the track was laid out ahead of us. Another 6.5 kilometres (4 miles) of rugged bush, with lots of undulating areas, albeit in some places it was dramatically undulating, including areas of slippery exposed rocks. We were lucky there hadn’t been any recent rain, though I lost an argument with one of the larger rocks and twisted my knee. Nothing serious, just a little annoyance.
This final part of the track took more than half the time to complete the walk and I’m very confident I could not have negotiated those stone steps at the end of our day. Actually, I know would have been completely depleted of energy and dread to think of what may have happened had we followed the path in an anti-clockwise direction.
The circuit is a total of 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) and I’m feeling rather proud of myself that I can say I walked around Mount Mayson in the Freycinet National Park.
It was really hard to choose the photos to share, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I’ve added a new gallery to the Photography page, so pop over there and take a look. I’ve also had time to load photos from Maria Island and Darlington. My thoughts on those will follow soon.
The caravan park we stayed in was nice enough, despite the poor reviews we’d read online. It wasn’t anything fancy and on that note, perhaps a little expensive at $36/night.