The Freycinet Peninsula (map) is one of the most beautiful parts of Tasmania, which I think makes it one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Nearly all of the Peninsula, plus some nearby coastal areas, is National Park. There are access roads, camping grounds and day-use areas within the park but nothing else man-made apart from a network of walking tracks.
I admit that beauty is somewhat subjective but it’s hard to resist the claims of scenery like this:
Wineglass Bay is the headline attraction and the track to it provides a real “Wow!” moment as you first see it after slogging up the steep track to the ridge above it. It’s on a million postcards so I don’t need to include it here, but looking slightly to your right from that lookout, this is what you see:
Beyond Wineglass Bay
One of the better mid-length walks is from the carpark to Wineglass Bay, across the isthmus past the lagoon to Hazards Bay, and back via a track which stays close to the coast on the Western (Coles Bay) side of the peninsula. Doing the walk in that direction makes the last section a little dull but means that you don’t miss that first view of Wineglass Bay from above.
Look out for the aboriginal shell middens in the dune-front where the walking track enters Hazards Bay. Their depth hints at their age.
The lagoon was new to me since I, like most tourists, didn’t get any further than Wineglass Bay on my first visit to the National Park. It is a magical contrast to the mountains – pure yin to their vibrant yang in Feng Shui terms.
100 Walks in Tasmania by Thomas and Close (over ten years old but still incredibly useful) describes four walks on Freycinet: Wineglass and return; the long-half-day walk I have described; a two-day walk to the mountains on the far (South) side of the lagoon; and Mount Amos, a challenging half-day walk/climb. The warning at the beginning of that track makes the sign on the Lost World track seem positively reassuring but I had enough time and energy after the Hazards-Lagoon-Wineglass walk to take a sneak peek at it anyway, going high enough (without getting into the rock-climbing) for an expansive view across Coles Bay to Swansea and beyond.
There are yet more walks for those keen and lucky enough to stay longer than I could this time. Next time I will.
All that granite
I may have been predisposed to love Freycinet by my personal history and the reason, oddly enough, may be granite. Wilsons Promontory, the southernmost tip of Victoria, was a very special holiday camping spot when I was very young, and the Prom is part of the same geological formation as Freycinet. (So are Flinders Island and some other places in between.) They are very much alike in vegetation, too, so perhaps Freycinet triggers my holiday euphoria partly because of that echo from my past.
But it really is very beautiful.
• Introduction and index to Tasmanian blog posts 2020-21.