There aren’t many campervan sites on Freycinet Peninsula (previous post) and over-casual visitors are bumped out to free camping areas on the Friendly Beaches or near Moulting Lagoon, or to commercial van parks around Coles Bay. I therefore spent one night at each of the National Parks locations before heading North to Bicheno and then South again to the Three Thumbs and the Tasman Peninsula.
Lurking quietly between Coles Bay, Bicheno and Swansea is a large shallow estuarine area, a RAMSAR-proclaimed wetland and bird sanctuary. As Wikipedia says,
It comprises two adjacent and hydrologically continuous wetlands – Moulting Lagoon and the Apsley Marshes – at the head of Great Oyster Bay, near the base of the Freycinet Peninsula, between the towns of Swansea and Bicheno. Both components of the site are listed separately under the Ramsar Convention as wetlands of international significance. Moulting Lagoon is so named because it is a traditional moulting place for black swans.
I camped on the estuary near Coles Bay, with outlooks to the spit which separates it from Great Oyster Bay’s long beach, and over Coles Bay township to the Peninsula. I was only there for an evening and early morning but those are traditionally rewarding times for landscape photographers…
I’m sure the lagoon itself deserves a visit – with binoculars and telephoto lenses – by birdlovers. For me that’s another reason to return to the region.
The Friendly Beaches are a very long open bay between the peninsula and Bicheno. Facing open ocean, they are popular with surfers. A day-use area and a long string of camping sites are threaded through the coastal scrub behind the foreshore, with standard basic National Parks facilities.
A pleasant but unremarkable coastal town; its foreshore is granite (a continuation of the Freycinet formation, no doubt) and its (minor) tourist attractions include a blow-hole.
The Three Thumbs Lookout and walking track appear on many tourist guides to the East coast. Access is via a gravel forestry road from Orford. The lookout does indeed offer spectacular views over the coast, looking due East to Maria Island and North-east to Freycinet Peninsula and Schouten Island.
The short walking track scrambles up over three small mountain peaks, the Thumbs. It is supposed to offer good views but they were obscured by thick forest. On the other hand, the forest was lovely and the wildlife was abundant.
• Introduction and index to Tasmanian blog posts 2020-21.