February 3, 2019 / By Laura Pattara
Often described as one of the shiniest jewels on Tasmania’s crown, the Freycinet National Park is the East Coast’s best hiking destination, bar none. This is the Tasmania of postcards, home to resplendent Wineglass Bay, undoubtedly the most photographed highlight of all. The wonderful thing about Freycinet, aside from its ridiculously good looks, is that it offers an array of great trails so can can choose to take a short walk to a stunning lookout or immerse yourself in the verdant wilderness for an entire day. Or three. With a stunning array of great day walk options both in and around this sensational peninsula, Freycinet is the place to head to when you want to stretch your legs, soak up startling views and experience the best of Tasmania, up-close and personal. Here are five great day walks in Freycinet you won’t want to miss.
1. Wineglass Bay Lookout Walk – 3km – 45minutes, one way
Starting from the Lookout Car Park about 4 km past the Visitor Centre, take this short but steep walk up to the famous Wineglass Bay Lookout. It is from here that the most iconic photos are taken. The sweeping views below to the Wineglass Bay Beach and across to Hazards Beach are simply breath-taking, and as the clouds move in and out of the bay, you’ll see the light and colours change dramatically. It’s a great thing that you’ll probably want a rest here, it’ll give you even more time to take countless photos. Depending on what month you visit, you could potentially be sharing this spot with quite a few people, but not everyone continues on to the full trail (below). Even if there isn't a lot of space to move around, people are generally courteous so everyone gets the chance to take photos from the best spot – a huge protruding rock (you'll see what I mean when you get there). If you don’t want to continue down to the bay and across to Hazards Beach, you can simply return to the car park on the same trail.
2. Wineglass Bay Beach – 1.5km - 1.5hrs hours, one way
From the lookout, take the trail that leads you to the beach below (you’ll see signs on the left-hand side), being careful not to slip on the wet rocks (if it’s been raining) and enjoy the stunning views that emerge in-between the forest cover at various times along your descent. Once you’re down at the bottom, you’ll realise just how spellbinding this beach really is. A long stretch of blinding white sand, rolling waves and just a few luxury yachts lucky enough to reach this spot by sea. Many visitors stop to swim here but if you decide to continue on to Hazards Beach, you may find it a little more alluring for swimming. Much like the trail to the lookout, the descent to the beach is not that long but it is quite steep and hard on the knees. That’s why so many people, once they make it down to Wineglass Bay Beach, choose to continue on to Hazards Beach rather than retrace their steps. In the end, whether you return to the carpark the way you came, or continue to the full trail, you can still expect the entire walk to take over 3 hours.
3. Wineglass Bay Beach to Hazards Beach – 11km – 4/5 hours (above)
The full Wineglass Bay Circuit incorporates the above two walks and continues across the narrowest part of the peninsula, guiding you to Hazards Beach on the western shores. This beach is calmer and the water even more crystalline. On a hot summer’s day, this is the best spot to take a sneaky dip. The walk takes you through a beautiful eucalyptus forest which ends dramatically at the beach. From here, walk north along the beach, meander across the rocky northern end, keeping an eye out for the sign guiding you inland once more. The next section is, in many ways, the most arresting - turquoise waters lapping on the fiery red rocky shores on the left, framed by verdant forests on the right.
4. Cape Tourville Lighthouse & Lookout – 500m – 30 minutes
This short and sweet walk is perfect if you’re only passing through and actually boasts the most comprehensive (and amaaaazing) views of all. There’s an excellent reason a lighthouse was built here. The Cape Tourville Lighthouse is on the northern edge of Freycinet although you’ll need to drive into the park, past the Visitor Centre, and take the turn-off to the left after the Freycinet Lodge to reach it. The lookout point is merely 100m from the car park and there’s a very gentle walk you can do around the base of the lighthouse. The views are magnificent and the fact that this walk is accessible to wheelchairs (and prams) makes it all the more enticing. On a crystal-clear day, you can see the tip of Mt Amos and Mt Graham and, in the southern distance, Wineglass Bay. Early riser? This is the absolute prime spot to be if you want to catch an unforgettable sunrise in Freycinet.
5. Richardson Beach Walk – 1km – 40 minutes (above)
The unsung hero of the Freycinet National Park, Richardson Beach is a sensational stretch of sandy shores which gently curves from north to south along the north-western shores of the park, right across from Coles Bay. This is home to the park’s very best camping spots and is often overlooked by visitors who head to the eastern cape instead. Take the boardwalk from the Visitor Centre towards the Richardson Beach Campground, and take the first set of steps down to the beach. On your left, you’ll see the Freycinet Lodge tucked around the wilderness of the rocky southern cape and, on your right, the northern beach that connects the park to Coles Bay. You can walk the entire distance into town (1.5hrs) and enjoy awe-inspiring views of Freycinet on the way back. If you love your day walk in Freycinet to be relaxing, rewarding, sun-drenched and uncrowded then this is the beach you’ll want to head to. Pack a picnic basket in your car and settle down for a sunset you’ll never forget.
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