Hiking the Freycinet Peninsula and Wineglass Bay

  • Location: Eastern Tasmania, Australia
  • Length: 31km
  • Time: 2 – 3 days, we knocked it out over in a weekend which wasnt to much hassle
  • Level: Experienced hikers only. Navigation very easy, track very worn and signposted. Water not  guaranteed so be well prepared. Terrain pretty straight forward. Plenty of day hikes in the area for beginners.

We were so happy to be on the trails again, we could hardly contain our excitement friday night. We had been in Tasmania for a few months now and so far had only managed one hike to date. We were hiking the famous Freycinet Peninsula Circuit and lets just say, we were a little blase’ in preparation. Maybe a little side tracked by our excitement I suppose.

We rolled out of bed pretty casually Saturday morning, we knew it was our easy day, 13kms or so over fairly mild terrain. We set out along the Hazards Track, shaded mostly by the sclerophyll plants with occasional veiws of beautiful Coles bay peppered throughout. Being winter we mostly had the track to ourselves with one or two other hikers ocassionally passing by. One couple, who im guessing were just completing their hike in the opposite direction looked like they were ready to collapse. I wondered if this was because of lack of water at cooks beach and if we may suffer the same fate. We over took another couple who were on a day walk, we had a little chat and were on our way. The guy said something like “see you tomorrow” as we left, I had no idea what we was on about.

We got to Hazards Beach in about two hours or so. Hazards, is the beach opposite wine glass bay on the peninsula. Though it lives in its neighbours shadow it is stunning none the less, especially this time of year when you get it to yourself. Well we almost had it to ourselves, we had two Pied Oyster Catchers walk up most of the beach with us which was pretty funny. Haven’t had a police escort up a beach by a bird before. 

Lunch was had in the warm winter sun at the end of the beach and it was only another 2 – 3 hours before we arrived at our camp around the corner on Cooks Beach. Our tent was set and we had all afternoon to relax and enjoy our solitude. There really is no feeing like being out in nature miles from any other people. I took the opportunity (as one does) and nuded up for a dip in the arctic chilled, crystal pacific water. No better way to rest tired hiking legs. So we got a fire going, watched the sun mosey down under the horizon and eased to sleep with the small lapping waves outside the tent. Paradise.

Morning two. If Saturday was our easy day, Sunday was going to be our hard day, we weren’t quite ready for how hard though. We woke up to some alarming issues. My water bladder had some how sprung a leak which left us only Chris’s supply. Also we forgot a cord to charge the phone and were on low batt. Not life and death but if you’re hiking a few days to Tasmania’s most photographed bay, you kind of would like a photograph.

We came up with a grand idea to cook our breakfast noodles with ocean water to conserve what little water we had. Let’s just say we wont be doing that again.  Spirits were pretty low, we had about 20km to get through of mostly mountainess terrain, very little water, and a phone on the fritz. Ah well, we’ve been through worse.

We got to it and about 2 hours in I heard a bubbling stream “fuck yes water!” I jumped down and filled all our bottles up. This lifted our spirits considerably and we danced on up the hill. We climbed up to a saddle between Mt Graham and Mt Freycinet. The views over the southern tip of the peninsula were absolutely astonishing. We kept hiking up to about 500 metres above sea level in mostly bitter cold, the sun hiding behind our summit. 

We finally found sunshine and copped our first view of Wineglass Bay. It really was beautiful. I pulled out the phone, switched it on and low and behold we had 12% of glorious battery. We descended all the way down to Wineglass Beach’s white quartz sand and rejoiced. We still had a few hours of sun left to complete the hike so we sat on the beach a while watching the silly seagulls catch little waves and lark about. The walk up the beach was marred only by the site of two stunningly beautiful large birds lying dead on the sand. Both were entangled to each other by fishing line. A very sad sight. I’m no expert, one looked like it may have been an Albatross? Anyways…

We got to the end of the beach and were greeted by a familar face. It was the guy from the pervious day who said “see you guys tomorrow”. Well he was quite right. He had just jogged the entire 30km that day and had caught us at the end. Quite a great little feather to the cap for any trail runner i suppose, he’d done it in under 3 hours apparently but i saw him stop his garmin watch while he spoke to us, that’s kinda cheating I thought.

We had a little hike to the lookout from the beach where we joined the riff raff who pop up the 15 min walk from their  cars to snap the bay. Two American teenagers followed us back from there yammering on with their inane chatter the whole way. Oh well who cares we’re done. We got back to the car, laid down and ate us much food as we could. Back to camp amd back to work the next day, what a weekend.

We highly reccomend this walk for anyone looking for a hike while they are in Tasmania. It has it all Tasmanian NPs really pour money into their walks and it shows. Anywho, enjoy the pics…

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