The Freycinet National Park on the eastern coast of Tasmania is a nature's wonder. Majestic peaks, amazing beaches, stunning views...we are lost for superlatives.
It is one of those discovery experiences where you have it all in just half a day or you can explore the park for a whole week and still not go through all it has to offer.
We did it in half a day, so saw just the main attractions.
Actually we went there twice: in the afternoon and then again in the morning. Not because we wanted to but because the weather forced us to come back.
Experienced bushwalkers with plenty of time on their hands can stay overnight in a hotel or a campsite and do the longer tracks, such as the Wineglass Bay beach and Hazards beach circuit, the Mt Amos track (around half a day walk each) or the 30 kilometres Freycinet Peninsula circuit.
We drove from Swansea in the afternoon. The weather was looking right and sunny when we hit the road but what we saw in the rear mirror was not really promising. It looked like a dense and dark curtain of rain was following us, though it seemed rather far away.
There are 56 km from Swansea to Coles Bay, a small, beautiful village that is the gate to the Freycinet National Park.
We paid the entry fee, grabbed a map from the visitors' centre and reached the first of the beaches - Richardsons Beach, but did not stay long there because of the storm alert.
Richardson beach before the storm
The beach looked absolutely awesome, especially in that eerie afternoon just waiting for the tempest to unleash its force and give a meaning to "the calm before the storm" idiom.
Richardsons beach is home to the luxurious Freycinet lodge.
But as we didn't book it we had to wait in the car park for the rain to ease, the hail to stop and the winds to slow down before turning back to Swansea. It would have been good to stay overnight in the park.
The next morning we realised that the pass we bought was valid for 24 hours, so guess what? We drove back to Coles Bay and this time the weather was on our side with a glorious morning.
Richardson beach - morning after storm
Can you spot the difference between the beach before and after storm?Back to What to Do
Just a very short drive from Richardson Beach and the Freycinet Lodge is the rocky Honeymoon Bay. It is friendly for families, swimmers and snorkellers.Back
Wineglass Bay is the ultimate destination in the peninsula. It is a 3 hours return walk easy enough for people who are fit. It is a bit difficult for not so fit or unexperienced bushwalkers, because of several portions of steep climb and descent, though it is manageable.
But for those in a rush or with a low desire to walk too much, you don't have to descend all the way to the bay. Climb up till you reach the lookout and stop there. It offers a great experience for an easy enough effort. And the lookout track is only a one hour and a half return walk.
Kangaroo with Joey in the pouch
The entire track must be done on foot, starting from the Wineglass Bay carpark.
The carpark attracts a lot of kangaroos coming for food, though feeding them is not a good idea at all.
Looking at them and taking happy snapshots should be fine but leave them alone.
Because they don't need to get used to junk food or to get lazy and stop searching for their usual food.
From Wineglass Bay carpark we drove next to Sleepy Bay for a 10 minutes walk to a rocky coast and then continued on foot south for another 15 minutes to see more of the coast.Back to What to Do
Cape Tourville is a 20 minutes easy walk around the lighthouse to see the majestic panoramas. In addition the signage offers lots of information about the geography, wild life and history of the park.
For example we learnt that the peninsula belonged to the Aboriginal people. Later on, it could have been Dutch as Abel Tasman sailed around the area in 1642 but failed to claim it. He was more concerned with continuing to discover new territories so he sailed on to New Zealand.
Or it could it have been French. In 1802 sub-lieutenant Freycinet named it, while his captain collected plants and animals for Josephine Bonaparte's zoo.
The British wasted no more time and in 1803 occupied it and shipped some convicts who took the land from the indigenous inhabitants.
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