In the past two months, Zach and I have been on the move, covering heaps of ground and spending all our recent savings. We have been in Australia on working/holiday visas for the past six months, working whatever jobs we find and saving all of our money, in order to explore this side of the world.
During my hiatus from this blog, we have covered New Zealand (27 days, North and South Islands), Tasmania (7 days), and a jump over to Malaysia on a wild hair (10 days).
We are just returning back to our base in Melbourne and to celebrate my reunion with my laptop, I’d like to start a segment about an incredible hike we found on the east coast of Tasmania.
Tasmania is the most southern state in Australia, and a whopping 42% of the state is conservation area. There are national parks galore and very few people. It is famous for being one of the most wild and unexplored regions left on the planet. For example, one of those national parks, Walls of Jerusalem, doesn’t even have a road leading up to it; meaning that it is SO remote that you actually have to walk kilometers through untamed forest in order to enter its boundaries.
Let that sink in.
Coming from the airport in Hobart, Zach and I opted to check out the peninsular Freycinet National Park for our stint in Tassie.
Cole’s Bay, the town that marks the entrance to the national park, is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Hobart. It’s the easiest route to follow; you literally just take the A3 (AKA The Great Eastern Highway) all the way along a scenic coastline until you reach Cole’s Bay where you can follow signs to the National Park Visitor Center.
The first thing you ought to be aware of while visiting Tasmania and its national parks is that there are not-so-cheap National Park Passes that you have to buy in order to enter. You can look online for information about the different passes available or contact the the Visitor Center directly.
(3 nights and vehicle parking ran us $60 AUD in April 2017. It sucks, but it is worth it. Also, on the bright side, the pass covered any other national park we might visit in Tasmania for 8 weeks.)
At the Visitor Center you can pick up (or take photos of with your phone) maps, information regarding water sources (very few), and camping regulations.
There are a few day hikes to choose from on the Peninsula, including the most popular short yet steep climb up to Wineglass Bay Lookout. But if you have the time I recommend the trail we went after: The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit.
This is the longest trail at 20 miles (31 km), taking approximately 2 – 4 days depending on how fast you are or how much time you want to spend hanging out on the spectacular beaches.
The landscape of the track varies from flat gum tree forest (full of wallabies), to beach walking, the steep climb up to Mt. Graham (additional climb to Mount Freycinet optional, but HIGHLY recommended), and the slow, long descent into Wineglass Bay.
Each of the three campsites along the route are located on the edge of white sandy beaches with perfectly azure-blue water. Each campsite gets more magnificent and more pristine the further you progress with Wineglass Bay beach topping it off as the gorgeous bay backs up to the triple peaks of the Hazard Mountains.
An important thing to note is that the only fresh water dependably available along the way is at Cook’s Beach Camp (the second campsite if you are beginning the circuit from the west coast of the peninsula and ending with Wineglass Bay), where there is rain water collected off the roof of a former caretaker hut. This means you will have to pack in sufficient water for your drinking and cooking needs, and carry water from Cook’s the remainder of your journey.
It was an incredible 3 1/2 day journey for me and Zach, as Freycinet is an abolsute gem of the preserved wilds of Tasmania. For us, the best part about hiking this coastal beach area was not being in any kind of hurry to get through it. Relaxing and exploring this stretch of Tassie was just the kind of vacation we needed after hustling through New Zealand.
While this information can serve as a jumping point for anyone interested in the hike, the upcoming story of our experience will outline the technical details, the marvelous backdrop, and perhaps convince you that this tiny corner of the world is worth your time.
In the mean time….
Or contact the Park directly @
Freycinet National Park Field Centre
Private Bag 5
Bicheno TAS 7215
Phone: 03 6256 7000
Fax: 03 6256 7090
Helpful and pertinent information from:
Another helpful resource which includes information on multiple national parks in Tasmania is https://travelfreak.net/hiking-trails-in-tasmania/ ]