After the leisure of Cook’s Beach, our third day on the Freycinet Circuit was a wake-up call to the reality of the wild land we were trekking. The twelve kilometers between Cook’s and the pinnacle of the trek, Wineglass Bay, comprises the meat of the hike. The climb immediately begins after you retrace your steps on the beach back to the mainland track, and the first break is when you reach the saddle between Mount Graham and Mount Freycinet.
You could ignore the side trail to Mount Freycinet and avoid the challenge of 750 steep uphill meters that ends with a downright rock scramble to the top. But if you do not experience this peak, you risk never truly knowing why they call it Wineglass Bay.
The climb is formidable.
The view is unbeatable.
We had lunch at the rocky summit, overlooking the view of the uninhabited and uncut southern piece of the peninsula to one side, and enjoying a fine birds-eye perspective of the much-visited bay from the other. My thoughts were simple: “Ohhhhh. So that’s why they call it Wineglass Bay.”
You cannot get this full view from the tourist lookout that is a short climb from the car park. It simply isn’t high enough. But from the tallest vantage point of the peninsula on Mount Freycinet, the Wine Glass shape is clearly defined.
The only downside to hiking Mount Freycinet is that as soon as you get down, you have to start up Mount Graham on the main trail. At this point, you will probably start to wonder where your National Park Pass fees go because the trail is overgrown, unmaintained, and sometimes difficult to maneuver. We never felt like we were actually close to getting lost, but the track can be very tricky and you have to pay attention to where you’re going.
The view at the open is lovely, but nowhere near the clear panorama of Mount Freycinet. The track crosses the flat and rocky ridgeline sporadically sprinkled with shady gums before starting the long descent to Wineglass Bay Beach.
The typically unique and stunning flora of Australia lines the way as you rock hop your way down to the promised land of Freycinet beaches.
The option to camp a small distance from the beach under the gum forest is immediately available coming from Mount Graham, but the beachside sites are where it’s at.
Wineglass takes all the best aspects of the earlier sandy stretches and unites them to an unspoiled, white, mountain rimmed enclosure serenaded by the gentle lapping of aquamarine water at the heart of the bay. There is a reverent quiet at this end of the beach which offers the best view of the Hazards.
A swim and a night on Wineglass Bay Beach is a magnificent wrap up an expedition through Freycinet National Park.