The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit
The Freycinet Peninsular on Tasmania’s east coast is one of the oldest and most visited National Parks in Tasmania – Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2016.
Wineglass Bay is the obvious main attraction and the majority of people chose to take the path up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout. If you’re like me, and try to do whatever possible to avoid the crowds, then the Freycinet Peninsular has got some truly spectacular spots to visit – all it needs a bit more effort.
The Freycinet Peninsular circuit will take you around the edge of the Hazards Mountain Ranges – an amazing range of pink granite. Pink granite is unique to the eastern coastline of Southern Victoria, the Bass straight and the east coast of Tasmania all the way down to the Tasman Peninsula. The cause of the beautiful pink tinge in the granite is iron oxidisation impurities in the feldspar (one of the components that make up granite) and a lovely orange lichen that grows on many of these rocks.
Following the trail from the carpark, look out for the turn off for the Hazards Circuit. The track starts off in the forest and begins to steadily climb its way up before emerging into the open, rewarding you with amazing views of the Great Oyster Bay.
The trail follows the edge of the Hazards for a little while before descending down onto the northern tip of Hazard’s beach. For the next 2.5kms the track simply follows the beach south. Stick to the hard, wet sand and keep an eye out for ancient Aboriginal middens in the sand dunes to your left. Pacific gulls, pied oyster catchers, hooded plovers and many other sea going birds call this beach home.
The southern end of Hazards beach has a campsite with a toilet, making it a great spot to have some lunch and a swim! From here it’s back into the forest for another 3.5kms. Look out for superb fairy wrens, flame tailed robins and green rosellas as you enjoy the peaceful dry sclerophyll forest that is often full of such gorgeous intricate wildflowers.
You will eventually emerge onto the northern tip of Cook’s beach which is only a short distance from camp! Cook’s beach camp is stunning and very well equipped with composting toilets and a rain water tank. Depending on the time and how you are feeling, a 4km walk past the old hut will take you to Brian’s bay – an absolutely stunning and isolated beach. You may want to take a whole day to head out to Brian’s and explore the beach!
From Cook’s beach camp the trail heads back to the northern tip, before heading towards Mt Freycinet & Mt Graham. There is a bit of an uphill slog for a while now but eventually you will get to the sadle between Mt Freycinet and Mt Graham..... drop your bag here and go for a wander up Mt Freycinet. The view of Wineglass bay, Schouten Island, Maria Island, the whole Peninsular is absolutely astounding and so worth the extra walk.
Unfortunately there is no easy option for Mt Graham... you have to go over it, and with your pack too. A steep rocky climb will get you to the top and then follow the trail along a beautiful plateau filled with buttongrass before beginning your decent down to Wineglass bay.
There are a couple of small, very unreliable streams you could collect water from on the way down but I would suggest carrying extra from Cook’s beach to get you through the night and the next morning.
The next day you get to walk all the way along the beautiful world renouned Wineglass Bay, from the southern end all the way up to the northern end. Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales who love to use this bay as a rest stop on their migrations north.
From the northern edge of Wineglass bay the trail begins to climb up to the lookout – if you get up early enough you may have the lookout all to yourself before the bus loads of tourists arrive! Follow the trail down the other side of the lookout and back to the carpark.
If it’s a nice day I would highly recommend taking the climb up Mount Amos – from the top you will be able to see where you have walked for the past couple of days and get those award winning photos of Wineglass Bay!