How to get there?
Freycinet is one of Australia’s best national parks and any visitor to Tasmania should make every effort to squeeze it into their itinerary.
From Hobart, take the A3 Tasman Highway past the airport and follow the signs towards Bicheno. After around two and a half hours (12km before you get to Bicheno) you’ll want to keep an eye out for the turn off to Coles Bay to your right. Follow the C302 the remaining 20 odd kilometres into Coles Bay itself. If you’re interested in tasting some of Tasmania’s freshest seafood, pull into the Freycinet Marine Farm.
Coles Bay is an interesting little place to explore, with some great views of the Hazards to be found if you go for a walk around the foreshore. If you’re feeling hungry, stop by Tombolo for a great feed!!
The departure point for the Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach hike is from the car park just inside the national park (it’s well sign posted in Coles Bay). Allow around 3hrs total from Hobart.
Keep in mind that you’ll need a Parks Pass in order to enter Freycinet National Park. The Parks and Wildlife Service have all the details here – Parks and Wildlife Service
The hike commences on the flat, lazily winding its way through the native scrub. Considering its popularity, the track has had a lot of investment and is very well made making access easy even for those with mobility issues. The 30-40min ascent to the ridge line isn’t overly steep, but it does provide some great views looking west across the waters of Great Oyster Bay.
Once at the ridge line you’ve got the option of taking the short side-track to the Wineglass Bay lookout. This is well worth the diversion, particularly if you are short on time and can’t get down to Wineglass Bay itself.
The track down the hill to Wineglass Bay is more rugged than the first section, but is still in good condition and is perfectly fine for all ages. After leaving the car park it should take around an hour to reach the turn off to Wineglass Bay beach, with the beach itself only a minute further.
It’s safe to say that Wineglass Bay is reason alone to visit Tasmania. Regularly voted as one of the most beautiful in the world, the sheltered azure waters are surrounded by a gleaming white crescent of soft sand. While the water temperature is generally cool, Tasmania’s east coast is consistently warmer than the rest of the state, making for hot summer days when a refreshing dip is the ultimate reward for your bushwalking efforts!
In saying that, it’s worth noting that there is very little shade at the beach itself, so make sure you take plenty of sunscreen if you’re planning on having lunch by the water!
After a short (or extended!) break at the beach, rejoin the trail and take one of two options. If time or fatigue is against you, return the way you came in. Alternatively, and our preference, is to turn left and take the trail across the sandy isthmus, past Hazards Lagoon and over to Hazards Beach.
More open than Wineglass Bay, Great Oyster Bay is subject to southerly swells, often providing rougher seas and tall crashing breakers. On reaching the beach, turn right and follow the sand north to the sign posted exit up into the scrub.
For the next 4km the trail hugs the coastline, providing tantalising glimpses of tiny sandy coves and rugged rocks as it slowly makes its way west and then north back towards the car park.
It is no exaggeration to say that this loop would have to be one of the best day walks you will find anywhere in Australia, if not the world!
While the return walk to Wineglass Bay is a favourite of many locals and tourists alike, if you’ve got the time then in our opinion the extension to include Hazards Beach makes for a much more immersive experience, taking you away from the masses and closer to nature.
The initial climb to the saddle is the most strenuous section of the loop, and to be honest it isn’t a slog at all. There are a few small sections north of Hazards Beach that require minimal scrambling, but nothing to be worried about. I’d even go so far as to say that this would be a great introductory ‘long’ walk for children.
All up it took us around 4.5hrs to complete the loop, and that was with a 15 minute break at Wineglass Bay and a 20 minute lunch break at the top end of Hazards Beach.
The weather is generally quite mild on the east coast, but with the warmer conditions it becomes even more important to remember to take plenty of water with you, and to lather up with sunscreen!
Reward-to-effort ratio = 10/10
Snake count = 0
Leech count = 0