By Alexander Kuek
We all know that when we talk about Australia, we’ll bring up places like the Sydney Opera House, the Twelve Apostles, Melbourne City Centre, the massive Uluru rock, and the stunningly beautiful Great Barrier Reef. These five national icons attract the lion’s share of its millions of tourists, and have graced the faces of about an equally large number of postcards sold each year.
But what about Tasmania, the little island off the south coast? Although it is recognizable enough on the map and has a number of attractive destinations, let’s face it, it isn’t really the first place that comes to mind. Featured here is a must-visit place on the island not to be overlooked – one that you should consider adding to your Australian travel list.
A brief introduction
The Freycinet National Park is Tasmania’s oldest park, founded by and named after French navigator Louis de Freycinet in 1916. One of its beaches, Wineglass Bay, has been named one of the best in the world and it is known for the marvellous views tourists can enjoy from the mountains.
How do we get there?
After landing in Melbourne, take a domestic flight to Hobart, the island’s capital (although there are other smaller airports on the island too).
It’ll be about a 2-2.5 hour drive from there to the park.
The park has several different walking trails, all of which start and finish at the Wineglass Bay car park. The one I experienced was the Wineglass Bay lookout walk, having a total walking distance of 3km and taking about 1.5 hours.
Pictured above is the map of Wineglass Bay. The walk goes from the car park to the lookout point and back again.
Starting from the car park, I made my way (almost aimlessly) through a few hundred meters of forest. There were no signs pointing to anywhere and I didn’t have a compass or a map that I could carry with me. Despite that, I spotted various flora and fauna along the way, including this wallaby.
The lookout point was between Mount Amos and Mount Mayson and 230m above sea level. Eventually, I reached a flight of rocky stairs and the ascent to the point began. After what seemed like an hour, I was finally there. My efforts were rewarded by views of the famed Wineglass Bay, that were absolutely breathtaking. No other place in the world I visited had a beach among the mountains and painted such a picture of it from the top….
The way down, however, was much easier as this time, there were signs. I was back at the car park within the next half hour and took another look at the map I saw before the walk. That was when I began to have an idea of just how big this place was.
Other walks around the Wineglass Bay Area include:
- Wineglass Bay’s lookout and beach circuit (2.5 hours, with an extra hour if you decide to walk along the beach)
- The Hazards Beach circuit (5 hours, get from Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach via the Isthmus Track)
- The Mount Amos walk (3 hours, this goes up the mountain and back down)
The Hazards Beach circuit involves a long walk back to the car park under the hot sun, and you’ll have to be a physically fit walker to ascend Mount Amos. Both of these routes are difficult.
However, these are nothing compared to one more walk this place has to offer……
- The Peninsula Circuit (2-3 days, overnight camping, and going up the 620m high Mount Freycinet)
That was definitely one walk I wouldn’t be taking anytime soon.
I initially had doubts about how much this island had to offer, but this park just blew me away. How does such a stunning natural location like it get so relatively little mention and publicity while millions marvel at the sight of Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef? Freycinet National Park deserves every bit as much fame as these two, and I hope more people will go there and admire its beauty.