Freycinet is a national park on the east coast of Tasmania, Australia, 125 km northeast of Hobart. It occupies a large part of the Freycinet Peninsula, named after French navigator Louis de Freycinet, and Schouten Island.
Bordering the national park is the small settlement of Coles Bay, and the largest close town is Swansea. Freycinet contains part of the rugged Tasmanian coastline and includes the secluded Wineglass Bay, voted by several travel authorities as one of the world's ten best beaches.
Famous features of the park include its red and pink granite formations and a series of jagged granite peaks in a line, called "The Hazards". Founded in 1916, Freycinet is Tasmania's oldest park, along with Mount Field National Park.
Freycinet is a great place to go bird watching. You may be lucky enough to see a white-bellied sea-eagle gliding overhead or large Australasian gannet diving for food in the ocean.
Freycinet National Park offers a wide variety of activities. Take a walk to the pass overlooking the perfectly shaped Wineglass Bay, trek the entire length of the Freycinet Peninsula on an three day walk or try less strenuous activities like beach strolls, swimming or wildlife spotting.
The park is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours from either Hobart or Launceston. Turn off the Tasman Highway (A3) (which runs down the east coast of Tasmania) onto the Coles Bay Road (C302) 12 km south of Bicheno. (The turnoff to the Friendly Beaches section of the park is via a gravel road about 2 km after leaving the highway).
The main park entrance and visitor reception are just after Coles Bay township about 30km from the highway on a good quality sealed road.
Please take care when driving between sunset and sunrise as you are sharing the road with wildlife.
Public transport and tours are available through various operators.
10 minutes return - Drive to the signposted turnoff to the left, just past Freycinet Lodge. Stop at the carpark at Sleepy Bay. Gently graded steps lead to the rocky shoreline of Sleepy Bay which, despite its name, often experiences wild and rough seas.
Little Gravelly Beach, Sleepy Bay
30 minutes return - After enjoying the seascape above Sleepy Bay, follow the track that leads to the right. This provides beautiful coastal views before a steep descent to this delightful cove. While the track is easy to follow, it is rough underfoot in places and passes close to some high cliff tops.
Wineglass Bay Lookout
1 hour return - This walk will give you one of Tasmania's most celebrated views over the beautiful white sands of Wineglass Bay. The track is a short, fairly steep climb to the saddle between Mt Amos and Mt Mayson. From the saddle, a side track leads to a new lookout, with spectacular views over Wineglass Bay. When returning to the carpark, take care on the downhill sections as the loose gravel surface can be slippery.
Scenic Lookout, Friendly Beaches
5 minutes return - The signposted parking area is just off the Isaacs Point Road. After a short walk to the vantage point you can see uninterrupted views of the Friendly Beaches and its wonderful dune system.
Saltwater Lagoon, Friendly Beaches
40 minutes return - Follow the signs from the Isaacs Point road south to the carpark at the barrier gate. The walk along an old vehicular track traverses private property and ends at the edge of the Lagoon. The Lagoon abounds with waterfowl, particularly black swans. Return by the same route.
HALF DAY WALKS
Wineglass Bay - 2 1/2 hours return
As for the Wineglass Bay lookout walk, then continue on downhill to this superb bay with its long white sandy beach and crystal clear seas. A 20 minute walk along the beach to its southern end will give you magnificent views of the Hazards. Return to the carpark via the same route, or make the circuit route described below.
Wineglass Bay/Hazards Beach circuit
4 to 5 hours - After enjoying the delights of Wineglass Bay you cross the isthmus to Hazards Beach. To get there turn right from the Wineglass Bay track just before the Wineglass Bay Beach. After half an hour of flat walking, you reach Hazards Beach. Turn right and follow the beach to its northern end. Here you join up with another track that follows the coastline for about 5 1/2 kilometres around the base of Mt Mayson before reaching the carpark. This is about an 11km walk.
5 to 6 hours return - After reaching Hazards Beach walk south along this lengthy shore. You are following in the footsteps of the Aboriginal people who once lived here, as is evident from the numerous shell middens in the dunes along the beach. After retracing your steps along the beach take your choice of returning the way you came (shorter by about an hour) or the Wineglass Bay/Hazards Beach circuit, to return to the carpark.
3 hours return - Mt Amos is part of the range of granite mountains, known as the Hazards, which dominate Coles Bay. The track to the summit is steep and strenuous, but walkers are rewarded with panoramic views. This walk is not recommended for the elderly or young children. Walkers must be equipped with robust walking shoes or boots as the track climbs steeply over sheets of bare rock and can be slippery, especially after rain. Caution should be exercised on this track.
Some of Freycinet's more remote and beautiful areas can be visited by taking long day or overnight walks.
The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit is a popular three day walk (or longer if you spend some leisurely days on the beach).
Campsites for overnight walkers are situated at Wineglass Bay, Hazards, Cooks and Bryans Beaches.
Water is normally available in water tanks at Cooks Beach and in Jimmy's Creek between Mt Graham and Cooks Beach. Less reliable sources can also be found in Laguna Creek at Hazards Beach and where the track crosses the top of Grahams Creek. There is no water at Wineglass Bay or Bryans Beach. Please check with the ranger regrading water availablility before commencing overnight trips.
Camping is extremely popular over the summer months and at Easter. Due to the high demand for campsites, a ballot system operates from the 18th December until the 10th February and for Easter each year. The ballot is drawn early August with successful applicants being notified by mail. Payment in full is required by mid September.
To protect the environment, camping is limited to the barriered areas on allocated sites. In the fragile sand dune area, camping is restricted to tents only, with one car per site. No caravans, campervans, camper trailers or minibuses are permitted in the sand dune area. Excess cars (other than the one allowed per site) must be parked in the overflow carparks located amongst the dune sites or in the carpark at Ranger Creek. Please note that we do not have laundry or hot shower facilities.
The park offers a variety of basic powered and unpowered campsites - some with cold showers. Some sites are available all year round, though the Honeymoon Bay campsites are only open over summer and Easter. Limited sites are available at the Sand Dune area over winter. Only the main campsite at Richardsons Beach has powered sites. Outside of the main summer/Easter period, no bookings are taken and campers must check in at the visitor centre first. Booking and other details are found on the display board outside the visitor centre
For overnight walkers there are small campsites at Wineglass Bay, Hazards, Cooks and Bryans Beaches. Camping and toilets are also available at the Friendly Beaches.