This is what I heard from a group of tourists as we approached the Wineglass Bay lookout. This lookout is one of the top things to see in Freycinet National Park. Because of it’s popularity, you’ll see hundreds of the bay’s beautiful photos online. And I think this is the reason of the group’s “overrated” comment. The photos they saw on their screens left nothing new for their eyes to be amazed at when they stood right in front of the one of the best beaches in the world. That, or maybe they didn’t enjoy the almost one hour hike up to the lookout. Nonetheless, we still enjoyed a day and a night in the park as there’s more to Freycinet National Park than the lookout!
We arrived at the national park’s visitor center around 12 noon. We left Bays of Fire around 9AM, and we stopped at one hotel in Bicheno for tea and to use toilet. Actually, it’s more of a toilet stop. We just had to get tea so we can seat there for a while. We also stopped at the shops at Coles Bay to get petrol, and we had fish and chips for lunch.
At the visitor center, I showed them the print out of my camping reservation. I booked a non-powered tent site for $13 more than a month before our trip and I was just lucky that day because someone just backed out. I read from the site that there’s draw lots for those who want to camp at Freycinet during Christmas and Easter period! So that was me being lucky part 1. The part 2 was when I told the park attendant that we’re on a campervan and don’t have a tent anymore (our original plan was to use a small car and just use tent) then the attendant told us that not all sites will have parking beside it. Uh-oh. When he checked my booking, our site was one of the 5 out of 50+ sites that has a parking beside it. Yay! He then gave us a print to show the rangers that we have booked and paid for that spot. We also paid $60 for the vehicle’s 2 weeks pass on all Tasmania National Parks.
If you’re following my posts from the start, we arrived at Launceston Saturday lunch time then we headed to a Bay of Fires campsite where there’s only pit toilet. Then Sunday lunctime we’re about to start exploring a new area. Did you you notice what’s missing? Shower. Eww! So we stopped by at one of the park’s shower and toilet facilities to freshen up. One thing I like about the outdoors here in Australia is the availability of clean toilets and showers, makes all the park fees worth it.
After shower, we then drove 6.5km from the main road of the park to get to Cape Tourville lighthouse. There’s a short boardwalked track around it, and views were really amazing. This is great for families as the track is very easy and use of wheelchair is even possible.
Going back to the main road, we stopped at Sleepy Bay. It wasn’t on my list but we saw a lot of cars parked so we thought it must be a good site. Just few steps (less than 5 minutes) from the carpark, we saw the beautiful blue color of the way. And from the information on one of the signs, Sleepy bay is more beautiful underwater. Another must thing to do when I visit Tassie one summer.
We then walked further as we didn’t see anyone on sleepy bay. We were wondering where are those people riding the cars in the carpark. We walked further and we arrived at this delightful Little Gravelly Beach. I saw these 2 interesting rocks, and I wanted to get inside the hole and have my photo taken. Thanks to Andrew for helping me to get in to the hole, for taking a photo and helping me again to get out.
It was almost 3PM when we started the trek to the Wineglass Bay lookout. We had some peanut butter and jelly sandwich first and refilled our water bladder. We also registered our names on the logbook at the start of the track. Apparently, signing logbooks is a must in most of the tracks we went to in Tassie. You will log your start time, track the you intend to do and your estimated time of return. And once you get back, you should sign your entry to mark that you have returned safely. This will be helpful in tracking in case someone get lost.
The hike up to the Wineglass Bay lookout was difficult, I’m not complaining for myself but it’s really difficult for a tourist-y track. The information brochures gave warning that it will be a difficult hike and only those experienced hikers should do it. Despite the warning, and maybe because it’s famous, we saw a lot of people hiking up, from families with toddlers to group of grandmas and grandpas. We overtook quite a lot of people on our way up. Several will stop to catch their breathe before they tackle the next part of the hike. And after climbing for about 30mins, we reached the lookout and took some photos like other tourists. We sipped on our water bladder, and looked at the view again.
Then we continued the trek down to the Wineglass Bay itself, and it was more difficult than the trek to the lookout. It’s a circuit track, it starts near the lookout, go down to the bay and go back again near the lookout before you head back to the parking lot. On the way down, I was already thinking how difficult it will be to go back up. Again, several still chose to go down the bay despite the difficulty warning of the track. We even came across a group of Filipinos with their children, 2 girls were already cursing on how far still they need to climb and pointing fingers on who’s idea it was to go down.
But for me, the Wineglass Bay is worth all the effort. We arrived there past 4pm and there was only another group beside us. You have the whole kilometer of white sand to walk on to, the bluest water and orange-shade mountain in the background to stare at.
Another bonus is this friendly wallaby that seems to be used to people now.
I won’t mind spending a whole day in the summer there. Again, during summer so I can dive into the water.
On the start of our hike back up, Andrew was telling me that we should go fast. But we were already walking pretty fast! We were faster than a “walking-like-you’re-in-a-tour” pace but for him, fast means running run a bit. I told him no way. Then suddenly, this girl wearing a mini skirt with a water bladder at her back passed through us. She was doing a solo trail run! My competitive side got excited so I started running too and we smashed it all the way up, with no stops! We finished the hike up faster then when we descended. I was almost puking of exhaustion after. That’s what you get when you try to catch up with a girl in skirt on a trek.
We got back to the parking around 5PM and it was already starting to get dark. We drove straight to our campsite aiming to cook dinner while there’s still sun.
More info about Freycinet National Park here.
More information about the park fees in Tasmania here.