On researching things to do in Tasmania, the one place that came up time and time again was Freycinent National Park, on the East Coast of Tasmania, about a 2 hour trip North of Hobart.
Initially we had considered renting a car, and staying 2 days in Hobart, then making our way to Launceston via Freycinent National Park, but it was going to work out too expensive and we thought that with 5 days in Tasmania, it would have felt a bit too rushed, so we decided to go with a tour.
Various tour companies operate in Tasmania to the main tourist spots. For the day trip to the park, prices ranged from $120 to $150. However, we were able to get a deal through the hostel we were staying in, for $95. The tour company we were booked in with was Wineglass Bay Tours (www.wineglassbaytours.com.au)
Bleary eyed from another sleepless night, in the noisiest hostel I’ve slept in to date, we inhaled our breakfast and waited outside the hostel at 7.15am. Soon after a little white mini pulled up, and Rob, our tour guide for the day greeted us. We took a few of the last seats on the 16 seater mini bus and we were in our way.
I was sat beside the bus mascot, William Wentworth the third, a wallaby teddy bear, and cosied in for the 2 hour or so journey ahead.
As we set off North, Rob began to give us some factual information about Tasmania. Two things I learnt in the midst of my tiredness was:
1. Tasmania is the road kill capital of Australia
2. There are 4 sheep for every person in Australia. (I was surprised about this fact. I didn’t think it would be as much in Australia).
We stopped at various points along the way for photo opportunities, and a chance to stretch our legs
As I mentioned in my last blog post, I found Tasmania to be very similar to New Zealand – quite green, sparsely populated and beautiful. Our next calling point was to a bridge, cleverly named spiky bridge, due to the way the bricks laid at the top. I am sure there was a reason for this, which we were told, but my head doesn’t retain all the facts too well, and it wasn’t written in my actual travel journal.
We continued North on a wee country road, which seemed to go on for miles, until we stopped, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We were told to look our to our left. On the fence by the road, were hundreds of pairs of shoes tided up. The story goes that, every year, at a summer camp, children were leaving behind shoes, and so the organisers of the camp went and tided them to the fence. Slowly more were left, and added to the collection.
I saw a similar fence of shoes in Ranfurly, on the way to Nelson in New Zealand, a few years ago. I wonder if passers by randomly add shoes too. If I had some spare, I may have done, ‘just cos’.
Halfway into the trip, we stopped in a small village called Swansea, where we fueled up on coffee and biscuits. An hour later, we arrived at the entrance to Freycinent National park, where we had an early lunch of $2 couscous and salads. Although there was a little shop, and a few takeaways if you didin’t come prepared (for once, we were!)
We were given a map and the option to do a 1.5 hour walk, or a 3 hour walk. Met of us were not prepared for a big he, so we choose the shorter trail.
The walk started at the main entry point to the park, and curved around and up a few hills towards Coles bay. The trail was well maintained, and the scenery was stunning around each corner. Although, it did remind me of Abel Tasman National Park a little too.
There were various quirky features on the trail too, which made for good photo opportunities:
The walk to the lookout point (Wineglass Bay) was relatively easy. It was very hot, and sand flies and mosquitos threatened to spoil our fun. However, we leggered on the fly spray, and were fine.
When we eventually made it to the lookout point, I was initially quite disappointed with the size of the area. It was packed with loads of tourists, and it took a long time to get anywhere near the edge to take a photo. Though, I guess with any ‘main tourist attraction’ this will happen, unless you get up at the scrake of dawn (very early), you will have to deal with everyone fighting to get the perfect photo.
We were able to stay up overlooking the bay for a good half hour or so. We took many photos and just observed the view. The sand on the beach looked so white, and beautiful (it reminded me of Fiji’s beaches). There was an option to walk at this stage all the way down to the beach, but it would have taken another 1.5 hours. My travel buddy wasn’t keen, so we didn’t.
We walked back to the bottom of the trail, towards the bus, chatting to Rob the tour guide on the way. At the carpark at the bottom, out of nowhere it seemed, hopped a little Wallaby. I was quite excited by this, as it was the first time I had seen one in its natural habitat. The first time I’d seen one was in the Blue Mountains Wildlife Park. This was way better.
Two of our tour group decided to do the longer walk, and so in the meantime, in order to kill some time, we were taken to a few more areas in and around the Park. One was Honeymoon Bay, were we stayed for another half an hour. There were less people here – the occasional person kayaking, and a few others walking. We sat and relaxed by the rocks – a really pretty place.
We later visited another Bay along the peninsula. It was extremely windy, and it was pointed out to us, that if we were here a few days later, we would see some of the Yachts in the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht race.
After this, we picked up the remaining two of the party and were on our way back to Hobart. I think everyone was pretty tired and attempted to sleep. However, our kind tour guide Rob had the music up quite loud, that it wasn’t really that possible.
All in all, a really great day out. Amazing scenery, wildlife and a good walk. I’d really recommend you do this, if you are in the region, but perhaps stay a little longer. There are huts and camp sites along through the park, so it is safe enough.
Tips for Freycinent National Park
- If booking a tour, phone or ask at your hostel/hotel – they may be able to get you discount, and you’ll be picked up from the door
- Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and insect repellant if you are going in the summer
- Wear good sturdy shoes for walking
- Bring snacks for the journey and in the park