Freycinet National Park

Freycinet was declared Tasmania’s first national park in 1916 alongside Mount Field. Located on Tasmania’s east coast, it is home to granite mountains, azure bays and magnificent white sand beaches. We recently completed a circuit loop around the park, taking in beaches, woodlands and incredible views over the infamous Wineglass Bay during a glorious three day escape.

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One of Freycinet’s most recognisable features are the pink granite rocks that form the Hazards Mountains and feature along many parts of the peninsula’s coastline. While it’s hard to believe today, some of this rock was once quarried and is used in buildings as far away as Hobart, with mining leases on the area only expiring in the late 1970s.

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Much of the inland areas of the peninsula consist of dry coastal forests, typical of Tasmania’s east coast. These woodlands are home to a number of threatened species such as the Tasmanian Devil, and are among the only protected habitats for the critically endangered Swift Parrot which breed in blue gum forests on Tasmania’s east coast in summer. According to some estimates based on recent population decline, it is possible Swift Parrots could become extinct within the next two decades so conservation of these habitats is crucial.

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Being situated on the east coast means Freycinet is relatively sheltered from winter cold fronts and wild weather that impacts other parts of Tasmania, experiencing around 300 days of sunshine per year. There are many locations in the park which offer spectacular views of Wineglass Bay and beyond - some reachable via a relatively short, albeit steep walk, while others require at least a two day return walk to reach. These lookouts can be very popular so to ensure impact from your visit is minimised, please stick to the tracks and infrastructure provided.

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Wineglass Bay is the most famous feature of the park and has been voted among the best beaches in the world - pure white sands and calm waters are framed by the surrounding granite peaks. I have visited Freycinet regularly since I was a child and the thrill of stepping onto this beach never grows old. These days, there are signs asking people to stick to the wet sand to minimise disturbances to the hidden nests of shorebirds who call the beach home - a reminder that when we visit these places, we are also in the presence of animals who have nowhere else to go if their habitat is impacted by our footsteps.

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If you do visit and decide to venture further than a day trip allows, make sure to bring ample water supplies. There is limited, if any fresh water in the park that can be relied upon to refill bottles so it is essential to carry at least four litres of water per person, per day on this walk. After our second night camping and low on water supplies, we finished our circuit walk with a short stop at the Wineglass Bay lookout early in the morning before the crowds arrived - a magnificent view to savour.

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Brodie EmeryComment