Freycinet National Park – Guide & Hike
Freycinet National Park is situated on Tasmania’s beautiful east coast. The most recognisable Tasmania’s landmark is located here: the Wineglass Bay, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. However, the stunning bay is not the only thing that attracts tourists year-round. Freycinet National Park consists of granite peaks, secluded coves, white sandy beaches and amazing hiking trails leading visitors through its highlights. In this article, we will guide you through the best hike in Freycinet National Park with alternative options.
Guide to hike in Freycinet National Park
Visiting Freycinet National Park is a must do during your Tasmania Road Trip. Your first stop early in the morning will be Freycinet National Park Visitor Centre. Here, you can buy the entrance passes and refill your water bottles.
There are no fresh water sources in the whole park. It didn’t rain there for the past 3 years and the area is experiencing extreme drought. For the long hike you will need at least 1 L of water per person. If you didn’t bring enough bottles, purchase an extra one at the shop in visitors centre. You can refill your bottles here (1AUD, or free of if buy anything) or do it for free in the Wineglass Car Park just before the hike.
↬ MAKE SURE TO HAVE ENOUGH WATER WITH YOU BEFORE THE HIKE !
Pick up a free map of the hiking trails. There are 3 hiking trails which you should not miss:
- the Wineglass Bay Lookout
- the Hazards Beach – Wineglass Bay Circuit
- and the very short Cape Tourville Lighthouse
Wineglass Bay Lookout
Let’s start this Freycinet Nation Park guide with the Wineglass Bay Lookout, which is by far the most popular hike. It’s 1.5h return and an easy walk.
From the car park, make your way onto the path marked Wineglass Bay Lookout. For the first part of the hike the road goes up hill. Pretty soon you will have some incredible views over the Great Oyster Bay.
After about 40 min you will reach the Wineglass Bay Lookout. It’s a great spot to take a little break as well as a few amazing pictures with the view over the stunning bay.
You can finish your hike here and return the same way. Otherwise follow the signs marking the Hazards Beach – Wineglass Bay Circuit and walk down 1000 steps.
Hazards Beach – Wineglass Bay Circuit
Next in our guide, the classic Freycinet day walk/hike combining two highlights and passing through beautiful mountains, forest and beaches. The second part of the hike will particularly give you a sensation of being in the wild, surrounded only by nature and wallabies jumping freely around the trails.
It’s a 11km return hike that starts and finishes at Wineglass Bay Car Park. It should take 4-5h to complete. However, this counts as rather a slow walk, than a proper hike. We returned within 3.5h and that included 30 min rest at the Wineglass Beach.
↬ TIP : We recommend doing this hike clockwise and pass through the Wineglass Bay Lookout first for one reason: this direction you will walk down 1000 steps to the WineGlass Beach. The other way you will have to climb them up.
Walk down over a 1000 steps to the Wineglass Beach. Take your shoes off and dip your toes into the soft, white sand. You can even go for a swim in those crystal clear waters. However, be aware that the water temperature never exceeds 16 degrees. It will be rather refreshing dip.
↬ TIP : If you need, use the facilities here. The toilet is clean and it’s the only one on this trail.
Follow the path marked Hazards Beach – Wineglass Bay Circuit. This time you will pass through a dense forest & a swamp. Listen to the beautiful sounds of the birds and look for colourful butterflies.
The Hazards Beach
Continue this way for another 40 min until you’ll reach the Hazards Beach. Walk down on the beach and turn right.
↬ Fun Fact : We faced a rather unpleasant surprise when we arrived to Hazard Beach. The beach was covered with dead oysters and algae. This combination created a strong, almost unbearable smell. We run most of the path leading through the beach just to leave it behind us. ??
We are not sure if it’s normal or we just visited on the wrong day. If you follow this trail, leave us a comment and let us know if you also had a smelly experience ?
At the end of the beach (and far from the bad smell) there are granite boulders covered in orange lichen, similar to Bay of Fires. It’s a nice spot for a little rest, before turning right and following the path through the forest.
Back on track
The last, and the longest, part of the trail leads though eucalypt forest. You will walk along the coastline with some of the best views on this hike. Take your time to admire the cliffs and vegetation. Look out for cute wallabies that can be seen along the path. Remember to give them space, never chase them and say hello only from a distance.
Back in the car park area, refill your bottle with drinkable water. The tap is located next to the facilities.
If you love hiking make sure to visit also Cradle Mountain & National Park is Tasmania.
Cape Tourville Lighthouse
If you followed our guide and you are done with your hike, on the way out from Freycinet National Park make a quick detour to the Cape Tourville. It’s a short walking track leading to a beautiful lighthouse. The 500 m long path provides some of the best views of the east coast of Freycinet and a boardwalk was built for the comfort of visitors (it’s wheelchair accessible). If you visit from April to October, lookout for whales as they cruise past the cape on their annual migration. You could also stay there for sunset.
How to get there
The best way is to arrive to Freycinet National Park with a rental car. Otherwise, you can join one of the organised day-trip tours leaving from Hobart.
Leave your car at the Wineglass Bay Carpark and follow the marked trails from there by walk.
A valid park pass is required for entry to ALL of Tasmania’s national parks.
When visiting Freycinet National Park, there are two types of passes we recommend:
Daily Pass – valid for up to 24 hours (excludes Cradle Mountain) costs 24 AUD per vehicle (up to 8 people) or 12 AUD per person.
Holiday Pass – valid for up to 8 weeks, includes Cradle Mountain and costs 60 AUD per vehicle (up to 8 people) or 30 AUD per person.
Kids under 5 years old can enter for free.
If you follow our Tasmania Road Trip Guide we recommend you to get the Holiday Pass.
What to bring
- First of all: it doesn’t matter which hike you plan to do, wear comfortable, covered shoes. You don’t need hiking boots for any of the hikes we described in this blog post, good sneakers will be fine.
- Wear a hat, or a scarf protecting from UV and bring sunscreen.
- Take a swimwear and a towel if you plan to dip into the cold waters of Wineglass Bay.
- Take few protein snacks with you as it’s a long way.
- Most importantly however: bring reusable water bottles and have AT LEAST 1 L of water per person! Unfortunately our beloved Grayl Bottle was not in use during this hike as there are NO FRESH WATER SOURCES in the park.
Where to eat
After hiking for a few hours you will surely be hungry. There is one nice restaurant in Coles Bay, where you can stop before heading to Hobart.
Geographe Restaurant and Espresso Bar – the oven baked pizza was good and a well deserved after a long hike.
Devil’s Corner Cellar Door – perfect place for lunch with a beautiful view over the vineyard. They serve oven baked pizza and fresh seafood. Don’t forget to try out some of local wine!
Where to stay
There aren’t that many accommodations close to Freycinet National Park, therefore it’s advised to book in advance. The closest city is Coles Bay and you can find available stays on booking.com
If none of the hotels in Coles Bay are available or out of your budget, and you are coming from the Bay of Fires, look for places in a cute little town of Bicheno. It’s located just 40 min drive from Freycinet National Park and has nice accommodations like Wintersun Gardens Motel which we stayed at.