Day 4: Finally Freycinet

After a strangely restless night’s sleep, we awoke, showered (not that we needed to – just because we COULD), and made our way to breakfast in the main Lodge building.  Continental breakfast is included with all cabins, but the phrase ‘continental breakfast’ doesn’t really inspire.  However  the spread here was pretty darn good, with a lot of selection from various warm dishes, lots of different sorts of breads to toast, different fruits, cereals, juices, etc.  We had quite a hearty breakfast to last us through several hours of walking (and, well, just because we could and it was all good).  Our mission for the day was the Wineglass Bay – Hazards Beach loop, and breakfast certainly set us up well for the effort.

                    

We returned to our cabin and packed what we needed for the day.  Being optimistic, we put swimmers on under our usual bushwalking gear and packed the usual water and some trail mix and dried fruit for lunch (we wouldn’t need much!).  Off we went!

Wallaby with joey, Freycinet National ParkThe car park for walking tracks further down the Freycinet peninsula was just a little way down the road from where we were staying (since Freycinet Lodge is IN Freycinet National Park).  It has been recently re-developed, landscaped, etc and was rather picturesque just being in the car park!  There were many friendly wallabies, however unfortunately shows that human visitors to the area have been feeding them.  But it does mean that they are wary, but not terrified, of humans, so you can hold a leaf or stick out and they will come close to investigate it rather than bouncing off.  This makes taking photographs of them at bit easier!

Trailside Rest, Wineglass Bay lookout trailWe signed in at the trail book, then started our way up towards the Wineglass Bay Lookout, which was just over a saddle between Dove Mountain and Mt Amos.  This is one of the most popular tracks for visitors to Tassie who venture up to see the famous view of the bay, and the recent trail improvements are absolutely fantastic.  Not only has the track been graded with crushed gravel and stone steps built, but there are frequent rest stops ranging from logs or stone walls built at just the right height through to areas where large groups can rest together and even creative benches made by TAFE students.  Disa’s often impressed by trail construction (being unable to even make a front path in the garden after several years of considering it), so it was all very impressive.  Disa was oooohhhing and aaahhhh-ing before we even reached the lookout!  And all the rest stops are a good idea considering the average age of walkers to the lookout was, shall we say, fairly high.

The lookout itself was, of course, well done as well.  But everyone did note the lack of the eski full of cold beer.  We looked under the decking, under the bench – but to no avail.  Sigh.  I guess that will be part of the final stages of completing the trail?  The view of Wineglass Bay was spectacular and very beautiful as well as strangely familiar, as it’s picture is everywhere.

We left the lookout and continued on towards Wineglass Bay.  As most people only do the walk to the lookout, the trail was much quieter here.  Everyone on the way to the lookout had been extremely friendly and cheery (it probably helped that this was a Monday, so everyone we met was in holiday mode!), but being a bit more alone and being able to hear the mad laughter of the kookaburra was great.  The weather was great:  warm enough we broke a little of a sweat but cool enough we weren’t miserable.  And then we reached Wineglass Bay.

Spring in Tasmania.  The Wind.  We’d experienced enough of it lately – at home, on Maria Island, on the drive to Freycinet as the van was buffeted around.  And the wind was certainly felt here as well, where it channelled through the low space between The Hazards and the mountains further south on the peninsula.  WIND.  The beach itself was just perfect.  Sand that wasn’t too sandy, so walking wasn’t a struggle.  Mostly white sand, which at close range was made of up the most lovely crystals (Donna gave Disa a necklace for her birthday – the glass artist had incorporated some of this lovely sand into the glass of the pendant like a smattering of jewels).  The water reminded Disa somewhat of Tahiti and Mo’orea – the beautiful blues and green of the water.  And the beach is much larger than it seems even when you are actually on it.  We walked for quite a while and made much less progress then we thought we would.  However, the chilly breeze wasn’t enough to counteract the warmth of the sun and sand, so we only walked halfway along the beach, had a brief rest in the shelter of some trees while we soaked in the views, then made our way back to the track and continued towards Hazards Beach.

The track at this point was very easy going.  No hills, and enough trees that the wind didn’t hit us – but sparsely wooded so we still felt some warmth from the sun.  We passed some other bushwalkers, but this part of the track isn’t as popular as the lookout track, so we mostly were on our own, chatting and looking at the bush.  And then we reached Hazards Beach.

Approaching Hazards Beach, Freycinet National ParkHazards Beach is stunning.  I have come to think of it as the less popular sibling.  You know the one.  It’s not known as Hazards Beach, but as ‘Wineglass Bay’s’ sister or brother or something.  However it is a fantastic beach!  As beaches go, it is even nicer than Wineglass Bay, however Wineglass Bay seems to get all the press because of how it looks from a distance.  The sand of Hazards Beach is more colourful and the outlook across Great Oyster Bay is lovely.  It was more protected from the wind and still easy to walk.  And the nearby rocky bits have that stunning bright orange lichen that contrasts so well next to blue/green water and waves.  We stopped on some rocks at the north end of the bay to snack on dried fruit and nuts, and when we continued on as the trail headed north found that there were all sorts of homely little coves along the bay.  One even had a wallaby snacking on something it was digging out from under the rocks – a nice touch.

The return track to the car park was an gentle up and down over the rocky shoreline.  There were trees to offer shade, but this was often interrupted when the trees opened up to views to the north and west.  We passed a few people headed south with full packs, obviously headed off to camp on the peninsula – the freaks.  One was a guy on his own, but later we also came across a rather large school trip.  You sort of hope they aren’t headed to the same spot; it could be an unpleasant surprise for the guy on his own to find himself sharing camp with a class of teenagers when he’d walked all that way and carried all those supplies in order to be alone!

The form of the track as well as the vegetation along the way changed several times, making the track even more interesting.  Near Hazards Beach there were quite a lot of she-oaks, and the wind blowing through them sounded almost like cyclists were on the track behind us.  Further along it was mostly gums and shorter shrubs, and in the final stretches near the car park there was even more variety with grass trees and shrubs in full spring flower.

We reached the car park, signed out of the trail book, then made our way back to our cabin.  We had time to take long showers, dress up in the fluffy white robes the Lodge provides, and lounge around our cabin.  We had cups of tea on our balcony that overlooks the water, lounged on the bed and rested, and in general relaxed.  We had plenty of time before our 7.30 pm dinner reservation, so we also had more cups of tea in the spa bath (we‘d learned from experience and not made it too hot, so we lounged in there for quite a long time!).  Eventually we dressed and made our way to the Lodge for dinner.

Decisions, decisions!  It had been difficult enough trying to decided what to eat the night before, but now knowing this was our last dinner here as well as knowing how good the meal would  be it was even harder to decide.  Disa’s meal had been so stunning the night before that she actually decided to have the same again (Twice Baked Blue Cheese Soufflé neslted on baby spinach salad with Freycinet valley picked walnuts for entrée followed by Organic Chicken Breast crusted in dukkah spices on chilli potatoes with roast harissa sauce), while Scott ventured out and had Roasted Rannoch Farm Quail coated in leatherwood honey with baked star anise pear, drizzled in apple balsamic dressing for entrée and Spring Bay Scallop Fettuccine for main – scallops and smoked salmon tossed with fennel, baby spinach and roast tomatoes.  Being our last night, and because we in general were in the mood to be greedy, we both decided to have dessert.  We shared a Belgian Chocolate Soufflé Tart with very berry ice cream and vanilla anglaise and a Lemon Myrtle Pannacotta in a brandy snap basket with berry compote.  Wow!  Back at our cabin, we had to have some tea and read until our stomachs had digested enough food that we could sleep without discomfort!

1 comment for “Day 4: Finally Freycinet

  1. Quilter
    12 November 2006 at 6:19 pm

    Ok Ok you’ve convinced me. A trip this summer school holidays is now on the list. 🙂

Comments are closed.