East Coast, Tasmania, Australia

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February 26th 2008
Published: December 28th 2020
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Breakfast at McD's was followed by a trip on the East Coast Trail. First to Swansea and the Freycinet Peninsula. We drove along the east coast and round the loop to the south facing peninsula around Oyster Bay. We stopped at the Freycinet National Park Office and purchased our park ticket. We also did a short walk to Coles Bay to take a look at Richardson's Beach which extends north of Dixon Point for 800 metres. It is a narrow high tide beach with 200 metre wide sand flats. It's backed by a row of trees then cleared slopes gradually rising to 160 metres. A very beautiful spot. We returned to the car and entered the Wineglass Bay Car Park which is inside the National Park. The park is named for the French navigator, Louis de Freycinet. Founded in 1916 it is, along with Mount Field, Tasmania's oldest National Park. Features of the park include its red and pink granite formations and a mountain range called 'The Hazards'. The 5-peaked range stretches from Coles Bay to Wineglass Bay and are said to be named after a local African-American whaler called Captain Richard Hazard.

From the car park we climbed through The Hazards up to the Wineglass Bay lookout . The lookout provided views down to the beautiful, perfectly curved beach which is regarded as the most beautiful beach in Tasmania and is totally undeveloped - it was stunning, and back to the park entrance via the Hazards Range for amazing views of Great Oyster Bay and the coastline surrounding the sleepy seaside village of Swansea. The return trip from the car park took two and a half hours. We then drove to the Cape Torville car park and did the 600 metre circuit around the unmanned Cape Torville Lighthouse where we had good views of the Friendly Beaches.

We left the park and drove north to Becheno, a small holiday resort which D said reminded him of Wales in the 1950's. It was such a throwback that the cafe where we had lunch closed at 3 pm. After lunch we took a walk on the white sand beach before returning to the car. We made a brief stop at another wildlife park where, at last, we were able to find some Tasmanian Devil T-Shirts.

We then drove past the Douglas Apsley National Park and up over the Elephant Pass where we supposed to have fantastic views - but being Tasmania - the clouds came in again and it started to rain (visibility nil). However, after descending the pass into the heart of the East Midlands (a throwback to the 1920's), the weather cleared and we drove on to join the main Midland Highway from Launceston to Hobart and the Heritage Trail.

First stop was Campbell Town where there is a fantastic brick bridge, spanning the Elizabeth River (named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie's wife), that was built by convicts. It is imaginatively called, in typical Oz style, 'The Red Brick Bridge'. Here was also the best preserved example of colonial architecture in Oz - a pub. The town has served as a halfway meeting point for the main Tasmanian settlements since the early 1800's and it remains relatively unchanged today. It is 68 kilometers south of Launceston and 134 kilometers north of the capital. This central town is also easily accessible from Devonport which sits 149 kilometers to the northwest. Devonport is where the MSVG will dock in Tasmania - but we will not be going there.

We took a short diversion off the road to Hobart to a small town called Ross which we thought was more interesting with fine examples of 19th century architecture including a post office and the original town hall. Unfortunately, being Tasmania everything was closed as it was past 5 pm.

We drove back to Seven Mile Beach via Richmond (another fine town like Ross) but had no time to stop. We then had dinner at a local holiday centre which was only about 3 minutes from our rented house. We thoroughly enjoyed Tasmania and want to go back again but would follow the advice of our Geeveston Hostess who told us the weather was better in December.

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