After a delightful night at the Freycinet Lodge in Freycinet National Park. We ate a huge breakfast at the lodge before heading out. We left our car in a nearly deserted car park and were on the trail shortly after 9 AM. This first day was the easy day of our 2 hiking days with lots of beach walking with an occasional up and down to get past the cliff sections between beaches. It was partly cloudy, partly sunny day, but as we walked down the mile-long Hazards Beach we had to deal with a rain shower. Up went the umbrellas! The shower was short-lived and we continued on to Cook’s Beach, which was where we were camping for the night. The campsites, drinking water and toilets were all located at the far end of the beach by the site of an old hut used by the original white settlers in this area, the Cook family. As we approached the hut we saw a large tent set up outside the hut and heard voices! I gave a “Hello!” just as a gentleman came around the corner. He and his wife were volunteer campsite hosts there and they invited us into the hut for tea. We quickly accepted that invitation and were glad we did! Tony and Chris were doing a trial run as Cook’s Beach camping area hosts, because there has never been anyone doing that job at this site and the parks people wanted to see if there was value in having people here all the time. They were well travelled in Tassie (what the locals call Tasmania) and made a mean cup of tea. We enjoyed our time with them.
After tea we chose a tent site near the beach, set up the tent and then headed off for a short hike to Bryan’s Beach near the tip of the peninsula. It was another beautiful beach which we had to ourselves! All we needed was a couple of beach chairs and a bucket of Coronas and we would have been all set!
We had to watch the time because the sun was setting before 5 PM and we needed to have dinner made, eaten and cleaned up before it got dark. Which is what we did. We enjoyed watching the sunset as we ate, although it wasn’t as good as we hoped ( the sunset, not the dinner).
Our evening entertainment was watching the stars come out, watching the lights come on across Great Oyster Bay and watching the wildlife come out. Two wallabies cruised through our area and then one pesky bushy-tailed possum showed up. The possum wasn’t a problem until we got out food bag out for a bedtime snack. With Jim just 4 feet away that possum stuck is nose into our food bag and tried to steal the 4 cookies we had left! We chased him off into a tree where he watched us like a hawk. He was eyeing our pots and pans, which Jim ended up tying on a rope between two trees! No campfires are permitted in the park so we turned in early, to get rested up for the next day of hiking. Listening to the ocean waves lulled us to sleep, sort of!
Day two had us arising early (6AM) and on the trail shortly after 7. Our route that day was inland, across the peninsula and over Mt. Graham to Wine Glass Bay and Beach and then on to our car. The weather cooperated and we hike under clear skies all day. The climb up and over Mt. Graham was difficult and it was very cold and windy on top but the 360 degree views made all of our work worthwhile. The trek down Mt. Graham took us to the beach at Wine Glass Bay, which is featured on all the glossy brochures for this part of Tasmania! And it was spectacular with fine, white sand on the beach and turquoise blue waves gently rolling in. We had the place to ourselves until a boat cruised into the bay and some day hikers walked in from the opposite end of the beach. We took off our socks and boots and waded into the very cold water which felt great on our hot, tired feet! We ate lunch by a large piece of driftwood which served as our table. To get back to the car we had to climb up about 800 stone steps which had been put in place by the park service to make this area accessible to people who were willing to walk a bit. We climbed these steps to a popular overlook of Wine Glass Bay and then finished the hike by following a well-maintained trail back to our car park.
The car park was full when we returned and there was a wallaby waiting near our car, obviously used to people, but must have been disappointed when we followed the rules about not feeding the wildlife!
Here are more photos from the 37km hike. Tomorrow I will catch you up on our time in Hobart.