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Freycinet National Park
Freycinet National Park

Freycinet National Park trip guide: things to see and do

The perfect curves of Wineglass Bay is one of Tasmania’s most photographed locations. Freycinet National Park is a well known visitor magnet with landscape diversity providing a layered experience for visitors. A coastal view of rock strewn inlets and foaming surf, next door a quiet sheltered sandy beach weaves a spell. Then there is a granite mountain range, the Hazards, a dramatic backdrop ripe for photographers to build a portfolio of memory moments. Beach walks, snorkelling, fishing or sharing the joy of natural spaces with friends and family Freycinct answers the question, ‘What to do this summer holiday?.`

GETTING THERE

Freycinet National Park is located between Launceston and Hobart encouraging day trip excursions. A quick day trip is 2 ½ hours one way and is not recommended. Avoid day trip tours from either location. It is approximately 195km from Hobart and 175km for Lanceston.

TIP: Driving from either direction you will pass through Coles Bay township, Freycinet Marine Farm making for great stopping points. Coles Bay is the location hub for many guided tour operators giving visitors an opportunity to further assess their visitor experience options.

TIP: Remember, on your way to the park entrance, to check the turn off for Friendly Beach if it is on your bucket list.

Location of Freycinet National Park Visitor Centre

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Coles Bay Forecast

Year round

Summer average 23 -24c with the cool summer temperatures encouraging mainland Australia to flock to Tasmania for a respite from the heat of Australia. January and the school holidays can make some areas of the park seem crowded.

Spring and autumn visitor numbers drop with plenty of space for visitors to enjoy a sense of space and quiet. The weather can be changeable with the highest likelihood of rain, occurring 4-6 days a month. Spring is a popular time to visit, especially the school holidays. Avoid if possible.

Winter average temperature is 14c to lows of 6c at night. Winter is a time of whale migration with Ape Tourville and CT Lighthouse southern right whale watching hot spots.

BEACHES

Richardsons Beach

Tasmania, Australia

Wineglass Bay

Tasmania, Australia

Sleepy Bay

Wineglass Bay, Australia

Friendly Beaches

Tasmania, Australia

Honeymoon Bay

Tasmania, Australia

PARK LANDSCAPES

SCHOUTEN ISLAND

Freycinet National Park has its own remote, pristine island where there is no permanent human habitation. The island is accessible only by boat with its crystal clear water, abundance of birds and sea life and a mountain top quietly slumbering 1.6km offshore from the mainland park. The island has an extraordinary form with an ancient fault line creating half of the island is granite and the other half dolerite. The granite terrain is characterised with scrubby bush and towering eucalypts on the dolerite side. There is no settlement or ferry service.

How to do there

By tour boat – half hour boat ride from Coles Bay.

Popular with campers and kayaking buffs and walkers who relish the isolation, quiet and beauty of an island where nature reigns supreme. There are pretty sandy beaches as well as rocky granite bays.

Freycinet Aqua Taxi offers one way and return trips into Freycinet National Park.

Walks

Climb up Bear Hill which gives walkers a magnificent view of the entire Freycinet Peninsula.

Bear Hill summit walk:

  • Length: 6 kms
  • Duration: 3-4 Hours (loop)

One of the best views of the Peninsula this walk is 2 hours one way.

Crocketts Beach

This secluded beach is a great spot for swimming and snorkelling. There is a campsite which also includes a small hut and water tanks. Drop off and return via Aqua Taxi. Overnight option at the campsite.

Bird life: Little Penguins and Short-tailed Shearwaters breed on the island, along with other bird species such as the Tasmanian Native-hen. Australian Fur Seals haul out on the eastern side. Reptiles present include the Tasmanian Tree Skink, She-oak Skink, Southern Grass Skink and Three-lined Skink.

THE HAZARDS

Another name invokes a sense of unease. The granite mountains dominating the skyline are named after an early explorer, Mr Hazard. The granite is imbued with particles of orthoclase feldspar creating a slightly pink or orange tint when back lit in sunrise or sunset. The Hazards are not an easy grade climb rewarding the walker with sweeping views of the surrounding area if you make it to the top. For good vantage points of The Hazards check Coles Bay rocky points accessed from the Esplanade. Sunset and the foreshore rocks orange lichen glows in the setting sun.

WALKS

EASY STROLLS

Cape Tourville Lighthouse

Coles Bay, TAS 7215, Australia

Sleepy Bay Track & Little Gravelly Beach

Freycinet, TAS 7215, Australia

Richardsons Beach walk

Tasmania, Australia

Honeymoon Bay

Tasmania, Australia

WALKS MEDIUM

Wineglass Bay Lookout Track

Freycinet, TAS 7215, Australia

Wineglass bay / Hazards circuit

Freycinet, TAS 7215, Australia

Mount Amos

Freycinet TAS 7215, Australia

Bluestone Bay

Tasmania, Australia

BEST MULTI DAY TRAMP

Freycinet Peninsula loop

Freycinet, TAS 7215, Australia

Ranger-guided tours

Tasmania, Australia

COLES BAY GUIDE

Coles Bay sits at the foot of the granite mountains known as the Hazards, right on the edge of Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay. Coles Bay itself is a small settlement with some outlets closed during the winter months. There is a general grocery store and post office.

Coles Bay is the hub for guided tours which range from cruises to Wineglass Bay and beyond, guided walking tours, indigenious immersive narratives, aerial flights. The town is just outside the National Park boundaries and is a hub for a walking holiday in Freycinet. You can also hire a kayak or just soak in the view of the Hazards while you eat dinner or drink coffee at one of the cafes.

Freycinet National Park Visitor Centre

Visit the Freycinet National Park Visitor Centre for your information on things to do in the park. This includes the various walks that range from short walks to multi-day walks. The Visitor Centre also takes bookings for camping. The Park Shop sells park passes and a range of products from books to clothes and other outdoor gear.

TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION

Freycinet National Park

You will need to purchase a National Parks Pass to visit Freycinet (and any Tasmanian National Park) – fees range from $11 to $115 depending on the number in your group, duration of visit/s and which other Tasmanian parks you plan to visit. Campground fees are additional.

Please note that drinking water is scarce in the National Park. Refill your water bottles from the visitor centre’s filtered/chilled water station. Taps are also located at Honeymoon Bay and the Wineglass Bay walking tracks carpark.

Electric barbecues, picnic tables and toilets are located at Honeymoon Bay and Ranger Creek.

Freycinet National Park is a Fuel Stove Only Area. Fires are strictly forbidden.

Drones are not permitted to be used within the National Park or surrounding reserves.

Please take all your rubbish out when you leave.

ENTRANCE FEES

Like all of Tasmania’s national parks, Freycinet requires visitors to hold a valid Tasmanian parks pass, which you can purchase online.

SAFETY

Tramping boots and clothing layers.  Remember to carry water.

Freycinet National Park – Flora and Fauna

Freycinet National Park is one of four major East Coast reserves that provide a major contribution to the reservation of dry sclerophyll (hard leafed) vegetation communities. Some common plants that you may see are:

  • Banksia – (Banksia marginata) also known as Honeysuckle Banksia, it has a bright yellow flower that occurs throughout the year.
  • Tasmanian Blue Gum – (Eucalyptus globulus) is the state’s floral emblem, it is common on the peninsular usually identified by its bluish gumnuts lying on the ground.
  • Oyster Bay Pine – (Callitris rhomboidea) is a native pine that is endemic to the East Coast of Tasmania.
  • She-oak – Three types of Allocasuarina are found in the area; Bull Oak, Coastal She-oak, and Drooping She-oak.
  • White Kunzea – (Kunzea ambigua) was used by early settlers for tea, when flowering in the spring they give off a pleasant honey scent.
  • Orchids – There are at least 43 different species of orchid found in the park. Of conservation interest are the; Horned Orchid and the Rusty-hooded Orchid.
  • The park also has Phytophthora Root Rot (Phytophthora cinnamomi) – This is a fungus that attacks and kills many native plants and is easily spread by humans; either on footwear, or by car and bicycle tyres. Head to the Parks and Wildlife Tasmania website for up to date information.

Some of the local fauna includes:

  • Wallabies – Bennett’s Wallabies and Tasmanian Pademelon are commonly seen in the area.
  • Possums – The most common is the Brush Tail, also present: Ring Tail, Pygmy and the introduced Sugar-glider.
  • Quolls – Eastern Quoll are common in the Park, while the spotted tail Quoll is harder to see.
  • Tasmanian Devil – The population on the Freycinet Peninsula has suffered greatly due to the Devil Facial Tumour Disease, catching a glimpse of these shy animals is rare.
  • Echidna – It is possible to see these during the day foraging for ants.
  • Wombats – Mostly nocturnal and live in burrows up to 20m deep.
  • Rodents – There are the native Swamp Rat and Water Rat, while the New Holland Mouse is also present at Freycinet.
  • Bats – There are also a variety of bats, the most common being the Lesser Long-eared Bat and the Little Forest Vespadelus (or Eptesicus).

Marine Mammals:

  • Bottle-nose Dolphins – There is a local pod that is often seen at Wineglass Bay and occasionally in Coles Bay.
  • Australian Fur Seal – There are seal colonies on Schouten Island and Ile des Phoques (that is found between Schouten and Maria Islands). Seals may also be seen hauled out on the rocks around Freycinet Peninsula and at times along the east coast beaches.
  • Whales – Whales are often seen during their annual migration, usually seen on the eastern side of Freycinet Peninsula. The whales seen here are more commonly the Southern Right Whale and Humpback Whale, less frequently sighted are Pilot Whales.

Birds:

  • Wedge-tailed Eagle – The Tasmanian population is a separate subspecies to mainland Australia and is listed as endangered.
  • White-breasted Sea Eagle – Another large raptor that lives predominantly in coastal areas. Both the Wedge-tailed and White-breasted Sea Eagle nest and breed within Freycinet National Park.
  • Peregrine Falcon – This bird has occasionally been spotted at White Water Wall.
  • Waders – Hooded Plovers and Pied Oystercatchers are a couple of the waders that breed along Freycinet’s beaches; they nest just above high water and the eggs are camouflaged to blend into the sand, making them prone to trampling by walkers.
  • Silver and Pacific Gulls – are commonly seen in the area. The Pacific Gull is a large and strikingly coloured gull with a prominent red tipped beak.
  • Crested Tern – Roughly the same size as a Silver Gull, it is distinguished by a vivid yellow beak and black head with a short crest. They are often seen diving for fish in the Freycinet area.
  • Short-tailed Shearwater (Mutton Bird) – This migratory bird visits Australia between September and May. In between it flies to the north Pacific and the Bering Sea. It returns to Australia in the summer to breed.
  • Australasian Gannet – The best place to see Gannets is off of Cape Tourville where they can be seen diving for food from a great height.
  • Little Penguins – Little Penguins are also regular visitors to the Freycinet area.

*Source Freycinet National Park Freycinet Adventures tour operator.

 

Schouten Island Report 2011 scientific research into island’s health

The journey is worth it.

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