Almost any picture taken from the Wineglass Bay lookout is one you’ll want as the wallpaper on your computer. Different shades of green from the vegetation, white from the sandy beach and blue from the sea come together in a way that suggests that sometimes, Mother Nature is the best artist of them all. Wineglass Bay really is spectacularly beautiful and it’s not surprising that this slice of paradise is a regular on lists of the world’s best beaches.
Located along the eastern side of the Freycinet Peninsula and in Freycinet National Park, Wineglass Bay is more or less in the centre of Tassie’s East Coast. The Freycinet Peninsula lies at the northern end of Oyster Bay and the many shell middens that have been founded in the area suggest that Aboriginal peoples such as the Paradarerme or Oyster Bay tribe had been foraging here for thousands of years. One band that is known to have roamed the peninsula and Schouten Passage was the Toorernomairremener.
The Freycinet Peninsula was named after a member of Nicholas Baudin’s 1802 expedition that sailed up the East Coast. By the early 1800s, whalers and sealers were working and living in the area. The Hazards is one of the features on the peninsula that were named after an American whaler named Richard Hazard. Wineglass Bay owes its name to whaling too: When the whaling stations operated here, the water in the bay would turn red with the slaughtered creatures’ blood. From the lookout points on the hills it looked like a glass being filled with red wine.
FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK
Freycinet National Park is one of the oldest in Tassie, having been founded in 1916. Getting here from either Hobart or Launceston involves about a two-and-a-half to three hours’ drive. From Hobart, you can take the Tasman Highway, also known as the A3 and then turn south at the Freycinet Junction about 35 km after Swansea. From Launceston, the best route is along the Midland Highway to Campbell Town and then eastwards on the B34, also called the Lake Leake Highway. Where this highway meets the Tasman Highway, just before you reach Swansea, you need to turn north and drive in the direction of Bicheno until you find the Freycinet Junction and the road to the Freycinet National Park. This road is also called Coles Bay Road.
The Coles Bay Road ends at the Walks Car Park in the Freycinet National Park. From here, you need to hoof it for about 4 km to get to Wineglass Bay. The track starts with a steep climb up to the Wineglass Bay lookout about 1.3 km further, on Mount Mayson. The views from here will make you want to run and skip to the beach and luckily this last part is downhill.
There’s a small campsite at the southern end of Wineglass Bay but you’ll have to bring your own water. The main campsite in the park is near Coles Bay. Because the demand for camping spots is so high in summer, the park uses a ballot system to allocate sites between 18 December and 10 February and over the Easter period. The ballot is drawn in August, so you’ll need to apply well in advance.
Wineglass Bay is the perfect spot for a swim or simply lazing on the beach. You can also take a cruise around the bay or explore by sea kayak. Elsewhere in Freycinet National Park you’ll find opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing and even surfing or windsurfing, not to mention the different walking tracks. The park is a bird-watching paradise and you may also spot animals like poteroos, possums, bettongs, echidnas, wombats, whales and dolphins. Photo opportunities abound and as an example, The Hazards is famous for its pink feldspar.
Because Wineglass Bay is in a national park, you’ll need a Parks Pass to visit. You can get one online or on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Even easier is to pick up your Parks Pass at the National Park Visitor Centre in Bicheno, at the Tasmanian Travel Information Centre in either Swansea or Bicheno or at the Service Tasmania shop in Triabunna or Campbell Town.