The fame of Wineglass Bay, the most celebrated beach in Tasmania, ensures a steady stream of visitors to Freycinet National Park (pronounced “fray-zin-ay”) even in winter. It is one of the east coast’s poster destinations, something that grants its gateway village, Coles Bay, a popularity out of all proportion to its size. Fortunately the beach and national park beyond live up to the hype – there are beautiful beaches, thick bush, granite mountains that glow orange at sunset and some excellent walking, including what is arguably Tasmania’s best introduction to multiday bushwalking (certainly its sunniest).
The park begins just beyond Coles Bay at the national park office, which sells maps and booklets on day-walks. Here, too, is Richardsons Beach, the first of many idyllic little beaches further around the bay; Honeymoon Bay is gorgeous. Walking tracks into the park proper start at the Walking Track Car Park, a further 4km from the office. Water is scarce, so carry all you’ll need or ask the rangers about safe streams. Shorter walks are well-marked: most walkers head off on the easy ascent to the lookout over exquisite Wineglass Bay, with its perfect curve of white beach. To make a half-day of it, continue down to the beach itself (2.6km return to the lookout, 1–2hr; 5km return to the beach, 2hr 30min–3hr 30min), then return by cutting across the isthmus and following the shore back. For longer hikes, the 27km peninsula circuit is excellent. You could blast it in 10hr, but it’s best done over two days with a night at a campsite on Cooks Beach – a good dry run (literally) for longer Tassie hikes.