February 3, 2018
Friday morning, February 2, looked a little bleak; cloudy and mild and looking like it might rain; but we are only here for a couple of nights so it was onwards and upwards. Outside it turned out warm. And, in fact, hit 23. Plus the cloud cover probably kept us more active than if it had been full on sun. We drove to Freycinet National Park, the Banff of Tasmania. It was as the bird flies a few clicks, but 56 km by car, as we had to head north of Moulting Lagoon then south again. On our way we passed the Devil’s Corner vineyard where a lookout, constructed on shipping containers, beckoned a few view shots south across Great Oyster Bay. Once at Freycinet, we parked in the centre, then took the path to a lookout over Wineglass Bay, then the (well worn and heavily trafficked Grouse Grind-like) path down to the beach. Famous for its clear waters and white sand, it was perhaps a bit of a letdown on a cloudy day, but still the surf was impressive and some locals dared the undertow. Granite mountains rose up off the bay. We had PB & banana sandwiches which, as any hiker knows, always taste epicurean on a hike. Most tourists only go to the lookout; those that go all the way down to Wineglass beach retrace their steps and are done with it in less than two hours. But there is an alternative return, making the whole trip 11 kms (as opposed to two); we chose the longer loop back. This longer option took us across an isthmus, past the Hazards Lagoon, then to a beach on the east side of Wineglass called Hazards Beach on Promise Bay. From there you walk the beach a ways then veer upwards on the Hazards Beach Track past Fleurie Point, through the forest, and after an extended period, back to the car park. A wallaby jumped across the path at one point scaring the bejesus out of us, but apart from that it was lovely and serene if wholly taxing and despite the cloud cover very sweaty work. SS descending the steps to Hazards Beach. A huge private yacht moored at Promise Rock. There was a moment of free state WiFi at the visitor’s centre and there we learned of Kyle and Emilia’s Danish Love Fest, which was surprising and amusing but also comforting given our remoteness. On our return we drove north 20 kms; of the three local towns, Swansea, Coles Bay and Bicheno, only one has a butcher, so we headed north to Bicheno. (Or, as the locals say, butchery.) Bicheno had the feel of an authentic town with people living and working there, not just day-trippers; the beach, in the centre, was lively and looked worth a swim. The clouds had parted and the sun was shining and it was a lovely afternoon, if breezy. We kicked back for the rest of the day.