Freycinet Peninsula Overview
- Cobalt seas, ochre boulders
- Coast life
- Walking, wining, dining
Rising from Tasmania's low east-coast hills like the arching spine of a whale is the island's famed Freycinet Peninsula (pronounced Fray-sin-aye), the go-to destination for pristine shores, crowd-free trekking and seafood to savour.
The impressive pink peaks of the Hazards capture the eye and fire the imagination. Beyond these crags lies a jewel: the gorgeous hidden inlet of Wineglass Bay, surely one of the world's most blissful beaches.
Fabulously Freycinet Peninsula
Just like the mythical Thai island lagoon in Alex Garland’s The Beach, Wineglass Bay is something you’d want to keep secret if you stumbled upon it. It’s hard to imagine a more photogenic stretch of sand: a seductively curved arc seemingly scooped out between forested headlands, framed by jagged granite peaks and ribbons of gently breaking waves. The only way to access it though is to walk along a bush track with rough steps (ie forget about prams and small fry), with the return journey taking about three hours. You could also choose to come back via the track along Hazards Beach, but you’ll need to add another hour. Whatever you do don’t forget the camera, and be prepared for a chilly swim – this ain’t tropical Ko Pha Ngan!
- Freycinet Peninsula is a long drive from either Hobart or Launceston, and it is unlikely any taxi service will be willing to make the trip (try Taxi Combined Services, +61 (0)3 132 227, if you really must). Within the region, East Coast Taxis (+61 (0)3 6376 2999) operates out of St Helens.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Local shops and banks open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, and often between 10am and 4pm on Saturday. Cafes usually open for breakfast at 8am and close at about 4pm. Restaurants and pubs will often start trading at midday and close up when it gets quiet (during winter that could be quite early).
- Packing tips
- Hiking boots or good walking shoes are essential. Sunscreen is a must - the sun is stronger than you might think this far south. Your hardiest constitution for those cold dips in the pristine ocean.
- Recommended reads
- From Petal Point to Cockle Creek: A Beach Explorer's Guide to the East Coast of Tasmania by Marianne Robertson introduces Freycinet's iconic Wineglass Bay and other beaches around the peninsula. A Guide to Tasting Tasmania by Graeme Phillips is the definitive guide to eating and drinking on the wee isle, including east-coast highlights. For a rollicking combination of social history and familial discovery, pick up a copy of In Tasmania by British novelist and short-term resident Nicholas Shakespeare.
- The Freycinet food scene has come a long way since the stodgy fish-and-chippers and white-bread ham sandwiches of the 1970s and 80s. Seafood remains a mainstay - oysters, tuna, perch, marlin, whiting, flounder, trumpeter, wrasse, crayfish and abalone - but these days you'll more likely find it grilled with a zesty Asian-fusion sauce than dunked in a deep-fryer. In all the towns, there is a healthy serving of cafes, pubs and fine eateries.
- Australian dollar (AU$).
- Time zone
- GMT +10 hours.
- Dialling codes
- Country code: +61; Tasmania: (0)3 (drop the 0 if dialling from overseas).
- Do go/don't go
- Unlike many places on mainland Australia (beautiful one day, perfect the next) , Tasmania has four distinct seasons. This means the crowds arrive with the summer sun (December–February), but leave the island to its own devices through winter (June-August). Freycinet in particular is a summer destination, when the ocean is warm(ish) and the weather predictable: locals and tour buses arrive on holiday. If you want to beat the the crowds but enjoy reasonable climes, aim for November or March.