Day 2 – Freycinet to Bay of Fires

There are few things that are good in this pandemic but I’m happy to say that Matt and I found a positive this morning when we got the entirety of Wineglass Bay to ourselves for an hour. Absolute bliss, and particularly special as it was Matt’s first visit. Since Tasmania has become a hot spot for tourism it has become harder and harder for locals to find a quiet slice of the island that we are used to. For us to get the beach to ourselves we needed to have an early start, in a pandemic, in winter.

Our day started in the usual way, instant coffee with a marshmallow, beans, eggs, and packing up the van. As I mentioned Matt had never been to Wineglass Bay which is just so strange to me as not only is it one of the most stunning spots in Tasmania it regularly appears on lists of the best beaches in the world. The hike starts in the car park at the end of the national park road. There are quite a few options from here, you can hike up Mount Amos for a high and less populated view of Wineglass Bay (3.6km 3 hours return), the lookout (2.6km 1-1.5 hours return), or what we did which was the lookout and the beach (6km 2.5-3.5 hours return). Our walk includes 1000 steps which are a mix of uneven rocks and nicely made and groomed stairs. It is a tough hike but absolutely worth it.

We stopped at the lookout and caught up with one of our fellow campers who had the same idea as us and got out early to enjoy the view on her own. There was a very cute scrub wren hopping about and we took some time to take in the vista before starting the nightmare stairs. Entertainly about half way down we came upon a guy who was running back up who turned out to be one of Matt’s friends from high school, typical Tasmanian occurrence.

Down on the beach we sat on some rocks and ate the gingerbread men we bought in Orford. I used this as an opportunity to spruke the Jetboil I want to take on our trip, but Matt argued that a thermos would work just as well and be easier…I do see his point. After an hour or so of exploring the pure white sand and watching the turquoise surf we were joined by some more hikers and decided that was our cue to leave and make our way back up the 1000 stairs.

On our way out of the national park we turned right and went to have a look at the Cape Tourville lighthouse. Unlike a lot of the lighthouses in Tasmania this one was not very historically interesting as it was built in the 1970s to provide guidance to the ships bringing wood chips up from the mill in Triabunna. The walk around it was just fantastic with views back into Wineglass Bay and across the water.

I had a surprise lunch arranged for Matt in Bicheno so I convinced him to pop into town and pull up in front of a nondescript house where I picked up a beautiful box of local goodies put together by Pop-Up Picnics Bicheno. We try and do a date night for each other on alternative weeks and this one was mine for him. We sat on a beach and ate our way through a feast of cheese, meats, fruit, dips, and sweets.

I’d originally planned to take the box up to the Iron House Brewery and eat it there but we were both too hungry to wait and ended up going to Iron House post lunch. I’m not a huge fan of their beers but gave them the benefit of the doubt and had the tasting paddle. Unfortunately the only one I liked was the Milk Stout, Matt wasn’t particularly keen on any of them. It’s a bit weird because we both normally like most beers. Oh well.

The final stop before finding our site for the night was the cheerful seaside town of St Helens (or Sn’Ellens) as the locals call it. We checked out the recently opened mountain bike trails, making a mental note that we would need to come back and enjoy it in person soon and visited the Peron Sand Dunes.

After an absolutely amazing day we topped it off by finding a perfect site at the free camping are in Cosy Corner South. Sandwiched between the surf and the lagoon we settled down outside the van and watched the sun set and the birds bounce about.

Campground Review

Cosy Corner is one of the most popular free campsites in Tasmania and it is very clear why. The sites are either sheltered or right on the beach with stunning views. They are beautifully separated to the point where you could be alone. There aren’t many facilities but you wouldn’t want there to be 9/10.

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