Ok, I know you’re getting tired of hearing it so I’ll say today was a day that starts with and “A” ends with a “g” and has a place you can get lost in the middle. 🙂 It began with a 2 hour drive from Launceston (where I stayed with a great host in a great little place) to Freycinet National Park (link) in Southeastern Tasmania.
Even though I arrived at the park later than expected (what’s new huh) I was still planning to do the longest hike they have over 3 mountains becuase….well, becuase it’s there. 🙂 So I grabbed a trail map and hit the trail. Before I even started up the first mountain I saw my first walibee for the day (pictures below) so I knew it was going to be a good day. The first part was a good climb up to the Wineglass Bay overlook. This was my first view of arguably the most famous beach in Tasmania and I have to say it didn’t disappoint….
I took a few minutes to take it all in, checked my map and was back on the trail. I knew covering the ground I had to cover to complete this hike (before dark) was going to be a challenge and I therefore needed to keep moving and moving fast.
The next part took me down a pretty steep trail (no where close to Cradle Mtn.) and straight into Wineglass Bay. After a while I passed a trail sign and knew I was getting close when all of the sudden the trail just opened up to this massive bay with white sand as far as you could see and cyrstal clear water pounding the sand. Even being a “mountain guy” I was totally blown away by the beauty of it…..
I immediately knew I had no choice but to take off my hiking boots and socks and feel the sand, and waves, on my feet…it was just too inviting. I found a place to lay my stuff but before I could take my boots off I saw a waliabee to my left. I walked over and took a some pictures and videos as I watched him peacefully move about…just 25′ from the waves coming to shore. It was so cool.
Once I turned my attention back to the ocean I took off my boots and socks and headed for the water. At first it seemed a little cold but after a few seconds I realized it was not too cold at all. I started walking down the beach and the next thing I knew I was 1/2 mile or more from where I had started…and there was still a long way to go on this beach. I turned around, walked back, grabbed my stuff and copped a squat on a huge rock to eat some lunch. And while I was sitting there something interesting happened…and a few of you (who know me well) may be proud of me for this. 🙂 I started debating with myself as to whether I should continue with my original plans or just hang out here for a while and chill. Now anyone who knows me (well) knows what I would almost always do in this situation. Here was the conversation going on in my mind)…
So one side of me (probably the analytical left brain 🙂 said, “I have a plan. There is a great trail to hike and 2 more mountains (did you hear me say mountains!) to hike. Of course you have to keep going!” But the other side of me said, “Look in front of you. You’re going to have to basically run for the next 5 hours to complete that hike….or, you could sit here for an hour or two and just enjoy watching and listening to the waves come to shore and relax”. “RELAX…WHAT? There is a trail right over there and I can see the 2 mountains from here. Relax! Are you out of your mind…mind?
So which side won you ask…..well to make a long story short, my name is Stephen Price and I am a recovering hikaholic. 🙂 I sat on the rock, ate my lunch and relaxed. And after a while I got up and walked to another rock further down…and I sat, and I relaxed. And I ended up spending almost 2 hours sitting and relaxing as the waves came to shore and the wind blew and it was great! Hmmm, maybe I’m on to something here….nah! ha ha
Knowing I still had a 2 hour walk to get back and it was already 4:30, I took some more pictures (it was all so beautiful that I took a ton of pictures…you can see them on the “View Photos” link when I load them later today), packed up and took off to Hazard Beach.
Hazard Beach is about a 25 minute walk from Wineglass Bay on the opposite side of the peninsula. Hazard Beach is very beautiful (see photos below) but different than Wineglass. Hazard Beach is long but not curved and the beach is more gradually sloped so the waves are not a big. But it was very beautiful and peaceful….
The return trail actually follows Hazard Beach for about 20 minutes and once again I could not resist the urge to take off my boots and socks so I did. At the end of the beach trail I put my boots back on and headed back into the woods. Although the sign said it was a 2 hour walk to the parking area I figured it would take about 1:15. Along the way I saw 2 more wallabies and stopped to take some more pictures and videos.
I made it back to my car in 1:15 as expected, took off my boots, put on my flip flops or thongs as they call them here 🙂 and, thinking my adventures were over for the day, began my 45 minute drive to where I was staying for the night. But as I started out of the park I saw a sign for the Cape Tourville Lighthouse to the right. It didn’t say how far but I figured I’d check it out if it was close (it was already 6:30) so I took the right turn. I never saw a sign saying how far it was but I could see on my GPS I was only half way after 5 minutes or so. Not really wanting to spend too much time on this I almost turned around (I pulled into a lot) but decided to keep going….and boy am I glad I did.
When I finally arrived at the lighthouse you could not see it from the parking area. I got out and followed the signs and walked for 5 minutes or so and I was thinking, “I don’t have time for this” when all of the sudden I walked around a tree and BAM, there was the ocean about 200′ below and you could see the mountains and the bay inlet to Wineglass and it was amazing (you know I couldn’t go a whole day without saying it :-). For the second time today I was totally blown away. To make it even better they had constructed a wooden walkway that extended out over the rock cliff so you were had a completely unimpeded view of the ocean…and straight down as well….
I walked about the corner and it just seemed to keep getting better. I read all of the signs and they were very informative about the area (you can see the signs on the View Photos link on the right). When I came to the last viewing area the one of the signs pointed out 2 small islands just off the coast. It said that, for some unknown reason, these tiny islands have the largest concentration of bird species (proportionately) of any island in Tasmania where they breed during certain times of the year. From where I was standing I could not see any birds but I was quite far away. Fortunately they had a pair of those mounted binoculars and when I looked through them I could clearly see penguins on 2 of the 3 islands…and that was cool! I tried to get some pictures from my phone looking through the binoculars and they actually turned out fairly well….
I stood and looked at the birds and penguins for a few more minutes and then backtracked to the car because I just didn’t want to leave this place. I thanked God for His creation, for sharing it with me and for not allowing me to turn around earlier. 🙂 I LOVED this place. I stood for 10 minutes or longer just staring out at the sea and watching the interesting wave patterns and I saw a dolphin swimming way down below. It was a magical site and a perfect way to end another great day….but wait there’s more (and if you buy now we’ll through in a second set of crap that you don’t need! ha ha). As I was driving back to the main road I saw another walibee so I took more pictures. 🙂
All in all it was another great day in the land of Oz.