After my early-morning walk to Mount Amos, I head back to the carpark for the walk down to Wineglass Bay. In stark contrast to my previous walk, which I started at 6:30am, the carpark is now overflowing and it takes me a few circuits to find a parking spot. (Every year Tassie seems to get a bit busier in January, to the point where it’s now becoming less appealing to visit in the peak summer months. The Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach loop is one of Tasmania’s “60 Great Walks”, so it’s always pretty busy in summer.) The wide “one-way” gravel track initially rises as it heads towards The Hazards, a series of five granite peaks.
We make steady progress despite having regular breaks, as the track gradually ascends towards the Wineglass Bay Lookout. Coming into view behind us as we climb is Coles Bay.
After a kilometre is the Coles Bay Lookout, which provides a view to the north over Coles Bay.
The lookout is also the point where the “one-way” track up meets the alternate one-way track down (it gets so busy at peak times that there’s a path for each direction of travel!). Another 500m further there’s a junction to the track to the Wineglass Bay Lookout.
Situated on a saddle between Mt Amos and Mount Mayson, two of the granite peaks that make up The Hazards, the Wineglass Bay Lookout is one of the most popular destinations in the Freycinet National Park. The lookout is the highest point of the walk (201m above sea level) and offers spectacular views of Wineglass Bay and the Freycinet Peninsular. (Although, if you want to avoid the crowds I’d suggest you do the slightly harder walk to Mount Amos for an even better view!) Many people only walk as far as this lookout, which offers stunning view over the beach below – its even been included in “Six of the best places to take photos” (Traveller).
From the lookout it’s all downhill to Wineglass Bay. There’s a warning sign that the track can be “steep and slippery” which is absolutely ludicrous, as you could (almost) make it down in a wheelchair. There was a $500,000 track upgrade in 2017, so perhaps they forgot to remove the sign? (As I’ve noted on previous posts, there is an increasing prevalance of warning signs that overstate the dangers, which means people are going to start ignoring these when there are genuine risks or track closures.)
Unperturbed, we continue down the dangerous path: tea trees, eucalypts and she-oaks provide some welcome shade. As we near the bottom, there’s a clear view of Mt Amos, the destination of my last walk.
Although Wineglass Bay is perhaps one of the most photographed and Instagrammed beaches in Australia, the majority of people don’t venture past the lookout. So while there’s a few people at the northern end of the beach, if you walk to the far end you’ll have the beach almost to yourself! (The campground where I stayed with my son a couple of years ago when we did the Freycinet Circuit is also at the other end of Wineglass Bay.)
From the lookout the water looked calm, and the bay is fairly enclosed – so I was surprised to find large waves and a strong undertow at the beach. We went for a swim anyway – the water was pretty chilly – but there were more people on the beach than in the water! We dried off at the very northern end of the beach, where there’s a rocky platform. Behind the opposite (southern) end of the beach is Mt Graham and Mt Freycinet.
We head back after our swim – I go back to Wineglass Bay Lookout as the skies have cleared, making the view even more spectacular. Looking at the tranquil bay below, it’s hard to imagine that it owes its name to the blood-red water that resulted from the slaughtering of whales in the early 1800s.
From the turn-off to the lookout we’ve done the hard (uphill) work – it’s now all downhill back to the carpark and a well-earnt lunch!
0.0km Start at Wineglass Bay carpark 1.0km Coles Bay Lookout 1.6km Wineglass Bay Lookout 3.2km Wineglass Bay 6.4km Return to Wineglass Bay carpark
Accommodation near Wineglass Bay
The nearest town to Freycinet National Park is Coles Bay, which has a few restaurants and a holiday park – but not many other accommodation options. Lodges, resorts and houses for rent are be scattered along the coast, incuding the upmarket Freycinet Lodge (one of the closest resorts to the national park) and the even more up-market Saffire Lodge.
More information on Wineglass Bay
- Tas Parks “60 Great Short Walks” – Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach
- TasTrails – Wineglass Bay
- Melanie Ball, Top Walks in Tasmania, p.137
- John & Monica Chapman, Day Walks Tasmania, p.23