A couple of weekends ago a spur of the moment trip to Freycinet national park presented itself. It was a quick overnight trip to blow out some cobwebs before starting a new job later that week.
Leaving Hobart at about lunch time we stopped at Kate’s berry farm near Swansea for a last coffee, then proceeded to Coles Bay to buy some cheese and were on the track at around 3:50 pm.
The walk up the saddle to the Wineglass bay lookout revealed some great views back to Coles bay and took about 30 minutes to reach the saddle. we then dropped down the other side and descended to Wineglass bay itself. We stopped for some chocolate and a drink before wandering the remaining 30 minutes up the beach to the campsite. Its worth noting that water can be hard to find at this end of the beach so we hauled in about 7 Liters of water ( a bit overkill). We set up camp in the fading light before heading down to the beach for make dinner and enjoy that chilli cheddar we got in Coles bay. all up the walk took about 1.5 hours including the stops and a very restrained pace.
We woke up the next day to a beautiful day, warm by winter standards in Tasmania. Breakfast in bed was only improved by the sun pouring into the tent. the morning was spent sitting on the beach, swimming (yes in a Tassie winter) and eating some fresh fruit. before retracing our steps at around 11am and enjoying lunch back at the Coles Bay bakery. A very pleasant trip to relax before returning to the corporate jungle.
Time: Day 1 3.5 hours, Day 2, 3.5 hours, Day 3, 5 hours
Access: Drive north from Hobart on the Brooker Highway following the signs as if you were driving to strahan. Turn off at Derwent bridge. Approx 2.5 Hours
Grade: Easy – Moderate
When you arrive at the visitor centre at Lake St Clair head into the cafe and ask for the times that the boat leaves to the northern end of the lake. the times are irregular in the cooler months so it may be wise to call ahead (which we did not do)
When you get off the boat follow the duck board track to Narcissus hut (about 2 minutes), The hut is a good place to adjust your pack and fill up the water bottles. The track starts here and is sign posted, initially the track follows the river north before crossing a suspension bridge. For your safety cross the bridge one at a time, shortly after the bridge the track opens out into breath taking alpine scenery with great views of the surrounding mountains. An hour or so from leaving the hut you come to a small clearing where the track to Pine Valley is off to the left (west) the path straight ahead takes you further along the overland track. taking the track to Pine Valley starts out fairly open the you notice the terrain change quite quickly the further you get into the valley. There are a few more bridges in this area and one Log crossing which can be a little slippery so take care. The track gently undulates and winds its way through very wet forest before emerging onto wide board walk that winds its way beside a creek, this is your sign that you are close to the hut. The hut is comfortable and is warmed by a coal fire stove, there is plenty of room to camp if the hut is full.
Retrace day one back to Narcissus hut. (Ascend The Acropolis in the morning if the weather is fine)
Narcissus Hut can be quite busy as its the final stop on the Overland track for those catching the boat back to Cynthia bay so make sure you have a tent.
Narcissus hut to Cynthia bay via Echo Point Hut. A nice walk around the edge of the lake, pretty level walking with only a few small hills. From narcissus hut follow the track behind the hut as it you were going to the loo and continue along. After the plains you come to a junction turn left and follow the track around the lake, it’s well worn and easy to follow (due to the wear it can get quite muddy after rain). Echo point hut is a great place to stop for some lunch. Once you reach watersmeet the track opens up and is more like a council park trail.
Access: Drive south from Hobart to Eaglehawk Neck follow the signs on the Arthur Highway to Tasman National Park
Arriving at Fortescue bay visit the National parks booth and purchase a parks pass if you don’t already have one and continue down to the car park.
the walk begins by walking along the beach to its far end where a track heads along the coastline just were the rocks begin. follow the gently undulating track along the coast, taking the time to stop for photos of the awe inspiring coastline. after an hour of walking you reach a fork in the track and the lower (right hand) fork leads down to canoe bay where the remains of a sunken vessel can be seen poking out of the water. this is a good place for a drink and to take some more photos. retrace your steps to the junction and take the higher (lefthand) fork that leads around canoe bay.
five or so minutes later you reach a suspension bridge, cross this bridge one at a time for your safety. on reaching the other side the track moves inland for a sections and a couple of short easy hills need to be climbed, then the descent into bivouac bay begins. you will know you have arrived when you come across a toilet block (bush loo, bring your own paper). the camp-site is large and spacious enough for large groups and is a favourite with school groups. There is a creek on the far side of the camp ground for water (I have seen it dry before). visit the bay, at low tide you can cross to the large rock platforms on the left hand side of the bay.
return by retracing your route back to fortescue bay.
The track to the fall leaves from the Parks and wildlife visitor centre at the entrance to the park. The walk itself is quite short at around 10 minutes one way and is well worth the trip. Should you be camping near by the walk to the falls takes on a different feel at night where you will see glow worms dotted along the undergrowth.
Drive on from the visitor centre for a couple of minutes and you will see a small car park with a sign that points you to the start of the walk. The walk through some of the tallest trees you will find in Tasmania is breath taking.
Lake Dobson Area
Continue up the unsealed road for 16km from the visitor centre and you will be at lake Dobson. Here there is a day shelter and the walker’s intention registry. Please remember to log your intentions in the book in case of emergency.
From Lake Dobson follow the track around the western side of the lake until a junction in the track, take the right hand junction to continue around the side of the lake. Again the track will fork and the right hand track should be taken again. The track will lead out to the Urquhart track which you can follow south back to the car park or continue right to link with other tracks.