Cruising in style, we boarded a luxurious 150 seat catamaran with an enclosed, spacious and fully air-conditioned lounge, as well as both front and rear outdoor decks for those after an outdoor experience. The perfect weather meant many of us spent the journey basking in the outdoors. We received interesting commentary about the history of the region, including Aboriginal heritage and tales of early explorers.
Cruising the Freycinet Peninsula
We began the day with this cruise to explore parts of the national park not accessible by land and to enjoy the beauty of Wineglass Bay from the rarely seen perspective of the water. The voyage headed south along the western side of the Freycinet Peninsula with the pink peaks of the Hazards range on our left-hand side. We continued past the incredible, pristine white beaches of Cooks and Bryans Beach, which are only accessible by water or a full day bush walk, meaning they are not visited by many (win-win!). This brought us to the southern tip of the peninsula, where we passed through a small passage near Schouten Island and out into the Tasman Sea. A bird lovers' paradise, there was lots of birdlife to be seen on the shoreline and among the rocks near this passage, some including sea eagles, shearwaters, and cormorants.
Wineglass Bay from the water
Once through the passage, we headed north along the east coast of the peninsula towards Wineglass Bay. Photographs cannot do justice to the sheer beauty of this stunning and dramatic granite coastline. We slowly headed towards the famed Wineglass Bay with the captain skilfully manoeuvring the vessel closer to the cliffs so everyone could get fantastic views of the various sea caves, blowholes and waterfalls that are found along the way. We were also lucky enough to have several pods of dolphins join us for portions of this trip, surfing the bow wave and seeming to enjoy the glorious weather as much as we were. We also stopped at some offshore, rocky outcrops to enjoy watching the Australian fur seals frolicking around in the crystal-clear blue waters. Simply magical!
Dropping anchor in Wineglass Bay
The highlight of the voyage, however, was arriving at the spectacular Wineglass Bay. This remote and beautiful beach did not disappoint in the slightest, and we dropped anchor in the Bay to enjoy nature while we had our included lunch. Many took the opportunity to enjoy a delicious glass of Tasmanian wine at Wineglass Bay! If you can’t enjoy a wine at Wineglass Bay, when can you? After making the most of the time here, it was time to head back to Coles Bay, but the excitement was not over. Instead of heading back close to the cliffs as we had done on the way in, we headed back further out to sea to try and spot a variety of wildlife. We were lucky enough to see a variety of albatross, shearwaters, gannets, cormorants, and more dolphins.
A short walk for views of the white beach
Arriving back at the Coles Bay pier, it was time to be a little more active and enjoy Wineglass Bay from a different perspective. We took a short 10-minute drive to the lookout carpark to begin our walk to see one of Tasmania’s most well-known views, the curvaceous white beach of Wineglass Bay. The walk is a 2.6km round trip, and can take between 30 and 45 minutes each way depending on fitness levels. The track has some short, steep sections and stairs, but even for those who do not want to go all the way up to the top, wonderful views of Coles Bay can be seen from a short distance up the trail, which are also very rewarding! The trail to the lookout point takes you through some delightful coastal woodland and past granite boulders to the lookout platform, and the end view makes the effort well worth it! The perspective from here is completely different to what we had from the water and complements our previous experience perfectly. We were also lucky enough to be joined by numerous small wallabies as we turned and headed back to the car park.
Freycinet National Park, a trip highlight
Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay were certainly a highlight of our Tasmania trip for me and many others in the group and is absolutely somewhere I hope to return to again with my family so we can enjoy more of the walking trails in this wonderful national park, and maybe with some luck, some scuba diving in the clean and clear waters of this very special place!
If you're after an experience as magical as this one then look no further than our 14-day Tasmania in Depth small group tour. Check it out here.
All images by James Atwell