The view from the Wineglass Bay lookout in Freycinet National Park is one of Tasmania’s best known images. But, is it possible for something to be too well known?
During our short visit to Tasmania, our focus was on the state’s south east coast. We only found ourselves in Freycinet National Park by accident. We had done a day tour of Maria Island. From there it was only an hour to Bicheno.
We had to go to Bicheno because it has a blowhole and the chance to see a blowhole is something we don’t pass up. As we drove there, we saw the turn off to the Freycinet Peninsula.
Our early morning visit to the blowhole didn’t disappoint. Conditions were ideal and we watched water shoot 10 metres into the air. The roar from the hole and the splash as the water fell onto the surrounding rocks was fantastic.
Wineglass Bay lookout
After our blowhole success we headed south. Since we had a National Park pass sitting on the dashboard, we decided to go into Freycinet. The view from the Wineglass Bay lookout features in most guides to Tasmania. We thought, if nothing else, we’d make the short walk to see this iconic view.
Locating the path is easy. It is well signposted from the main carpark. The walk to the lookout is roughly 45 minutes each way. It is a steady uphill track that would get people of average fitness puffing. However, it’s nothing you can’t recover from at one of the rest stops along the path.
The first part of the walk has lovely views of Coles Bay. Freycinet’s mountain peaks are also in view for a good part of the walk. The dramatic peaks are a spectacular distraction from the gently ascending path.
The track itself passes between large granite boulders and through bushland. Given the popularity of the path it is not surprising that it is well maintained. It alternates between smooth dirt and cobblestones. There are a few sets of stone stairs to test you out too.
The steepest section of the path ends with a rustic recliner for you to sit on. Don’t catch your breath for too long, the lookout is right around the corner. Even after a short walk you feel a sense of excitement as the trek ends and your reward comes into view.
But, for us, this is where things became a tad disappointing. You make your way to the front of the viewing area and there it is. The view is literally picture perfect. It is exactly what you have seen on dozens of websites and Insta’ pictures. It is a distant view of three quarters of Wineglass Bay.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice view. The white sand, turquoise water and crescent shaped bay look lovely, but also familiar. Perhaps that was the problem. It almost felt too familiar.
You can climb onto some granite boulders to get a more elevated perspective or to glimpse a little more of the bay. There were half a dozen people doing that. The small viewing area would be a crowded place in peak season.
We took in the view for a while then made our way back down. Not far into the return journey you have the option to take the Boulderfield Track back to the carpark. It’s a detour worth taking. The walk takes you between giant curved granite boulders. It makes the return journey feel like you are negotiating a stone maze.
Once back at the car we spent the next few hours visiting other spots around the park. By the time we’d finished, we decided there are several other things to do that rival the view from the lookout.
Cape Tourville Lighthouse
If you don’t have a lot of time to spend in Freycinet and you want a great view, this is the place to go. The views from the lighthouse boardwalk are brilliant. Best of all, it is accessible. The wooden boardwalk is especially designed for people with mobility issues or prams.
The views here are no less spectacular than you get from the Wineglass Bay lookout. You can see the corner of Wineglass Bay, some of the peaks and expansive views of the Tasman Sea. There are also some little islands closer to shore. There is a lot of birdlife in the scrub surrounding the walkway.
The short board walk winds its way around the cape, the scene changing as you go around each corner. The lighthouse is not one of the oldest you’ll see. Built in 1971, it works to this day.
This is another picturesque spot. Like much of the area, it has an imposing view of the peaks. They are a wonderful backdrop for enjoying the crystal clear water and rockpools of Honeymoon Bay. It is a lovely spot for a dip or a paddle.
Granite boulders surround the beach on two sides. Bushland comes right up to the sand. Between the rocks and trees, it is not hard to get a sense of the seclusion that might have given the bay its name.
There are campsites, electric BBQs and picnic facilities behind the beach. Over summer you need to go into a ballot system to secure a campsite. It’s not hard to see why it is so popular, it is a beautiful location and a must see for day-trippers.
If you couldn’t make the walk down to Wineglass Bay, you can still get the sand between your toes at Friendly Beaches. If kilometres of unspoilt white sand and blue water is your thing, this is the stop for you.
As the name suggests, these inviting calm beaches are a great family spot. It’s an ideal place for sandcastle building, long walks on the beach or sitting back and watching the waves roll in. You can all but drive onto the beach, no multi hour hikes required!
For a great view, it is hard to go past the Coles Bay jetty. It is not a national park experience, but for a little taste of what awaits, it is a great place to start.
The three peaks feel close, there are perfect reflections of boats in the bay and the water is crystal clear. It is a lovely place to grab a coffee or an ice cream and contemplate the beauty of Freycinet.
For an actual taste of Coles Bay, drop into the Freycinet Marine Farm. The fresh seafood is delicious and you can tour the oyster farms.
Ideally, you will have more than a day to explore this place. We’ll spend more time here next trip and we already have a list of things to do. Walking beyond the Wineglass Bay lookout is at the top of the list.
The walk down to the bay, across the isthmus to Hazards Beach then back to the main carpark would be a fun hike. There are water taxis that can shuttle you to various points around Freycinet too.
Not only can they save you a bit of walking time, they are a great way to see the area. Check availability, they were not operating when we were there in August. The same goes for the cruises around the area. We’ll be getting on one of them next time too.
The trek up Mount Amos will appeal to more series walkers. It is not a long hike distance-wise, but it is a strenuous one. ‘Boulder scrambling’ gets a mention on the warning signs in the Wineglass Bay car park. When you get to the top though, you’ll have one of the best views in the park.
See for yourself
The beauty of an experience is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone will have their own opinion on the Wineglass Bay lookout. In the end though, travellers will agree, the most important thing is having the spirit of adventure to find out for yourself.
Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
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View Wineglass Bay from above, Tasmania’s most iconic white sands beach
Aerial view of the seal colony of Ile Des Phoque
Explore the natural beauty of Maria Island with a guided walking tour
See rare wildlife, unique forests, crystal clear waters and the impressive scenery of Mt Maria and Bishop and Clerk peaks
Glimpse rare and endangered species like the Swift Parrot, Cape Barron Goose, wombats, kangaroos and the Tasmanian Devil
Enjoy a gourmet seafood picnic paired with Tasmanian wine