I write this 3 months after my trip to Wineglass Bay…
…Tasmania is packed with National Parks. There are 17 in all on this island. One of the most visited and famous ones is Freycinet National Park, situated on the east coast of Tasmania. It was hardly on my list of things to do while in Australia, or even in Tasmania, but many people from the hostels I’d stayed in had gone there to see Wineglass Bay, and it seemed like the right thing to do.
It was one day working on broccoli harvesting that the chance to go to Freycinet National Park (mainly to visit Wineglass Bay) came about. I worked with a lovely German lady called Marina. Marina was staying in the same working backpackers as me and I got to know her very well. We were given two days off from broccoli harvesting due to the next field (or paddock as Tasmaniacs like to call them) not being ready to pick yet.
So Marina and I decided we should spend one of our days off at Freycinet National Park. It was before I bought my first Australian car, and Marina also didn’t own a car, so we decided we could either rent a car for the day (costing just $45 from the Hostel) or find someone in the hostel with also a day off…and a car.
It was perfect as Marina’s roommate, Joseph, from Taipei in Taiwan had a car and a day off and straight away was up for it. None of the three of us had been to Freycinet National Park so it was to be a new exciting trip for us, and we agreed to meet early the next day and leave the hostel at 6 am. This was normal anyway for work.
That night (the night before Wineglass Bay) was a bit of a get together with some work mates. Felicity and Jay, a Taiwanese duo from our broccoli picking job had asked if we would like to eat pizza and drink beer with them, at our hostel. It was a Tuesday night and Felicity happened to know that the local Pizza Hut (in Devonport) does two for one pizza offers every Tuesday. So that was dinner sorted. My room mate Jesper and I also went halfers on a carryout – I got a 6 pack of Boags. So it was to be dinner for 6 that night. There was me, Marina, Jay, Felicity, Daniel and Jesper.
The thing was Jesper was then on potatoes and not broccoli and he wasn’t around, so he was probably at work and would join us later. Marina and I met Felicity and Jay at Pizza Hut on Best Street. We got 6 pizzas ordered and Jay had a car so could give us a lift back till the hostel. On the way we stopped off at the offy. Offys (Off Licences) are called Bottle Shops here in Australia (yes, even though loads of the stuff they sell ain’t in bottles! And they don’t call them carryouts either, even though you carry them out. The bottle shops here are drive throughs however where ye park, buy yer beer and leave, if ye want ye don’t have te leave the car to buy anything! I guess that part of Australian life is a step ahead of the UK, even if most of the rest of the things aren’t.
We got back to the hostel and stuck into the pizzas in the hostel dining room. It was a great night with 4 nationalities between us (Danish, German, Taiwanese, Northern Irish) and Daniel, from Taiwan was the only one who had already been to Wineglass Bay, so he could give us tips. Joseph had told Marina that we need to have a plan. We got some ideas together, but generally the idea was just to get to Wineglass Bay, do a few of the walks, see the Wineglass Bay from high up, and walk onto the beach. I wanted to go for a quick swim in the sea there.
When asked what Wineglass Bay was like, Daniel replied “It’s OK”, which we all found funny. He wouldn’t say it was crap and wouldn’t say it was amazing, it was just “OK” so that really didn’t give us much inspiration prior to the trip. Still it would be a day out, and something that is recommended in the Lonely Planet Guide is worth seeing anyway. We finished our pizzas and beer and headed to bed ready for the Wineglass Bay Trip.
It was a 6 am start, a Springtime sun had graced the coolish Devonport air, as we headed south east, initially in Joseph’s car. A white Toyota Camry saloon. There were beautiful views on the way, and save for a quick petrol stop, it was a direct drive to the East Cost. It is easy to navigate around Tasmania. Everything is well signposted and there are hardly any cars on the road. Parts of it really are wilderness. I don’t recall any radio songs, just that Joseph had a CD of perhaps Metallica on play at one point.
We decided to make a stop on the edge of Wineglass Bay, just before the actual Freycinet National Park. It was a recommended lookout spot, over vineyards and the Great Oyster Bay. We took our morning snack there and looked down over the bay.
It was quiet, peaceful and relaxing. You really need to go to places where there are no people sometimes. Big city lights just cloud my mind, as Louise Nurding (now Redknapp) once sang in one of her Naked album tracks.
After that it was on round into Freycinet National Park. By the time we got there must have been around 10 am. You need a National Parks Pass for the parks in Tasmania, and luckily Joseph had one already which meant we didn’t have to pay a fee to enter. Once inside Freycinet National Park, we went straight to the information centre to get the stuff we needed. IT was pretty easy to plan, and actually we already had enough information.
In the information centre they had a lot of gifts. They also had stamps there from every National Park in Tasmania so I stamped them into my blog/diary book. So did Joseph and Marina. I bought a postcard for kid brother there and also an iron on patch with “Wineglass Bay” written on it. Next it was off down on the very short walk to Coles Bay and Richardson Beach.
A very small beach this, and very quiet and relaxing. We didn’t go in for a swim, I was saving that for Wineglass Bay beach itself. But it was a nice beach.
The view from there meant we could see the tips of the three mountains/hills overlooking Wineglass Bay. Wineglass Bay itself would be on the other side. We didn’t ponder too long there though, it was time for Joseph to drive on round to the main car park at the Wineglass Bay entrance.
We saw the entry point to Mount Amos. Walkers and hikers have to sign in, so we did. It said 3 hours return to the top and for experienced walkers. It better be worth it we thought as we started the trek up, which at first was very easy.
We saw a few small Bennett’s Wallabies on the first part of the path. They were very tame and friendly and I was able to snap them on route. We continued on up following the pink ribbons as, at points the route wasn’t entirely obvious.
We passed a few other people on the way up and took a few water stops. And some decent photography shots, of images looking back towards Coles Bay and what we described as a “fake wineglass bay”, or “beerglass bay”, basically it has a unique shape like a glass as well and if you’ve never been, you could fool someone with a photo thinking Coles Bay was actually Wineglass Bay!
We got to some type of pineapple tree, there were mini pineapples in abundance.
Unfortunately none of us are real experts in fruit growing (we all worked with vegetables) and we didn’t know if it was actually a pineapple tree or not. There was no time to dwell on that though, as we passed a couple who confirmed we were not even half way up to the top yet!
It was still a massive climb and with shoes not really suited for it. I wore my white Adidas shoes, which have lost a lot of grip over the year I’ve had them. The weather on that day was good – not too hot so that we sweated badly and not too cold, windy or wet that we had problems climbing. It was perfect, actually.
As we got closer to the top there were a number of slippery moments on the pink sloped rocks. There were a few wet patches, but it was genuinely OK and it got even better when we met an English guy and his girlfriend who said we’d gone past the worst bit. He was right. Very soon we were at the top part, on the side opposite Wineglass Bay.
All it took was to walk over to the other side and admire the view. And it was special! Something else. A beautiful ocean blue water lent calmly onto the yellow beach on an Autumn Day (it was March 2010) here on Tasmania’s East Coast. We had seen Wineglass Bay, and it looked immense.
We had lunch at the top and hung around there for just over an hour. The weather was decent – not boiling and not windy or cold. Marina and I had a glass of wine each – I had a wineglass with me.
It had to be done – wineglass by wineglass bay. Soon our view and experience from the top of Mount Amos had come to an end and we had to negotiate our way back down the tricky mount. Of course it was quicker going down, and once at the bottom we had a quick stop.
We signed the book to confirm we had completed the walk (took us around 4 hours, which included a full hour to ponder at the summit of Mount Amos). We had something to eat and then decided to do the walk directly to Wineglass Bay itself, before dusk would arrive and we would head home.
The walk was much easier this time – not much up and down paths – it was fairly direct and I think it took us just 50 minutes to arrive at the beach at Wineglass Bay.
I got my swimming trunks on and went in for a swim. It was beautiful. Cold, by Australian standards.
Hot, by Northern Irish. I had a very quick dip and felt refreshed after the trekking.
Marina and I shared another wineglass moment there, with her case of Goon Wine which I had carried in my ruck sack.
Marina and Joseph didn’t go in for a swim. I really wanted that moment though and savoured it. It was a breath of fresh air on a day off from the broccoli cutting. It has been described as one of the world’s top ten beaches before.
An Australian couple noticed me taking pictures and assumed I was a traveller, they were right. They asked because they had seen a wallaby on the beach eating leaves, and thought I’d be interested. Of course I was.
So Joseph and I went over to the wallaby. It was just relaxing on the beach. We were pretty close and could have touched it. But we didn’t want to scare it away. I made a video of it and took a few photos.
After a few minutes the wallaby hopped away, and we decided to leave and enjoy the walk back to Joseph’s car. The walk back took a wee bit longer – I guess we had gotten tired through the day.
On the walk back, Joseph and I decided to climb up the steps to “Wineglass Bay Lookout”, the only scenic point on the walk. Once up to the top there, the view was very poor.
We were happy with that, as the effort to climb to the top of Mount Amos had been worth it. Wineglass Bay looked amazing from up there, from this alternative and lazy lookout point, it looked crap. It wasn’t even worth going to it to check!
The rest of the walk back featured some excellent rock faces, which looked pretty amazing in the day’s aging sun. Arrival back at Joseph’s car was well before dusk.
That meant we had time for two final things on the drive home – a stop off at Lake Leake – one of the fishing lakes and nature reserve areas on the way back.
The second stop off was for gas for Joseph’s car (much cheaper than petrol/diesel) and soon it was dark, we arrived in Devonport back to the hostel we all stayed at, and we were tucked into bed early and ready for another day of work ahead.
It was a nice adventure, and thanks to Joseph and Marina for the trip!
Who Went – Jonny Blair, Joseph Tang, Marina Oesterle
Sightseeing – Richardson Beach, Information Centre at Freycinet National Park, Great Oyster Bay, Mount Amos, Wineglass Bay Beach, Wineglass Bay Lookout, Lake Leake
Nationalities Met – Taiwanese, German, English, Australian
Key Moment – Reaching the summit of Mount Amos. Excellent views!
Key Song – Louise Nurding – The Best That You Bring
Height of Mount Amos – 454 metres
IN JOSEPH’S CAR ON ROAD TRIP:
MOULTING LAGOON GAME RESERVE AND GREAT OYSTER BAY:
PEAK OF MOUNT AMOS:
WALLABIES EATING LEAVES ON WINEGLASS BAY BEACH:
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