Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
The Freycinet Peninsula is world-famous for its beaches, especially Wineglass Bay, pink granite cliffs, white sand, and wildlife.
Named in 1802 by French explorer Nicolas Baudin after an officer on his ship, Freycinet is halfway down the east coast of Tasmania, roughly two to two-and-a-half hours’ drive from both Launceston in the north and Hobart in the south. The peninsula is 38 kilometres long, and Freycinet National Park takes up a large part of it.
Wineglass Bay is recognised as a highlight of not just Freycinet but the whole of Tasmania, and its stunning blue waters, sugar-coloured, squeaky-clean sand, and pink granite mountains have seen it voted as one of the world’s top ten beaches. Its idyllic environment features rock pools, wildflowers and fascinating fauna. Sea eagles and gannets can sometimes be spotted. With the right timing, whales can be viewed in June to September, and dolphins all year round.
The national park has excellent hiking opportunities, with the Cape Tourville, Wineglass Bay Lookout and Hazards Beach trails taking between 20 minutes and three-and-a-half hours to negotiate on foot. The Peninsula Circuit is a longer journey at 31 kilometres. Again, there is unique wildlife to spot, and spinebills, honeyeaters and yellow-tailed black cockatoos might greet you during your walk.
There are several cool climate wineries less than an hour by car out of Freycinet, with chardonnay and pinot noir as well as sparkling wines of an excellent quality to be enjoyed. The local seafood is a delight, and restaurants such as Freycinet Marine Farm are renowned for fresh oysters and rock lobsters.
The area enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year, more than anywhere else in Tasmania, and the fresh climate is often compared to France. The Friendly Beaches of Freycinet have average maximum and minimum temperatures of 22.8 and 13.1 degrees Celsius in January, and 13.7 and 5.7 in July.
The nearest airports are Launceston and Hobart. Hobart is served by Jetstar (flying from Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast), Virgin Australia (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) and Qantas (Sydney and Melbourne). Flights from Launceston are available through Jetstar (Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane), Qantas (Melbourne) and Virgin Australia (Melbourne and Sydney).