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Feathered and furry felons at Freycinet

Posted on 1 Mar 2024 | 0 comments

Another 3 day hike, Tassie seems to have plenty of them. The Freycinet peninsula is well-known worldwide for its famous Wineglass Bay. Hundreds or maybe even thousands of people a day come here to walk the steps up to the lookout, some make it as far down as the beach. But as it’s a thousand steps down (and back up), it stops a lot of punters going for a dip. And that’s what most of the tourists see of the entire peninsula – the lookout and the stunning views over a small bay with white sands and picture-perfect azure waters.

However, there is more to the Freycinet peninsula, but you need to put your hiking shoes on to see it (or own a boat). The Freycinet national park is Tasmania’s oldest national park (together with Mt Field NP) and was the last bit of land Abel Tasman saw before sailing east to New Zealand in 1642. From the start of the lookout track another trail peels off to the right. It’s the start of the 3-day Freycinet circuit and the first section leads to Hazards Beach and that’s where we were heading.

Jude on the way to Hazards Beach

Jude on the way to Hazards Beach

We had just spent 3 days with Kerry, Erica and Corinne on Maria Island and a day relaxing and doing some jobs, before restocking our snack and food bags and donning our big backpacks again for the Freycinet circuit.

It was an uncharachteristically hot day for Tassie, 30 degrees, so after starting the hike around 11am, we found a shady spot with views of the ocean to demolish lunch. This time we had forgotten to pack our lemon iced tea and hot chocolate sachets, so we just drank water with our wrap of cheese, avocado and sundried tomatoes.

our lunch spot, not much shade on the way to Hazards Beach

our lunch spot, not much shade on the way to Hazards Beach

Once we reached Hazards Beach the walking was fast as the tide was out and we had a beautiful hard-packed strip of sand to walk next to each other. That doesn’t happen very often in Tassie. We crossed another headland through dry and open she-oak forest and found ourselves at the start of Cook’s beach. It was stunning. The wind was blowing further along the beach, but this little corner was sheltered. So we dropped our packs, stripped off and went for a swim. It was perfect, refreshing but not cold and we stayed in for quite a while, scrubbing the dust off from the hike.

Jude on Hazards Beach, easy walking here

Jude on Hazards Beach, easy walking here

the colours are stunning

the colours are stunning

we go for a skinny dip in the ocean, it is refreshing but not too cold

we go for a skinny dip in the ocean, it is refreshing but not too cold

We pitched our tent for the night and went to get water at the tanks in the campground. The stone hut here dates back to 1859, but is to be used only in emergencies. It wasn’t busy. We enjoyed a relaxed evening, munching on some carrots with re-hydrated hummus and eating our black bean stew with couscous.

our campsite for the evening

our campsite for the evening

more stunning colours in the evening light

more stunning colours in the evening light

The next morning we went for a walk along the beach again to get more water and use the toilet. We packed up the tent and our packs and left them. But when we came back we had a bit of a nasty surprise. Two forest ravens were raiding our packs! We chased them off and looked at the mess. They had opened the zipper from the top pouch where our banana was for next morning’s breakfast. It had been dragged out, peeled and eaten. Corinne had given Jon a pouch of beef jerky. This is a sturdy, thick plastic pouch that hadn’t been opened yet. No problem for the ravens though, they had pecked a hole into the pouch and demolished every single piece of jerky.

we sleep without the fly sheet on our tent so we can look at the stars at night

we sleep without the fly sheet on our tent so we can look at the stars at night

they even punch a hole in Jon's jerky and eat every last bit

they even punch a hole in Jon’s jerky and eat every last bit

They had also opened Jon’s pack, taken his wash-bag out, removed the toothpaste from it and hacked a hole into it.  They either didn’t like the flavour, or they were still busy with it, as it wasn’t empty yet. And they even managed to open Jude’s pack, pull out a ziplock bag, remove the plastic tub that was inside it, open the tub and snack on our avocado half we had kept for tomorrow’s lunch. Cheeky buggers.

the forest ravens open our packs and steal our food, leaving us to clean up the mess

the forest ravens open our packs and steal our food, leaving us to clean up the mess

After this undesirable avian experience, we put all the rubbish they had spread through the campsite into our bin bag and started the hike. It’s a relatively short hike today so we took things easy. We had lots of little stops for snacks, photos or bird watching. Slowly making our way to the top of Mt Graham. We didn’t go to the top of Mt Freycinet as we figured we’d get the same views from Mt Graham. There was also a haze from a fire somewhere so the views weren’t crystal-clear today. Lunch on the top was perfect, although we missed our avocado….

lunch the next day without our avocado on top of Mt Graham

lunch the next day without our avocado on top of Mt Graham

Jon on top of Mt Graham

Jon on top of Mt Graham

From the top of Mt Graham it was a few hours hiking to get down to our next campsite at Wineglass Bay, back down to sea level. We had pretty much the same routine as the night before, but in a slightly different order. We found a gorgeous spot, overlooking the entire bay, pitched our tent and went for a swim. It was pretty cold on this site as there was no spot where we were sheltered from the wind, so our swim was a lot shorter, but we felt clean again. We put our camp gear on and relaxed whilst preparing a cuppa before dinner. Jon had lugged 4kg of water all the way across the top of the mountain as there is no drinking water at this campsite. After that effort we made sure we used all of it.

Jon with Wineglass Bay in the distance - that is where we are walking to today

Jon with Wineglass Bay in the distance – that is where we are walking to today

sometimes the trail creates obstacles when trees fall over, not easy to duck underneath with a heavy pack on your back

sometimes the trail creates obstacles when trees fall over, not easy to duck underneath with a heavy pack on your back

Tonight’s main course was our pumpkin risotto, followed by another homemade attempt to replicate the butterscotch apples (too sweet this time) and another cuppa. As it gets cold when the sun sets we get into the tent with the Amaretto and the chocolate. We’ve left the fly sheet off the tent so we still enjoy the changing colours of the sky when the sun finally disappears around 9pm.

our campsite on wineglass bay, fantastic views over the white crescent beach

our campsite on wineglass bay, fantastic views over the white crescent beach

we go for another swim in Wineglass Bay

we go for another swim in Wineglass Bay

Jon re-hydrating our pumpkin risotto for dinner

Jon re-hydrating our pumpkin risotto for dinner

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay

Jude in our campsite at Wineglass Bay

Jude in our campsite at Wineglass Bay

view of a moonlit Wineglass Bay from our campsite

view of a moonlit Wineglass Bay from our campsite

To avoid having any more food stolen we had done what we usually do, hang up a piece of string between two trees and hang our food bag on it. That way the broad-toothed rat and other small natives can’t get to it and we don’t end up with a hole in our backpacks or (worse) our tent. But, it seemed the wildlife was really giving us a run for our money on this hike. In the middle of the night Jon woke up. A possum was trying to use our line as a tight-rope, using its tail to grab on any tiny branch nearby to try to get to our food bag. When that didn’t work, he tried dropping in from those tiny branches to get close enough to launch himself onto the food bag.

Jon defended the bag vigorously, but every time he managed to get the possum off the line, he would come back a few minutes later and try a different way. In the end Jon left the bag with our crockery hanging, but took the two smaller food bags inside his sleeping bag. Usually a bad idea, but we hadn’t heard of possums eating holes into tents and this one was quite persistent on the line. We won this round though and it was  now Wildlife 1 – Jon & Jude 1.

On our last day of our circuit we woke up to a windstill morning. It didn’t last very long. As we were having our cuppas and breakfast (without fresh banana), the wind came up, albeit not too strong. We hit the beach for our walk out, and only as we approached the start of the steps out did we meet other people. It doesn’t take much effort to get away from the crowds, even in a popular spot like Wineglass Bay on the Freycinet peninsula and we had thoroughly enjoyed this hike too.

Jon on Wineglass Bay beach, hiking out on the last day

Jon on Wineglass Bay beach, hiking out on the last day

a fun panorama shot of Jude (twice) on Wineglass Bay

a fun panorama shot of Jude (twice) on Wineglass Bay

Jon and Jude at the lookout over Wineglass Bay

Jon and Jude at the lookout over Wineglass Bay

before we started the hike we popped into our favourite winery to try (and buy) some Springvale Melrose Pinot Noir

before we started the hike we popped into our favourite winery to try (and buy) some Springvale Melrose Pinot Noir

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