One of the most truly spectacular things to do in Tasmania is to explore the Freycinet National Park. Driving through the region is incredibly picturesque with the mountains, sea inlets and vineyards stealing the limelight at every turn. The area is also home to Tasmania’s east coast wine route (okay I’m sold) and the stunning Wineglass Bay.
I recently visited Tasmania and spent four days exploring in and around Hobart. I had quite a few things I wanted to see in Tasmania and on top of the list was the spectacular Wineglass Bay, with it’s white sandy beach and turquoise water. It is also on the Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s most beautiful beaches and once you have viewed it you can understand why. Wineglass Bay is about a three hour drive from Hobart and located deep within the Freycinet National Park. It is remote but it is every bit worth the drive from Hobart.
Visiting Freycinet National Park
I had planned on visiting the Park on the Sunday, with the aim of climbing Mount Amos for the panoramic view of Wineglass Bay at the top. I hired a car the day before and set off on the journey around 7 a.m. hoping to get to the park around 10 a.m. to give myself plenty of time for the climb.
Even though the drive is quite long, winding through the countryside is certainly not an arduous one. It’s one of the most prettiest countrysides I have seen, with an ever changing landscape of the coast, the mountains, valley’s and rivers.
Once you reach the car park, you must purchase a park pass from the visitor information centre. The pass costs $24 and you must display this pass on the dashboard of your car. The information centre staff will advise you on the walks, climbs and what else you can do in the area. Once you have your ticket, it’s just a quick drive down the road to access the car park for Wineglass Bay.
Climbing Mount Amos
I can’t stress enough that this climb is for the physically fit and it is quite gruelling at times. Initially it is a walk along some fairly easy paths, but once you begin the climb you will be required to scale granite boulders and you will be required to use your hands a lot to help you climb. If you cannot support your own weight on your hands to lift yourself forward then this may not be for you. There is the other easier option of walking to the actual beach itself on a flatter route. If you are up for the climbing Mount Amos challenge then read on!
There are a number of options in this area, with different tracks to a number of beaches. This is where you have the choice of either taking on the climb up to Mount Amos or the less strenuous Wineglass bay lookout. The climb takes around 3 hours return or longer if you stop to take photos along the way. The lookout takes around an hour and a half. Before you begin the climb, you are required to record your name in the registry and to state what walk you are planning on taking. This is if you get lost, injured and don’t return, I guess they send out someone to find you.
The track can be hazardous and parts of the track was actually covered in a stream of water which at times was hard to avoid. The mix of water and granite makes for a slippery surface. It did cross my mind that in inclement weather or winter conditions that it would be a very risky climb. For my climb, the weather gods had been kind and the day was warm, clear and rather perfect conditions for a climb.
This is the beginning of the track, which is quite flat and easily navigated. I began the Mount Amos climb at around 10.45 a.m as a solo pursuit. For the first 15 minutes I did not see another climber, which was unexpected as it is a popular track and the weather conditions were perfect for the climb.
Parts of the track begin to become a little more challenging and the incline begins to become steeper. Before long, you can get some pretty good views over Coles Bay that is not obstructed by trees, as earlier on the walk.
At this point, this is where the climb takes on steep proportions. I also ran into a lady who was on her way down. She said to me that she hadn’t made it to the top as it was too steep and slippery. I’m not afraid of a challenge and I consider myself fairly fit, so I wasn’t perturbed by her warnings. If it was dangerous then I would turn back, but I needed to see that for myself.
Sadly (not to mention devastating) my DSLR battery literally died at this point, never to work again. This was my last photo from my Sony, with the following photos below taken from my iPhone 5.
Now this is fast becoming a challenge! There are markers along the way with arrows pointing in the direction you should take. Follow these markers as close as possible, as they are the safest part of the track. Also look out for the blue ribbons attached to trees as another marker. I came across a few other climbers on their way down, all different ages, even fit people well into their 60s. This gave me hope that it couldn’t be too hard and I was reassured along the way by others to press on. The reward at the top is worth the climb – stunning, spectacular and incredible were words thrown about by others on their descent.
Climbers on their way down, navigating the granite. These parts are quite hard as there is nothing to grip onto. Some people walked sideways down slowly, whilst others sat on their bottoms and used their hands to help themselves down.
The smooth and beautiful formation of the granite rocks.
Other parts of the climb had little crevices that you could grip onto to help propel yourself up. You will be using your hands quite a lot – pulling yourself up and gripping on to trees. I found that towards the end of the climb that the palms of my hands were tender from grabbing the rocks.
The ever spectacular view is just a look over your shoulder whilst climbing.
The last view (above) overlooking Honeymoon bay and Coles Bay before reaching the top. Finally, after a gruelling climb, with legs like jelly and hands that hurt like hell from gripping rocks, the view comes into sight. I have conquered Mount Amos and what a spectacular, stunning and incredulous view to behold. My iPhone pictures just don’t do this justice, the blue of the beach was much more turquoise than what is seen here and it was absolutely everything that they say about Wineglass Bay.
At the top, I ran into a guy who was a guide for Jump to Tours. He was taking three people down to a part where the view could be seen without large boulders in the foreground. He offered to take me down there too. I was extremely thankful, not only getting a better view but he took quite a few shots for me with Wineglass Bay in the background. Even though the day was perfectly clear and sunny, we were lucky enough to see a rainbow over the bay, which made it even more spectacular.
I tagged along for a little while behind the group but eventually I let them get ahead of me. I did pick up some tips for the decent down from the guide, which was helpful and certainly made my climb down a fair bit easier. If I had more time, I would have done the walk to the actual beach, which takes around an hour and half. Well I guess that will have to go on the list for next time!
- You must wear appropriate shoes. If you are not wearing hiking boots or runners with a good grip then you are going to risk injuring yourself.
- Take a light backpack, some water, food, sunscreen and a hat.
- Where comfortable clothes, take a jacket even if it’s warm as the top can get windy.
- When scaling the granite, try to avoid the smooth parts and look for the rough black surface, as this gives you more grip.
- Avoid any areas with water as this takes the grip from your shoes and increases your chance of slipping down the rock.
- Know your limitations. If you feel overwhelmed and doubt your ability to complete the climb safely, then go with your gut feeling and turn back. It’s better to be safe, than risk an injury.
- Most of all – Be BRAVE!
For more information on Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife click here.