Freycinet Adventures

Traversing Freycinet Adventures
The Hazards
The Hazards © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Recently, we celebrated our wedding anniversary by kayaking into Freycinet National Park with Freycinet Adventures. It was remarkable, bobbing around in the bay and staring up at the Hazards. A lunch stop at a hidden waterfall sealed the deal: I’d do this again!

Kayaks
Kayaks © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Our guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. At the start of your journey, you’ll receive tips for paddling well as well as the usual safety drills. Traveling in a double-kayak, you’ll depart from Muirs Beach (Coles Bay) and paddle past Picnic Island to Freycinet National Park. In the right season, whales and seals may surface. Your guide will stop the group at several points to discuss the history of the area, including the pink granite quarry.

Waterfall
Waterfall © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll alight at a hidden cove for a cup of tea and a snack (provided by Freycinet Adventures). The cove houses a gorgeous waterfall. From here, you’ll paddle past Freycinet Lodge and Richardsons Beach. Here, your guide will take a photo of you with the marvellous Hazards in the background. Finally, you’ll sail through the boats moored off Coles Bay on your trip back to Muirs Beach.

What to Bring

View of Picnic Island
View of Picnic Island © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

We did the half-day kayak trip. Wear bathers. While Freycinet Adventures have a policy of “on the water, not in the water”, your bottom will get wet at some point and bathers are much more comfortable! On cooler days, wear polypro or merino thermals for warmth, remembering that it is colder on the water. You’ll be provided with a fleece jacket and a wetsuit skirt. Bring your camera as there’ll be lots of chances for taking photos! Dry bags are provided for storing your electronics. A cuppa and biscuit is also provided for morning tea.

Getting There

Muirs Beach
Muirs Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Your trip departs from Muirs Beach at the western end of Coles Bay. We booked online but you could also book via Freycinet Adventures’s office, which is located near Muirs Beach. There is no need to head to the office if you have already booked your trip. Just turn up at the beach! Coles Bay is just over two hours’ drive from Launceston via the Midlands and Lake Leake Highways. From Hobart, it’s about a two and a half hour drive via the Tasman Highway. Give yourself plenty of extra time for stops along the way.

Cost

Freycinet National Park
Freycinet National Park © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

In 2017, you’ll pay $98 per adult and $88 per child for the half day tour, which last for approximately three hours. Two and three day tours are also available. Booking online is very straightforward. Payment is processed after your trip in case the trip needs to be cancelled due to poor weather conditions. I’m sure that many a local will scoff at paying for the privilege of kayaking but the staff at Freycinet Adventures make your trip memorable (and not too much hard work!). Included in the cost is your outer layer (fleece jacket and wetsuit skirt), morning or afternoon tea and entry into Freycinet National Park. Of course, use of the kayaks and paddles is included. We had a fabulous time!

For tips on what to do nearby, read my posts about Tasmania’s east coast. If you’re happy to take a longer journey to your destination, I’ve had many an adventure in Tasmania’s south, midlands and north. Happy travels!

Bicheno

Traversing Bicheno
Diamond Island
Diamond Island © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Bicheno is a beautiful little town on Tasmania’s East Coast. I spent many a summer holiday in the town as a child. Within the town boundaries, you can shop for Tasmanian goodies, eat fresh seafood, have a decent coffee, swim, surf, dive, fish, climb to several vantage points, see Little Penguins, stand on the edge of a blowhole, or walk over a sandbar to an island. And that’s not an exhaustive list by any means! Bicheno packs a punch!

Waubs Bay
Waubs Bay © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

My favourite thing to do in Bicheno is to swim. Although I am a true Tasmanian, it is winter and I don’t have a wetsuit, so we did my second favourite thing: walk. There are several tracks around Bicheno, including a lovely, albeit uneven, foreshore track. From the centre of Bicheno, you can walk to many different places.

Waubs Beach
Waubs Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

It is very short walk to Waubs Beach, a small but gorgeous place. In summer, this is where the surf lifesaving club operates. This weekend, we saw people on paddleboards, in kayaks and even going for a swim (in wetsuits, of course!). Bicheno is famous for its annual ocean swim. Australia’s famous Olympic swimmer, Shane Gould, heads up a swimming group and it may have been just this group that we spotted! The day before we arrived, whales were seen swimming nearby too. Whales are regularly seen offshore from July to November.

Wauba Debar's Grave
Wauba Debar’s Grave © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

On the shore, you’ll find a memorial to the Merchant Navy and the grave of the bay’s namesake. This is one of the most important graves in Tasmania as it once held the remains of Wauba Debar, a Tasmanian Aboriginal lady who won the hearts of locals at a time where racism and sexism were at their worst. Shamefully, her remains were removed for scientific study in the late 1800s but she is still remembered here with her original grave site and stone.

The Gulch
The Gulch © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Further south along the coast, you’ll find The Gulch. This is a small waterway and wharf protected from the elements by two Islands. On the other side of the islands lies the Governor Island Marine Reserve. This is one of the world’s best temperate dive locations, with over fifteen species inhabiting the small area. Seals can sometimes even be seen on nearby Alligator Rock. For a fantastic view of The Gulch, head to Whaler’s Lookout.

Bicheno
Bicheno © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The track to Whaler’s Lookout starts from Foster Street and is well signposted. We found a track winding up from the end of James Street but it is not for the faint hearted! At the top of the hill, you’ll find two lookouts. Whaler’s Lookout looks over the township and is so named because Bicheno was originally a whaling town. You can read about this awful yet fascinating history on the information board at the lookout. From Whaler’s Lookout, keep walking on the loop track and you’ll find another lookout, this time over The Gulch. It’s a lovely view!

A short walk south, either via the streets or the foreshore track, is the Blow Hole and Rice Pebble Beach, which you can read about here. A longer walk North along the foreshore track is the surf beach, Red Bill, and the town’s most famous attraction: Diamond Island. The island is famous for its penguin colony and its accessibility via a sandbar. You can read about my visit to Diamond Island here.

Getting There

Bicheno
Bicheno © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Bicheno is on Tasmania’s East Coast. It is about ten minutes’ drive north of Freycinet and one hour’s drive south of St Helens. From Hobart, it will take you approximately two and a half hours via the Tasman Highway. Bicheno is just over two hours’ drive from Launceston via Campbell Town or St Mary’s. You can also take the longer route via St Helens and Bay of Fires. Wherever you’re driving from, add on an extra hour or two for stops. Its the East Coast. You see something you really want to stop for approximately every ten minutes.

Cost

Red Bill Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Understandably, the cost of accommodation is much less in the off-season (over winter). That said, there truly is something for everyone, ranging from tent sites to caravans to luxury B&Bs. As far as attractions go, you can spend the big bucks on scenic flights and cruises in nearby Freycinet or you can do what we did and just walk around Bicheno. It is such a fascinating and beautiful place!

Diamond Island
Diamond Island © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There is much more that I could write about Bicheno. We bought veggies from a local market, had a delicious piece of gluten and dairy free slice from The Farm Shed – East Coast Wine Centre and hope to return soon so that we can do the many things that we missed out on this time. Next time you head to the East Coast, don’t forget to visit the small but brilliant town of Bicheno.

You can read more about my adventures on Tasmania’s East Coast here.