Wineglass Bay & Hazards Beach

A visit to Tasmania hardly seems complete without a visit to the iconic Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park:

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But here’s the hitch: you can’t have this view without a hike (or an airplane). Your trail options for getting up above the bay are twofold: (1) you can hike to the summit of Mt. Amos, which is a three-hour return trek that involves a lot of scrambling up and down scree and gets you to the best view, or (2) you can walk up several hundred stairs to the Wineglass Bay Lookout with several hundred of your new closest friends. For reasons related to my knee, we chose the latter:

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The views are stunning, but the crowds are oppressive. If you do choose this hike, know that it’s not a hard or a long one — it’s just busy.

From here, you can choose whether you want to return to your car or tackle the 1,000-step walk down to the bay itself. The crowds thin down a bit — but not as much as we’d expected — if you opt for the beach. We found the beach a surprisingly rewarding experience, because Wineglass Bay is lovely.

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We ended up making this trip on the hottest day of the year (one of the hottest days of the last four years, according to our Airbnb host), so I was happy to take a quick dip in the ice-cold waters.

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At this point, you can either walk back up 1,000 stairs or veer off onto the Isthmus Track for an 8.5 km hike, completing the Wineglass Bay-Hazards Beach Circuit (the sign says this will take 3.5 hours, but I think the people making up that time added in a stop for lunch). We went the long way, venturing off along the flat isthmus that connects Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach. The trail that led through bright blue sky and scrubby trees …

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… and eventually opened out onto a remarkable beach:

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Wineglass Bay gets all of the press for being a perfect beach tucked into a semi-circle of mountains, but I would take the long, quiet solitude of Hazards Beach any day.

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The water here was calmer and warmer than in Wineglass Bay, so we spent a while (which is relative in the chilly seas of Tasmania) floating in the green-blue water:

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This beach is so long that you can take an opportunity for skinny-dipping if you time your dash into the water correctly.

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The trail takes you down about two-thirds of the length of the beach. Once you’ve walked down to the far end, you’ll find rocks that offer a great view and a shady spot to have lunch:

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As you continue down the trail into the woods beyond these rocks, there are several options to visit more rock outcroppings and smaller, private beaches within the first few hundred meters. After this, the trail winds in and out of woods and up and down small hills for a long time. It’s not hard, but on a hot afternoon, it was a slog.

A few tips for doing the Wineglass Bay & Hazards Beach Circuit in the summer, none of which we followed: (1) start early; (2) bring more water than you think you’ll need; and (3) consider investing in a wide-brimmed hat. Otherwise, the sun might drive you to this:

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It was hot as blazes, but we loved this trail and would do it again in a heartbeat. And while we’re sorry that we didn’t see the ideal view of Wineglass Bay from the top of Mt. Amos, we’re really glad that we chose this circuit instead. As a note to those who might be interested in how long this takes: we spent a little over 5 hours on this trip, but that included one stop for lunch and two for swimming.

If you’re headed to this area, there’s an added bonus to visiting the Wineglass Bay Lookout car park: you’re likely to see a very tame wallaby!

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We know you’re not supposed to pet wild animals, but as Prescott noted, this one didn’t seem very wild…

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