Given we were intending on doing a longer walk over in Freycinet National Park it was great to start the day with such a fantastic spread. Our hosts, Neil and Noel at Meredith House, certainly gave you lots of choices. You could start with juices, smoothies, coffee or tea. There were also cereals, fruit, quinoa porridge not to mention the croissants, muffins and pastries in a basket on the table. Then to top it off all the options for a cooked breakfast, eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, hash brown and the unbelievably tasty mushrooms. So duly filled up with the uneaten muffins in a ‘doggy bag’ we headed off in our hire car towards Coles Bay and then into Freycinet National Park. Our first stop was at the delightfully named Friendly Beaches. The road in was mostly sealed and a few lucky campers were set up on the foreshore. We headed onto the beach and did a short walk and rock ramble. It was certainly a nice spot and best of all not too crowded.
From there we drove through the edge of Coles Bay and up to the Freycinet car park which was very busy but we found a spot reasonably quickly. After putting on boots, and gathering water, food, camera and poles we set offf. First we filled in the walking intention book and about 11:30 away we walked up towards the Wineglass Bay Lookout. Excellent views of the Hazards as we walked. on such a lovely day it was no surprise we were sharing the track with lots of others, from families doing a day walk to more serious walkers carrying full packs and doing at least an overnight walk if not longer. On reaching the lookout we waited as others took photos but finally got into a good position only to have the sun dip behind clouds so the lovely blue you see in classic photos wasn’t in ours but it was still beautiful.
After leaving the lookout area the track descended sharply at first. This would certainly discourage some less energetic people. It also had the bonus effect of leaving us walking almost alone apart from the odd walker coming back from Wineglass Bay. On reaching the beach about 12:40 we were quite warmed up so we started to look for a shady spot. Lots of other walkers who had arrived before us had had the same idea but after a few minutes we procured a spot at the left hand end of the beach. As we rested we ate our lunch and had a drink. There were a couple of boats in the bay and a few hardy souls taking a dip in the water which could be best described as bracing based on their reactions as they took the plunge.
After about half an hour we set off again on the Hazards Beach trail. Firstly it took us along a boardwalk and then along a trail through shady bushland. At one point we came upon a small black snake which moved off quickly as we approached the spot where it had been on the path. After passing a small lake we came to a moderate descent over a disintegrating boardwalk to Hazards beach.
The walk along Hazards beach was into a strong headwind. Sand coming up into our faces made it tricky. Thank goodness for sunglasses because a hat wasn’t going to help.
At the far end of the beach we ascended along a trail now covered with casuarina needles. Glimpses of the water could be had to our left. After some time we came to a number of sections where the trail was large boulders which we walked or clambered over.
The Hazards could be seen to our right now so we guessed we must be nearly finished but it was still perhaps half an hour more before we reached the starting point and duly signed out. On our way to the car we came upon a wallaby which entranced a few of the overseas walkers in the area.
We made a brief stop at Coles Bay, giving us a view of the Hazards again but from a different perspective.
On our return to Swansea we relaxed for a while before heading out to dinner at Saltshakers. Sadly a shower or two of rain made the outdoor dining area a no go zone but we managed to score a table with an excellent view out over the bay as the sunset came and went.
Karen ate a massive Wagyu burger with fries and I indulged in a very large bowl of their delicious and filling seafood chowder. It was a great way to recharge after an enjoyable day’s walking.