The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit | Tasmania’s Best Multi-Day Coastal Hike

The east coast of Tasmania holds many of the Island’s beautiful wonders, yet one is visited more than all the rest put together. That wonder is the Freycinet Peninsula. This incredible piece of coastline stretches roughly 23 kilometres into the Tasman Sea and is home to the world-famous Wineglass Bay. Consisting of a wonderfully mountainous region, rising vertically from crystal clear waters and separated by an isthmus thriving with wildlife, the Freycinet National Park almost makes you feel as if you were in a northern Australasian island.. except maybe for the cold!

The popularity of the Freycinet Peninsula is validated as soon as you turn off the Tasman Highway; not many destinations boast towering pink granite mountains coupled with a coastline of vivid shades of blue. That’s the sort of stuff we need to jump on a plane for – usually. But the Freycinet National Park is different. It’s an adventurer’s playground that only gets better the deeper you explore. 

To truly understand its wide diversity and endless beauty, embarking on the Freycinet Circuit hike is a must. A multi-day hike that winds through dense forest, open bushland and curving beaches, all the while delivering incredible vistas unique to Australia. 

Sunrise from Mt Freycinet while hiking the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit hike

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Hiking The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit On The East Coast of Tasmania

30km loop

Grade 3 – Some Experience Recommended. (The side hike to Mt Freycinet’s summit is a Grade 4 with some exposed rock and difficult sections.)

2 – 3 days

Elevation Gain
1800 m 

Highest Elevation
620 m

Entrance Fees
Tasmanian National Parks Pass. As of winter 2021, the price for a 24 hr pass is $20 per person or $40 per vehicle (up to 8 people). The best value for money is the two-month holiday pass which is $80 per vehicle (up to 8 people) or $40 per person. Pay online beforehand or at any visitors centre along the way.

Drop toilet at each campsite, water tank and hut at Cooks Beach Campsite.

Founded in 1916, the Freycinet National Park is the oldest park, along with Mt Field, in Tasmania. Basically, the peninsula is made up of two eroded chunks of pink granite – the northern chunk is known as the Hazards, where Mt Amos is located, and the southern range holds Mount Graham and Mount Freycinet, the highest peak in the park at 620 m. 

These two stunning ranges are separated by a sand isthmus, with Hazards beach on the west side and Wineglass Bay on the east. The south-easterly curving Hazards range protects Wineglass Bay from the wild weather, creating a paradise of calm water and pure white sand. Hazards Beach is exposed and wild, rugged with rocky coves and an endless supply of ocean debris.

The Freycinet National Park is an extremely popular destination, especially in summer, with most people visiting Wineglass Bay Lookout and Honeymoon Bay. Few commit to the full Freycinet Peninsula Circuit hike, which provides a welcomed escape from the droves of happy tourists. 

Sunrise from the peak of Mt Freycinet while hiking the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit Walk

The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit can be accomplished in as short as a day if you’re super keen or two days if you have limited time, but the sweet spot is three days, allowing you to camp on both sides of the peninsula.

We completed the Freycinet Circuit walk in three days, walking the circuit in an anti-clockwise direction – beginning on Hazards Beach and finishing on Wineglass Bay. This was the perfect direction for us as Cooks Beach campsite is closest to Mt Freycinet, which we intended to reach for a sunrise photography mission on our second day.

In order to help you plan your trip perfectly, I will break down the days into smaller sections, making it easier to develop them into a route best suited to you. 

*It is advised to travel anti-clockwise to minimise damage to the forests from the spread of Phytophthora (root rot).

Day 1: Car Park – Cooks Beach Campsite via Hazards Beach Track

12 km | 5 hrs (3.5 hrs walking) | 345 m elevation gain

An uninterrupted sun was shining magically over the Freycinet Peninsula as we rolled into the car park. If you’ve visited Tasmania any time of the year, you know good weather is hard to come by.

With spirits lifted and our last item packed neatly inside bulging packs, we set off on what would be one of the most memorable multi-day hikes to date. 

We had heard of the beauty awaiting us, yet knew nothing of the abundance of wildlife that would greet us along the way – or the challenges that parts of the ‘simple’ hike would procure…

Hazards Beach Track – 7km, 2 hrs walking

The trail begins in a forest of boulders and blue gums, winding around the west side of Mt Mayson. A little less groomed than the popular Wineglass Bay Track, your attention is divided by the rocks and roots rising sneakily from the widely cut path, and the wonders surrounding.

Clear pockets provide dreamy glimpses of the ocean below as the trail hugs the coastline, undulating through a mess of gullies and boulders. The treeline breaks at Fleurieu Point, rewarding the climb with uninterrupted views of Coles Bay and the beginning of the peninsula far below. 

As the trail descends closer to Hazards Beach, the landscape shifts to a forest of scattered sheoak. The path widens and splits with a number of side trails leading to small coves with secluded beaches of crushed shells and driftwood.

Hazards Beach can be reached by rock hopping along the coves’ shoreline, or following the original trail through the forest. Mt Freycinet and Mt Graham loom high above the horizon, framing Hazards Beach beautifully as you emerge onto the yellow sand. 

The hard-packed sand makes the 3 km beach walk easier, though don’t be fooled – it takes longer than expected to walk along a flat beach with a heavy pack! Aside from the sinking footfalls, the debris washed up on the shores of Hazards Beach can occupy a good chunk of time, not to mention the furry friends finding dinner in the sand dunes. 

Wombat sifting through branches on Hazards Beach in Freycinet National Park
Massive Star Fish washed up on Hazards Beach in Freycinet National Park
Cute Wombat exploring Hazards Beach in Freycinet National Park

The first campsite is tucked away in a clearing just off the beach, looking back at the Hazards and out to the small islands dotting the horizon. Hazards Beach campsite provides two drop toilets and a small creek where water can be sourced.

*This shouldn’t be relied on, especially in the summer months. And if you’re not used to drinking from streams, treat or boil the water first. 

This is a beautiful campsite with the perfect backdrop for sunset, however, if you’re planning to summit Mt Freycinet the following day I recommend moving on to Cooks Beach Campsite.

Walking along Hazards Beach with Mt Freycinet in the background while hiking the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit

Hazards Beach Campsite to Cooks Beach Campsite – 5 km, 1.5 hrs walking

Dipping back into the forest, it’s immediately apparent this track is much less travelled than that of the Hazards Beach Trail. Bright yellow banksia and winter wildflowers of the deepest red flow onto the path, providing a wonderful floral scent as you wind deeper into the woods.

The forest is dense on the west side of the southern range, creating boggy sections where the sun doesn’t reach. The walk itself is quite enjoyable and easy as it undulates through the range.

As the last few kilometres pass and the trail winds back to the coast, the boulder gardens return and the forest fades. A sign indicates the direction and times for the following destinations – 3 hours to Mt Graham, 6 – 8 hours to Wineglass Bay and 30 minutes to the Cooks Beach Campsite. 

The remaining kilometre to the campsite returns to the sandy shore, but before climbing down the cliffside, look to the sky. A Wedgetail Eagle nests in the surrounding trees and can be spotted taking advantage of the thermal pockets while searching for food below.

Walking along Cooks Beach while hiking the Freycinet National Park Circuit walk
Sunset from Cooks Beach while camping in Freycinet National Park
Wedgetail Eagle Flying above Cooks beach at sunset in Freycinet National Park

Cooks Beach Campsite sits on the southernmost point of the beach, looking back at the Hazards range where we began. The sun droops low beside Mt Mayson, creating a magical landscape to sit and relax after an outstanding day.

The campsite spreads through the sheoak forest, with small clearings offering somewhat secluded sections for groups to camp, some of which have stellar views of the ocean. The Historic Cooks Hut, with its stonework section dating back to 1859, is a short walk into the forest and provides the perfect place to shelter from the weather. A water tank is located next to the hut and two drop toilets are close by.

Along with friendly wombats and possums, the ravens at this campsite are very smart and sneaky. Leaving your backpacks unattended is a recipe for disaster, as these cheeky devils can unzip pockets in search of yummy snacks… I speak from experience!

*Don’t rely on the water tank being full, during the busy and dry summer months the tank may be empty. 

Tracks Less Travelled at Cooks Beach Campsite while camping in Freycinet National Park

Day 2: Cooks Beach Campsite to Wineglass Bay, Via Mt Freycinet 14km 8 hrs

15 km | 8 hrs walking | 1000 m elevation gain

Our alarms shook us out of a deep and cosy sleep at the wee hour of 1:15 am. Immediate thoughts led to ‘why the heck are we doing this!?’ But with three others to help push my sleepy head out of the tent, we set off for our sunrise mission at 2:15 am.

Referring to our first day of hiking through the Freycinet National Park, we were under the notion that today would be just as easy – maybe with a little extra elevation. Whether it was the lack of sleep, lack of hiking fitness, or the abundance of blisters, one thing was for sure… we were glad to see Wineglass Bay’s shores at the end of the day.

Cooks Beach Campsite to Mt Freycinet – 8 km, 3.5 hrs, 686 m elevation gain

The coarse sand glows brightly in the moonlight as we backtrack north along Cooks Beach, eliminating the need for our head torches. Reaching the sign above the cliffs, the direction to Mt Freycinet follows that of Mt Graham and Wineglass Bay. 

The trail wanders south-east through dense forest laden with tiny streams and boggy puddles. Some friendly folk have added fallen branches and bark across the larger and deeper mud puddles and creeks, saving our ankles from an unwanted wash. 

Orange reflectors bolted to trees glow in the light of our head torches, leading the way as the trail inches skyward. Fallen trees and moss-covered rocks add another element to the climb, creating a natural obstacle course that requires heightened concentration in the dark.

After approximately 4 km, a clearing appears that would be a perfect alternative campsite closer to Mt Freycinet’s summit. However, it’s important to note there are no facilities here and knowing how to poop properly in the bush is paramount.

The trail diverts slightly north from the clearing, beginning its traverse along the eastern contours of Mt Freycinet. Sounds from the gurgling creeks and streams flow through the giant blue gum woodland, hidden from us by the dark of night.

An increase in the gradient signals the final push to the saddle that sits between Mt Freycinet and Mt Graham. From here, a mere 750 m separates you from the summit – and another 360 m in elevation…

Cooks beach lit by the full moon in Freycinet National Park
Walking in the dark forest on the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit Hike
Climbing to the summit of Mt Freycinet in the dark

Most leave their packs at the saddle, choosing to climb freely, but we made the hard decision to take ours with us. Part of the reason was our desire to sit in a cosy sleeping bag and sip a hot coffee at the peak, but the deciding factor was due to our raven experience the afternoon before. We couldn’t face losing more snacks!

The moon had set by this point, and the inky night sky enveloped the landscape in darkness. Our torches guided us up and over looming boulders and enormous exposed tree roots, reflecting off the markers leading almost vertical through the rubble.

As the trail inches closer to the summit, the slabs of granite become increasingly larger and more challenging, requiring some scrambling skills to be put to the test. Yet all the effort of the climb is rewarded as the last boulder is conquered and the spectacle atop Mt Freycinet is revealed.

Hiking through the rock scrambling summit of Mt Freycinet while hiking in the Freycinet National Park
What the trail to the summit of Mt Freycinet actually looks like in the daytime.

From this viewpoint, nothing stands in the way of the sky, littered with glittering stars slowly disappearing as the horizon begins to glow red. The red glow methodically illuminates the land, throwing shades of light across the surrounding mountains and ocean.

No words can describe the feeling of solace as the sun touches the horizon, slowly trickling a golden light over the land. Depth and detail begin to sharpen in the valleys beneath and the wildlife start to stir as we witness the world awakening. 

We sit and drink coffee, snuggled up in our sleeping bags as our eyes soak in the incredible vistas. Wineglass Bay, shadowed by the Hazards, fills the north and the remainder of the peninsula stretches south, stopping just before Schouten Island. How fortunate are we to have such incredible natural experiences so readily available?

Watching the sunrise from the peak of Mt Freycinet while hiking the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit walk

Mt Freycinet to Wineglass Bay – 7km, 3 hrs, 300 m elevation

After a sneaky nap on Mt Freycinet’s summit, it was time to continue the journey to Wineglass Bay. 

Descending along the trail, it became apparent just how directly we had followed the markers on the climb. There are helpful make-shift stairs to ease the challenge in some tricky sections, ones we had completely missed in the dark of night.

Returning to the saddle, the well-worn trail resumes its ascent to Mt Graham’s vast summit. Rather than large boulders set amongst the woodlands, the path consists of deep ruts with underlying granite rock slabs. The open coastal heathland enables stunning views throughout your time on Mt Graham. 

Matching that of Mt Freycinet, the landscape unfolding from the peak of Mt Graham is endless in its beauty. Wherever you choose to rest, a new perspective is open to you.

Hiking to Mt Graham in the Freycinet National Park

The gradual descent continues east, following the ridgeline through buttongrass moorland. Some of the slabs occupying the trail have worn smooth over time, creating an unwelcome slide to those that are unaware – ok, I’ll admit, it was me! 

Once the trail meets the treeline, the descent becomes steeper as it dips down into the creases of the valley. Scents of black peppermint and flowering banksias fill the air as it cools.

The path levels out as it crosses Graham Creek, we stop briefly to fill our water bottles from the clear flowing stream. Dense green flora consumes the trail as it undulates alongside the creek, a small waterfall can be heard trickling through a tiny canyon to the left, creating a sound that deceives its size.

Traversing along a mountain’s edge, the slope drops away dramatically in some sections, bringing some excitement to the last few kilometres. The final steep descent of roots and ruts delivers you to the much anticipated Wineglass Bay.

Wandering through the cleared campsite and breaking through the tree’s onto the fine white sand, Wineglass Bay takes your breath away. The magnificent Hazards stand tall, protecting the crystal blue water from turbulence. It isn’t any wonder why this beach is named one of the best in Australia.

The campsite stretches along the beachfront and further into the trees, providing shelter from the wind. There are two drop toilets here, but no drinkable water.

We unpacked our bags and settled into our second campsite as the sun started to set behind the mountains. This could possibly be my favourite campsite to date. And the best part was, we had it all to ourselves. There are benefits to hiking in winter!

Setting up camp at Wineglass Bay Beach Campsite in Freycinet National Parks

Day 3: Wineglass Bay to the Car Park

3 km | 1.5 hrs | 200 m elevation

We spent a super lazy morning drinking coffee on the beach, watching two very entertaining and enthusiastic seals fish for breakfast as the sun rose. A pod of dolphins chose to join in on the morning’s hunt, as did a sea eagle and a curious wallaby.

Mother nature certainly put on a show for us over our multi-day hike, we could not have asked for a better experience.

Cute seal on the shore of Wineglass Bay Beach in Freycinet National Park
Sea Eagle flying over Wineglass Bay Beach in Freycinet National Park
Standing on the point of Wineglass Bay Beach while hiking the Freycinet Circuit

The walkout to the car park is an easy one, following Wineglass Bay as it arcs around to the north. The sand on this side of the isthmus is much softer, making the trek a little harder with heavy packs. However, it is shorter and your pack should be lighter!

Once reaching the north end of Wineglass Bay, the stairs begin. I believe some people have attempted to count them, landing at a number close to 1,000. While there are many stairs, and the terrain is steep, this trail is a walk in the park compared to what we have accomplished. 

The trail peaks at a turn off to the Wineglass Bay lookout. It’s worth taking in this perspective of the Freycinet Peninsula and only takes a couple of minutes extra.

From the lookout, the trail descends to the car park along a groomed path. Beautiful boulders and eucalypt forests line the simple walk, creating a peaceful end to an epic journey.

The Freycinet Circuit walk surprised us in both beauty and difficulty. While being one of the easiest multi-day hikes in Tasmania, this does not mean it should be underestimated – as we did! 

Hiking along the sands of Wineglass Bay Beach in Freycinet National Park after completing the circuit hike

Freycinet Peninsula Circuit Campsites

There are three designated campsites along the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit. These are Hazards Beach Campsite and Cooks Beach Campsite on the west, and Wineglass Bay Campsite on the east. Each of these Freycinet National Park Campsites is located on the beachfront with a drop toilet. 

Cooks Beach is our favourite along the western side of the peninsula, offering better views and a cosy feel. There is a hut and a water tank located at Cooks Beach, the hut can be used for cooking, sheltering from the weather or storing items, however, it’s not for sleeping in.

No vehicle access is available to reach any of these campsites, though a water taxi can be used to get to Cooks Beach. This is something to note for the busy summer season, where Cooks Beach may become extremely busy.

We did find a couple of illegitimate campsites closer to Mt Freycinet that are a great option if the beaches are packed, or if you’re planning a sunrise mission. The first clearing is located 3 km from the north end of Cooks Beach and the second is halfway to the peak of Mt Freycinet. The clearing on Mt Freycinet has incredible views down towards Wineglass Bay, making it a perfect location for sunset.

*Please note that there are no facilities at these alternative campsites, if you aren’t aware of the proper way to go to the toilet in the bush, read this post on the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.

The Hut at Cooks Beach Campsite in Freycinet National Park

When to Hike the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit

The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit is doable year-round. Being located on the east coast, the winter months are manageable with much less snow and minimal frost. You can still count on the nights being cold, but the peace and quiet can outweigh the extra layers.

Summer has the perks of being warm enough to swim in the beautiful ocean, however, this is everyone else’s thoughts as well. It can get extremely busy in summer and finding a place to camp could be increasingly difficult. If you’re choosing to hike in summer, it’s worth noting the amount of exposed walking along Mt Graham’s wide expanse, with no shade for respite, and the lack of reliable water sources.

If the thought of winter sends chills down your spine, my recommendation would be spring or autumn. Autumn is the least rainy season in Tasmania, but spring will reward you with beautiful wildflowers throughout the hike, so with that knowledge – the choice is yours!

Quick Tips and Suggested Gear For The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit

The weather on the east coast of Tasmania is a little more predictable than that of the wild west, but bringing along rain jackets and warm gear is always recommended no matter the season.

Being a popular hike, there is less chance of getting lost along the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit. With that being said, it is still a good idea to be packed with some essential items that could save you in an unfortunate event. 

Essential Hiking Packing List

  • Topographic Map and Compass – It’s best to avoid relying solely on your phone, which can run out of battery. 
  • Digital Map – In addition to a paper map, you can use AllTrails to download the route and follow along with the inbuilt GPS.
  • First Aid Kit – You can visit this post if you’re unsure what should go into a first aid kit for hiking.
  • Emergency Beacon – Our emergency beacon lives in our hiking packs permanently.
  • Reusable Water Bottles Avoid taking plastic water bottles that can break easily and add to the overwhelming amount of plastic pollution. We also suggest bringing a water filtration system to treat river water.
  • Head Torch Don’t forget the spare batteries! Look for a headtorch with a minimum of 100 lumens. 
  • Sturdy Hiking Shoes We recommend hiking boots over trail runners for longer hikes, where the trail is unstable and can become very muddy. 
  • Long pants or gaiters Tasmania has a thriving population of leeches.
  • Down Jacket and Thermals Staying warm while hiking is extremely important and these items play a key role, the mountains are unpredictable, best be prepared.
  • Rain Jacket and Rain Pants Rain pants are optional but can provide an extra layer of warmth in miserable conditions. 
  • Sun Protection – The UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes.
  • Sleeping Gear – Make sure to pack a tent, a warm sleeping bag and an inflatable mat for overnight hikes. The mountains can get very cold at night, even in summer.
  • Cooking Stove Nothing beats a warm, satisfying meal after a big day of hiking.
  • Emergency Snacks – You can never have too much food and who doesn’t love snacks!
  • Camera Gear – We never travel anywhere without our camera, tripod or drone!
Remy and Kerry eating dinner while camping at Cooks Beach Campsite in Freycinet

How To Get To The Freycinet National Park

The Freycinet National Park is located on the east coast of Tasmania, 2 hr south-east of Launceston and 2 hr 45 north of Hobart. The closest town is Coles Bay, where you can get basic items such as fuel, a pub feed, coffee and some grocery items. The closest supermarket is in Bicheno, half an hour north of Coles Bay.

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