Freycinet National Park and Bicheno – Wonderful Part of Tasmania

Freycinet National Park

Freycinet National Park is definitely not to be missed if you are coming to Tasmania for a holiday. It represents a beautiful part of the world.

We have been taking short camping trips, 2, 3, or 4 days long, every couple of weeks. So far we have examined the north eastern part of Tasmania and now feel we know it very well.

So far we have done:

Our next trip was a 4 day trip to:

Bicheno and Freycinet National Park

Continuing with our short camping trips, this time we headed over to the East Coast to Bicheno and Freycinet National Park as our main focus, together with the Douglas-Apsley National Park. We set up camp at Bicheno as a centre for our activities. Finally we returned home with a short detour to Launceston.

St Mary’s Camel Farm

Our first stop on our way there was just outside the township of St Mary’s. We just viewed it from the road, but it’s not every day you come across a camel farm.

This camel farm held a special interest to Selwyn as he had served the owner, as a customer, several years ago, where she told him about how she had started up a camel farm..

The imitation camels on the fence line looked really cool! There were a number of them attached to the fence… great advertising! In this photo you can only see one camel, but there were quite a few more off to the left.

Bicheno, Tasmania

Once again it was camp set-up time. This time our spot was snuggled in behind some bushes so we had no wind troubles at all. In fact, it got incredibly hot during the middle of the day.

Although you can’t see, the ocean was in view over the tops of the bushes. The sound of the waves is what I love so much, especially when settling down for a sleep.

Love our little cooker. We’ve had it for many years, but it looks after us well.

Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Freycinet National Park

The next day saw us travelling just half an hour away to the Freycinet National Park. The colour in these mountains is really wonderful although a bit early in the day when this photo was taken.

See the ‘saddle’ between the two mountains on the right? We climbed up there!

Freycinet National Park

First a little look around some of the area. Oh my, how I love the colour in all the rocks which was still good even though a bit overcast at the time. This is part of Honeymoon Bay.

Freycinet National Park

Now on our walk up to the Saddle. It was an hour and a half return. To start with the track was very gentle… but don’t be fooled…!

Freycinet National Park

Soon the steps started…

Freycinet National Park

And they just kept on coming. Staircase, after staircase… up, up, up!

That’s Selwyn taking a breather while he waited for me to come up.

Along the way they had nice seats for us to take a break. There were so many quite older folk, huffing and puffing their way up the mountain, so the seats were quite necessary.

This unusual seat was called the Saddle Seat and was constructed by a School of Architectural students.

Along the way, as we passed those who were coming back down the mountain, they all told us ‘you’re nearly there’! It was supposed to be encouraging, and yes I guess it was… but with so many saying the same thing, and with the track just continuing to go up, up, up, we began to take what they said with a grain of salt.

Wineglass Bay

Freycinet National Park

But…finally we made it!

You see, the object of the walk was to be able to look down over Wineglass Bay. It is believed to be one of ten most beautiful beaches in the world.

Maybe next time we go, we will take the cruise from Coles Bay around to the Wineglass Bay… it’s supposed to be a wonderful trip.

Freycinet National Park

From the lookout point, the track continued down to the beach where a wonderful swim could be had in the pristine waters. We didn’t go that far. Instead, we sat on a seat and just admired!

Freycinet National Park

On the way back down we selected a different path. We passed this rock on our journey. It wasn’t until we saw the photo later that we noticed how much it looked like a whale.

I remember thinking is could so easily slip off at any moment.

Sleepy Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Freycinet National Park

We were advised that Sleepy Bay was worth a look. It was gorgeous! The dark in the water was actually Giant Kelp waving around in the gentle waves. It tended to look like a whole group of sea animals moving around together. Quite fascinating.

Cape Tourville Lighthouse lookout, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

Freycinet National Park

Afterwards we continued on our way to Cape Tourville Lighthouse. As we were walking around the lighthouse, it was interesting to look back and see Wine Glass Bay in the distance. Such a beautiful sight.

Of-course this is just a little handful of photos I took that day. All in all, we loved our return visit to the Park and could so easily go back again and again.

Bicheno Blow Hole

The next day we spent looking around the area of Bicheno. There were so many lovely things to see.

Secret Bush Track

Bicheno

This place fascinated me… it was like a secret walk through the scrub beside the sea. Sometimes we were walking over large granite boulders, and the next minute traversing through secret tunnels.

The object of it all was that we were walking from the area they called The Gulch, along this track to the Blow Hole.

Bicheno

Here I go, caught in action!

Bicheno Blow Hole in action

Bicheno

Unfortunately I didn’t get a really good photo. The sea was so still that we didn’t even expect it to work… but surprise, surprise… up she blew!

Paddling in the pristine waters

We went for a trip up to Apsley Gorge in the Douglas-Apsley National Park. Had to walk to see it, not very far at all, but my legs were really sore from the day before.

Bicheno

In the afternoon, all I wanted to do was paddle and soothe my aching legs. I love paddling and do it every chance I get.

There was quite a nice little beach there in between the granite boulders, and quiet a number in for a swim further down the beach. This little spot was just down from where we were camped.

Home to Devonport, Tasmania

Via the Elephant’s Pass

elephant pass, st mary's

Approaching Bicheno

On the way down to Bicheno, when we arrived at St Mary’s, we were presented with a choice on how to decend down to the coast. There were two passes… one called St Mary’s Pass and the other, Elephant’s Pass.

The ‘normal’ and most chosen way was via the St Mary’s Pass which is the way we had always travelled on previous times. The Elephant’s Pass doesn’t have a good name, in fact, advice is that you choose to go via St Mary’s Pass instead, down the other side of the mountain.

Well, that was the way we had always gone before. We are always curious about ‘other ways’ and the warnings made us quite curious! Could it really be that bad? We noticed a car and caravan that had just come up… that was it for us… we had to find out what it really was like!

Off we go…

So instead of following the ‘normal’ route, we made a right turn and headed off down Elephant’s Pass!

To start with, the road narrowed right down before we even left St Mary’s. Right at the beginning, three large logging trucks came through. The road was just wider than a single lane, maybe 1 1/2 times, but definitely not two passing lanes.

I had to dart off the road to let the logging trucks pass on by. Hmm… I could tell I needed to keep my wits about me!.

Watching ever so closely, and treating every corner like there was a big truck coming around, I carefully navigated our way through. We didn’t meet any more trucks after the first three, so really it was not that bad. Unfortunately, the places where we wanted to take photos we were unable to stop. So this photo gives no idea really.

Once we got about half way, the road widened out and became nowhere near as scary.

Leaving Bicheno

Our original intentional was to return home via a different route, but instead a decision was made to return the same way we had come.

There are a number of lovely little towns along the way and we decided to take a bit more time to check them all out.

This meant we had to go back up the Elephant’s Pass. It was funny though, on the way back up it didn’t seem anywhere near as scary… maybe we were just more used to it.

Christchurch, St Mary’s, Tasmania

St Mary's

We had seen this almost hidden church on our way through to Bicheno. Just a few kilometres out of St Mary’s, it sat sad and forlorn, and all alone.

Built in 1867, Christchurch was now no longer in use. I opened the door and found it really dark on the inside, so I’m surprised how well the photo came out.

Everything was still in place as if it was used regularly, except for all the bird poo that was over everything!

It was very cold inside, lonely, but surprisingly well preserved. I mean, the door just swung straight open. No graffiti. No vandalism. Amazing really.

Flooding rains

Avoca

Just the week before we were there, the area had come under tremendous flooding. The mainland experienced heavy flooding too at the same time. I guess we had the tail end of it here, not that we experienced it at all in Devonport.

We arrived at a little place called Avoca, and drove down near by this bridge to have lunch.

Only the week before, the South Esk was in flood. It drains 14% of the entire Tasmania… a very long river, winding itself all over the place. Finally, reaching Launceston, it drains into the estuary before making the journey to the sea, another 50 kilometres away.

You can see by the Flood Sign that it had debris caught on the very top of the sign. This means the water was a minimum of 2 metres above the bridge. The river was quite a way down below the bridge, but debris hung way up in all the trees around us where we had lunch.

In fact, this same flood was all over the area surrounding Bicheno, as we kept running into telling signs of it. Even our camping spot had been totally waterlogged just a few days before we arrived there.

How fortunate for us that we were not caught up in it ourselves. We had been away camping the week prior, and now the week after, with no rain at all.

We had a most wonderful time on our short trip to Freycinet National Park. Staying at Bicheno worked perfectly and gave us lots of options of things to do and see. We will be back!

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