Freycinet National Park has a series of wonderful bushwalks - many of which are part of Tasmania's Great Short Walks. Walking the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit your trip takes in both the Wineglass Bay and Hazard circuit Great Short Walks.
The 30 kilometre Freycinet Peninsula Circuit travels around the Hazard Mountains to Hazards Beach. The track continues south to Cooks and Bryans Beaches. Walkers then cross the Peninsula over a heathland plateau next to Mount Freycinet where spectacular views are possible before descending to the white, quartz sands of Wineglass Bay. The walk should be undertaken in an anti-clockwise direction to help stop the spread of a deadly plant pathogen - Phytophthora - or root rot.
Walkers should allow at least two days to complete the trip - although the trip can be longer depending on the number of restful days you have on the beach.
When to walk
The months of December - April have long daylight hours, warmer average temperatures and are recommended for walkers inexperienced in Tasmanian conditions. However, you may find that the mild climate of the east coast makes the Freycinet Circuit an attractive option for winter walking, but be aware that even at Freycinet, snow can fall on the higher peaks.
The weather in the east of Tasmania tends to be mild. In winter months you can expect to have a temperature range of 4 deg. Celsius overnight to 10 deg. Celsius during the day. In summer the overnight low averages around 11 deg. Celsius and the daytime high around 27 deg. Celsius. At times in summer it is very hot with intense UV rays. During periods of extreme fire danger the walks at Freycinet National Park may be closed. Check the latest weather forecast before starting your trip.
What to bring
Walkers will need to be well prepared by carrying water, food, tent and wet weather gear. There are no huts along the Freycinet circuit. For more detailed information on what to bring, see our Essential Bushwalking Guide.
The Freycinet National Park Map and Notes (1:50000 Tasmap) is an essential item for your walk. This is available from the Visitor Centre at Freycinet National Park and on-line via TasMap.
Access to the start of the track
Freycinet National Park is reached from the Tasman Highway. The Peninsula Circuit walk starts from the walking tracks car park about 4 kilometres further into the park from the Visitor Information Centre, which is near Coles Bay.
Public transport will take walkers to Coles Bay and a morning service continues to the walking tracks car park. Bookings are essential on all services and private charters can be arranged. See our Access to Tasmania's National Parks, Reserves and Walking Tracks page for your best options.
Private cars can be parked at the walking tracks car park.
Accommodation near the start of the track
Hotel, motel, backpacker and cabin accommodation is available. See the Tourism Tasmania web site for further details.
The National Park offers a variety of basic powered and unpowered campsites. Booking, payment and other details are found within the National Park, or by calling the Freycinet Visitor Centre (03) 6256 7000. Please note that there are no laundry or shower facilities.
Private companies operate guided tours in this national park. Contact the Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre for details on the individual operators.
More information on Freycinet National Park and its attractions can be found in the Visitors Guides to National Parks.
Fees and permits
The payment of an entry fee is required for all National Parks in Tasmania. Money raised by fees goes directly towards the maintenance and protection of Tasmania's National Parks. More information can be found on the park entry fee information page. Bookings are not required to do the Freycinet Circuit, and no other permits are required.
For your safety please record your trip intentions in the logbook at the start of the walk. Accurate logbook information also provides the statistical basis for proper management of the area. Please remember to sign out at the end of your walk. Your entries may save your life should you become lost or overdue. However, the books are not checked regularly and a search will only be mounted if someone reports you as being overdue.
Let someone know before you go - leave details of your planned trip with a reliable friend or relative. If this is not possible you may wish to register and de-register your trip at a Tasmanian Police Station.
It is essential that a tent be carried as there are no huts along the track. You should only pitch your tent at established sites. Camping sites exist at the following locations:
- Southern end of Hazards Beach,
- Cooks Beach
- Southern end of Wineglass Bay
Walk times given are what the average walker would expect to travel in good conditions. If you are new to bushwalking or the weather conditions deteriorate you can expect to travel for longer times. Walking times are to designated campsites.
- Walking tracks car park to Wineglass Bay - 1.5 hours
- Walking tracks car park to Hazards Beach - 2 hours
- Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach - 2 hours
- Hazards Beach to Cooks Beach - 2 hours
- Cooks Beach to Bryans Beach (side trip) - 1 hour
- Cooks Beach to Wineglass Bay (via Mt Graham) - 5 to 6 hours
Drinking water can be in short supply along the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit. Ensure that you carry a large water bottle and a water bladder if possible. You will need at least 2 litres of water per person per day. When you do come to an area for water collecting along the track always fill up your water bottle. Water collection points are found at a tap at the walker's car park and from a tank at Cooks Hut. Depending on rainfall water can be located at Graham Creek and at Wineglass Bay from the Indigo and Cherry Creeks' catchments. There is no freshwater at Bryans Beach.
The water within our national parks is not treated. It may therefore not meet the National Health and Medical Research Council's Guidelines for drinking water. The Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services thus advises that as a precautionary measure, untreated water should be boiled (1-3 minutes) before drinking or being used for food preparation. Other forms of water treatment (iodine, water filters) may also be used.
Compost or pit toilets are available at some of the camping sites (Wineglass Bay, Hazards Beach and Cooks Beach campsites). Where possible please use these toilets. To assist the composting process, do not put leftover food or rubbish (such as tampons, sanitary pads or condoms) in the toilets.
Where there are no toilets, go at least 100 metres away from any creek or stream and the track. Carry a sturdy hand trowel and dig a hole at least 15 cm (6 inches) deep, otherwise animals may dig up the waste and scatter the toilet paper. Bury all faecal waste and toilet paper with some soil.
Fuel Stove Only Area
The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit is within a Fuel Stove Only Area and campfires are not permitted. You will need to carry a fuel stove for cooking.
Keep on track
The Peninsula Circuit track is generally dry but if you do come across boggy sections keep to the middle of the track. This is the best way that walkers can help with stopping the sprawl of muddy areas. We recommend wearing gaiters to protect yourself against the scrub and mud.
The preferred maximum party size is 4-6 people. Large groups can be difficult to accommodate with tent sites and also have greater social and environmental impacts.
Phytophthora Root Rot
Phytophthora cinnamomi is a fungus that kills many of our native plants. Mud and soil, which is carried on vehicles, boots, gaiters and toilet trowel, helps to spread the disease.
(root rot) exists on the Freycinet Peninsula. Bushwalkers can help stop the spread of this deadly plant pathogen by starting their trip with clean gear, staying on the formed tracks, and cleaning gear before moving on to the next campsite.
Walkers are advised to walk the trip in an anti-clockwise direction. Undertaking your trip in this direction and ensuring your gear is clean after leaving every campsite along the track will go a long way to help prevent the spread of Phytophthora.
All items used in the bush need to be scrupulously cleaned. Items that require a scrub include boots and gaiters (the most risky items), tent floors, groundsheets, tent poles and pegs, trowels, packs, waterproof coats, trousers, and legs.
Carry something for collecting water so as to limit the number of trips that need to be made for water (a well rinsed, empty wine cask bladder is recommended). Do not dig drains around tents.
Try using just hot water and a scourer to clean plates and cookware. Despite their name, biodegradable products still impact on water-life. Dish washing should be done 50 metres away from water and the waste water scattered.
Keep Wildlife Wild
The smell of food will encourage native animals to raid your pack, rattle your cookware and riffle through your rubbish. All food, rubbish and packaging should be sealed within 2 bags. Wrap food in a plastic bag and then store in a larger stuff sack. At night stow your food bag securely in your packs.
Do not feed animals. Processed food is not part of their natural diet and, in some cases, can lead to the death of native animals.
All rubbish must be carried out with you. Rubbish includes cigarette butts and leftover food. Used sanitary pads, tampons, condoms and baby nappies are also items of litter and must be carried out.
For more information on walking softly, please read our Essential Bushwalking Guide and Trip Planner.
Even though this walk is on the east coast of Tasmania you still need to be prepared for weather conditions. Ensure that you have the appropriate gear for an extended overnight walk including warm clothes. Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent, first aid kit, a map and compass are all essential. A rain jacket with hood should always be carried. Of course you should also be optimistic and expect some days of sun - so make sure you take a long-sleeve shirt, sun hat and sunscreen.
Spotting a snake can be common within Freycinet National Park. Snakes are shy animals and will usually get out of a walker's way rather than attack. Wearing sturdy boots and a pair of gaiters will protect your lower legs. Most bites occur when people try to kill snakes (this is illegal). If a bite occurs keep the person at rest, lying down. Do not wash or cut the bitten area. Apply a firm pressure bandage (not a tourniquet) from the bite site, all the way down the limb then back up the limb. Death from snakebite is very uncommon. You do not need to catch or identify the snake as the same antivenom is used for all snake bites.
It is always wise to carry a first aid kit.
For detailed information on planning your walk and a gear checklist, see our Essential Bushwalking Guide & Trip Planner.
For information on overnight walking in Tasmania, including what to take, what situations to be prepared for and where to get more detailed information see the Essential Bushwalking Guide webpages.