30 April, 2015 - Our little cottage at Swansea Beach Chalet proved to be extremely comfortable and we awoke well rested and ready to face the day. After a hearty bacon and poached eggs breakfast at Bark Mill Tavern & Bakery, we said our goodbyes to Swansea and programmed Freycinet National Park into our GPS, stopping over enroute in Bicheno.
Bicheno is 185 km north-east of Hobart on the Tasman Highway. Once a whaling town, it is now primarily a fishing port and a beach resort. Driving to the end of the main road, we parked close to the school oval and hiked an easy trail to the Governor Island Marine Reserve Lookout and the Whaler’s Lookout, giving us spectacular views over Tasmania’s east coast. Consulting Google as to where the best place to eat lunch at Bicheno would be, we settled on fresh fish and chips right by the port. Ordering half a dozen fresh natural oysters, a large serving of fried garfish that had been caught that morning, chips, and a side salad, we ate like kings as we listened to the sea gently lapping at the mooring and watched the seagulls fight over our scraps.
Jumping back into our car, we entered the premises of Freycinet National Park 45 minutes later and checked into our cottage at Freycinet Lodge shortly afterwards. Freycinet Lodge is an award winning, luxury eco-lodge located in Freycinet National Park. Overlooking the blue waters of Great Oyster Bay, and the rugged beauty of The Hazards mountain range as its backdrop, accomodation at Freycinet Lodge comes in the form of sensitively designed timber cabins that are peppered among the national park's native casuarina and tea tree forest. Each cabin is connected to the Lodge by a network of raised timber boardwalks, ensuring the lightest possible footprint on the natural landscape.
Our cabin was large, comfortable, homey, and a short walk to the main Lodge. After unpacking and a shower, Peter and I headed over to the Lodge's Hazards Bar and Lounge for our scheduled wine tasting, which featured the “Best of Tasmania,” a selection of eight wines, both White and Red, together with small portions of matching food. With Food and Beverage manager Adrian Tyler pouring us more generous tastings than normal, Peter and I, along with four guests and new member of staff - Karyn Nolan, Tamara Ducey, Allyson Ducey, Anne Ducey, and Jen Russell - we were pretty well marinated by the end of it and had turned into new ‘besties.’ Tripping over our words and own feet by this stage of the evening, we made it to Richardson's Bistro in one piece and enjoyed a casual, and very boisterous, meal together, exchanging stories, travel tips and email addresses. Saying our good nights, we stumbled our way to our respective cabins in the dark. If any of you ladies, or gentleman, read this blog, I'd be thrilled if you wrote me a comment. It was a fabulous evening and one that Peter and I won't forget in a hurry.