1 May, 2015 - Feeling surprisingly chirpy after our mammoth wine tasting last night - thank God for the water that we drank at dinner time and bedtime - a good hike was in order after breakfast. Asking the Freycinet Lodge front-of-house staff for recommendations on the walking trails within Freycinet National Park, Peter came back with a detailed list of all the treks and a map. We picked the trek to the Wineglass Bay Lookout, a 3 km return walk (an hour and a half each way) on a steep but well marked track, between Mt Amos and Mt Mayson.
Freycinet National Park was declared in 1916 - one of the first two national parks in Tasmania (along with Mt Field). Almost 100 years on, it has become a tourist icon, its identity bound to its history as it is to its startling beauty and astonishing natural diversity. From its various lookouts, its easy to imagine the first European explorers rounding the distant cape in their tall ships, charting the coastline, naming landmarks, and seeking something of value in a foreign landscape.
“ Vic, we don’t have to take the car. The lady at reception said that the start of the trail is an easy 15 minute walk from the Lodge,” Peter said. Donning our backpacks filled with water, an apple each, and bag of nuts, we set off filled with energy and purpose.
We finally reached the trail, hot, exhausted and more than a little annoyed after 25 minutes. What was even more irritating was that the ‘smart crowd’ had driven to the start of the same trail instead of walking there. Unlike us, they began their hike fresh as daisies.
“Never mind, let’s make the most of it,” I panted after a fuming Peter. “The landscape was really lovely along the way and how lucky are we to be here,” I continued as the voice of reason. Meanwhile, Peter was still hell bent on throttling the receptionist when we got back.
Once we started our hike, however, our minds turned to the spectacular beauty around us, the diverse flora and fauna, crisp mountain air and the exquisite panoramic views as we climbed higher and higher. Reaching the Wineglass Bay Lookout at 220 metres, we marveled at the sheer majesty of the Great Oyster Bay coastline, which took our breath away. After a few moments of respectful silence, we took some obligatory photos before descending.
Reaching the parking lot at the bottom after our hike, we were even less enthusiastic about walking another 25 minutes back to the Lodge. We eyed the different people at the parking lot in the hope of scoring a lift. By the time we received our first rejection from an elderly couple, however, the others hikers had jumped into their cars and gone. But luck hadn't entirely deserted us. No sooner had we resigned ourselves to making our way back on foot than we were saved by a lovely lady named Jen, who recognized me from breakfast at the Lodge. Thinking she had a kind face when I saw her at the table next to ours, I smiled and greeted her before I sat down. That simple smile and greeting paid us back in Spades as she kindly gave us a lift back to our accommodation.
Thanking Jen profusely when we got back to the Lodge, we picked up our car and drove the short distance to Freycinet Marine Farm, to check out where some of Tasmania’s best fresh oysters, mussels, abalone and rocklobster were harvested daily. As Peter doesn't eat mussels, clams or oysters, we sampled some delicious abalone cooked in lemon butter sauce on their deck, enjoying the sunshine. Still feeling hungry, especially after our long walk, we headed over to Tombolo Cafe in Coles Bay, where we each had a heartwarming lentil and veg soup, shared a 'kickass' Margherita pizza with Feta, savoured some Bay of Fires wine, and gazed over the tranquil views of Coles Bay.
Gourmet dining awaits us tonight at the Bay Restaurant, back at the Freycinet Lodge. We rated our day a ten out of ten!