Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Coles Bay: Best Tasmanian Hike and Oysters

I had visions of Coles Bay as a bustling beach community filled with seafood restaurants. Clearly, I had done no research ahead of time. With a permanent population of 200 the village had a few restaurants, two small grocery stores, and one gas station (very expensive and does not open until 9 am - If coming from Launceston stopping at  Bicheno to fill up on petrol  and buy groceries may be a good idea.)

To organize our next day's hike we went to the Freycinet National Park visitors centre. In addition to the ranger's suggestions and a brochure with information on the park's trails we picked up a book on the park's flora. It was only $5AUS - a price and content to suit our needs. It added for our experience - I wish that we had found a similar publication earlier. (We looked - they just aren't available.)  This was the last of three Tasmanian National Parks that we visited....and our $80 AUS Tasmania parks pass paid off.

We decided on Wineglass Bay via Wineglass Bay Lookout estimated to take up to 4.5 hours. We took 4, better than usual for us. (Over the course of the trip we became less sure if the time estimates reflected reality.)

As we neared the lookout we stopped to admire the lounge chair built by architecture students in 2000.

At the lookout saw this wallaby "entertaining" a crowd. Everyone was on their good behavior - they only observed the wallaby and talked to him. When he got tired of this gig he quickly hopped into the forest.

View from the Wineglass Bay Lookout.
All sort climbed the 250 meter altitude change to Wineglass Bay Lookout:  hikers with boots and walking sticks, Chinese tourists carrying umbrella to shade themselves from the sun, and beach people in sandals or flip flops.  There was a constant stream of hikers but not enough to be annoying.  We enjoyed receiving thumbs up from the Chinese tourists.

We read the sign warning us that the Wineglass Bay trail was steep.  This trail was not crowded as 95% of the hikers stopped at the Wineglass Bay Lookout.  We continued on glad that we had walking sticks. Like the other Tasmanian trails steep trails were tiring and required attention to keep from slipping, but not dangerous. (Although many of the trails could become very slippery if they were wet.)
These rocky steps go on for a long stretch
Eventually hikers coming in the other direction reported a flat area ahead. They were right. Soon after we saw our reward. Totally worth every step.
Our reward - Wineglass Bay
Another view of a top ten beach
Bird nesting on beach, his/her partner was guarding nearby.
Although we heard many birds along the trail the guy below is the only one we were able to photograph.

The return walk was easier - easier on my knees and no worries about stumbling - but tiring.
Great hike - glad to reach the end of the trail
Our hike finished we were ready to test out the Freycinet Marine Farm's oysters about 5 km before Coles Bay proper. Well, Doug was - I have no fondness for oysters. He rated these oysters the best of our trip with Stanley at 2nd best and then Sydney.  Doug ordered his oysters by the dozen and made the mistake of not returning the next day.  I had a generous portion of mussels with lemons. I more or less ignored the lemons because the chili sauce on the table was addictive.  We now understand fully the meaning of "tuck in".

Ready to tuck in and devour the oysters

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