Short walks on East Coast of Tassie (21-25 June 2023)

Fly into Launceston. Beautiful day, if very cold, 2°C – car still covered in ice when we go to pick it up. Groceries then coffee & French vanilla slice in Campbell Town. Lunch in the very busy car park at Freycinet National Park. Hate to see what it’s like in summer!? Head up Mt Amos. Dire warnings at the trackhead – which for once actually seem legitimate. The granite would be a slippery death trap in the wet.

Lower slopes of Mt Amos

A steep section!

Almost up the steep stuff

Really fun walk up, overtaking a few people. Timed it well as a large group left the summit as we arrived. I leave off climbing a rounded boulder as not sure I could get off. Fabulous views but light a bit flat for the photographer. But still, it’s pretty speccy! And Tom made it! His hardest walk in 3 (?) months. My biggest climb since mid-April. Kicking goals all round.

Views from the top over Wineglass bay

Tom enjoying the scenery

A photo of the two of us (a rarity)

We spent a while up the top but with it being the Winter Solstice the sun was setting not long after 4:30pm… As we descended we came across a couple we’d overtaken not far from the start still on their way up. Think they’ll be pushing it get down in the light. The descent is unlikely to be faster than the ascent, if anything slower with a number of steep smooth granite faces to be carefully negotiated (for most it’s an on your bottom proposition).

Speccy sky as we start the descent

Not sure how much use the poles are when the rock is this steep

Views over Coles Bay

Safely back down we head for our airbnb. Some confusion with East v non-East streets but Coles Bay isn’t that big so it only delays us 5 minutes. Views of the Hazards out the window and a hot drink in hand – the most satisfying day we’ve had together in months.

A casual delicious dinner 2 minutes walk up the road, and then the only downer of the day – NSW getting thumped in the State of Origin.

We both sleep well and with sunrise not till 7:30am there seems no hurry to get moving. Back to the far less busy car park in the morning. This time to do the Hazards Beach – Wineglass Beach – Wineglass Lookout loop. A fairly overcast cool day kept our breaks fairly short.

Tom walking on Hazards Beach

Crossing the isthmus to between Hazards Beach & Wineglass Bay

Find a lunch spot on the rocks at Wineglass bay

Tom tuckered out from the ‘very hard’ walk up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout

Requisite happy snap of Wineglass Bay

The only whale sighting of the trip (it’s a bike rack)

Then a quick nip around the Cape Tourville Lighthouse track. Worth it for the views, not for the (modern) lighthouse.

Making it back into Coles Bay just as the rain started I was exceedingly disappointed to find the only open cafe’s coffee machine was on the blink.

The rain fell and fell. The forecast rainfall continued to increase.

Dinner for tonight was a short drive away. We were the only booked patrons for the evening – like having a restaurant exclusively booked out… In the end there was one other couple and as we were finishing up a group of 5 who were offered take away pasta as the kitchen was largely done. So hopefully the restaurant managed to break even for the night. And home in time to see the women win their SOO game.

Most of this rain fall on the second afternoon/night we were there

The rain didn’t let off and by 8am 90mm had fallen in 17 hours with more to come. No point leaving our accom before we had to. A visit to the patisserie in Bicheno was the obvious next stop since it was still pouring. We rescued a young woman from sitting outside by sharing our table. She was travelling from Austria and we had a good chat. The croissants were very good.

Then since it was still raining The Farm Shed for some wine tasting. 10 wines. No change to my view on Pinot Noir but I persist in trying. We came away with a bottle of that classic cool-climate varietal Tempranillo!

Bicheno Blowhole – hard to distinguish from the swell

The rain seemed to have pissed off so we checked out the blowhole then headed to St Helens. We wandered down to the waterfront admiring how still the water in Georges Bay was, particularly given the large swell all the way up the coast.

Very still waters of Georges Bay

After much agonising we ended up with somewhat healthy dinner supplies and headed back to our cosy airbnb. Reading, dinner, a GWQ (15/25), several rounds of Boggle. The first game the highest scoring 2 person game we’ve played (Tom 29, me 28).

Another great night’s sleep and sleep in. Eventually we got out into a surprisingly sunny day. Headed to Binalong Bay and walked from Skeleton Bay – Skeleton Point – Grants Point. We rock hopped a bit around Skeleton Point though Tom came a cropper and bashed up his left shin fairly impressively. Between Tom’s shin and a somewhat ‘meh’ feeling about the walk (it was fine… just not going to deliver anything we hadn’t already experienced) we decided to head back to the car a bit after Grants Point rather than continue to Dora Point.

Scrambling near Skeleton Point

Scrambling near Skeleton Point

Coffee on the deck at Meresta was speccy. Beautiful day. Headed out to The Gardens which were disappointing. A short track surrounded by houses, farmland and infrastructure and not really anything more scenic than we’d already experienced. Plus a chilly nor’easter made it quite cool. Instead we backtracked to Sloop Rock Lookout and found a spot out of the wind for lunch. No sign of any whales though.

Lunch at Sloop Rock Lookout

Since we didn’t have any other ideas for the day another coffee at Meresta would have been rude to bypass. Then back to accom, reading, wine/cheese before heading out to find dinner without a booking. No luck 1st try but ok on 2nd. I had what seemed like an entire cauliflower in my bowl of cauliflower bites to start which unfortunately spoilt my appetite for mains.

Walking Binalong Beach

Didn’t sleep that well and we’d planned a busy final day back to Launceston so were on a tight schedule. Got away later than hoped and it was grey rainy day. Our first objective Ralph Falls – we thought better of not long after attempting the road. Eventually finding somewhere to turn around we beat a retreat to St Columba Falls which were pumping impressively.

Tom with St Columba Falls behind him

Lovely fern section on the way to St Columba Falls

Then the Giant Tree circuit.

Largest girth tree in Tasmania

Largest girth tree in Tasmania

Rain made for less pleasant driving conditions for much of the day. I was relieved to get to Scottsdale for lunch at a cafe there. Continual rain meant a slow trip to the airport, and a bit of a rush to repack only to be delayed. Ah well. A reasonable 5 days for a trip organised less than a week in advance.