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How to Hike the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit in Tasmania

How to Hike the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit in Tasmania

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

From white, sandy beaches to rocky mountain summits, this hiking guide covers everything you need to know about walking the multi-day Freycinet Peninsula Circuit, including climbing Mount Freycinet.

The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit is an epic circuit track around Freycinet National Park on the East Coast of Tasmania. Tasmanian Parks recommends this circuit as a good introduction to multi-day hiking in Tasmania as it is quite easy when compared to some of the other trails.

I walked this route on a 2 day itinerary but it’s possible (and likely better) to do it in 3. Below you’ll find a full itinerary, maps, and a step-by-step hiking guide with campsite information and water access on the track.

Hiking at cooks beach, freycinet national park walks
This circuit is one of the best ways to see experience the peninsula's hidden coves & scenic beaches.

Overview of the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit

  • Hiking Distance: 46 km (walked in a "figure-eight" with Mount Freycinet summit & Bryans Beach track).
  • Duration: 2 or 3 days
  • Elevation: 1,800 m total elevation gain
  • Difficulty: Tasmanian Parks Grade 3 (entry-level multi-day trekking)
  • Start Point: Wineglass Bay car park in Freycinet National Park.
  • Map & Route: My Strava | Download GPX (.gpx 4.9 MB)

This post follows my experience hiking the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit in a "figure-eight" loop, with side trips to Mount Freycinet summit and Bryan's Beach from Cooks Beach. While this full circuit is a bit longer, I consider this the best way to walk it. Here's why.

  • Doing it this way, you'll truly get to experience most of the best trails in Freycinet National Park on one big loop.
  • This track covers most of the famous trails including the Wineglass Bay lookout track, Hazards Beach track, and a climb to the top of Mount Freycinet summit— the tallest peak in the park.
Screen shot 2021 04 12 at 1. 00. 05 am

It's possible for hikers to walk this circuit in either two or three days. We decided to walk it in two, with a rather short first day and quite a long second day. Here are some more important things to know.

  • All of the main campsites are on the beaches at either Cook's Beach, Hazard's Beach or the south end of Wineglass Bay.
  • Overall, I'd consider the hike fairly easy for an overnight hike. Most of the trail is flat except for the elevation gain on the way up to Mount Freycinet and then again up the saddle to Mount Graham.
  • The long stretches of soft sand when walking on Hazard's Beach and Wineglass Bay can be a little draining on the calves.
  • The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit track is also very easy to follow and well-marked by orange, reflective arrows on trees and rocks.
  • Being a popular walk means that the trail is wide and clear throughout all of the bush and forest sections.
View from mount freycinet tasmania
View from the top of Mount Freycinet


Should I hike the Freycinet Circuit in 2 Days or 3 Days?

If you've got time, then three days would be a very leisurely walk with scenic camping spots at Cooks Beach and Wineglass Bay. Taking the three-day option would spread the walking out a lot and allow you to spend more time relaxing at the beach campsites.
However, I felt that two days of walking is the best way to do it. But as I mentioned, I would rather have broken up the days by camping at the saddle instead of staying at Cooks Beach on the first day.

Where can I leave my car for the hike?

All of the walking tracks in Freycinet National Park depart from the same car park at the end of Freycinet Drive. Head towards the National Park Visitor Centre from Coles Bay and continue to the end.
The car park is quite large and accommodates big vans and buses. You can leave your car here for the duration of your hike around the Freycinet Peninsula. Just remember to leave your National Parks Pass on the windshield.

What is the best campground to stay at overnight?

We decided to spend the night at Cook's Beach campground and loved it. However, this meant that the second day was quite a stretch to summit both Mount Freycinet and Mount Graham before returning to the car park via the Hazards Beach track. So, instead, I'd recommend camping near the Mount Freycinet saddle to those taking a similar track over two days. You can find all campsites on the Tas Parks site.

When is the best time to hike?

The best time to hike the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit is during the warmer months from late October to April. During this period, the weather is generally mild and stable, making it ideal for hiking and camping.

Do I need a Parks Pass?

Yes, you need a valid parks pass to hike in Freycinet National Park. Hikers can purchase these online or at the Visitor Centre. If you get yours online, you still need to go to the centre to get a receipt to leave on your dash for the duration of the hike.

For this multi-day hike I recommend a Holiday Pass (valid for up to 2 months) for $89.50 per vehicle or an Annual All Parks Pass for $95.30 (discounts for concessions and seniors).

Is there any freshwater drinking sources on the trail?

There are no reliable freshwater drinking sources on the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit, so it's essential to carry enough water for your entire hike. The only water tanks available are at the Cooks Beach campsite, but they are not guaranteed to have water, especially in summer.

Do I need to book a campsite in advance?

No, these campsites are accessible on foot only and no bookings are required. (First come first serve). They're also free, no camping charge applies.

Wineglass bay, freycinet national park tasmania

My Experience Hiking the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit

Here I'll document the entire hike in the Freycinet Peninsula. This follows my experience on the trail and also includes photos that I hope will get you excited about the trip!

Here’s the hiking route I took to form a figure-eight loop around Wineglass Bay:

  • Start on the Wineglass Bay Lookout track.
  • Continue down to Wineglass Bay.
  • Turn west on the Isthmus track.
  • Follow Hazard's Beach south to Cooks Beach.
  • Begin the climb up to the saddle.
  • Climb Mount Freycinet.
  • Turn back and cross the saddle.
  • Ascend Mount Graham.
  • Steady walk across the Quartzite Ridge.
  • Steep descent back to Wineglass Bay.
  • Loop back across the Isthmus Track.
  • Wrap back to the car park along the Hazard's Beach Circuit track.

Getting to the Trailhead

The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit trailhead is located at the same trail car park as all of the other hikes in the park.

To get here, head towards the Freycinet National Park Visitor’s Centre on Freycinet Drive near the start of Richardson’s Beach. If you haven't already, stop by the Visitor's Centre and pick up your National Park pass. Then, continue down Freycinet Drive to the end where you'll see signs for the walks car park.

At the top of the car park, we found the trailhead with maps and information boards. The first step on this circuit is to fill out the walker's logbook. This helps Tasmanian Parks keep track of who is on the trail to ensure that everyone returns safely.

Tip: If you don't have your own car, ask your accommodation for transport options since it's a fairly long walk from Coles Bay.

Signing the walkers log at freycinet national park

Wineglass Bay Lookout Track

The first section on the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit follows the most popular trail in the park; the Wineglass Bay Lookout track. This is an easy track that climbs gently to a boardwalk viewpoint between the granite peaks of Mount Amos and Mount Mayson.

Wineglass bay lookout

This trail is wide, very well-maintained and often crowded. While Wineglass Bay is a very beautiful beach, In all honestly, the Wineglass Bay Lookout is really not that impressive. This is especially true if you've already climbed Mount Amos. If you haven't, then I highly recommend doing so.

Wineglass bay lookout track
Wineglass bay lookout track
Wineglass bay lookout track

1,000 Steps Down to Wineglass Bay

After checking out the view on offer at Wineglass Bay Lookout, it's time to continue on. The next section is a short descent down to Wineglass Bay beach on a well-formed track with rocks placed as "steps".

The "1,000 Steps" are on a few of the signs to deter walkers who may not be up to the challenge of making it back up to the car park.

However, since we were committed to the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit, this didn't bother us at all.

Wineglass bay lookout track

The Isthmus Track

So, just an hour or so into the trek and we're already at Wineglass Bay, one of Australia's most scenic beaches.

It's tempting to relax and take a swim in the calm, clear waters. If you're planning on camping at Cooks Beach, then you probably have time to indulge a little. However, if you would rather camp near the saddle, then I'd suggest that you keep heading on. Don't worry though, you'll be back at Wineglass Bay on the way back.

Wineglass bay, freycinet national park

The next section of the Freycinet Peninsula hike is the Isthmus Track. This is a flat, wide and well-formed trail leading through lowland forest. The Isthmus track is abundant with birdlife and passes several small lakes.

Isthmus track, tasmania

After roughly 30 minutes, the track pours out onto the white shores of Hazard's Beach.

Hazards beach from the isthmus track, tasmania

Hazard's Beach to Cooks Beach

Hazard's Beach is a beautiful, white-sand beach with clear, turquoise waters. It makes for a perfect spot to take a break or even go for a quick swim. Just offshore, you'll also spot Promise Rock and Reguse Island, two rocky outcrops that are only accessible by boat.

Graham summit
View of Hazards Beach from Mount Graham, a little further along the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit

We noticed that the sand on Hazard's Beach is firmer than at Wineglass Bay, which made this stretch easier to traverse with heavy packs.

Hazards beach track on the freycinet peninsula circuit

This next section south towards Cooks Beach is where the official Freycinet Peninsula Track begins. Head towards the southern end of the beach, where you'll find a trail marker for the Peninsula Track towards Cooks Beach. There is also a campsite here known as Promise Bay Camp, which also has a toilet.

Hazards beach campsite

The trail from Hazard's Beach to Cooks Beach winds around the coast on flat ground, crossing a creek along the way. We noticed there was a bit of treefall in some sections. However, overall it was very easy to navigate.

Treefall on the freycinet peninsula circuit

After less than an hour of walking the roughly 4-kilometre coastal forest trail connecting the two beaches, we arrived at Cooks Beach. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Freycinet National Park.

Cooks beach track freycinet national park
Grayl water filter bottle

Get Clean Drinking Water on Your Hike

I take the Grayl GeoPress Purifier Bottle on every hike and use it as my go-to source for filtering water all over the world. I've even used it to drink tap water in India!

Compare how the GeoPress stacks up against the best water bottle filters on the market.

Cooks Beach Campsite

The Cooks Beach Campsite is located on the southern end of the bay. This is the most popular campsite in the park to spend the night and in my opinion, the most scenic.

Cooks beach, freycinet national park
Mount freycinet from cooks beach
Cooks beach, freycinet

At the campsite, hikers will find a toilet and several rainwater tanks where they can access drinking and cooking water (boil or treat the water before drinking). The water tanks are connected to an old stone hut that dates back to 1859. This is kept unlocked and also a good place to store your food during the night.

Cooks hut, freycinet national park, tasmania
Cooks hut, freycinet national park, tasmania
Cooks hut, freycinet national park, tasmania
Cooks hut, freycinet national park, tasmania
Toilet at cooks beach campsite

There are several sheltered, flat lots to pitch a tent at Cooks Beach campsite. Since we were anticipating fair weather, we chose a spot right at the edge of the beach to enjoy the sunset.

Cooks beach track, freycinet national park, tasmania
Cooks beach track
Cooks beach camp site, freycinet national park

After we had pitched our tent, we decided to leave our bags and take the flat, 8-kilometre return walk to Bryans Corner on the south side of the Peninsula. While a beautiful trail, I thought that Cooks Beach was a much nicer beach and instead of taking this side trip, I would recommend continuing on towards and camping at the saddle as mentioned above.

Important: The Visitor Centre at Freycinet National Park will warn you that the rainwater tanks at Cooks Beach campsite are unreliable. It's best to stop in before the trek and ask how much water they expect will be in the tanks. Otherwise, the only other means of fresh water on the trail are gentle, flowing creeks, which can run dry in Summer. As a result, it's wise to pack extra drinking water in case there's none available.

Bryans beach, bryans corner, freycinet national park, tasmania
Walking to bryans beach, bryans corner from cooks beach
Hiker with garmin inreach satellite device

How I Stay Connected Off-Grid

I've been using the Garmin InReach Mini satellite communicator for all serious treks and expeditions since 2020.

It lets me send unlimited SMS anywhere on earth and has an emergency SOS feature that could save your life.

Cooks Beach to the Mount Freycinet Saddle

After a rather cruisy day with almost no elevation gain, we were fresh as daisies for our 4 AM alarm. We intended to pack our tent in the dark and continue on towards the saddle in the dark in hopes of reaching Mount Freycinet for golden hour.

Walking in the dark on the freycinet peninsula circuit from cooks beach campground to the saddle

The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit track towards the saddle begins on the northern end of Cooks Beach. This means that we had to walk the length of the beach again before picking up the trail. This section is comprised of more lowland coastal bushland with predominantly dry eucalypt trees. The trail starts off fairly flat on an ever-narrowing trail before beginning the climb. There are orange reflective markers along the track making it easy to find the way even in the dark.

It took us approximately an hour and a half to reach the saddle from Cooks Beach Camp. This section is roughly 7 kilometres and climbs a steady 380 metres of altitude.

Tip: Just before the track breaks out into a clearing at the saddle, there is a rather obvious flat, cleared spot beside a flowing creek. While not the official campsite, this is where I would have camped if I was to do this hike again. Otherwise, there was another couple hiking who camped right at the saddle, just to the right of the fork for the Mount Freycinet and Mount Graham tracks.

Sunrise on the freycinet national parkwalk
Sunrise on the freycinet peninsula circuit walk
Sunrise on the freycinet national parkwalk
Alternative campsite near the saddle on the freycinet peninsula circuit hike
Alternative campsite near the saddle

Climbing Mount Freycinet

Leaving Cooks Beach at 4:30 am meant that the sun was already rising gently behind Mount Graham when we arrived at the saddle. So, in hopes of getting some nice lighting conditions at the top, we made a swift push to the Mount Freycinet summit.

This track is considered a side trip to the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit. However, if you've made it all this way, then it'd be a shame not to climb the tallest peak in the park! We left our bags in the srub, bringing only our cameras and breakfast which made the climb much easier.

The track is only 750 metres in distance, but climbs steeply, gaining nearly 300 metres of elevation. The track is mostly just a series of boulder scrambles as you make your way to the top. There are also orange trail markers showing the best route to the summit.

Climbing mount freycinet, boulder scramble
Climbing mount freycinet on the freycinet peninsula circuit, tasmania

Once at the top, we were rewarded with some of the best views of the Freycinet National Park we'd experienced yet. We had unparalleled views of Hazard's Beach, Mount Graham, the rugged, southern Freycinet coastline, and of course, Wineglass Bay and the Hazard's range in the distance.

We spent more than an hour at the peak admiring the view and enjoying a hot porridge breakfast and coffee.

View from mount freycinet tasmania
South view frmo mount freycinet
Sunrise at mount freycinet
Wineglass bay from mount freycinet

Mount Graham

After resting the legs and enjoying the morning view at Mount Freycinet summit, it was time to continue on the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit! Admittedly, it's a little disheartening knowing that you have to descend all the way back to the saddle just to gain roughly the same elevation again.

Mount graham track freycinet peninsula circuit

Luckily, the route up Mount Graham is much gentler, with little to no scrambling required. The view from the top is similar to what's on offer at Mount Freycinet, just a couple dozen metres lower.

Mount graham summit view on the freycinet peninsula circuit walk
Wineglass bay from mount graham summit

The Quartzite Ridge to Wineglass Bay

The track onwards over the so-called Quartzite Ridge is clear from the top of Mount Graham. It follows a carved route over the flat ridge and through low heathlands. This stretch of the Freycinet Circuit was one of my personal favourites as we had great conditions with views across the entire peninsula.

However, I'd imagine that this part would be somewhat unpleasant in wet and windy weather since it's largely exposed.

Mount graham track freycinet peninsula circuit hike

Soon enough, the track winds back down into dense eucalypt forest, descending down the ridge towards Wineglass Bay. Expect roughly 6 kilometres from Mount Graham to the beach, which took us roughly two hours including a brief stop.

Freycinet peninsula circuit
Freycinet peninsula circuit

Wineglass Bay Beach

There's no arguing the fact that Wineglass Beach is one of Australia's most beautiful beaches, just don't expect any wine. Upon arriving, you'll notice that there's another composting toilet as well as a flowing creek at the campsite. We took this opportunity to answer nature's call and fill up our drink bottles.

Grayl water filter on the freycinet peninsula circuit, tasmania
Filtering our water with a Grayl purifier bottle

After a hefty morning that covered most of the ascent and descent of the entire Freycinet Peninsula Circuit, we were a little sore. So, we spent an hour at Wineglass Bay swimming and eating lunch. Once we had recovered, it was time to walk the length of Wineglass Bay back towards the Isthmus Track.

Wineglass bay, freycinet national park tasmania
Hiking the freycinet peninsula circuit, wineglass bay campsite
Wineglass bay, freycinet national park
Wineglass bay, freycinet national park tasmania

Of course, it's possible to call the walk early here by taking the 1,000 steps back up to the car park. However, we certainly weren't prepared to call it quits early.

Hazards Beach Circuit Back to the Carpark

Instead, we finished the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit by taking the short and pleasant Isthmus Track for a second time towards Hazards Beach.

Wineglass bay, freycinet national park tasmania

This time, we turned right once we got to Hazard's Beach towards the northern end. While it might seem like a long detour back to the car park, this loop is actually a much more enjoyable way to end the circuit. The trail follows a beautiful coastal, rocky track that undulates lightly and offers great views out to sea.

Hazards beach circuit, freycinet national park
Hazards beach circuit, freycinet national park
Hazards beach circuit, freycinet national park

The Hazards Beach Circuit is a popular track for day walkers who are looking to see more than just the typical Wineglass Bay lookout walk. Along the way, there are beautiful secluded coves with crystal-clear water and orange, lichen-covered boulders.

The track makes its way around the coast, forming a ring around Mount Mayson before connecting back to the start of the Wineglass Bay lookout track near the carpark.

Hazards beach circuit, freycinet peninsula circuit

Finishing the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit Hike

And, just like that, the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit, one of Tasmania's most scenic multi-day hikes comes to an end. As I mentioned, following our plan results in a rather lengthy second day. The split ended up being:

DayDistance (km)Moving TimeElevation Gain
119.8 (including 8 km return to Bryans Corner from Cooks Beach)5 hours345 metres (nearly all on the way up to Wineglass Bay lookout at the start of the walk)
226.4 (including Mount Freycinet summit)9 hours1,400+ metres

Must-do Experiences After the Hike

Wineglass bay cruise in freycinet national park, tasmania

1. Wineglass Bay Cruise

Experience the unique beauty of Freycinet NP onboard this scenic boat trip with Peniccott.

Wineglass bay lookout

2. Freycinet & Wineglass Bay Active Day Trip

A convenient way to explore the hiking trails and sweeping lookouts of Freycinet on an active day trip from Hobart.

Wineglass bay, freycinet national park tasmania, scenic flight

3. Wineglass Bay Scenic Flight Unique

A once-in-a-lifetime experience flying over the incredible Wineglass Bay– surprisingly affordable too!

Where to Stay Near Coles Bay For Walks in Freycinet

My top 3 choices for places to stay before enjoying the walks in Freycinet National Park.

Picnic island tasmania

1. Picnic Island Luxury

Ever wanted to stay on a private island? What better place to do so than on Picnic Island, a beautiful island gem just off Coles Bay. Visitors will have the entire island to themselves with rustic waterfront cabins and a fully-equipped kitchen and living area.

Freycinet lodge suite with lounge

2. Freycinet Lodge Mid-Range

Located in a waterfront location within Freycinet National Park, it offers luxury cabin-style accommodation, two restaurants, and a bar. You’ll also get a buffet breakfast included. This is one of the best-located spots to begin your Freycinet National Park walks.

Eagle peaks outdoor view of accommodation, freycinet

3. Eagle Peaks Budget

This is a unit-style accommodation option featuring a dining and seating area, a fully-equipped kitchen, and great scenery at your doorstep. It has good WiFi and free private parking near Coles Bay.

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Ross River Fever

Cases of Ross River, a mosquito-transmitted disease have been found in Freycinet National park. It's a good idea to bring mosquito repellent (deet) to prevent bites.

Preventing the Spread of Phytophthora (root rot)

Unfortunately, there is a bit of Phytophthora around in Freycinet National Park. This is an introduced pathogen that attacks the roots of native plants, causing them to die and "rot". As a result, you definitely want to clean your gear and boots before setting off to other parks around Tassie after hiking in Freycinet National Park.

The "Leave No Trace" Principle

There are no bins where you can dispose of your waste on the Freycinet Peninsula hike. This means that you have to follow the leave no trace principle, and pack out all of your rubbish.

Leave no trace means leave no trace. So, if you need to go to the toilet between camps, or if you want to camp at the saddle, be prepared to pack out your human waste too.

Campsite Access and Information

There are three campsites accessible on the Freycinet Circuit. There are:

  • Hazards Beach Campsite (Promise Bay), located at the southern end of Hazards Beach
  • Cooks Beach Campsite, located at the southern end of Cooks Beach
  • Wineglass Bay Campsite, located at the southern end of Wineglass Bay

All of these walk-in only sites are completely free. Also, each has composting bush toilets. In reality, these are actually "hybrid" toilet systems, which is a drop-style toilet with composting waste. This means there is no flush and you need to throw the supplied husk on your number twos.

The only campsite with water tanks is the Cooks Beach Campsite. The water is found in one of six rainwater tanks attached to Cooks Hut, about 100 metres inland on a track from the beach. However, this water is not guaranteed and the tanks can dry out in summer.

There are also no fires permitted in Freycinet National Park. This means that you will need to carry a hiking gas stove if you plan on cooking.

Mount freycinet summit view

Freycinet Peninsula Circuit Packing List

Planning for an overnight hike can be a little daunting, especially if it's your first one. Even then, experienced hikers can easily forget essentials. Therefore, I thought I'd formulate a quick list of must-pack items for the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit.

Packing for the freycinet peninsula walk
My overnight pack on the freycinet peninsula circuit hike (with plenty of camera gear)

I hope that this hiking guide to completing the world-renowned Freycinet Peninsula Circuit has been useful for you. If you're looking for more Tasmania travel inspiration, make sure to check out some of my other articles below.

Did you enjoy the trek? Let me know or help other hikers out by leaving trail updates in the comments below.

Wineglass bay, freycinet national park
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Gina Harvey

Tuesday 7th of March 2023

How much water did you carry and how did you carry it. I have a 2 litre bladder and a soft plastic 1 litre bottle. I can’t carry much more than that. Thanks Gina