The pit stop: Coles Bay
As the gateway to Tasmania’s oldest national park – Freycinet National Park – Coles Bay is as much about nature as a night’s nurture. One of the state’s favourite holiday towns, it’s somehow retained a village-like atmosphere in sight of some of the east coast’s most spectacular coastal scenery.
Coles Bay’s big-ticket feature is curvaceous Wineglass Bay, and there are several ways to witness it. Most popular is the short climb to the lookout set on the slopes of the Hazards, from where the trail continues down onto the bay’s white sands. There’s also the more challenging scramble to the summit of Mt Amos for a loftier view. Less energetically, you can sail into the bay aboard Wineglass Bay Cruises, or peer down from the sky on a scenic flight with Freycinet Air.
Go straight to the seafood source at Freycinet Marine Farm, dining on oysters harvested direct from the racks, along with farm-produced mussels. Add scallops, prawns and crayfish to the menu and you have the makings of a farmgate feast.
The best view is often the water view, so set out across the bay on a three-hour paddle with Freycinet Adventures, kayaking along the coastline beneath the Hazards, nosing ashore on Honeymoon Bay, and discovering the granite quarry that helped build Parliament House in Canberra and (so rumour has it) New York’s Empire State Building.
Get cosy in the Hazards Bar and Lounge at Freycinet Lodge. Or add a view of the Hazards to the experience at the Devil’s Corner cellar door, with its timber lookout tower and tasting deck peering down onto Moulting Lagoon and Coles Bay’s signature mountains.
Nowhere else in the state can match Coles Bay for breadth of sleeping options, be it a patch of earth in the simple walkers’ campsite at the southern end of Wineglass Bay, a Coastal Pavilion with an outdoor bathtub at Freycinet Lodge, or the sheer opulence of Saffire Freycinet.