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The Freycinet Peninsula

The Freycinet Peninsula is a 38km long promontory of wild, pristine coastland on Tasmania’s east coast. This is a land of sugar-white beaches, clear blue seas, shady forests and heathlands scattered with wildflowers. The entire Peninsula, comprising Friendly Beaches, Wineglass Bay and Schouten Island, is encompassed in the Freycinet National Park. The Peninsula, and the waters surrounding it, are abundant in wildlife and the land has a fascinating human social history.

Wineglass Bay has been called one of the best beaches in the world. This perfect arc of blond sand and ice-blue water is the best-known jewel of the Freycinet Peninsula. Equally remarkable are the wide deserted beaches and aquamarine shallows at Bryans and Cooks beaches on the western side of the peninsula, facing into protected Great Oyster Bay.

On the Peninsula’s eastern side, facing out to sea, there are soaring sea cliffs, secluded coves, and dramatic ocean beaches. Sculptured boulders splashed with bright orange lichen add to nature’s colour palette. The Peninsula has a backbone of craggy summits, the highest of which is Mount Graham (579m). The remarkable pink granite peaks known as The Hazards guard the peninsula at its northern end, and to the south is uninhabited Schouten Island.

imageThe Landscape

Wineglass Bay has been called one of the best beaches in the world. This perfect arc of blond sand and ice-blue water is the best-known jewel of the Freycinet Peninsula. Equally remarkable are the wide, deserted beaches and aquamarine shallows at Bryans and Cooks beaches on the western side of the peninsula, facing into protected Great Oyster Bay.

On the peninsula’s eastern side, facing out to sea, there are soaring sea cliffs, secluded coves, and dramatic ocean beaches like the one on which Friendly Beaches Lodge is set. All over the peninsula, sculpted boulders splashed with bright orange lichen add to nature’s colour palette. The peninsula has a backbone of craggy summits, the highest of which is Mount Graham (579m). The remarkable pink granite peaks known as The Hazards guard the peninsula at its northern end, and to the south is uninhabited Schouten Island, a domain of protected beaches, imposing sea cliffs and coastal forest.

The History

The Freycinet Peninsula was home to the Oyster Bay Tribe of Tasmanian Aborigines, the largest of nine tribes that made Tasmania their home for at least 20,000 years. Numbering about 500-800 individuals at the time of European contact the Oyster Bay Tribe was probably the Island’s largest group.

Numerous shell middens, remnants of seafood meals, are found on the Peninsula and some of the tracks that The Freycinet Experience Walk follows are paths walked by the Peninsula’s original inhabitants. First contact with Europeans was in 1802 with the visit of French explorer Nicolas Baudin who named it after the expedition’s navigator Louis de Freycinet. Conflict between Europeans and Aborigines culminated in The Freycinet Line in 1831, an English attempt to completely rid the peninsula of its original inhabitants. The Peninsula and Schouten Island had farming leases and were also the site of sealing and whaling industries before the Peninsula was protected in a national park in 1916.

Flora and Fauna

Possums, wallabies and wombats are frequent visitors around Friendly Beaches Lodge. At night visitors may be lucky enough to spot eastern quolls, long nosed potoroos, the diminutive New Holland mouse and even the endangered Tasmanian devil. On our walks we frequently see shy echidnas. Marine life in the waters off the Peninsula includes seals and bottlenose dolphins.  Southern right whales spend time around the Peninsula on their winter migration.

Friendly Beaches Lodge is surrounded by a pristine coastal forest of fragrant banksias, wattle, eucalypts and Oyster Bay pine. Our guides are knowledgeable naturalists and on the walks they point out bush orchids, coastal and sunshine wattle, spinifex, casurina, heaths, honeysuckle, mauve melaleuca and a variety of eucalypts.

Sit quietly on the verandas at Friendly Beaches Lodge, and some of the peninsula’s remarkable birdlife will come right to you.  Some 130 bird species have been recorded on the Peninsula including the chatty yellow tailed black cockatoo, elegant bronzewing pigeon, green rosella, Tasmanian native hen, hooded dotterel, black swan and the peregrine falcon. During the summer months, little penguins can sometimes be spotted returning to their burrows at dusk.

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