The Freycinet Experience Continued…
Mimi ON Sep 13, 2011 AT 9:44 am
Friendly Beaches Lodge
Friendly Beaches lies hidden out of sight a minute or two from the beach from which it takes its name. As it is the only structure around and the beach is miles long, privacy is guaranteed. The lodge consists of three structures – the main building, which houses the kitchen, lounge, library, and staff accommodation and North and South Lodges, accessible via elevated walkways, containing the guestrooms and bathrooms. There are two bathrooms and two separate (composting) toilets in each guest lodge, as well as a small lounge area with a fireplace.
One of the things I really liked is that you arrive at and leave the lodge on foot to fit with the days you spend walking the peninsula. On the first day, you are dropped off close by and circle around the lodge and approach it from the beach. The last day, you leave and walk the last miles along the beach to the northern tip where you get picked up for your return to Hobart.
The food deserves a separate mention. Delicious and healthy meals are cooked every day, with great local produce – the leaving brunch is amazing. Lunch is ready in the morning as well, all you have to do is make your choice among what is available and pack it in your container to take with you.
Over four days, you explore various parts of the Freycinet National Park. You get dropped off at the starting point of your walk by coach and/or by boat each day. On day one, you are taken all the way along the peninsula by boat to Schouten Island, where in the afternoon you have a choice of either climbing up Bear Hill or fishing for dinner in Schouten Passage.
Day two allows you to choose between two walks – either a combined forest and beach walk from the south towards famous Wineglass Bay or a climb to the top of Mount Graham, descending into Wineglass Bay where both groups join up in the afternoon. A steep climb back to Wineglass lookout at the end was worth it for the beautiful views in the setting sun.
The third day takes you over the Bluestone Bay cliff tops down to the southern end of Friendly Beaches, where you tie your shoes to your backpack and walk the last few miles barefoot through the sand and surf.
On the fourth day, you can have a lie in or do a circle walk from the lodge; after a copious brunch you head off for the last few miles to the northern tip of the beach.
This was the first time I have done one of these group walks and I really enjoyed it. I have to admit we were incredibly lucky with the weather – after a difficult season with lots of rained out trips, we had nothing but blue skies and sunshine for the entire four days. The majority of guests were by themselves, so if you are traveling solo you won’t be the only one at all. When you are walking in the forest or climbing, you are asked to stay close to each other and walk in one line with the guide upfront. On the beaches, you are free to wander as long as you stay within visible distance – giving you the freedom to be by yourself or chat with others. Drinks are taken in the lounge and meals at the dinner table together, which is lovely. By 9pm you are so exhausted you collapse into bed.
I can really recommend a walk like this to anyone who is looking to spend some time in a stunning natural environment away from work, computers and mobile phones. The rhythm that comes with walking clears your mind, the expertise from the guides means there is nothing to plan or worry about, and the hospitality at the lodge means good food, wine, and a comfy bed are never far away.
How could that disappoint?!
For more information visit www.freycinet.com.au