The Freycinet Experience – Friendly Beaches

Mimi ON Sep 13, 2011 AT 9:46 am

The Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania

The Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania

I recently had a chance to travel around Australia for the first time in over a decade. With flights in and out of Sydney secured and a first week in the Sydney area planned, I really wanted to spend part of my trip exploring some of the beautiful scenery the country has to offer.

I had been to Uluru and the Northern Territory before, as well as Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. While I had read some amazing things about Broome and the remote Northwest, it was just too far away to fit into my three week trip – the distances in Australia really do stretch the imagination.

Researching what was possible, I found myself getting stuck. One option seemed to be the ultra-luxury end of the market, with swank lodges and eco-resorts that offer guided walks and excursions. With rates easily shooting up to 1500-2000AU$ a night, this was far more than I wanted to part with. If your budget is unlimited though (or for cubicle-dreaming), a visit to the website of Luxury Lodges of Australia (properties include Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island and Arkaba Station in the Flinders Ranges) is highly recommended.

The view from Friendly Beaches

The view from Friendly Beaches

The alternative seemed organised hiking trips mostly targeting the gap-year, low-budget traveller. Talk of quad-sharing and bunk beds conjured up images of high school summer camp that I was not ready to go back to. Coupled with requirements like a maximum of one bag of 10 kilos that you can carry on your back, bring-your-own-towels-and-sleeping-bag didn’t quite work with the three weeks’ worth of stuff I was going to be having with me.

I finally stumbled upon The Freycinet Experience, a four-day walk across the Freycinet peninsula, a gorgeous national park on the eastern coast of Tasmania. After reading some of the information on the website, I immediately sent off an email to enquire after availability during my trip. I was extended an option for a couple of days to make my travel arrangements and soon enough I had everything sorted out.

It was by far the highlight of my time in Australia – here’s why.

How it works

You pay one all-in price (about AUD2000) which includes everything you need during the four day journey. You are picked up from the Old Woolstore Hotel in Hobart (preferred rates are available if you wish to stay there before/after the trip) and taken to Coles Bay by private coach, which takes about 3.5 hours – a lovely drive with a lunch stop along the way.

Friendly Beaches Eco Lodge

Friendly Beaches Eco Lodge

The walk is hosted out of Friendly Beaches, a secluded eco-lodge that uses solar lighting, rain water and composting toilets to minimize environmental impact. There are a maximum of 10 walkers per trip; two professional guides take you on different walks each day, with two lodge managers staying behind to ensure you have drinks, canapés, and delicious meals to come back to each night. Not to mention a hot shower and a comfortable bed. If you travel by yourself, you only pay for one person (a lot of options I looked at require you to pay for two people or accept only bookings in pairs) and are guaranteed your own room.

You are offered a professional backpack and a rain jacket for your use during the walks, all you need to have yourself is a water bottle, hiking boots, appropriate clothing and sunscreen. You can bring all the luggage you want to the lodge itself. On the last day, you can be dropped off either in Hobart itself or at the airport for any flights departing after 6pm.

CLICK HERE to read about the lodge and the activities available…

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