Coles Bay is the last place you can stop before going to Freycinet National Park (one of the tourist hotspots in Tasmania) and we booked into the Big 4 park there. Kids were most put out that there was no bouncing pillow or water park, as in their opinion, without these things you can’t call yourself a Big 4. Coles Bay doesn’t give a toss and is just a little spot where you can set up and do the basics.
We had a fairly simple van parking process and were set up by lunch time. Monja had sussed the easy walks, so we headed to Cape Tourville Lighthouse and Sleepy Bay in the afternoon (both short strolls from a carpark). I am going to let the pictures do the hyperbole for this whole post as I can’t even make up a word that does it justice. The water colour, the landscape, the whole feel of the place is something that is unique to itself. As ever the photos and images can’t go near what it is like to just look over and see the nuance and the colour change as the sun sneaks along the sky etc, blah blah blah. We have had the kind of weather that a chillaphile (I made that one up) and a stormaphobe (do I need to tell you) would dream of. Breezy, but blue skied days and blanket worthy southern nights.
On the first day I pointed out to Lou how most of the vans looked like they were empty— ‘That’s because most people come here to go to the national park and see the amazing natural sights’ I said. She might’ve thought about the repercussions of my statement or she might have just thought, unicorns are the reasons for rainbows. I can’t fathom her processes, so to tell the truth I have no idea what she thought, but somehow that very same evening a deal was negotiated whereby we would do a two and half hour walk (according to the national parks guidelines but you and I know that we have to add a lot of rest stops and whinging time onto that), down to Wineglass Bay beach. I generously offered a deluxe pasta breakfast, 3 jelly snake pieces and a school work pass on the condition that the national park info boards were read.
We didn’t get an early start (we never do with this crazy southern daylight savings nonsense), but we got organised and cracking in time to find a spot at the near full car park and set off up the granite precipice to the Wineglass Bay lookout. Bit of slight, close to whinging involved without full blown, I refuse to go any further, I need to poo, I am sick, type catastrophes. And we got to the absurdly crowded lookout. They know it’s popular. But there is only about eight meters of fencing (not the sword type) on the actual ledge that overlooks Wineglass Bay and after eleven AM every bit of that fence line is full of tourists wanting a pictorgraphical reminder of that moment in time when they could be viewed with such a wonder of natural beauty backgrounding them. We did too and here’s the photo (taken by a Dutch Tourist who wasn’t amazing with cameras), to prove it.
If you are crazy enough to continue on down to the sand after the lookout you confront a cautionary sign (do you have heart problems? Are you kinda fit? It’s a lot of hassle to get a medi vac chopper near here), that alerts you to the fact that there are 1000 steps ahead of you. And if you want to go down to the beach and actually stand on those seemingly, immaculately, white silica quartz and feldspar crystals that you just photographed, you better be prepared to reverse the process and get back up. We remained true to the original deal of getting to the beach using only our own personal resources and three pieces of a jelly snake and I am very proud to say that we made it down to the beach. In addition to this amazing feat I can also confirm that the two most boundary pushing of our party also swam in those refreshingly bracing waters. And we walked back up those stairs, with rest stops, but hardly a hint of whinging and had Tim as our leader saying ‘it’s not that far’, ‘we haven’t got long to go’, ‘we’re nearly there.’ I know I am his dad, but he did it that all on his own.
We got back to the caravan and had the usual domestic duties to attend to. There might not be a bouncy pillow or water play park here but there is a playground and while I was doing the washing I had a chance to play with Lou on the seesaw and watch her swinging across the monkey bars. She astounds me with her ability to move and have those joy of living insights. Simple little moments that I hope we both remember in that unknown future.
That night Tim asked if he could come fishing with me. I will say little more than to illuminate you to the fact that that the young fellow caught a cod completely of his own accord. And I was very happy to have him along.
We had the whole next day to spend here too. So we started late and rock hopped Honeymoon Bay and strolled Richardson Beach, which were both easy sojourns. We went to the mussel and oyster farm down the road to pick up the makings for lunch. We are having budgeting problems but we still managed to buy some local scallops and oysters which we cooked at the van and ate as one of those very special lunches.
In 2005, before we were married, Monja and I had a holiday in Tasmania. And this is one of the spots where we stayed back then. We walked to that same lookout then and ate a much simpler and carefree plate of mussels from the much more basic ’Marine Farm’. We both have very fond memories of that previous visit and I feel that in the future we will have good memories of our stay this time too.
Freycinet is a very special place and we got a lot a washing done here as well as all the other stuff. But I can’t wait to habg out with Bruce and Carole, our next stop. I know you’ll love them too.