Freycinet National Park

Top choice national park in The East Coast

Image by Auscape / UIG Getty Images

Sheathed in coastal heaths, orchids and wild flowers, gorgeous Freycinet incorporates Freycinet Peninsula, people-free Schouten Island and the lesser-known Friendly Beaches north of Coles Bay. An improbably photogenic assembly of pink granite mountains, azure bays and white-sand beaches (including the much-photographed Wineglass Bay), the park was named after French navigator Louis de Freycinet and proclaimed in 1916, making it (along with Mt Field) Tasmania's oldest national park. Black cockatoos, yellow wattlebirds, honeyeaters and Bennett's wallabies flap and bounce between the bushes.

The bushwalking here is brilliant. Longer hikes include the three-day, 30km Freycinet Peninsula Circuit; shorter tracks include the up-and-over saddle climb to Wineglass Bay. Ascend the saddle as far as Wineglass Bay Lookout (one to 1½ hours return, 600 steps each way) or continue down the other side to the beach (2½ to three hours return). Alternatively, the 500m wheelchair-friendly boardwalk at Cape Tourville affords sweeping coastal panoramas and a less-strenuous glimpse of Wineglass Bay. On longer walks, sign in (and out) at the registration booth at the car park; national park fees apply.