Wineglass Bay is often proclaimed one of the world’s best beaches. Do I agree?… No- that’s a big call to make! It’s a nice beach, but there are nicer beaches out there (my favorite to date is still Rottnest Island). But it’s still definitely worth a visit on a trip to Tasmania.
Wineglass Bay is located in Feycinet National Park (approx 2hr 15 min drive from Hobart or 2hrs from Launceston). I visited on day 4 of my 10 day Tasmania Itinerary.
View from Wineglass Bay Lookout
As inviting as it looks, if you think you’re going to go for a swim then be prepared – the water is cold!
Tips for visiting Wineglass Bay
- Buy your national parks pass online – that way you don’t have to queue
- There are toilets at the visitor information centre (which you’ll pass on your way to the carpark at the start of the walking trail. They’re free)
- Afternoon is less crowded, there were heaps of people leaving when I arrived in the afternoon and the trail was quiet
- Although you’ll be doing a lot of walking, I’d still take a jacket
There are a few options once you get to the national park
- Wineglass Bay Lookout
- Wineglass Bay Lookout and Beach
- Wineglass Bay Lookout and Beach and come back via Hazards Circuit (I don’t recommend this unless you’re super keen, energetic or like camping as they suggest it can take up to 6 hours)
All up it took about 3.5 hours at a steady pace to do the lookout walk, as well as down to the beach and back up all the steps. This includes 20 minutes spent down at the beach.
I’d go to the lookout before heading down all those steps and then if you’re not happy with the lighting / your photos you can have another go once you climb back up.
The first part of the trail (to the lookout) is mostly flat with some steps
Before someone comments and tells me I should steer clear of wildlife. I was 10m back when I took this photo – just zoomed on my camera.
If you choose to do the walk down to the beach just note that the sign says 1,000 steps. My parents interpreted that as 1,000 steps up and down. However when I read the sign I thought it meant 1,000 up and another 1,000 back up. But I figured it best not to say anything… well after much complaining from my parents and me counting 891 steps to come back up, either way there was more than 1,000 steps return trip.
There’s one way up and down (hence why I recommend going in the afternoon so you can go at your own pace when it’s less busy)
What time of day is best?
I did the walk in the afternoon, after lunch. In the morning we drove from Port Arthur to Coles Bay so this was the perfect half day on our 10 day self-drive itinerary (see here)
There aren’t designated stopping areas or benches on the way up / down – all the more reason to wait for it to be less crowded in the afternoon.
There is minimal parking so if you visit around public holiday time or over Christmas break another reason to go in the afternoon. There were cars parked what would’ve been a 20 minute walk before you even get to the start of the walking trail.
Got lucky again! There was another wallaby at the beach
The only con to going in the afternoon, is that the lighting won’t be the best for photos (but the beach will have less people)
What to bring & what to wear
I visited in late April (over Easter break).
- Leggings (there’s a lot of steps and it’s much easier in leggings or loose pants)
- I didn’t need insect repellent although my arms and legs were covered
- A hat
What Else is Nearby
Apart from Wineglass Bay, Freycinet also has Cape Tourville Lighthouse (walking trail around the lighthouse has good views and only takes 20 minutes).
Coles Bay has an Ice Creamery but it has really weird opening hours. It’s not open for dessert so I delayed departure the next day until after 10am when it opened just so I could try the ice cream. It was ok, but nothing to rave about.
Where to Stay
Coles Bay where the accommodation and food places are located isn’t much more than a few streets.
I stayed at a place I found on Booking,com called ‘The Beach House’ (174 Hazards View Drive) which was a 2 bedroom beach shack. It was spacious and clean but reminded me of a Donga. I.e. it’s cold – I wouldn’t want to stay there in winter.
It was pricey at $235 per night over easter but keep in mind this is much cheaper than the fancy luxury hotels in this part of Tasmania.
It had a full size kitchen so if you have an esky your could get something from the IGA at Sorell (or St Helen’s if you’re coming from the other direction).
When I was putting together the itinerary for this trip, a lot of the ones I found online suggested spending the night at Swansea. Because of this, I was expecting Swansea to be a big town but it was only a bit bigger than Coles Bay (albeit it does have an IGA and a few more food places), but it’s 40 minutes from Freycinet national park. I’m glad I opted to stay in Coles Bay – was very convenient.
If you’re driving from Port Arthur note that the C335 road is an unsealed windy road which took longer to drive than Google Maps suggested.
If you have a small car it may be best to go via Sorell (A3 road). The C335 road ends up meeting up with the A3 in the end.
Don’t miss the Devil’s Corner Cellar Door Lookout (not far before the turnoff to C302 Coles Bay Road).
- Best of Tasmania Road Trip (10 Day Self Drive Itinerary)
- Driving Tasmania’s Heritage Highway in Autumn (in 1 day)
Travel Planning Tips
- Travel Planning: 50 Things to consider when planning an itinerary
- How I use Excel to organize all my travel plans (research, itinerary, hotel, tours, bookings, packing list etc.)
- Travel Planning: How to choose a hotel (my step by step process)