Walk Tasmania: Wineglass Bay Sail Walk and Bay of Fires Lodge Walk

Tasmania turns it on when it comes to wide open spaces and world-class walking trails. Kelly Allen samples two of the best, taking in some of the Apple Isle's greatest scenery.

Every time I visit Tasmania I fall in love with something new, be it the farm-to-table food philosophy, spectacular untouched beaches, or some of the cleanest air on the planet. Operating for more than 30 years, the Tasmanian Walking Company knows how to show off its backyard, and currently operates four treks around the state. 

I was fortunate enough to sample highlights of two: the Wineglass Bay Sail Walk and the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk. Both four-day itineraries have a few challenging sections of track, but for the most part they’re considered moderate walks. 

 

Wineglass Bay Sail Walk

From Hobart it’s an 80-kilometre drive north-east to the coastal village of Orford where we board the beautiful Lady Eugenie, a 23-metre-long ketch-rigged yacht. With spacious teak decks, five bedrooms and indoor and outdoor dining areas, Eugenie sees us sailing in style. 

We’re heading to Schouten Island, but on the way we drop anchor at Ile de Phoques to be entertained by resident fur seals; there’s also time for a delicious ploughman’s lunch of local cheeses and cured meats. 

By the time we arrive at Schouten I’m ready to get my legs moving on dry land. The 299-metre Bear Hill starts off as an easy bushwalk but soon turns into a vertical scramble up granite boulders; from the top, we’re treated to a near 360-degree view across the bay. It’s one of the more challenging sections of the trip – the descent toward the beach is much more pleasant, thanks to a mouth-watering smoky scent. Our skipper, Steve, is grilling prawns and there are tables set up with oysters, cheese, dips and sparkling wine. 

After happy hour, a few of us have a swim before heading back to Lady Eugenie for a gourmet dinner of grilled salmon and scallops. Mitch is the chef, assisted by our guide, Dayna. I was amazed at the meals they put together in such a small space. 

After a full day in the Tassie sunshine with plenty of exercise and great food, I sleep like a baby, gently rocked to sleep by the ocean’s slow roll. 

Our next day is spent exploring Wineglass Bay. Dayna tells us that while the bay’s name refers to its shape, it has a dark past as a whaling station – when the whales were brought in for slaughter here, the bloodstained water looked like a glass of red wine. Today, though, it’s crystal clear and we walk the shoreline before heading up a steep hill to a lookout. It’s beautiful, and as a result quite popular, and is the busiest part of our journey. We finish our abbreviated version of this walk at the lookout, taking photos in the company of a friendly wallaby. 

Bay of Fires Lodge Walk

 

Bay of Fires Lodge Walk

It wasn’t until I embarked on this walk that I realised how incredible Tasmanian beaches are, and hours of walking in the sand is definitely the best way to see them. 

The itinerary through Mt. William National Park balances walking, kayaking, sumptuous meals and optional spa treatments. Two nights are spent at the Bay of Fires Lodge, an eco-friendly glass-and-timber pavilion perched 40 metres up the side of a cliff. As we arrive, walking along the sand from Eddystone Point Lighthouse, a pod of dolphins appears to welcome us. We are also greeted by Daisy and Zane, lodge manager and chef, who guide us to a timber deck for warm footbaths and cold beers. 

Before dinner, we gather in the lodge’s main pavilion where a fire is lit for more drinks and canapés; a long communal table fills the other half of the room, with an open kitchen behind it. Zane cooks up a delicious meal of Thai-spiced chicken while we enjoy the company of new friends. 

Day two begins with an idyllic morning spent kayaking, stopping at a small beach for a swim before continuing across the bay. We finally make it and are rewarded with a picnic lunch, complete with billy tea and hot chocolate. We walk back along the dunes to the lodge and I book a Tasmanian Peat Mud Bath at the spa. Overlooking the Bay of Fires, the open-air tub is filled with hot water mixed with peat, rich in minerals and with essential oils added to soothe weary muscles. 

On our final morning, we hike to the road to catch our transport back to Launceston, stopping along the way at Apogee Vineyard. Owner Andrew Pirie demonstrates the bottling process and shares some of his award-winning sparkling wine. We raise our glasses to a wonderful journey, and a sweet ending.

 

It’s one of the more challenging sections of the trip – the descent toward the beach is much more pleasant, thanks to a mouth-watering smoky scent. Our skipper, Steve, is grilling prawns and there are tables set up with oysters, cheese, dips and sparkling wine. 

The walk

The Bay of Fires Lodge Walk is a four-day trek covering 32 kilometres, beginning and ending in Launceston. Rates start from A$2,380 per person. The Wineglass Bay Sail Walk has four- and six-day itineraries, both of which begin and end in Hobart. Rates for the four-day itinerary start from A$2,850 per person. 

Both itineraries operate from October to May and include all meals, accommodation and guides, and require a moderate level of fitness. taswalkingco.com.au 

 

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Weather to go

Summer in Tasmania is between December to February, with temperatures between 12 and 21 degrees Celsius and the occasional spike into the 30s. Autumn is a good alternative to the busy summer season, running from March to May, with temperatures ranging from 9 to 17 degrees. The weather is generally calm and sunny, providing an ideal climate for touring and walking. Between June and August Tasmania experiences its coldest temperatures and highest snowfall. 

 

Best places to stay

Known for its rugged wilderness and remarkable parks and reserves, Tasmania is a favourite among travellers looking to immerse themselves in nature. Secluded lodges and isolated eco-retreats are common outside the capital, while Hobart offers a a modest selection of luxury and design hotel options, seeped in the local history of the area. To ensure you experience the very best on offer on your visit the writers at Luxury Travel magazine have compiled their independent list of the best hotels to stay in Tasmania. See the full list of the best places to stay in Tasmania here.

 
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