Mt. Amos makes up part of the Hazards mountain range, dominating the landscape and towering dramatically above Freycinet Lodge, which can be found nestled comfortably at its base. After being kindly invited to spend the weekend at the Lodge, I was super excited to explore its surrounds and the National Park in particular.
Unlike the walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout, this track is far less frequented. The 450m high hike to the summit is a steep, strenuous, slippery scramble and should definitely not be attempted by the inexperienced, ill-equipped or faint hearted. The hard slog to the top (and back down) is absolutely worth it for the world class view, treating you to a 360 degree panoramic of some of Tasmania’s finest sandy beaches, surrounding mountains, sparkling ocean and thick, green forest.
The hike begins simply enough, setting off from the carpark at a manageable incline through the trees. The initial obstacles I faced came in the forms of tree roots and oddly shaped rocky steps. As I climbed higher, my view from behind was of the beautiful Coles Bay, twinkling in the sun and dotted with tiny white boats.
Then things began to get interesting. I came out onto my first (one of many) rock face section; granite, worn smooth and brilliantly striped by the trickling of water over time. Luckily for me, I had chosen a dry day; the National Park gives numerous warnings about the dangerously slippery rocks you’ll encounter along the track, and now I could understand why. In some parts, walking upright became virtually impossible and I needed to adapt to a scramble.
The higher I went, the more intense the scrambling became, until I was eventually more or less rock climbing. Navigating my way was also a challenge. In some parts I’d find clearly placed, orange plastic arrow markers, but they were sparse. Other than that, it was a case of scouting out the bright ribbons tied into the trees and faded arrows painted into the rocks. For most of the climb, using instinct, initiative and courage is your best bet.
When I eventually reached the top, the view was everything I’d hoped for. I perched contently on a rock overlooking Wineglass Bay with my snacks and simply gazed.
Getting back down the mountain wasn’t easy. I spent most the time shuffling along in either the crab position or completely sat down. At one point I did encounter a slippery patch and slid down part of the rock face; making me realise that in the wet weather it truly would be terrifying!
But as long as you take your time, concentrate and take every step mindfully and with care, it won’t be long until you are back on flat ground and feeling damn smug that you just casually conquered a mountain.
Time: 3 hours (at least).
Effort: Hard. You are climbing one way or another for the entire hike.
Tips: Wear good, supportive boots for climbing. Maybe even consider taking gloves to protect your hands when you grip onto the rocks (I lost a bit of skin in the process). By no means should you attempt this walk in the wet, it would be an absolute death trap! Also, do be aware that the markers are not very clear – I had to help direct some people back onto the correct path, but don’t let this put you off.
My score: 9/10 – I absolutely loved the challenge of this hike and the reward at the end.
During my stay at Freycinet Lodge – between relaxing in my secluded cabin and overindulging at The Bay Restaurant, I also took on the Hazards Beach Circuit. This moderate 11km hike began by taking me down to one of Tasmania’s most photographed destinations, Wineglass Bay; I just had to tackle a good amount of steep, crooked steps first. The reward? A postcard perfect stretch of soft, white sand and clear blue waters. As I soaked in my surroundings, I noticed more mountains decorating the distance and rocks blanketed in bright orange lichen, just like ones I’d seen at the Bay of Fires.
However, this was just the beginning. Once I managed to tear myself away from paradise, I then headed to Hazards Beach on the opposite side, via fern-laden forest and scrub.
Climbing higher, the dirt beneath me began to turn to sand and then wooden board walk. I could hear the raging ocean just over the hill, such a contrast to Wineglass Bay. As I reached the crest of the hill, the wind hit me; roaring in my face, tearing at my clothes and making my eyes fill with tears and stream, half blinding me.
I battled down the other side to the beach and noticed that the tide was so far in, I had only about a meter of dry sand between me, the rushing waves to my left and the steep sand dunes to my right.
I hurriedly hobbled along (hiking boots and sand really don’t mix), until I decided that I wasn’t in any danger of getting wet. It was then that I found the time to really appreciate where I was. The place was wild and angry, but so beautiful. Hundreds of shells littered the floor; some nearly the size of my hand, purple ones, pink ones. When one caught my eye, I would run over to it and grab it before the sea could claim it.
At the end of the beach I sat and had a quick snack and then it was back up into the woodland. For the rest of the hike, I found myself mostly away from the cliffs and out of reach of the ocean. The terrain was a mixture of dirt track, rocky steps and tree roots, varying in flat sections and the odd uphill climb.
Eventually, a choppy looking Coles Bay and the Hazards came back into view and I knew I’d made it back in one piece.
Time/distance: Recommended 5 hours, I did it in 3.75 (11km).
Effort: Moderate-hard, depending on your level of fitness. There are lots of steps and inclines, but also some really nice flat sections. I think in the end it was the overall distance which tired me out!
Tips: Wear good, supportive boots to avoid twisting your ankle on the numerous steps and tree roots. Watch out for slippery granite in later sections of the walk and take water and snacks.
My score: 7/10 – Overall a fun, enjoyable walk.
I found Freycinet Lodge to be the perfect place to retreat to after a long day of hiking. My cabin was comfortable, spacious and private, giving me time to recover before a fun, social evening drinking local Tasmanian gin at the Hazards Bar and feasting on fresh, local produce at The Bay Restaurant. With all the walking I had planned, I also made sure I took full advantage of the breakfast buffet, which has a huge range of choices. I was even lucky enough to witness a pod of dolphins swim across the bay as I sat tucking into what was probably my third course!
For my full story on my experience staying at Freycinet Lodge, click here.
Now dust off those hiking boots and go exploring!