Visit long stretches of light sand running along the pristine east coast of Tasmania north of the Freycinet Peninsula. The trail to Friendly Beaches is listed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, and it takes little effort to get from the car park to the beach. A 10-meter long boardwalk leads to an overlook behind the beach and another 10 meters of steps take you down to the sand. From there you can take a short or long stroll along one of Tasmania’s most beautiful beaches, spending, as measured by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, 5 minutes to 5 hours exploring Friendly Beaches. Whether you set aside a few minutes or several hours to visit Friendly Beaches, you should have a pleasant visit, and might want to stay even longer by spending the night at Friendly Beaches Campground.
Start from the car park at the end of Friendly Beaches Road in Freycinet National Park. A dirt road to the left continues into the campground, but the trail to the overlook is to the right, heading straight toward Friendly Beaches. The short, level boardwalk quickly arrives at a viewpoint with a bench that looks south down an epic stretch of pale sand toward Freycinet Peninsula, which is topped with rugged mountains called the Hazards.
Below the overlook, steps lead down to the beach. Walk down the steps and sink your toes in the soft sand. Rocky Isaacs Point is just to the north, but there is 7.8 kilometers (4.85 miles) of beach running south down the undeveloped coastline to Friendly Point and Freshwater Lagoon. Farther south, you’ll spot the Cape Tourville Lighthouse on a bluff jutting out from the Freycinet Peninsula.
The friendly beach has a gradual, tapered pitch down to the water, making it a nice surface for a long beach walk. The sand is broken up by a few rocky outcroppings and there are tide pools to check out amongst the rocks. The beach is not patrolled, and the park advises against swimming.
Friendly Beaches are important nesting areas for shorebirds like pied oystercatchers, hooded plovers, red-capped plovers, fairy terns, and little terns. From October to March, the park asks visitors to, “walk as close to the waterline as possible to avoid beach-nesting shorebirds.”
Walk as far as you like along the beach before returning to the car park. There is a toilet just up the road into the campground. If you’re looking for more beaches to enjoy, you can head north through the campground. There is a small beach within the campground and another long beach runs north from the campground for 2.9 kilometers up the coast to Butlers Point. If you were to walk down the main beach to Friendly Point and back, and then walk through the campground to the end of the northern beach and back, you would put in a total of 23 kilometers of beach walking. However, there is no need to go anywhere that far to enjoy Friendly Beaches!
A national park entrance fee is required to visit Freycinet National Park. A single day pass will cost $24 or you may purchase an 8-week pass good for all of Tasmania’s National Parks for $60 (all prices in Australian Dollars as of September, 2014). There is no additional price to stay at Friendly Beaches Campground. Dogs and bikes are not allowed at Friendly Beaches.
Directions: Take Tasman Highway (A3) 11.3 kilometers south of Bicheno to Coles Bay Road (C302). Take this road southeast toward Coles Bay for 8.5 kilometers and turn left onto Friendly Beaches Road. Take this dirt road for 4 kilometers to the car park at the beach. Coming from Coles Bay, you will drive 17.5 kilometers up Coles Bay Road to reach the marked turn for Friendly Beaches.
Trailhead address: Friendly Beaches Road, Freycinet National Park, Friendly Beaches, TAS 7215, Australia
Trailhead coordinates: -41.992685, 148.285445 (41° 59′ 33.66″S 148° 17′ 07.60″E)
Use the map below to view the trail and get directions:
This 0.6-kilometer circuit provides big views along the east coast of Freycinet Peninsula, circling 100-meter tall bluffs to reach the Cape Tourville Lighthouse.
|Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Circuit|
This approximately 12-kilometer loop (shorter if you skip two overlooks and longer if you do extra beach strolling) takes a rewarding route through Freycinet National Park, visiting pristine light sand beaches at Hazards Beach and the renowned Wineglass Bay.
|Tasmans Arch & Devils Kitchen|
This 0.9-mile walk visits two impressive features on the coast of the Tasman Peninsula, a natural bridge and a chasm carved by the sea.
|Blowhole & Fossil Bay Lookout|
This short walk in Tasman National Park reaches a coastal vista point and a wave-carved tunnel through a rocky point that has the potential to spray up like a whale spout.
|Coal Mines Historic Site|
This 0.8-kilometer loop through the Convict Precinct explores the ruins of an old prison and coal mine that relied on convict laborers.
This 12 to 14-kilometer hike explores the pristine coastline at the southwest end of the Tasman Peninsula, reaching a cape with daunting 200-meter tall cliffs dropping to swirling seas.
|Apsley Waterhole & Lookout Track|
This 1.4-kilometer loop travels through a eucalyptus forest to a popular swimming hole on the Apsley River in Douglas-Apsley National Park.
This 3.4-kilometer loop combines Zig-Zag Track, Cataract Walk, and Bridge Walk to explore Cataract Gorge Reserve, an impressive natural area just outside the center of Launceston.
This 2.2-kilometer walk passes the Upper Cascades on the Liffey River to reach the base of lovely Liffey Falls, one of Tasmania’s finest waterfalls.
This 3.6-kilometer out and back hike tops a short summit that is the high point of Mount William National Park with panoramic views over the coastline at the northeast corner of Tasmania.
|Octopus Tree and Circle Track|
This 1.1-kilometer loop in Hobart’s Wellington Park reaches a unique eucalyptus tree with tentacles for roots that wrap around a boulder.
|Pinnacles Boardwalk & Summit Trig|
The 0.3-kilometer round trip walk on Pinnacles Boardwalk can easily be extended to a 0.75-kilometer walk on the top of Mount Wellington, checking out another short boardwalk and the trig station at the summit.
|Russell Falls & Horseshoe Falls|
This hike in Mount Field National Park visits one of Tasmania’s most famous and beautiful waterfalls and can be extended from 1.8 to 2.65 kilometers by venturing to the top of Russell Falls and nearby Horseshoe Falls.
|Saint Columba Falls|
This 1.2-kilometer round trip hike descends into a rainforest to the base of a powerful 90-meter tall waterfall.
|More trails in Australia|
Explore other destinations in Victoria and Tasmania, Australia.
|Friendly Beaches Campground|
This primitive campground offers oceanfront camping surrounded by beautiful beaches in Freycinet National Park.
|Richardsons Beach Campground|
This bay side campground near Coles Bay offers powered and non-powered campsites in Freycinet National Park.
|Big 4 Iluka on Freycinet Holiday Park|
This holiday park in the coastal town of Coles Bay at the top of Freycinet Peninsula offers tent sites, campervan sites, and cabins, as well as quick access to nearby Freycinet National Park.
|Mayfield Beach Conservation Area Campground|
This beachfront campground is located on Great Oyster Bay on the east coast of Tasmania.