The weekend forecast was looking promising and the thought of a weekend away that didn’t include snow and sub-zero temps was also enticing. Emily had done Graham and Freycinet before, but I had only done the Hazards Circuit- so we decided to tick them off during the significantly quieter winter months.
Day one started with a quick trip up to the summit of Mt Amos to catch the sunrise. It turned out to be a ripper and I only just made it in time; unfortunately Emily wasn’t as lucky and missed it by a minute or two. We drove back into Coles Bay for a nice and fresh brekky at Geographé, before returning to the main carpark where we would start out along the Hazards Track. The first sight of the cloud-covered peaks of Graham and Freycinet were from Lemana Lookout; though they would not be summited until the following day. Today’s aim was to reach Bryan’s Beach and set up camp, then spend some time checking out the coastline further south.
We noticed a lot of Eleven Armed Seastars washed up along Hazard Beach and did our best to return them to the water. The southern end of the beach has a toilet and decent camping, but no water. We continued past this camp, through the forest towards Cook’s Beach, and passed the turnoff to Mt Freycinet at the northern end of the beach. Surprised to find no one at the hut, we stopped for some lunch at Cook’s Beach Hut and filled up our water bladders and bottles from the numerous rainwater tanks. There had been little rain in the lead up to this weekend, and every creek we had passed was dry so the chances of finding any water at Bryan’s Beach were slim. The track between Cook’s Hut and Bryan’s Beach was clearly less used than where we had been earlier in the day, but it was still well defined and mostly clear of debris. We reached Bryan’s Beach 4.5 hours after leaving the carpark and bumped into a couple who had been spending the day down there before returning to camp at Cook’s Beach.
We found a nice spot under the she-oaks to set up camp, when suddenly a wallaby hopped up next to our tent to have a look, before it continued down to the beach and began to swim circles in the see while being swooped by seagulls. After all that excitement, we continued down the coast towards the shipwreck on Passage Beach.
Day 2 started with another nice sunrise, this time over Schouten Island. We left our camp and made our way back towards Cook’s Beach, where we refilled with water again and made our way along the beach to the junction to Mt Freycinet . From here the track slowly starts to climb through the forest, a welcome change from the soft sand. A lot of the plants had just started to flower and added a bit of colour and scents to the forest. The climb up to the East Freycinet Saddle was steep, hard work thanks to the extra 7 or so kgs of water I was carrying. There were a couple of smaller creeks along the way that were flowing slowly but I would not rely on them, especially during the summer months. From the East Freycinet Saddle, the track descends slightly before another quick climb to the Mt Freycinet/Graham Saddle, which we reached 1.5 hours after leaving Cook’s Beach.
Given that we had only seen 2 people in the last 24 hours, we were surprised to find around 20 odd backpacks spread out in the scrub. On the way up Mt Freycinet we passed the owners of the packs, a large school group of GYC that had initially planned to do the Overland Track, but changed plans due to the weather. Thankfully they were heading to Wineglass Bay and would not be joining us on Mt Graham, so we’d have some peace and quiet. We reached the summit in 30 minutes of rock scrambling, and spent some time taking in the views before returning to the saddle to pick up our packs. We were standing on top of Graham 25 minutes later and had also just earned our 99th peak bagging point. At this point we were pretty happy to stop and set up camp; as expected there weren’t many good spots, and we ended settling with a what I think was the most sheltered spot on the eastern side below the track. This was a good choice as later that night the wind really picked up and would have led to an interrupted sleep.
An early rise the next day saw us packed and walking by 8am, and we wasted little time getting back to the carpark in 2.5 hours. Lunch was once more had at Geographé, and we were happy to have a mini feast. Given our early start, we decided to check out Bluestone Bay on the way back to Coles Bay. I decided to go for a quick snorkel at Little Bluestone to test out a new underwater lens, while Emily read a book on the rocks.
All up 44.4kms with 1743m ascent.