Tasmania may not spring to mind when you think "beach holiday", but once you've seen what Dermott Brereton saw you may want to re-think.
One of the country's most remote beaches, the crescent moon-shaped Wineglass Bay consistently hits the most beautiful beaches on the planet lists.
It's tucked away on the Freycinet Peninsula, around three hours from Hobart and its sparkling sand and turquoise water is the playground of dolphin and whales on their seasonal migratory trails.
Freycinet Adventures aqua taxis run cruises along the Freycinet coastline in a custom-built catamaran. Visitors can hop off at beach level and walk the easy 30-minute path to Wineglass Beach. They will arrange an itinerary just for you and offer one-way and return services. They will even deliver your backpack, supplies or kayaks to a designated point in the Freycinet National Park.
There are two options to take in the fabulous views. One is a 45-minute walk from Coles Bay and the other is a very strenuous two-hour walk from the top of Mt Amos.
Iluka Holiday Centre in the heart of Coles Bay has a full range of accommodation and amenities. There are cabins, self-contained units, a YHA hostel and powered and unpowered sites. It's directly opposite Muir's Beach and a shuttle service operates to the Freycinet National Park just 1km away.
Iluka enjoys total beach frontage and is set in natural bushland. It has a tavern bistro, bakery and shop. Other shops aren't far away and there are wineries in the area well worth checking out.
Bay of Fires
This spectacular 29km stretch along Tasmania's east coast is made up of lots of beautiful beaches known as "Bay of Fires". It extends south from Eddystone Point to Binalong Bay. Condé Nast Traveller
named it the second most beautiful beach in the world and in 2009 Lonely Planet declared it the world's hottest travel destination. Despite that, you can enjoy its solitude and beauty and the surrounding national park quite possibly without seeing another person.
The combination of crystal-clear water, white sand and huge boulders splashed with brilliant burnt orange just takes your breath away.
The area can be enjoyed from St Helens and Binalong Bay and activities include camping, fishing, boating, bird watching, surfing and walking. Bay of Fires Walks are led by enthusiastic guides and their four-day guided hike is considered the best way to see it all.
The state government and the Parks & Wildlife Service are keen to keep the area pristine so tourist numbers are limited.
Angasi Restaurant is perched on the edge of Binalong Bay. It's a city-sleek restaurant with million-dollar views. It's reputation for serving up some of Tasmania's best cuisine is almost as famous as the bay itself.
Named after the native Tasmanian oyster grown in Georges Bay, St Helens, they star on the menu when in season. Angasi is open every day from 9am.
Wineglass Bay and Bay of Fires in Tasmania.
Iluka Holiday Centre costs $28 a night for hostel accommodation and $69 a night for a double room. Cabins are $100 a night and deluxe units are $160 a double a night.
Freycinet Adventures Aqua Taxi costs $70 return or $40 one-way.
Bay of Fires Walks cost $2000 between October and December and April and May. They are $2100 from January to March. It includes return transfers between Launceston and the walk base, breakfast on day of departure, one night at Forester Beach Camp and two nights at Bay of Fires Lodge twin share. Also included are all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, a limited selection of Tasmanian wines, national park pass, use of backpack and Gore-Tex jacket and two qualified guides. The winter special between May to September is $450 a night per person.
Prices correct at May 28, 2009.
For further information
BIG4 Holiday Parks of Australia
Iluka Holiday Centre
Coles Bay 7215
Ph: 1800 786 512 or (03) 6257 0115
Fax: (03) 6257 0384
2 Freycinet Drive
Coles Bay 7215
Ph: (03) 6257 0500
Fax: (03) 6257 0447
Cradle Mountain Huts & Bay of Fires Walk
Ph: (03) 6392 2211
Fax: (03) 6392 2277
64a Binalong Bay Road
Binalong Bay 7216
Ph: (03) 6376 8222