22 March 2019.
Mount Amos is most certainly one for the adventurers.
It’s one of those hikes that makes you feel like a kid again (albeit a far less agile one in my case), where scraped knees, dishevelled hair, sweaty backs and burning thighs are all part of the equation, and the trail is more like an obstacle course of large boulders to clamber over and narrow crevices to scuttle up, than, well a trail at all.
And then it’s time to come down again where you’ll quickly discover those same rocky patches are far better navigated on your bum than two feet and the innumerable spiky, spindly trees beside the path will work wonders for keeping you upright.
It’s a really fun and relatively short hike, but definitely not one to be taken lightly. Oh, and the views over Freycinet National Park are the absolute best you’ll find!
Planning to hike Mt Amos? Here’s everything you need to know.
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Time | 2 to 3 hours return
Distance | 4 km
Starting Point | Freycinet National Park Carpark
Entrance Fee | Pay the national park entrance fee at the Visitor Centre before parking. Prices are $12 per person or $24 per vehicle, or if you’re in a group and visiting a number of Tasmania’s National Parks, a Holiday Pass tends to be the more economical option at $30 per person or $60 per vehicle valid for 2 months. Check here for more info.
Before diving in, bear in mind that the Visitor Centre does go a long way to, rightly so, deter people from attempting the hike up Mt Amos that are ill-prepared or equipped. There’s even a photo at the trailhead to prove just how steep it gets, in case you weren’t daunted enough already.
While this can be hugely off-putting to many people who would most likely have no problems reaching the summit – it certainly was for us – it’s also important to know your own limits and not attempt the hike if you’re genuinely concerned you might not be able to complete it.
But, if you’re a reasonably fit and confident hiker with some ounce of upper body strength and a good pair of hiking boots, you should be absolutely fine.
Now, dire warnings aside, the first section of the hike is actually fairly straightforward. A gentle climb through the aromatic eucalypt forests on a sandy trail scattered with large rocks.
It’s when you emerge from the trees after about 20 minutes onto the smooth rock platform and catch your first glimpse of Coles Bay from above that the fun really begins.
The rest of the way is all clambering up steep and slippy rockfaces and trying desperately not to overbalance backwards, scuttling up narrow rock crevices, hoisting yourself over boulders and grasping clumsily onto well-placed trees to stop from falling on your arse (or face). Like I said, fun!
The route is marked with little triangles either pegged to a tree or painted on the rocks and usually indicates the best way across each rocky platform.
If you happen to arrive at a busy time of day, some of the narrow passages can get a little congested as there’s only one way up and down, so be sure to enjoy the break and take in the views while you wait.
With the steep rocky scramble behind you, the path flattens out and funnels you between a row of scraggly trees and rocks toward the spectacular lookout over Wineglass Bay and the hulking mass of Freycinet Peninsula.
Many people reach the first smattering of boulders and settle in for a well-deserved break and a bite to eat, but it’s also possible to wander a little further along the rocks for an even better vantage point across the bay where no one is clamouring for space or the best photo spots.
Now, you might be thinking that the way up must definitely be the hard part and now you’ve got an easy breezy descent to look forward to, but in all honesty, the way down presented much more of a challenge.
While much of the uphill climb was a simple matter of clambering up and over the rocks, a lot of the way down felt like I was contorting into all sorts of awkward positions in search of the right foot and hand holds to lower myself down.
For traversing the slippery rock platforms I also took the approach that shuffling down on my butt was far easier, and safer, than attempting to trot down quickly on two feet as most people did. This did mean, however, that my thighs were trembling by the end and continued to hurt for the next three days, but considering I managed to complete the hike without falling on my face, I’m chalking it up to a victory.
Embrace the adventure, but don’t underestimate the challenge | At the visitor’s centre, it’s fairly standard practice to deter people from climbing Mt Amos – I suspect they’ve had to rescue one too many underprepared hikers from the steep rocky slopes – and while this can be a little disconcerting, don’t underestimate the challenge. This is a very physical hike where you’ll need to hoist yourself up steep rock crevices and over boulders and be able to get back down again. If you’re reasonably fit with some degree of upper body strength, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Wear proper shoes | There’s are some really slippery sections and having shoes with proper grip just makes good sense. I wore my Scarpa Hiking Boots which are lightweight, waterproof and very grippy and made the whole getting down thing a lot easier.
Wear sun protection | Unlike Cradle Mountain where you’re more likely to be reaching for your rain jacket than a hat, Freycinet National Park receives plenty of sunshine. As with all of Australia, the UV risk in Tasmania is very high and without taking the proper precautions, you will get terribly sunburnt. Always apply sunscreen of at least 30SPF, even if it’s overcast, and be sure to reapply throughout the day. A hat, sunglasses and t-shirt or long sleeves are also a good idea.
Don’t go in the rain | Some of the rocks are slippery enough when they’re dry, attempting to climb them when they’re wet would simply be stupid.
Bring water | It’s not a long hike but the exertion required to hoist yourself to the top will quickly have you reaching for your water bottle. There’s a tap at the toilet block at the car park so be sure to fill up your before setting off and when you arrive back.
There’s not a great deal of budget-friendly accommodation around Freycinet National Park, but you’ll find plenty of luxury waterside lodges in the park itself or a selection of lovely self-contained homes in Coles Bay, just a 10-minute drive from the park entrance. Otherwise, many people also opt to stay at Swansea which is about an hour’s drive away. Note that many places only take bookings for a minimum of two nights.
The Blue Shack | As a group of 4, this spacious 3-bedroom room home was perfect for a few days at Freycinet National Park. The kitchen was huge and well-equipped, it’s walking distance to town and the waterfront, and the lounge area was super comfortable for kicking back after a long day of hiking. Check rates and availability here.
Freycinet Lodge | Set inside Freycinet National Park, this 4-star lodge receives excellent reviews online and boasts modern rooms amidst the eucalypt forests, nearby beach access and buffet breakfast included. Check rates and availability here.
Otherwise, you can search the full range of Coles Bay accommodation here.