The east coast of Tasmania is an ideal place to explore pristine beaches and incredible scenery. The most stunning part of all is Coles Bay, situated in Freycinet National Park (one of many Tasmania national parks). Coles Bay, Tasmania is a living postcard where sheltered tranquil turquoise blue waters meet pink granite mountains and white sand beaches.
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We were fortunate to be hosted by Freycinet Adventures on their three hour “Freycinet paddle” kayak tour around the bay. It was easily one of the most professional and family friendly companies we have encountered during our time in Australia. The communication and coordination leading up to our trip was done with the utmost care and attention to detail. We have never tried kayaking with kids (3 and 6 years old) out in the open sea, so we had lots of questions about the logistics and safety measures. All of our questions were answered and we were assured that our children’s safety and enjoyment were a top priority.
If you’d rather not go barefoot, read this guide to pick the best water shoes for your family.
We debated whether to select the morning or afternoon sessions (times vary during the year based on the length of the day). While the morning session is usually flatter and may have better light for peeking into the crystal-clear waters (and taking photographs), we needed to allow an hour to get from our accommodations in Bicheno to the meet-up point in Freycinet National Park. That would have required a very early morning for our family of night owls, so we opted for the evening session – part of traveling with kids is knowing your family’s needs and making arrangements that have the highest likelihood of success! In the end, Mother Nature was on our side… except for a few hours in the middle of one day, our entire time on the east coast of Tasmania was overcast and sometimes windy. We lucked out that there was no wind during our evening paddling session, so the morning wouldn’t have been any flatter (but of course these things can be extremely hard to predict).
Upon arriving at the meet up point at the beach we were kindly greeted by our tour leaders from Freycinet Adventures. Caitlin and Rosie are top-notch guides who are well versed in the local flora and fauna, along with the history of the area, and they are outstanding with kids. They walked the group through safety procedures and provided a brief introduction into how to properly kayak. We were impressed by the quality and comfort of the equipment. Each kayak is equipped with foot pedals for steering (we didn’t even realize that was an option in kayaks!) which made the experience easy on novice kayakers like us. Everyone is seated in a double kayak with another member of the group and solo travelers are partnered with another participant or one of the staff members.
After the security briefing and introduction, everyone got equipped with their spray skirt, life vests and paddles. For the kids and the adults fleece zip ups are provided to keep warm and dry during the adventure. Pro tip: Even if you don’t need the fleece for warmth at the beginning of the evening paddle, it will keep you much drier under the spray skirt! Our guides even brought the sunscreen! After tucking our valuables into the provided dry bags, we got situated in our kayaks and set out into the water with the help of our guides. Dad had the honor of taking both kids, with Jacob helping to paddle in front and Shoshana enjoying her towel-cushioned throne in the center hatch.
Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels near Coles Bay, Tasmania
On the water: Kayaking Tasmania with Freycinet Adventures
The water in Coles Bay is generally calm and makes for a relaxed kayaking experience (though as I mentioned above, we lucked out on the conditions). We opted for the evening tour to capture the sunset, which did not disappoint. With clouds on the horizon and the sun peaking through, the kids enjoyed splashing their paddles in the water. Over the course of the tour we made two stops: first by pink granite cliffs on the far side of the bay where we learned about the mining history in the area, and second at a beautiful beach where we were treated to tea, coffee and cookies. They even had Milo (Australian hot cocoa) for the kids, which was a really nice touch. One really nice aspect of the stops is that allowed the fellow participants to get to know one another. Freycinet Adventures does an excellent job making your tour a communal experience, in part by capping the tour size around 12 participants.
What if you’re a more experienced kayaker? We didn’t have an opportunity to check it out, but Freycinet Adventures also offers small group, fully-catered 2 and 4 day tours to the beautiful and secluded Wineglass Bay. Maybe next time! Our whole family loved every minute of our three hour Freycinet kayaking adventure, and the kids were immediately asking when we could do it again in the future. If you are traveling the eastern coast of Tasmania make sure to take a kayak tour with Freycinet Adventures. It will be one of the highlights of your time in Australia and is surely one of the best things to do in Tasmania!
Explore more of the Freycinet Peninsula here. If you’re visiting Tassie in the winter, check out this awesome guide to seeing the spectacular southern lights, Aurora Australis!
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Disclosure: We were hosted by Freycinet Adventures; all opinions are our own.
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