I must say I don’t really enjoy being out on the Sea on a boat, but to start this 4 day journey of walking the Three Capes Track I have to suck it up to enable me to get across to Denmans Cove to start my walk. I depart through the Historical Sight of Port Arthur in the south of Tasmania.
As I board the Pennicott Wilderness Journeys Boat the Captain very calmly explained the trip before we were to arrive at Denmans Cove. We were also to put on the large red ponchos. As explained after we have been out via the heads coming back can get a bit choppy and wet. Every one on the boat was very glad we did. Our journey took in Arthurs Peak, the beautiful beach at Crescent Bay and in the distance where we were heading on our walk Cape Pillar and Tasman Island. The sight of the magnificent white bellied sea-eagle soaring above the cliffs was amazing, I could have stayed and watched it for ages. The boat turned and headed towards our drop off point and as the dark clouds chased us across to the other side of the bay we were all blind sited to the rain that was about to hit us, as we were in awe as dolphins jumping to and fro around the boat at high speeds and we were all jostling for positions calling out” there they are” , “there’s some”, “over there”. It was wonderful to see them in such a wild untamed area. Even though I don’t like boats too much this trip was so fantastic it would definitely be a wonderful start to this trip. Thanks to the boys of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. On que as the flap at the front of the boat landed on the beach so did the rain. A mad dash to get out of my poncho and into my wet weather gear and across the pristine beach and heading up following the trail markings. The first day is only a couple of hours walking through the Eucalyptus Tress and the low coastal heathland with views back over the water to Port Arthur.
A little about the Huts you stay in, Surveyors, Munro & Retakunna. They are pretty much all set up the same way and I must say pretty amazing. I thought that there would be no showers but was pleasantly surprised when I reach Munro Hut to see people lining up for a solo hot bush shower. Yahoo! The sleeping quarters consist of several rooms with bunks. I will say now that only 48 people a day can walk the Three Capes Track and there is no wild camping or camping of any sort. A group of 6 walkers failed to turn up so my room was very roomy. The mattress supplied were also great . There are 2 kitchens at each hut and a wonderful array of food was cooked each night with pots, pans and utensils supplied. The toilets what can I say very clean but they were drop boxes and I was very grateful I didn’t have to go out into the woods and do some digging. Especially after a black snake slithered across my path the following day. Early in the evenings a Park Ranger came and gave us a short talk on the area, the weather and history of the area. In between each hut a lot of work has gone into displaying where you are walking and what you are seeing and some history also of where your are and who has come before you. One of my many favourite things along the trail was all the seating and naming of the areas I was walking through. This was done with the collaboration of the University of Tasmania Design furniture design students. They always put a smile on my face and I just had to sit, lie or simply admire them
All of these stops stirred something deep down inside either something new to experience or something old from a distant memory. The second day the trail meandered along the cliff face, then through the trees of the forest then back out in the open to low lying bush and shrubs. I can only imagine how beautiful this area would be in Spring.
Dawn breaks and bring on Cape Pillar on my 3rd Day. Very excited today. To all you rock climbers and thrill seekers Cape Pillar would be a walk in the park but for me with sheer cliffs dropping down to the crashing ocean, rocks and pillars rising from the sea like in some animated movie , climbing to the end of Cape Pillar will be a challenge, one I hope to conquer. The scenery today is indescribable so I will let the photos tell the story.
This was one of the most stunning places I have ever walked. The sheer thumping of my heart as I looked over the edge several times made it skip a beat. I was amazed at everywhere I looked. I thought of my friend Susan S who likes to make up poems when we walk and so Susan this is for you.
The Wonder of Cape Pillar
A sheoak singing in the restless wind
her branches gnarled through time
The cliffs rising from the surging sea
Their totems daring you one more step
Cape Pillar rising high above
She reminisces of ships gone by
and takes hold of her secrets held below
My head torch shining my way in the dark on my early start today. I have a bus to catch at Fortescue Bay back to Port Arthur and the guide says allow 7 hours and the bus is at 2.00pm. I didn’t expect to be climbing through an amazing forest of trees, ferns, moss, windy paths with new sights around each corner. It was a bit of a sharp climb up Mt Fortescue but reaching the top as the sun was rising over the water and to reflect back to the previous days walking was amazing. It certainly is a spectacular area. Today encompasses a walk out to Cape Hauy. Never in all my life have I walked so many steps in one day. Phew!!! From the turn off point off to the Cape you can leave your backpack and walk out to the Cape, a very good idea. Once again stunning views all around and sheer cliff face drops
Walking out to Cape Hauy my thoughts are that in a few hours this gorgeous walk will be finished. So not to get too far ahead I will admit that the stone steps down and then the stone steps up are pretty grueling. My thighs were stiff for days after, but a lovely reminder of the walk as I crawled out of bed for the next few mornings. Views were amazing again, taking in little coves with seals calling out on the flat rocks below. Secret little caves dotted around the coastline.
The short walk down to Fortescue Bay marked the finish of this incredible walk. The Three Capes Track is a real credit to everyone involved in making this area so accessible to walkers. Every little detail has been finished with such care and I highly recommend if you haven’t walked here yet put it on your bucket list.
The End of the Three Capes Track
Soul of the Ocean – Spirit of the Land