Today I went for a trudge to Cape Hauy.
Cape Hauy can be walked as part of the Three Capes Track. It starts and ends at Fortescue Bay on the Tasman Peninsula. Fortescue Bay is about a one and a half hour drive from Hobart. It’s about a hundred kilometres from Hobart, but it’s one of those roads where you’re guaranteed to get stuck behind some slow traffic for at least part of the trip. So plan for an hour and half.
From Hobart, head across the Tasman Bridge to Sorell and take the Arthur Highway towards Port Arthur. The turn-off for Fortescue Bay is on the left a few kilometres past Taranna (which, I must say… seems to have the longest 70kmh zone in the whole world…) and about the same distance before Port Arthur.
Here’s a couple of maps I prepared earlier.
From the turn off there’s about 12km of unsealed Forestry Road to Fortescue Bay.
The Fortescue Bay Road isn’t the best Forestry Road in existence. It’s easily accessible by ‘normal’ cars (my trudging-mate Dean rode his Suzuki road bike down there), but sticking to the 40kmh limit is advised. It’s a little dusty and bumpy.
Fortescue Bay is within the Tasman National Park, so park entry fees apply. The Tas Parks & Wildlife Service site will tell you all you need to know about this.
If you’re just visiting Fortescue Bay for the walk, then you can park in the day use car park, otherwise, you can camp. It’s an awesome camp site. Make sure you fill in the walker registration book.
The Star Wars fan in me wished I had an Imperial Walker to register here…
The walk starts at the end of the day use car park, and you will trudge past the boat ramp.
The track is incredibly well constructed, and you cannot possibly get lost. Unless you leave the trail. But like anytime you walk in the wilderness, don’t leave the trail. That’s just silly.
The trail heads roughly east and follows the coastline for a short way before it heads inland. You will reach an intersection that leads south toward Cape Pillar, but there’s another sign not far down that trail that asks you not to trudge that way. I think the Tree Capes Walk is designed to be done in a certain direction?
Take the left had trail to descend toward Cape Hauy. The track undulates across the headland, and you can see it quite clearly in front of you.
One thing to note; if you’re not super-keen on stairs, then this isn’t the trail for you. The track is very well-constructed… and this means that steps are built into the hills (as opposed to climbing and scrabbling over rocks and stuff). Get used to it; there are lots of them.
Incredible views await.
Here is a sinkhole. I wanted to get closer to look down into it, but there wasn’t a clear trail, and I didn’t want to fall in.
You can see back toward Cape Pillar
And Fortescue Bay
Here’s me looking down a cliff.
And here’s what I was looking at.
Many of the cliffs on the trail are not fenced, so be really careful. Don’t do anything silly like dangle your feet over the edge. Its’ a few hundred metres straight down.
Oh, and try not to fall off.
At the end of the trail, there is a small fenced area that you can enjoy the best views from. At the end you can see the rock formations of the Candlestick and Totem Pole, large columns of dolerite that spout up from the ocean.
The Totem Pole is the smaller one, in the foreground. The Candlestick is much bigger, but right behind.
If you look closely at the bottom of the Candle Stick, you may see a seal or two that was playing on the rocks. I say playing; for all I know they were doing something more serious, like discussing home schooling for their kids, or who they would vote for in the upcoming seal elections, or the state of the Middle East. I guess I’ll never know…
Beyond these rock formations are the formations known as the Lanterns, and Hippolyte Rocks are barely visible in the background.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of doing an adventure cruise that went past Cape Hauy. Here is what the Candlestick and Totem Pole look like from the ocean.
And here is the gap between The Lanterns from the water.
If you only ever do one walk in Tasmania… do this one. The scenery is just incredible. My pictures don’t do it justice.
(update 14 February 2016)
I forgot to mention how long the walk is when I originally posted it. My GPS advised that we walked a touch over 11 and a half kilometres, and took just under three hours. This doesn’t include the time spend at Cape Hauy marvelling at the scenery, but it does allow for how much we dawdled toward the end and looked over the cliffs, etc.
Thanks for reading!