Three Capes

Proposed bushwalk.

I was trekking in New Zealand when I heard about a new bushwalk in Tasmania. I heard about it from a trekker who didn´t know much about the walk but she at least had a name. “The Three Capes Track”, she said. “It´s near Port Arthur.” I loved my last walk in Tasmania on Maria Island and this walk sounded every bit as fascinating.

Soon after I returned home from NZ I saw an article in the Good Weekend about the opening of the Three Capes Track on the Tasman Peninsula the images were unbelievable I remember that Maria Island was spectacular but this place looked unreal perched on the edge of the world, shaped by the mighty Southern Ocean.

The stunning coastal scenery of the Three Capes Track included sea cliffs that are among the highest in Australia, views out across the Tasman Sea, Cape Pillar and Tasman Island, Capes Raoul and Hauy, not to mention Crescent Bay.

his place looked like it may have been unchanged from when the first convicts arrived in the 1830´s and were given the job of building their own prison at Port Arthur.

I did a quick search and found the Three Capes Track website. After taking a quick look, and chatting to my partner, we decided then and there, that this was going to be our next holiday. We booked online. The information on the site was clear and easy to understand. We are experienced walkers and love the support provided by a commercial operator, but decided to tackle the Three Capes Track ourselves.

The information pack I ordered arrived full of useful stuff, a DVD of the Tasman National Park and the Three Capes Track, a good quality map, and a podcast of the region´s natural and cultural values. The information pack also included various options for water based activities, and we decided to do a sea kayak trip. We hadn´t been sea kayaking but it looked like a great addition.

We also decided to add on the Tasman Island Lighthouse Keepers Tour as a post-trip option. We were stoked about the idea of meeting and listening to the stories of a lighthouse keeper from Tasman Island!

We arrived at Hobart airport and were met by our guide. Within an hour we were checked into our B&B at Eaglehawk Neck and met other people who were doing the walk. They gave us our park and walker passes. The B&B staff were great, they really made us feel welcome and dealt professionally with some important personal issues.

The walk itself was more challenging than I had expected, but it wasn´t all tough. While we averaged about 10 -12 kilometres a day, at times I felt like an albatross gliding effortlessly over the windswept seas. At other times the silence and calmness of the forests and ocean was eerie. Despite the wonders of the day I did appreciate getting to our hut each night and slept like a baby.

Maybe it was the good wholesome food or the fine Tasmanian pinot we shared each night. The hut hosts and track rangers we met were incredibly knowledgeable about the State and the peninsula. How those Parks trackies managed to find and build a path through some spots was just incredible, and NO mud. The focus on making sure the track and huts blended into the environment was obvious.

The track was superbly designed. I was so impressed by some of the lookouts you were right on the edge with nothing but the cold, wild Southern Ocean below. At the Cape Pillar lookout the wind was going off! It came straight at us with a speed so brutal you felt the full power of nature.

The Three Capes Track proved to be quite a snapshot of Australian history. We got a wonderful feel for the Aboriginal connection to the place, as well as checking out the Port Arthur historic site, which is set amongst a tapestry of undulating farm land and forest. There is a richness and depth to this place and this island of Tasmania.

It seemed that we´d uncover one fascinating piece of information or place and then another would suddenly appear. We found the Three Capes Track to be more extreme than we´d thought. It´s a wild, robust and foreboding place, and we found it hard to say what the highlight was. It´s difficult to choose between the stunning sea cliffs, the capes themselves, the birds or the optional kayak but this walk left us inspired by the freedom of the wild places of Tasmania. When we got home we downloaded all our photos.

From the hundreds we´d taken we decided the best shot was the one of our group at Cape Raoul … what a perfect day, a surreal calmness, watching distant ocean racing yachts rounding Tasman Island and Cape Pillar and to think just few days ago we had been out there. That´s what we love about walking holidays, that blend of each day´s challenge, the sense of achievement, the stories, the group and everyone´s different perspective on life and the friendships you develop.

That´s not to forget the stunning environment and the raw energy that is present all around the Three Capes Track. This might not make sense but we came home fulfilled, completely stuffed, but completely refreshed. All in just one week! Our favourite pic is now in with our “best of” snaps from our life.