Three Capes Track: Day 3

Traversing Three Capes Track 3
View of Cape Raoul
View of Cape Raoul © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

As I said in my previous post, we did most of Day 3 of the Three Capes Track (the walk out to Cape Pillar and The Blade) as part of Day 2. We knew that the weather was going to be rotten on our third day. This meant about 7.5 hours of walking in one day and a minor injury for me but the views were worth it! The absolute highlight of this walk is standing atop The Blade, with 360’ views of Cape Raoul, Cape Hauy and Tasman Island, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

Cape Pillar

View of Cape Hauy
View of Cape Hauy © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Leave your pack at Munro in the “garden variety Garden shed,” as ranger Ken instructed us. This is down the track, just beyond the sleeping quarters. Not having to carry the extra bulk is a huge relief! From here, keep walking “until you can’t walk any further” (again, instructions from Ken!). Take note of your surroundings as you go: Forest, button-grass, cliff’s edge, windswept scrub. Each has its own beauty.

Cape Pillar
Cape Pillar © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The track on Day 3 is particularly brilliant. See just how big a blue whale is from the markers on the track. Walk along the back of a 2.4km duck-board snake. Spy tiny flowers, hinted at in mosaics. Descend white, wooden steps, curving their way towards The Blade. Step out onto a tarn (small, shallow lake). It’s a very snap-happy day!

Tasman Island from "Seal Spa"
Tasman Island from “Seal Spa” © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Take the time to go out to the “Seal Spa”. The seats are particularly well-formed and the views of Tasman Island are magnificent. You can see parts of the old tramway, the lighthouse and the three houses. The Ancient Mariner spent eight hours becalmed beneath Tasman Island a few years ago. Despite previously saying, “I’ll be happy if I never see that lighthouse again!”, even he lapped up the views!

The Blade

View of Tasman Island from The Blade
View of Tasman Island from The Blade © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

When you reach the end of the track, keep going at your own risk. Mind you, the steps continue to be well-formed and the views from The Blade are awe-inspiring! There is also a certain kudos to be gained from saying, “I’ve stood there!”. The Ancient Mariner was not inclined to reach the top due to vertigo but eventually made it. His main disappointment is that the photo someone took of him there shows his face… and none of the backdrop! Oh dear! I can assure that he made it to the top!

The Huts

Munro
Munro © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

From The Blade, you’ll back-track back to Munro for a bite to eat, a toilet-stop and a last chance to read the (astonishing!) story of the makers-model of the Nord that is housed within the hut. From here, it’s an hour and a bit to Retakunna, the wildlife paradise (wombats and wallabies!) where you’ll spend your final evening. We arrived to see the helicopter in action – workers being flown in and out.

Retakunna
Retakunna © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The entire set-up of the accommodation is first-class. Everything has been thoughtfully crafted, from the helicopter-ready poop pods and gas frames to the sliding doors on the communal huts to the poo facts on the toilet signs. The library in all three huts remains the same (one of our fellow walkers found a minor discrepancy!) so that you can pick up the same book and keep reading when you reach the next hut. It is a bushwalking experience unlike any other!

For more information about my Three Capes Track experience, read the overview or my summaries of Day 1, Day 2 or Day 4. Alternatively, read about places to visit on the Tasman Peninsula or in Tasmania’s south.

Three Capes Track: Day 4

Traversing Three Capes 4
Arch and Cape Pillar
Arch and Cape Pillar © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Your final day on the Three Capes Track sounds daunting. 6 – 7 hours to reach the bus. A very early start. A mountain to climb. Lots and lots of stairs out to Cape Hauy. The easy way out (a two-hour track direct from Retakunna to the carpark at Fortescue Bay) seems like a great option. Unless you are injured, don’t miss out on the last section! It is brilliant!

Mount Fortescue

Climbing Mount Fortescue
Climbing Mount Fortescue © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The track up Mount Fortescue is well-formed and very gentle, considering the height difference between Retakunna and the top of Mount Fortescue. There are three seats to stop at as you journey upwards, rain forest to walk through and, of course, beautiful views from the top. It was quite cloudy when we arrived at the top, exhausted but elated that we had completed the climb in less time than anticipated. The clouds cleared enough for us to see the giant cliffs near Munroe. Spectacular!

Cape Hauy and Hippolyte Rocks
Cape Hauy and Hippolyte Rocks © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Downwards! Your next view is of Cape Hauy and Hippolyte Rocks. After a snap of the Ancient Mariner and Hippolyte Rocks (“I’ve sailed around them!” he says), we head down further. I’d been so relieved to be going down that I went a little too far a little too fast and now have a mega bruise and a sore wrist to remind me that one should always take care on slippery steps! Take your time; the hardest part of your journey is behind you.

Cape Hauy

Cape Hauy
Cape Hauy © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Eventually, after more stunning coastal views, including of a small arch at the base of the cliffs, you’ll reach “Only Here”. This story spot is where you’ll leave your pack, thankfully, and head out to Cape Hauy with your daypack. Make sure you bring all the essentials: food, water, rainwear, something warm and the first aid kit. If you’re pressed for time, you may need to skip this bit to make it to the bus. This would be very sad indeed!

Cape Hauy
Cape Hauy © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There are a lot of steps to traverse on your way to the tip of Cape Hauy but, without your pack, this isn’t too much trouble. Besides, you’ll want to have a rest at each peak and trough to again admire the views! We had a relatively clear journey out and magnificent, 360’ views from the platform at the end, including downwards to the Totem Pole and Candlestick (famous to rock climbers). The Ancient Mariner rates these views (from Cape Pillar up to the Forestier Peninsula) as the best on the entire walk! On our return journey, squalls of rain came through and we were grateful for the protective gear.

Fortescue Bay

Fortescue Bay
Fortescue Bay © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

It’s only a short walk back to Fortescue Bay. We were bemused, as always, by tourists in jeans and t-shirts in the cold and rain!!! If you’re going to visit Tasmania, invest in waterproof pants and jacket. You’ll enjoy our wilderness much more! Fortescue Bay is a wonderful sight, both because it signals the end of your walk and because it is beautiful. White sands and clear waters surrounded by forest… a swim was very tempting, even in Spring!

"Catches and Quotas"
“Catches and Quotas” © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

When booking your Three Capes Track experience, you can choose which bus you get back at the end of the trip: 2pm or 4pm. If you walk at a reasonable pace and get up early enough, you’ll be back in time for the 2pm bus. Mind you, in summer, it would be brilliant to have a swim in the pristine waters of Fortescue Bay and take the later bus. If in doubt, book the later bus then ring Pennicott Wilderness Journeys from the pack drop-off spot at Cape Hauy to change your bus time if needed. When you reach Fortescue Bay, keep walking along the dirt road until you reach the bus shelter (there is a kiosk nearby; it’s open until 4pm most days).

View from Cape Hauy
View from Cape Hauy © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

When I told my grandfather that we’d completed the Three Capes Track, he said, “You must be pleased with yourselves!” We are! Though quite sore, we have been to an incredible part of the world. We have walked 46km, stood atop The Blade, climbed Mount Fortescue and seen the views from Cape Hauy. What a grand adventure!

For more information about my Three Capes Track experience, read the overview or my summaries of Day 1Day 2 or Day 3. Alternatively, read about places to visit on the Tasman Peninsula or in Tasmania’s south.

Tasmans Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and The Blowhole

Traversing Tasmans Arch, Devil's Kitchen and The Blowhole
Lookout at Tasmans Arch
Lookout at Tasmans Arch © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The Tasman Peninsula is a very unique part of Tasmania. It has played a very significant role in the state due to its tragic history and its natural beauty. Today, I had the privilege of admiring some of the latter: Tasmans Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and The Blowhole. What do they all have in common? They all were once sea caves and they are all very close to one another.

Tasmans Arch

Tasmans Arch
Tasmans Arch © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

A sea cave that has lost most of its roof, Tasmans Arch is remarkable. Why visit? It’s beautiful! I enjoyed admiring the arch from the viewing platform near the carpark. Little did I know that you can also walk across it! How wonderful! You don’t even realise that you’re walking across it as it feels like any other part of the path! On the other side of the arch is a lookout that gives stunning views of the coastline.

Devil’s Kitchen

Devil's Kitchen
Devil’s Kitchen © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Devil’s Kitchen is no longer a cave as it has lost its entire roof. Here you can see stunning rock formations, the surging sea and a shelf of rock that resembles the nearby Tessellated Pavement. Make sure that you have a look from both vantage points as they offer two very different views.

The Blowhole

The Blowhole
The Blowhole © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

On the other side of Doo Town, facing onto Pirate’s Bay, is The Blowhole. I haven’t seen a blowhole like it before! Behind the sea cave, the blowhole is exposed. You can walk around the rock pool, viewing the blowhole’s activity from a variety of angles. The seas weren’t high when we were there but it was still impressive.

Lookout at The Blowhole
Lookout at The Blowhole © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

While you’re at The Blowhole, take in the views from the nearby lookout. There is a stunning outlook onto Pirate’s Bay. I also enjoyed watching the waves crash against the cliffs from another vantage point. There are more unusual siltstone formations to admire as well as a nearby jetty for those who would prefer to cast a line.

Getting There

Dolerite Cliffs
Dolerite Cliffs © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

You’ll find Tasmans Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and The Blowhole at the southern end of the Eaglehawk Neck isthmus. Just turn left, drive for four kilometres and you’ll be in Doo Town. After admiring the many “doo” themed shacks, follow the signs either to The Blowhole or to the other two sites. There is no need to drive your car between Tasmans Arch and Devil’s Kitchen – simply walk the gravel loop track.

Cost

Devil's Kitchen
Devil’s Kitchen © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There is no cost to visit Tasmans Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and The Blowhole. If you’re feeling peckish, there is a food van at The Blowhole or a café a short distance from Doo Town. Toilets are located near the jetty. Please respect our environment by taking your rubbish with you, including food scraps. Our wallabies suffer from lumpy jaw if they eat processed food.

Enjoy your trip to a very special and scenic part of Tasmania! For more things to do in southern Tasmania, click here.