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 dolerite formations to admire. There is a toilet block 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. 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.

Turners Beach

Traversing Turners Beach
Treasure Hunting
Treasure Hunting © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

This week, we stayed at Turners Beach. The beach faces onto Bass Strait and is strewn with large pebbles, sun-bleached driftwood, seaweed, sponges, cuttlefish and other fascinating offerings from the ocean-floor. At low tide, the sand is revealed, along with more gorgeous pebbles, shells and sponges. Turners beach is a treasure-hunter’s paradise.

High Tide
High Tide © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

At high tide, the only way of moving along the western end of the beach is to walk on the pebbles, which is an adventure. You never know what you’ll find among the driftwood. Unbelievably, there were surfers in the water, taking advantage of the high-tide waves. The sound of the waves dragging back across the rocks is very unusual! It was a fantastic sound to fall asleep to.

Low Tide
Low Tide © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

At low tide, you can walk the length of the beach on the sand. You can also see why there are so many warnings signposted on the public access points to the beach. Sandbars and previously hidden piles of pebbles create brilliant waves but, combined with strong currents, make for less than ideal swimming conditions. Have a lovely paddle and explore the debris instead.

Public Walkway
Public Walkway © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Public access to Turners Beach is via the esplanade. The most prominent access is via a wooden walkway opposite the popular La Mar Café Providore. This entry has some carparking and two picnic shelters. There is also a viewing platform which is a great spot for taking photos and enjoying the atmosphere of the beach at high tide. When you reach the sand, walk to the right and you’ll find the River Forth. To the left, you’ll find the unusual pebbles and oceanic paraphernalia that make Turners Beach so distinctive.

Getting There

Turners Beach
Turners Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Turners Beach is approximately 15 minutes’ drive from Devonport along the Bass Highway. Coming from the west, it’s a 5-minute drive from Ulverstone. Drive along the esplanade until you reach the end. Parking is available near the public entry to the beach.

Cost

Turners Beach
Turners Beach © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There is no cost to visit public beaches in Tasmania. I encourage you to pay for your visit in kind though, by taking three for the sea. I also highly recommend visiting La Mar Café Providore. They have a great menu, lots of options for those with food allergies, a lovely atmosphere and a wonderful variety of food and home-ware items to browse. It’s winter now and sitting beside their wood fire was an absolute treat!

Read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s north west here.

Leven Canyon

Traversing Leven Canyon
Leven Canyon
Leven Canyon © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Today, it snowed at Leven Canyon in Tasmania’s north west. I know this because I was there. By there, I mean at Cruikshanks Lookout, high above the thundering rapids, being blasted with snow. It was awesome!

 

Picnic Area
Picnic Area © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

We arrived to a scene from a fairy-tale. Trees towered above us. Ferns surrounded the picnic area. The ground was covered in snow. If we had wanted to, we could have made a fire in the barbeque hut and cooked lunch but I’m glad that we continued to the lookout instead. It was perfect timing.

Track
Track © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Access to the lookouts is via the Fern Walk (from the lower picnic area) or via the path to Cruikshanks Lookout. The walk can be done as a circuit. I recommend visiting Cruikshanks Lookout first as you can then descend the almost-600 steps to the track below instead of ascending them.

Cruikshanks Lookout
Cruikshanks Lookout © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

When we reached Cruikshanks Lookout, it had just started snowing. The lookout juts out from the hill and is very exposed. Hold on to your hat! The Leven River roared below us and limestone cliffs stood around us at a commanding 300 metres. The wind whipped snow into our faces. It was an incredible sight: Leven Canyon seen through a veil of snow.

Forest Steps
Forest Steps © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Descend the (many!) Forest Steps to the Edge Lookout below for another spectacular view. This time, you’re much closer to the rapids but still at quite a height above them. As always with Tasmania, the weather can change at any moment. When we stepped out onto the Edge Lookout, we were greeted with the warmth of the sun (and a small pocket of phone reception!).

Leven River
Leven River © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

From the Edge Lookout, it’s an easy walk back to the carpark. Well, almost! There might not be any steps but the uphill trudge was hard-going! The track is well-maintained. There are benches at regular intervals along the circuit’s tracks. These are essentially horizontal signposts, showing you how far you are from the nearest location (car park, bridge, lookout) in either direction and are a great motivation to keep going!

Getting There

Roadside View
Roadside View © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The Leven Canyon Lookout is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Ulverstone via the B15 or the B17 (the latter goes past the turnoff to Wings Wildlife Park). The drive there was very picturesque, with snow beside the road and on the distant mountain tops. As always with Tasmania’s country roads, take care on corners, particularly on icy days like today. When you arrive at Leven Canyon, there is ample car parking. Watch out for our native animals.

Cost

Leven Canyon
Leven Canyon © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

There are no entry fees at Leven Canyon. Toilet and wood-fired barbeque facilities are available for public use. Do not light the barbeques during a total fire ban! There are also plenty of picnic tables for public use. It’s a great spot to visit.

You can read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s beautiful north west here.

Ben Lomond in Winter

Traversing Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond in winter
Ben Lomond in winter © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Ben Lomond in winter. Skiing. As my husband says, it’s “an adventure”! I may be slightly traumatised from my first ride on a T-Bar lift, from losing a ski on a black slope (we were crossing it to bluer or greener pastures!) and falling off one of the Poma lifts, but I still highly recommend a trip to Ben Lomond in winter. Why?! Read on.

Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Firstly, your ascent to the mountain is horrifyingly spectacular. Horrifying? If you don’t have your own chains, you’re in a beaten up, mud-caked LandCruiser with no seatbelts on Jacob’s Ladder, which is a very tricky piece of road. Spectacular? Look at the stacks of rock rising on either side of you! Look at the view!!! It was so breathtaking that I didn’t even worry about the crazy road.

Wallaby
Wallaby © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Secondly, I saw wallabies in the snow! There were at least three of them. What an unexpected sight! Remember not to feed native animals (even if they do look cold and hungry!) as processed foods can give wallabies lumpy jaw which is an awful disease. I enjoyed photographing them from a distance.

Poma Lift
Poma Lift © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Thirdly, the “adventurous” conditions are strangely comforting. The lifts that break down, strange bumps on the Poma tracks, rocks everywhere, people in hodgepodge clothing (including one of my workmates in his ex-postman one-piece!) and so on only add to the fun.

Snowman
Snowman © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

If you’re looking for a family day out, there is a roped off area just for tobogganing. Forgot the toboggan? You can hire a toboggan and skiing or snowboarding gear on the mountain. Warm up in the café with hot food and drinks or in the public shelter next to the log fire. Don’t know how to ski yet? Book a group beginner’s lesson with Ben Lomond Snow Sports School at 10am or 12noon or a private lesson at 12:30pm. Make sure that you book your lesson the day before you visit the mountain.

Ski Fields
Ski Fields © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Finally, you’ll find lots of lovely locals at Ben Lomond in winter. Thanks to the ranger who greeted us. Thank you to to the shoe-fitter, who got my boot size just right. Thanks to the skier, who gave us great tips. Many thanks to the lady who rescued my ski!!! It would have been a long hobble across the slope without it!

Getting There

Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Ben Lomond is about an hour’s drive from Launceston via St Leonards. Follow signs for Ben Lomond National Park. There are a few kilometres of gravel road to drive on when you reach the park. A ranger will greet you and you’ll need to pay for your entry to the park if you don’t already have a Parks Pass. Unless you have snow chains, you’ll need to park your car and take the shuttle to the top. Chains, fuel and parks passes can all be purchased/hired in Launceston or Hobart. You won’t find fuel for sale or chains for hire on the mountain though.

Cost

Shoe Library
Shoe Library © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The cost for a one-day Parks Pass for one vehicle is $24 or you can purchase a holiday pass for $60. If you purchase your pass at Ben Lomond, you’ll need correct change. An additional $15 per person will see you shuttled up to the snow. You can hire gear at reasonable prices. If you arrive later in the day, gear hire and lift passes are cheaper but you will be left with the scraps when it comes to gear. Lift passes are $70 per adult per day or $45 after 12:30pm. All this is worth it, for the adventure that is Ben Lomond in winter.

On your way to or from Ben Lomond, why not stop at Corra Linn? Staying a while? Read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s north and midlands.

Corra Linn

Traversing Corra Linn
Blessington Road
Blessington Road © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

This is my 50th post about a Tasmanian experience or place. I spent a long time contemplating where to go, what to do, but all these plans were laid to waste when, unexpectedly, a friend introduced me to his favourite place in Launceston.

Rapids
Rapids © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The best thing about living in Tasmania is when you find gems: a person you’ve never met, food you’ve never tasted, a place you’ve never seen. This week, I visited Corra Linn for the first time. Although I’d heard plenty about it (as a favourite spot with locals for a summer swim), I had no idea how spectacular it would be.

Corra Linn
Corra Linn © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The entry to Corra Linn is unobtrusive. Park in a gravel area to the side of the road. Climb over the roadside barrier. Find the part of the fence where the barbed wire is rolled over and climb over the fence. Mind the broken bottles and the cow pats. Now comes the best part: look up.

Rock Fall
Rock Fall © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Corra Linn is a gorge on the North Esk River. Towering cliffs guard a waterhole, patches of sand, rapids and rock falls. My friend tells me that one of the rock falls had occurred very recently due to ice expanding inside the rock. The area would certainly be a geologist’s paradise! I’m sure that rock climbers enjoy it too. The gorge is a magnificent contrast to the surrounding paddocks.

Water hole's edge
Water’s edge © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

In winter, Corra Linn is a beautiful spot to sit and contemplate. I’m told that it’s a great place for swimming in summer, however, take care as there are submerged and falling rocks. Ownership of Corra Linn has been unclear in the past and therefore the area is not well maintained. There are no safety barriers or signs and the gorge has not been developed. It is a wild place, worth the visit just for its natural beauty.

Getting There

Bridge
Bridge © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

The gorge is about 15 minutes’ drive from Launceston or Evandale. Your navigation system may have alternate spelling (Corra Lynn). Note that Corra Linn Distillery is actually a good 15 minutes’ drive away so don’t use this as a reference point! Instead, search for 292 Blessington Road, St Leonards.

Cost

Corra Linn
Corra Linn © emily@traversingtasmania 2017

Entry to Corra Linn is free but at your own risk. Enjoy the beauty of wild Tasmania!

Staying in the area for a while? Read more about my adventures in Tasmania’s north and midlands.