Hiking the Three Capes Track – Port Arthur to Surveyors

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein

The Three Capes Track booklet begins with that quote which at the time of opening it seemed corny but sitting at my desk having just completed the 48km hike it feels much more poignant. Certainly the modern world with creature comforts of pillows, hot baths, and refrigeration has its appeal but I can’t help but wish I was still out in the wilderness with my only worries my aching feet and the occasional tiger snake.

While sitting in Dunalley with my friends, eating pies for lunch and about to embark on our walk I asked which of us came up with the idea of doing a multiday hike. They think it was me but I’m not certain enough to take the credit. Whichever one of us did deserves a pat on the back for helping me get through 2020. Each week I’d look forward to our training hikes, and always be watching my countdown timer to the big event. We could not have timed it more perfectly, with the hike discounted to $360pp (from $495), the whales migrating, the spring flowers, and the border to the mainland not opening until 2 days after our return

The walk starts from the convict site of Port Arthur, and while our Three Capes Track (3CT) passes allowed us to enter for free we didn’t have time to look around. Instead we boarded our Pennicott Wilderness Journeys boat and then took an amazing 1h cruise around the cliffs, past Crescent Bay and then across the mouth of the harbour with views of the incredible coastline and what was to come. We spotted a sea eagle, cormorants and long nosed fur seals before we rounded the headland and entered Denmans Cove where we were dropped off on the beach, timing our exit from the boat with each wave. It was an easy stroll up the beach to the commencement point, making sure we were sticking to the hard sand to avoid the Oystercatcher nest in the middle of the beach.

We began walking south, back along the coast we’d just seen from the ocean and through eucalypt woodland and coastal heath. It wasn’t long before we encountered our first of 40 story points that are scattered along the track. These rest spots, often including a bench or chair were a good place for us to have a relax and learn about a topic specific to the area. Our first one, Dear Eliza described the difficulty and sadness convicts experienced while trying to communicate to their families and loves back home. I somehow ended up being the dedicated reader for the entire trip, even though one of our party is a teacher…

After stopping at our second story seat Waving Arms we rounded the coast and dropped down to the last place we’d be at sea level for the walk, Surveyors Cove. Some cheese and dip was extracted from a pack and we sat around watching the ocean, listening to the black cockatoos fight, and watching cormorants (maybe even a few that we saw on the cruise) dive into the shallow water and pop up with a fish. With a belly full of cheese we climbed up the stairs, into more forest and then into scrub before finding ourselves at the Surveryors camp.

The cabins on 3CT were outstanding. They blended in with the environment beautifully, had all the creature comforts that you would need (kitchen, mattresses, USB charging ports), and each had a ranger that would greet you and run over the plans for the next day as well as answering any questions that you had from the walk. Because of COVID the daily walker groups were restricted to 36 which meant despite only having 6 in our party we were able to spread out in our own 8 bed cabin.

For dinner we made the most of the BBQs and had sausages and burgers with salad while watching the sun set over Cape Raoul.

Distance – 4km
Story chairs – 2
Weather – Sunny, light/no wind, 16C

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