Trekking the Three Capes Track Three Ways
by Sarah Aitken
With various interstate trips vanishing before her eyes thanks to covid-induced border closures, Sarah Aitken booked herself in to hike the world-class Three Capes Track within the Tasman National Park on the Tasman Peninsula. Her legs are still recovering.
All the cliches come to mind when I try to describe my experience on the Three Capes Track – the now famous walk along some of Australia’s highest dolorite cliffs. But they are all true. For example, it really was breathtaking, in more ways than one. The views were very excellent and looking over the many dramatic cliff edges in the wind repeatedly took my breath away…as did the hundreds of (beautifully constructed) steps on the final day.
The track winds through 48km of constantly changing scenery – from beaches to clifftops, from windswept heath to fungi-filled rainforest, ending at stunning Fortescue Bay for a well-deserved and rather chilly swim.
Many of us spotted seals, snakes, rare orchids and more along the way. To be so far from everyday life yet so close to Hobart was a total treat and I highly recommend booking in to do the walk now while numbers are capped. Depending on your budget, ability and penchant for camping (or not!), there are three ways you can walk the Three Capes Track. Kids can walk too – any bookings for kids under 18 must be with an adult, and if you want to take a bubby under 3 you need to phone to book. There is a max of two bubbies a day.
- Parks and Wildlife Service
The first, and the one we chose, was through Parks. For $495 you get comfy beds in well-designed huts, excellent kitchens, beautiful settings, a host ranger who’ll try their best to answer your obscure flora and fauna questions, and of course access to the seriously well-maintained tracks which you’ll share with a limited number of other walkers. You’re given a well-produced story book to enhance the experience and there’s even a shower at the middle hut. You also take a 1.5 hour Pennicott boat tour from Port Arthur to the start of the walk and a bus ride back from Fortescue Bay to Port Arthur.
- Do It Yourself
If you want to begin the walk at Denman’s Cove, stay in huts, and do the entire walk then you do need to book in with one of the above options. But you can do most of the walk and camp at separate camp grounds for just the price for parks entry. Beginning at Fortescue Bay, you can walk to Cape Pillar and back or add a loop to include Cape Hauy, spending your nights camping at the Wughalee campsite within the National Park. These options are either 29km return or a 34km circuit. You’ll need a valid Parks Pass and you’ll need to bring everything with you.
- Tas Walking Co
This boutique business have their own huts, completely separate from the Parks site, and they’ll pick you up from and return you to the Hobart waterfront. Costs start at $3,095. You take a private boat trip to the starting point. You’ll be fully guided on the walk, with a bit more flexibility in how much or how little walking you’re feeling up to. Then you’ll have access to hot showers or even a bath at the fully private deluxe huts before being served a three course meal each night, with wine.