“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” Aristotle
The Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania, Australia, has some great bushwalking and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the area four times. Once was a visit to the historical site of Port Arthur – and I can recommend the ghost tour – but, every other time, it’s been to go hiking. The Tasman Coastal Trail, which is one of Tasmania’s Great Walks, hugs the coast from Waterfall Bay to Fortescue Bay, and then out to Cape Hauy and Cape Pillar. It’s a spectacular walk that features some of Australia’s highest cliffs, including dolerite towers known as the ‘Candlestick’ and the ‘Totem Pole’.
My first hiking foray was just a lightning day trip, so we checked out short walks to the Blowhole, Tasman Arch, Devils Kitchen and the beginning of a walk to Waterfall Bay. On the second occasion, we donned packs and set off on a three-day-loop from Fortescue Bay to Cape Pillar return (which I’ll feature in my next blog). And, on the third occasion, we set up camp at Fortescue Bay and did two short, but incredibly beautiful, hikes – to Bivouac Bay and Cape Hauy.
There is something lovely about ‘car camping’, as my friend Mary and I call it. Most of the time we go overnight hiking, so it always feels like luxury when we can pack whatever we want … and when we don’t have to think about how much everything weighs. We get to use the bigger (more luxurious) tent, we have chairs, we can cook better meals, and we might even have a glass of wine. It’s the simple pleasures in life!
And … Fortescue Bay is one of the most gorgeous places to spend a few days.
Fortescue Bay to Bivouac Bay (10km return)
This is a lovely walk, which takes about three hours depending on how long you linger at the various bays. At the halfway mark of the walk, at Canoe Bay, you can spot the remains of the William Pitt, a ship that was scuttled to provide a breakwater for smaller boats. The William Pitt was also used during construction of the floating Arch Bridge across the Derwent River.
At Bivouac Bay, you can gaze across Fortescue Bay to the rock formations of the ‘Candlestick’ and the ‘Totem Pole’. The constant battering of the sea against the rocks has created some remarkable features on this coastline. We also saw some intrepid kayakers heading out into the bay and it was very pleasant, sitting on the rocks, enjoying the view.
Fortescue Bay to Cape Hauy (8.8km return)
This is also a wonderful walk, which starts near the boat ramp at Fortescue Bay. The trail follows the shoreline, through woodlands, before heading uphill. It’s a more strenuous walk, but well worth it for the views of the rock formations. The steep cliffs are dizzying, so don’t get too close to the edge (especially if you have vertigo).
This trail has recently been upgraded, due to the Three Capes Track project.
“The vision is for the Three Capes Track to be Australia’s premier coastal walk, taking in the stunning sea cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula, including Cape Raoul, Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy. The multi-day bushwalk is located in the Tasman National Park. It will travel east, with a boat leg across Port Arthur Bay, and finish at Fortescue Bay.” Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania
I guess that gives me a great excuse to return to Tasman National Park in the future.