SATURDAY 27 NOVEMBER WHITE BEACH
We had a rather slow start to the day, which, given our plans for the day, was not the best.
Mid-morning, drove to Fortescue Bay, in the Tasman National Park. This involved crossing the Peninsula, towards Port Arthur, then turning off the Arthur Highway onto the unsealed but good gravel Fortescue Bay road. We followed that, through tall forest, to its end at the bay.
Fortescue Bay reminded us rather of parts of Wilsons Prom, in Victoria. There was a pleasant little campground there, which was clearly popular, being a weekend. There was a Ranger in place there.
Our goal for the day was to do the walk to Cape Hauy, which the books said was a 4 to 5 hour walk.
Cape Hauy consists of the columnar dolerite rock that has created some of the most spectacular Tasmanian landscapes. We had encountered this in the past, in the Cradle Mountain National Park, when we walked the Overland Track. Around the Tasman Peninsula it has resulted in really tall sea cliffs – some rising about 300 metres, abruptly, from the sea. Off the end of Cape Hauy are a couple of rock stacks – The Lanterns, and a really narrow vertical sided rock column called the Totem Pole, that is a challenge to intrepid rock climbers.
It was a rather demanding walk. In places, the track was quite close to steep drops.
The track followed the coast, at the start, for a short while. Then we turned away from that and climbed up and down, across to the narrow Cape section. Much of this was heath lands. There was one really steep downhill section – it would be uphill on the return trip and so not something to look forward to. It was really hard on the legs – it is a long time since I have done anything that tough. John managed really well.
Excellent views and scenery made it a worthwhile exercise, and there were lots of wildflowers in bloom, to add to the beauty. We saw three tiger snakes along the way – dubbed it a “three snake walk”. That is going to be our grading system for Tasmanian walks, from now on!
The last section of the walk, going up and along the Cape, was quite open and exposed, with wonderful outlooks. We ate our packed lunch at a point along here.
At the very end of the Cape, we did not tackle the last little section, which was signposted steep and dangerous. It would have taken us down almost to the level of the water, and given some excellent views – but we would have had to climb back up too! The views from the top were quite good enough for us!
Anyway, we knew we had to do that rotten uphill climb on the way back. The walk took us five hours in all. We did not encounter any other walkers on the track, rather surprisingly.
We really felt a sense of achievement after the walk. It was about 10kms.
Back at the van, a hot shower on the weary bones was most welcome.
Tea was tinned tuna, and salad. I was too tired to cook much, and neither of us was very hungry.
We noted that the caravan park is busier, as people came into some of the permanent vans for the weekend.