The Nuts & Bolts of the Three Capes Track, Tasmania

You and I are about to head off on a short-ish stroll and this one is an absolute stunner.

The weather gods smiled on us – most of the time – and it made for a glorious walking experience through the Australian bush and along some spectacular coastline.

Before we get too far down the track though, here is an introduction to the logistics of walking the Three Capes Track on the East coast of Tasmania.

What is the Three Capes Track (3CT)?

The 3CT meanders through an area that edges the coastline above Port Arthur (North East of Hobart) in Tasmania. It has been a popular walking destination for +40 years, but the recent upgrade of the track and establishment of huts in December 2015 has seen the popularity of this path boom.

How Far Is It?

Map of the Three Capes Track in Tasmania

The walk we did (more on that in the next section) was 48km in length, or thereabouts. My Garmin watch rarely marries up to the official distances:

Day 1 – 4km

Day 2 – 11km

Day 3 – 19km

Day 4 – 14km

These did feel like decadently short distances compared to my usual walking efforts, but it meant that we could really take our time and enjoy the gorgeous landscapes, or arrive at our destination early and simply relax for the afternoon.

How to Walk the 3CT?

The 3CT really has an option for any style of walker, with any budget.

Surveyors Hut - Three Capes Track, Tasmania
The sleeping cabins at Surveyors Hut – Three Capes Track, Tasmania
  1. 3CT Path: We chose the official path which gave us access to the most amazing boardwalk and path infrastructure, eco-friendly sleeping huts, common/kitchen areas and composting toilets. $495pp.
  2. Independent Hike to Cape Pillar: It is possible to walk most of this path independently and tent camp at the designated campsites. You can’t access the full path (that we walked), but you do get to enjoy most of the same scenery. An Annual Parks Pass costs around $92pp.
  3. Luxury: Tas Walking Co offers a luxury option with a guided walk, real beds, gourmet food, wine, massages and lap pools. Prices start from $3,395pp for 3nights/4days. No judgement here – if your budget runs to that, then go for it!

When to Go?

I did not have high hopes for good weather as Tassie’s weather is notoriously fickle. We were very lucky though and only got slightly damp on the last day.

The Track is open all year except for two weeks in August when they undertake some cool burning activities in certain sections of the Park. I would recommend aiming for the ‘drier’ months of February and March or later in the year, say November.

The Path & Terrain

OMG! The path is outstanding. It is incredibly well-maintained, clear, smooth and wide. So different to what I have walked recently on the Great North Walk. A significant portion of the path includes raised timber boardwalks which equates to zero trip hazards, you can get a good pace up, and your feet stay dry.

Yes, there are plenty of steps and stairs as you hike up and down ridgelines, and there are a couple of lung-busting climbs (hello, Mt Fortescue), but that just gives you a good excuse to pause, check out the scenery, and catch your breath.

For those who are not in love with heights, the path does go close-ish to cliff edges, but it is perfectly safe and, if you avert your eyes, you can safely ignore the sheer drops! 😊

Where to Stay?

As mentioned above, the sleeping huts/cabins are very comfortable. Yes, you are sleeping with 3-7 of your closest friends or complete strangers, but ear plugs and a good dose of patience can overcome any obstacles in the sleeping quarters.

The kitchen/common room areas are a welcome retreat. These rooms are the only ones with heating and light, and you are encouraged to linger and chat to your new friends. All the buildings are architecturally designed and 100% off-grid so they are a true oasis in the bush.

What to Take?

You backpack is a little lighter on this walk as you leave your tent and all your cooking gear at home. Just bring your warmest sleeping bag and a change of clothes. Your food can be rehydrated/cooked in the kitchen which features excellent cooking facilities including gas cooktops, saucepans, kettles and bowls. You do need to bring your own plate, mug, eating utensils etc.

USB charging points are available in the kitchen area and they are very popular. You may have quite a queue/wait to be able to charge your phone or other devices (unless you get to the hut early!).

Pack plenty of warm clothing and waterproof gear, even if you are visiting in Summer. Layering is the key. I recommend a down jacket, beanie, gloves, and merino t-shirts etc for the day’s walk. A broad-brimmed hat and a head torch, or similar, are also vital.

Who Is It For?

Three Capes Track, Tasmania
48 (or so) new best friends

The maximum number of walkers on any one day at the huts is 48. That sounds like a lot, but the facilities can handle it and, as everyone walks at a different pace, you quickly spread out on the track and it is not crowded.

A decent level of fitness is handy for any walking adventure and the shorter distances make this track accessible to most people. In our group of 48 there was an 88year old man, in the group ahead of us were 1, 3, and 5 year old children, and in the group behind us a couple was walking with a 10month old baby. I am not sure that is a good idea considering the changeable weather and impact on other walkers.

What Else is There to See?

Your walk admission fee includes unlimited entry to the Port Arthur Historic site if you have some time spare pre- and post- walk. You also receive a fantastic 94-page information book which explains much of the flora and fauna in the area. In addition, the book describes the imaginatively designed seats (created by architecture students) that are located along the path.

Waymarking & Information Resources

The path is incredibly clear and easy to follow. At any intersections there are signs telling you which direction to head. If you get lost on this path, you really shouldn’t be allowed outside unsupervised! 😊 It is that easy to follow. The information book (mentioned above) also has clear and detailed maps for you to review before you set out.

Getting There/Getting Away

on the boat from Port Arthur, Three Capes Track, Tasmania
On the boat from Port Arthur

Port Arthur is the official start of this track and is located approximately 95km North East of Hobart. There is ample, free long-stay car parking space at the Port Arthur Historic site if you decide to drive out there or Pennicott Tours offer shuttle services to/from Hobart. Tassielink, the public bus service, also connects to Hobart.

As part of your walking fee, a scenic boat ride delivers you across the bay to the start of the path and a bus will collect you at Fortescue Bay for the short, return trip to Port Arthur.

Why Do It?

In my opinion, this is a must-do walk. The scenery is simply breathtaking and the walk infrastructure is World Class. While we didn’t see a lot of wildlife other than wallabies and pademelons (smaller macropods), the birdlife was plentiful and the native plants and flowers were beautiful. I suspect the flowers would be even more prolific as temperatures warm up and Spring progresses.

A wallaby on the Three Capes Track, Tasmania
A local wallaby waits patiently for us to leave!

On top of all that, you get to meet really interesting people from all over Australia. What is not to love?

You may be able to tell that I am a fan and I would return in a heartbeat to walk it all again. Before I get too carried away though, stay tuned for a few posts describing each stage of the walk.

Happy trails…

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39 thoughts on “The Nuts & Bolts of the Three Capes Track, Tasmania

  1. A good walk is hard to beat, and yours was REALLY good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a beautiful walk. Glad you did it. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an absolute cracker! Very different to strolling through Italy like you are at the moment, but no less enjoyable. Happy trails to you and Fuzz!


  3. Sounds like such a fantastic experience. I’d love to try something like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be the perfect introduction to Aus, that is for sure! And then you could wine tasting afterwards. 🙂


      1. Sounds perfect 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like even I could do it, though 19km in one day could be a stretch. Great views Mel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You would love it, although you would need to allow extra weight for all your camera gear and extra time to cover all the stopping to take photos. It is a stunner!


  5. If only it wasn’t in the wrong bit of the world I could be completely sold on this one, Mel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not the wrong bit of the World, Jo. It’s just a bloody long way away although you are welcome anytime! 🙂


  6. Your teaser pictures are gorgeous, can’t wait to see the rest!! What is the person standing on at the start of the boardwalk? A high tech entry gate?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, that is a boot cleaning station. You scrub your boots and push a button to pump a chemical onto the bottom of your boots. They are trying to keep disease out of the national park. These are quite common in different parks in Aus to manage the spread of plant diseases. Do you not have anything like this in Canada?


      1. No I’ve never seen anything like that before. Interesting!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When we did the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria, they had similar sorts of stations, but they targeting a cinnamon mould sort of thing. Maybe it is too bloody cold in Canada for these sorts of things to grow!? 🙂


          1. Haha yes probably! The worst thing here are mountain pine beetles, but they usually die over the winter.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Yet another benefit of deep and widespread snow in your country! Being an island, Tassie is even more conscious of their biosecurity.


  7. Mek Such a great area to hike .These are amazing images.
    Thanks Anita

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anita – more to come on that front. Every day was just gorgeous…even in the rain! 🙂


  8. jasonlikestotravel September 30, 2022 — 12:24 am

    It looks like a great trail – definitely my kind of hike! The luxury hike was sounding wonderful until the price but good to know the huts are comfortable enough too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the excellent path and hut infrastructure opens this track up to a much wider audience. You still have to train etc and carry your gear, but the wide age difference in our group of 48, showed that it appealed to a broad range of people. Have a good day.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, the coastline is so rugged and pretty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sure is. A beautiful view wherever you look.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This sounds like a fantastic all-round experience and I love the wallaby at the end 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we were exceptionally lucky with the weather and that always makes it more enjoyable.


  11. The cliff views are spectacular. So glad you had (mostly) good weather in Tassie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe an add on to your trip to Aus?? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you can make days 40 hours long and weeks 10 days, I’m in!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I wasn’t sure I’d like this track when I first heard about it. It sounded a bit to ‘hand holding’ for me but after the last couple of weeks it now sounds like heaven. I’ve had a change of heart and now think that all hikers deserve a no-stress outing at least once in a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree 100%! I am not sure I could do this kind of walk all the time, but love the effortlessness of the boardwalks and comfortable infrastructure. A time and place for everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. There’s a big difference in prize between the option you chose and the luxury one 👀 … but yeah, like you said, if you have the money, why not? Indeed amazing views and I’m looking forward to your next posts about this hike!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for coming for a stroll with me…

      Liked by 1 person

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