Watching the rain teem down and spatter against the glass walls of the café at Port Arthur Historic site, I was wondering what I had got myself into. The Optimist in me kicked in though knowing that the weather forecast said that rain was clearing from 1pm. I am so much of an Optimist that I still believe the predictions of Weather Forecasters!
Grab your backpack (and raincoat), we are off on Day 1 of the Three Capes Track.
Date: Tuesday, 13 September 2022
From: Hobart to Port Arthur
To: Surveyors Hut
Official Distance: 4km
Actual Distance: 4.4km
Ascent: 199m Descent: 58m
Weather: Rain then very welcome, sunshine
Stayed At: Surveyors Hut
- Hitting the High Seas: Interestingly, this walk starts with a boat ride. The path heads off from a small inlet on the other side of Maingon Bay, directly opposite Port Arthur. Instead of quickly zipping us across the bay and depositing us, we get a grand tour up the waterway, heading out towards the open water and Antarctica beyond.
I love a good boat ride and even better when there is a bit of sea spray slapping me in the face. The chill of the spray and the thump of the boat as we crested the next wave certainly woke me up and signaled that the adventure had definitely commenced!
Even better was the commentary provided by the boat crew, explaining the flora, fauna and geological history of the area. The boat idled quietly up to the rocky shore and the Guide pointed out a sea eagle nesting in the tall eucalypts towering over the shoreline. This trip was going to be a Twitcher’s idea of heaven.
Turning back inland once more, the boat veered into Denman’s Cove and its duckboard was lowered in preparation for our disembarkation. Yes, it was boots off, socks off and time for a short, refreshing stroll in the chill Tassie waters. Step lively!
- Timing: There are two boat departures each day as 48 walkers (and their backpacks) cannot fit onto the boat all at the same time. There was no need for us to rush though as there was plenty of daylight left to walk the short distance to Surveyors Hut and the rooms are pre-allocated so we knew we wouldn’t miss out on a bed.
- Surveyors Hut: It was a joy to spy Surveyors Hut through the trees, not because I was tired, it was because it is so architecturally pleasing, nestled in a small open area and on top of a small rise. The huts are surrounded by spacious timber verandahs with seating to enjoy the bush or views out towards the water
Each Hut on the Three Capes Track has a host Ranger who is there to ensure everyone settles in and finds everything they need. They are also a font of knowledge and can answer most flora and fauna questions, as well as spout poetry! Multi-talented folk and good fun to talk to.
- Temperature: It was a frosty night and the air felt as if it was coming off snow somewhere. During a wee wander in the middle of the night, my headtorch picked up the silvery sparkle of a heavy frost covering the boardwalks. Again, step carefully.
Top Tips for this Section:
- Luggage Storage: Below the main reception area of the Port Arthur Information Centre is a dedicated Three Capes Track Check-In Office. There you will receive your walk pass, comprehensive information book, and it is possible to leave excess luggage in a locked storage area or there are keyed lockers if you would prefer to keep your gear separate. I am not sure I would leave anything super-valuable there, but it felt very secure, was very convenient, and free!
- Boat ride: If boat rides are not your thing, I definitely recommend you take a tablet or two. The water can be quite rough with a big swell, which may not be good for queasy tummys.
- Disembarking At Denmans Cove: While it may look a little risky, the step down from the boat is only into water that is 30-50cm deep. Roll your trousers up high, step gently and go carefully until you get your balance. I also recommend you pack your towel or dry cloth on the outside of your backpack to dry your feet after your little dip.
- USB Charging: All the huts on this walk are solar-powered and there are no 240V sockets. Bring your USB cords to charge any devices and be prepared to wait. Everyone wants to charge their phone/watch/headlamp etc and the charging can be quite slow. It just means more time to chat to your new friends.
Sleep tight to the sound of croaking frogs…and the odd snorer!
- Three Capes Track – Read more about it – HERE
- Parks Tasmania – Read more about it – HERE
- Port Arthur – Read more about it – HERE
- Overview of the whole Track – Read more about it – HERE
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