Three Capes Walk - February 2018

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Three Capes Walk - February 2018

Postby Johnnie Walker » Sun 16 Dec, 2018 8:40 pm

Finally finished this report. In mid-February 2018 we did the 3 Capes Walk.

Day 1: Check-in is in the basement of the main building at Port Arthur, and the walk starts with a boat tour. The included boat tour shows you a lot of Cape Raoul (in the distance) but that Cape is not part of the walk, so you walk two Capes but see three. Maybe they show Cape Raoul to justify the name "3 Capes"? The boat tour was ok but felt disconnected from the hike. It would have been better if they had shown Cape Pillar (the first Cape you'll see on day 3) and Tasman Island (which you'll see on day 3 and 4). I suggest doing a commercial tour around Tasman Island to see Cape Pillar and/or Cape Hauy to get a better impression of the area and the track. The boat tour dropped us off at a beach, from there it was an easy walk to the Surveyors hut. Nothing special and not much to see since you walk in the woods. It felt strange, "camping" with 48 other people. You get a hut number and room-mates assigned, and they stay the same for the next two huts. Unfortunately, if you start with a hut without windows, that won't change. They should have shifted the hut numbers around, so your hut number stays the same, but you get at least one day with a view.

Day 2: Still no Cape but walked over 2 hills. Beautiful views on top of the mountains but again, a bit boring. Tracks are very well maintained and not hard to walk. The endpoint for the day is Mungro hut which felt like Flinders Street station. The group in front of us (also 48 people) went to Cape Pillar in the morning and returned at the hut by the time we arrived. It's the only hut with a bush shower which was nice.

Day 3: Left our packs and headed to Cape Pillar, finally our first Cape. Site track to the seals (Seal Spa) and other viewpoint is worth it. Most of it is a board-walk, but the last bit to the top of the Cape is challenging and some rock climbing. Back at the hut to collect our packs, the group behind us arrived. From this hut, it's an hour max to hut number 3, Retakunna.

Day 4: Nice walk along the cliffs, dropped our bags at the junction to Fortescue Bay and went up to Cape number 2, Cape Hauy, 4 km return. From there back to Fortescue Bay. Lots of daywalkers on this section.

Conclusion:
- I liked it, it was an excellent experience, don't regret doing it but won't do it again. I prefer my own tent and fewer people. They are building more huts for commercial tour operators.
- Huts are beautiful with books, games, functional kitchens. The atmosphere was good in the huts although a bit busy sometimes.
- The diversity of the group was fun. Experienced hikers with their own dehydrated meals and people with the entire range of Back Country meals. Singles, super fit oldies, couples, families etc.
- Day 1 and 2 were not really worth it. Best days were 3 and 4, the ones with the Capes. You can easily see those two Capes by yourself. There is an inland track (used by the hut rangers) from Fortescue Bay to a campsite close to the Retakunna hut, from there you can go to Cape Pillar and back on the outer track to Cape Hauy and Fortescue Bay. A 45-minute drive to the Cape Raoul walk and you've really done 3 Capes for a lot less than $500.
- I loved the Tassie weather. Day 1 and 2 was called a "heat wave" (it was around 32) and day 3 we hiked in rain and hail.
- The guidebook and the special designed arty looking seats (story seats) are nice but didn't work for us at all. I don't carry the book (especially in wet weather), so at every story-seat we had to stop, take packs off, get the book and do the reading. This whole process takes long enough to cool down, and there are 40 of those seats, so we stopped reading the stories. But, the stories are interesting and quite good, we read them at night in the hut. Maybe they should print the stories on a smaller format, like a map. Or, make an app. Everyone walked around with a phone anyway so why not show the story when you're in range of a "story seat".
- It's a nice walk for families (stroll from story seat to story seat), people new to hiking or people (tourists) without overnight gear. Or, people like us who wanted an easy hike with some luxury.

After this walk we drove to the Walls of Jerusalem for a 3 day hike with a tent, not a hut :-). Early 2019 we go back to hike Cape Raoul, do a boat tour around Tasman island and visit Port Arthur. The "2 Capes 3 Capes Walk" comes with a two year access pass to Port Arthur. I've also provided feedback to Parks & Wildlife services.

Track.JPG
Track to Cape Pillar

Tas-island.JPG
Tasman island from the track to the Seal Spa
Johnnie Walker
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