South Coast Track

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South Coast Track

Postby LenMetcalf » Wed 11 Nov, 2020 10:46 am

Am planning some time in January in the South West, and doing the South Coast Track and wandering around for a few days with walks at Melaluca before starting out.

Any suggestions on lovely spots to wander to from there.

And recommendations re tent... Are campsites relatively sheltered and could I get away with a three season tent. I have a Nemo Hornet, or should I take my snow tent a Macpac Olympus?
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby north-north-west » Wed 11 Nov, 2020 4:37 pm

Relatively easy walking to the top of the New Harbour Range (off-track) and west along the track to Wilson Bight. The rest of the South West Cape circuit is a bit more hard core, albeit beautiful country. Depending on your off-track ability, some of the other peaks near Melaleuca (eg: Ray and Rallinga) can be climbed although I wouldn't advise it if you aren't accustomed to off-track Tasmania or the South West.
Are you planning on walking out via the Port Davey Track? If so, there's an intermittent pad that goes to the top of Mt Beattie, which has stunning views over Bathurst Narrows and parts of the harbour. There's also a lovely open ridge on the southern side of the Crossing River that leads out to Davey Sugarloaf. Easy walking and not too far from the nearest main campsite. Mt Robinson is also doable as a daywalk from either Crossing River or a base camp closer to the best ascent spur, which is on its northwestern side. Note that the Spring River area is a *&%$#! after rain: the bridge is great but between that and the creek that feeds in further south it is either bog or under water or scrubby or some combination of all three. The track is followable all the way but it can be hard work in places due to water, mud, scrub and lack of maintenance.
As for the tent, official campsites (and many of the unofficial ones) on the SCT and PDT are generally low and reasonably well sheltered, except the high one on the Ironbounds, of course.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby LenMetcalf » Fri 13 Nov, 2020 7:14 pm

I have heard it’s nicer to walk into Melaleuca and fly out from there???? Is there any reason for this suggestion?

Does suspending a bag of food actually work for quolls and other animals?
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby LenMetcalf » Fri 13 Nov, 2020 7:40 pm

@north-north-west thank you.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby north-north-west » Fri 13 Nov, 2020 9:43 pm

LenMetcalf wrote:I have heard it’s nicer to walk into Melaleuca and fly out from there???? Is there any reason for this suggestion?

Does suspending a bag of food actually work for quolls and other animals?


The standard advice is to fly into Melaleuca and walk out along the SCT. That way you're not hanging around down there running out of food waiting for the weather to calm down enough for the planes to be able to come down.
The SCT is greatly improved these days from when I first walked it (shudder). The PDT is, if anything, worse. It's a good walk and some beautiful wild country, just harder going than the SCT, although none of the climbs is is high as the Ironbounds.

I've never had trouble with animals on those tracks, but I make a point of making sure they can't smell any food. Suspension works if you use something they can't climb or walk on (ie, fishing line) and add a barrier such as the top end of a plastic drink bottle.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby L_Cham_67 » Fri 13 Nov, 2020 10:21 pm

LenMetcalf wrote:I have heard it’s nicer to walk into Melaleuca and fly out from there???? Is there any reason for this suggestion?

I would say one advantage and reason to do it in reverse is that you ascend the rooty, rough, forested side of the Ironbounds instead of descending it; much less likely to break an ankle! But as pointed out above, you run the risk of getting stuck in Melaleuca if the planes aren't flying.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby north-north-west » Sat 14 Nov, 2020 7:04 am

One other good option while at Melaleuca : if you can organise a boat ride over to Platypus Point, there's a track up Mt Rugby.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby wander » Tue 17 Nov, 2020 7:31 am

Technically the track up to Mt Rugby from Platypus Point is closed, verbal advice from Parks a few years ago.

When I did go up Mt Rugby from Platypus Point it was very overgrown lower down, a mild scrub bash.

The current accepted track is from a small bay roughly 1km West of PP at 285002. You can make out the track in the imagery in TheList, it's pretty solid all the way to the top. We came down this track.

There is room for 2 small tents at the small bay but I suspect in very high tides or stormy weather they will be inundated. Emergency camping only.

We used pack rafts for access/egress.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby Pink Cap » Fri 08 Jan, 2021 3:40 pm

I’m also thinking of heading over to do South Coast Track. I’m probably flying into Melaleuca and ideally I would like to spend a couple of days around there before heading southwards. Does anyone have any suggestions for 2 day walk in that area. I’ve thought of Mt Beattie but I can’t find the track on the map. Anyone done that recently? Any other suggestions, I’m looking at 20 to 30 kms. Thanks!
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby north-north-west » Mon 11 Jan, 2021 7:18 pm

Pink Cap wrote:I’m also thinking of heading over to do South Coast Track. I’m probably flying into Melaleuca and ideally I would like to spend a couple of days around there before heading southwards. Does anyone have any suggestions for 2 day walk in that area. I’ve thought of Mt Beattie but I can’t find the track on the map. Anyone done that recently? Any other suggestions, I’m looking at 20 to 30 kms. Thanks!


To do Beattie from Melaleuca, the easiest option is to get a boat ride to Clayton's Corner. There's a track that goes up from there. Then you can go down the other side and walk the PDT back to Melaleuca. Only other way is to walk the PDT north, take the pad up Beattie from that, and walk back. Beattie is worth the effort; the views from there over Bathurst Harbour are stunning.
Best and easiest peakbagging from Melaleuca is the New Harbour Range. Off track up top, but it's very open ground with fantastic views. Or walk west to Wilson Bight for a night before heading back east on the SCT. Ray and Rallinga are also options, but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone who doesn't have off-track SW experience.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby Pink Cap » Tue 02 Feb, 2021 2:23 pm

LenMetcalf wrote:Am planning some time in January in the South West, and doing the South Coast Track and wandering around for a few days with walks at Melaluca before starting out.


Have you ended up doing this trip?

I’m keen to go this month but finding it hard work organising transport for a solo hiker. It’s the Cockle Creek end that is proving tricky for me as the TWE bus doesn’t seem to commit to going on any given day unless lots of passengers. Wondering about whether there is still a taxi service from Dover to the start/end. Would it be ridiculous to walk from the end of the hike to Dover?
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Tue 02 Feb, 2021 2:37 pm

No, not ridiculous. Good chance you'll get a ride with someone if you're happy to hitch.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby Pink Cap » Wed 03 Feb, 2021 12:31 pm

I’m also leaning towards doing an out and back from Cockle Creek as I’ll have my car with me. In that case I would not do the stretch up to Melaleuca from Cox Bight. Would I be missing much?
Is the going noticeably faster in either direction?
Does anyone know if there are many people out on the track, because my recent bushwalking experience in Tassie has been that things are really quiet this year.
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Re: South Coast Track

Postby north-north-west » Sun 07 Feb, 2021 12:12 pm

Pink Cap wrote:I’m also leaning towards doing an out and back from Cockle Creek as I’ll have my car with me. In that case I would not do the stretch up to Melaleuca from Cox Bight. Would I be missing much?
Is the going noticeably faster in either direction?
Does anyone know if there are many people out on the track, because my recent bushwalking experience in Tassie has been that things are really quiet this year.


The disadvantage to doing the SCT as an out-and-back is that you do the eastern side of the Ironbounds twice, and that section of track is in diabolical condition. It's steep, wet, muddy, slippery and very badly eroded.
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