The Three Capes Track, Tasmania’s buzzing new multi-night walk along the sea cliff coast of the Tasman Peninsula, has welcomed its one thousandth walker after just three weeks of operation.
While the focus has been on the walk itself, with lots of selfies from the southernmost tip of Cape Pillar, known as The Blade, with its stunning view across to Tasman Island from a height of around 300 meters, the whole experience offers much more than the hike.
The whole experience starts at Port Arthur, where walkers can immerse themselves in the area’s convict history, and put the landscape into context (at least from a European perspective) of its use as a natural prison. The package includes not just access to Port Arthur, but a two year Ticket of Leave pass which offers free return site entry for two years, a great incentive for return visits.
Walkers then board the brand new Pennicotts Wilderness Journey vessel (calling it a ferry would be a sad understatement) for the crossing to Denman’s Cove, where the walk begins. But again, it’s not just a simple crossing, as I discovered recently when I had the opportunity travel aboard for the start of the trip. The irrepressible Rob Pennicott (who personally helmed the boat when I travelled) makes it a fully interactive experience, stopping at increasingly more breathtaking spots around the harbour while pointing out eagles nests, explaining the geology and identifying varieties of seaweed, including their exhorbitant prices in Japan.
The hour long journey tracks down the eastern edge of Port Arthur, around the seaward side of Point Puer, Safety Cove and Cresent Bay, to poke out into the Southern Ocean. It then crosses the bay to explore some of the amazing dolerite columns that are so characteristic of this coastline and many of Tasmania’s mountain tops.
Walkers are then delivered to the sandy inlet called Denmans Cove, and on the day I travelled, a warm one, it looked like more than a few would be dawdling and having a swim before hitting the track for the couple of hours’ walk to the first night’s hut.
So I’ve done the Three Capes track from the air, I’ve seen more than my fair share of Port Arthur and now I’ve done the boat trip. One day I’ll have to actually do the walk:-)