Located on the east coast around an hour’s drive east of Hobart, Orford is an easy day trip destination from the capital, and also the gateway to the coast from its southern end. I, like many (I suspect) have been guilty of simply passing through Orford, or if I paused at all, it was just for fish and chips to be eaten at one of the beaches close to the highway.
Orford’s beaches are not that easy to access, either, with houses constructed along the shoreline almost to the high water mark. I was very pleasantly surprised recently to discover that there is a walking track along the entire length of the Orford foreshore, from Raspins Beach in the north, across the Prosser River and then all the way to Spring Beach in the South.
While there has clearly been a significant investment in the track and in interpretation along its length, it has not been widely publicised, and I am indebted to Denis, who wrote it up in his Hiking Southeast Tasmania blog earlier this year, making me aware of it.
While the intrepid Denis did the entire walk in one day, I split it in two, undertaking it on different trips on my way up the coast.
The first was in late April, when I parked near the shops and cafes and crossed the Prosser River and headed along a footpath from just over the bridge on the northern side which lead past houses along the riverside and then around the corner and on up to Raspins Beach.
On my second visit in mid June, I parked in the same area and walked via a couple of streets to the municipal park from where the track heads south. It is possible to walk around the foreshore and beach to reach this point, but I knew from previous experience that the high tide and pine trees on the shore can mean wet feet, so opted for the footpath instead.
The path proceeds along the foreshore between beach and (no doubt expensive) waterfront properties. There is just one short section between East and West Shelly Beach that requires a short clamber over rocks and a section of beach, at a point where the council apparently hasn’t been able to negotiate access from land owners.
Walking reasonably briskly, the northern side of the river took me around an hour and a bit return, and the southern side a little over two hours on a wonderful clear, still sunny day. There’s a bit of a steep descent down to Spring Beach from the cliff top at the southern end of the walk, but otherwise it’s pretty easy going.
Some or all of this track makes a great reason to stop and explore this pretty seaside town.
East Coast Tourism eastcoasttasmania.com
Hiking South East Tasmania hikinginsetasmania.blogspot.com.au