5 Things to know before doing the Three Capes
There are plenty of things to consider or you might need to take into account, before venturing to the Tasman Peninsula to walk the Three Capes. We have put together a short article below, listing what we think you might like to know before walking this amazing destination.
1. The 3 Capes region on the Tasman Peninsula is more than just a walking destination.
There’s plenty to do on the Tasman Peninsula and there are a couple of main attractions outside of hiking that are worth a visit.
The Port Arthur Historic site is world heritage listed and probably one of the best-preserved penal settlements worldwide. The gardens are as equally beautiful. As are the views over the ocean. You can easily spend a day wandering the buildings: there are also guided tours on offer, including one centred on ghosts.
When on the Tasman Peninsula, one of the highlights is to get on the water. If you enter Port Arthur as part of your ticket price, there’s a 30-minute cruise on the water. But if you want more than that, Pennicott express otherwise known as Tasman Island Cruises, a fabulous option to ‘leisurely’ cruise around the Tasman Sea.
There’s also the Lavender Farm, the dog line at Eaglehawk Neck, and various small walks outside of the 3 Capes track like The Teselated Pavement, Devils Kitchen, Tasman Arch, and the blowhole to explore.
2. The Three Capes Track is actually only 2 Capes.
The third Cape, namely Cape Raoul is equally as spectacular and is quite separate from the main Three Capes Track. The walk is superb as are the views. Cape Raoul is also home to Shipsterns Bluff which has a massive reputation as a big surf destination. Plenty of surfers have met their match (no one has died according to locals) on what is one of the heaviest (and gnarliest) waves in the world. The other 2 Capes are Cape Huay and Cape Pillar; all of the capes are unique in their own way. Cape Raoul is depicted below.
3. Make sure you prepare for hiking before you walk.
All of the walks involve some up and down. Suitable training is absolutely necessary if you are not already walking fit. It is vital you practice walking up and down hills. For many walkers banging out 20 km is no issue, but once they get on an incline they unravell. Walking up is an entirely different kettle of fish and uses a different muscle range in your legs and your glutes, that’s if you still have them (they can get weak as we get older). That’s why our legs freak out climbing stairs. Do some squats and some calf raises regularly, as this will make walking inclines much more pleasurable.
Make sure you break in your shoes if you have to purchase new ones. Blisters are the number one injury on walking tracks and new shoes are often the issue. Blisters don’t sound like much, but they can ruin a walk and there isn’t much you can do if the shoes don’t fit or haven’t been worn in.
4. What to bring when walking the 3 Capes track.
What you pack is somewhat dependent on 2 things. How much you intend to walk and the time of year.
There are many hiking options, including doing the Tasmania National Parks Three Capes walk and staying in their huts. You need to book online on their website. If your choice is to stay in comfortable accommodation with ensuites and dine out and walk, then a walking holiday might be a good idea.
Needless to say, you will need a backpack regardless to carry your gear. If you’re slack packing as we like to call it, walking with a day pack and getting picked up each day and taken back to accommodation, your pack will be much smaller and lighter. If you’re going on the hut walk please see this site for the additional gear you’ll need to bring.
What’s common ground though is the following.: Good wet weather gear is essential, especially a Gortex jacket. Good walking shoes or boots are a must and at least 2 litres of water, 3 in summer as there is no water on the tracks.
I strongly recommend using hiking poles on the 3 Capes walks. Most of the walks on the 3 Capes have a lot of up and down and they will be a big help with stability and fatigue. Using poles has been said will ensure another 15 years of knee use before replacement! See this article for more information if you’re interested.
From a safety perspective, a mobile phone fully charged and a backup battery is vital. With the Emergency + app loaded on your phone, you can be tracked anywhere by rescuers, actually within 8 metres. The app also allows you to communicate with emergency services and assist rescuers if heavens forbid you run into any problems.
You will need some means of navigation and detailed maps of the walks you intend of doing. And don’t rely on technology as there copious stories of people relying on tech and it failing and having no means of navigation. Don’t forget ‘a fail’ includes dropping your phone, losing it or running out of battery. It happens a lot.
A warm jumper is essential as is a sunhat, sunscreen (at least 30+), a first aid kit and toilet paper.
Whether or not to carry some of the following will be dependent on the weather conditions. By the way, check the weather the night before walking and in the morning. It can be really hot or really cold and windy, so both have to be considered in whether walking is feasible (fortunately this doesn’t happen often). In any case, bringing waterproof overtrousers may save the day if it is wet as will is a warm hat. Sunglasses, a camera, matches, and a small torch are also worth packing. A couple of last things; carrying a version of nappy rash cream, or a rash powder, if you have solid legs. It can make or break a walk. Also, a must is Campeed for blisters. DO NOT leave home without it.
5. Take your time, be present, give yourself the gift of doing very little.
Take a book, an easel if you must, or your drawing pad. Write something that is not work-related. Sit back and enjoy the view, if there’s no view at your lodging, then there are magic places along the Tasman Peninsula all over the place to sit and enjoy the serenity.
Factor in extra time to sit and chill on the track, so you will need to do your research on the walks to make this happen. Breathe in the freshest air in the world, air that has travelled up from Antarctica (by the way the Great Ocean walk and Portland also have the freshest air in the world). It is a bit like the oldest town in Victoria, there are 3 of them. What is guaranteed is that the air is fresh, but who’s to know what wins the freshest air competition.
Enjoy your exploration of the Tasman Peninsula.
Getting there: From Hobart, you can drive or take a private transfer. This takes about 1.5 to 2 hours from start to finish. Public transport is not an available option.
The hard sell
So you really want to walk in an extended fashion, without roughing it and like the idea of walking pack free, enjoying a glass of wine and a comfortable bed at the end of the day. Then, why not go with a tour company (like us) that provide walks on the Three Capes.
If you choose to go self-guided, we can guarantee that you will walk when you want and with who you want. We organise everything, including the transfers along the track, accommodation, and meals.
We can further enhance the experience of walking the Three Capes on a guided trip with the expertise of our local guides. As a result, you’ll get to experience a whole lot more than you could have on your own.
But what are your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you below if you have walked any tracks that you felt were truly inspiring.