Best walks on the Three Capes & the Tasman Peninsula
THE CAPE SURVILLE WALK
Walking: 5.7kms / Moderate / 2 to 2.5 hrs
This is an out and back walk to Cape Surville. This walk is one of those walks less travelled and that’s one of the bonuses. You will be very unlikely to see anyone else. Walk via magnificent verdant forest and a stunning moss garden to the lookout at Cape Surville.
Drive through Murdanna onto the Forestier Peninsula, turning left off the A9 onto Hylands Rd. This is a gravel rd and a bit muddy so take your time.
After about 9.5 km drive you will arrive at a car park. Go past the car park, going straight off the main road instead of turning Left. The gravel road eventually becomes too difficult to negotiate if you don’t have a 4WD, so stop and park and walk to the trailhead.
The Cape Surville Walk Notes
- The walk starts from near the very end of Richardsons Rd. Turn R off the rd onto the track.
- The track makes its way slightly upwards for about 15 mins before reaching the very steep section that makes this walk a moderate grading.
- The trail is quite narrow and slippery when wet and is marked with orange and pink tape. Follow the track along the coast over two hills.
In the last valley before the lookout, you will be delighted by a section of beautiful rainforest that’s packed with Sassafras and large Tree Ferns, like something out of middle earth.
- About 40 to 50 mins later you’ll arrive at a sign saying Cape Surville. It is a further 15 mins from here to the lookout point, with views of the Three Sisters rock formation along the way. Enjoy the view.
- Retrace your steps from Cape Surville back to the trailhead.
Walk: 10kms / easy / 2.5 -3.5 hours
This is an out and back walk to Bivouac Bay along the coast. Magnificent forest canopy walking and coastal views are your reward. On the way back you get great views out to Cape Huay.
From Hobart travel out over the Tasman Bridge and continue driving along the Arthurs Highway, the A9 through Sorell, Murdanna and past Eaglehawk Neck. About 10 km after Eaglehawk neck turn left off the Port Arthur road to Fortesque Bay.
The Bivouac Bay Walk Notes
- This track is very easy to follow as it follows the coast. It begins at the Cape Hauy picnic area.
- Walk down to the beach, turn left and walk to the end of the beach and follow the track past the sign up the hill and around to Canoe Bay with the sea to your right. There is a short detour just before you hit the apex of Canoe Bay down to the Willaim Pitt wreck at Canoe Bay. I
- Continue around the coast over a small suspension bridge over Canoe Creek and around to Bivouac Bay. There are toilets and a campground here.
- Retrace your steps back to Fortescue Bay
Walk: 8kms / easy / 2 -3 hrs
This is an out and back walk to Shipsterns Bluff. This is a famous big wave surfing destination and if youre lucky you might get to see some very daring souls running the gauntlet at Shipsterns. The wave at shipsterns was largely ignored for years until one brave soul paddled out in the ice-cold water and started to try to surf one of the heaviest waves on the planet. The views over the coast and Cape Raoul are outstanding.
From Hobart travel out over the Tasman Bridge and continue driving along the Arthurs Highway, the A9 through Sorell, Murdanna and past Eaglehawk Neck. Keep driving to Port Arthur and onto Cape Raoul.
The Shipsterns Bluff Walk Notes
- The track starts at Stormlea Rd at just beyond the end of the bitumen past the carpark. The track veers left off the rd.
- The first section of the track is often muddy. Ascend gently through bushland, crossing a small creek and walk via a heathland forest.
- In 1.5 kms you will arrive at the track junction for Cape Raoul and Shipsterns Bluff. Turn right to Shipsterns Bluff.
- The track leaves the heathland forest in a few hundred metres. You begin to benefit from the outstanding views of the rugged coast and Shipsterns Bluff. From here the trail begins to descend for a couple of kilometres.
- The next signed junction has you turning left to Shipsterns Bluff. By turning right you will make your way to Tunnel Bay.
- At Shipsterns Bluff you may climb up on the rocks to obtain better views of the bluff. From here you can also walk down onto the beach and get to feel the full impact of the massive swell and an idea of what the surfers are facing.
- Retrace your steps back from Shipsterns to the car park. On your way back you might want to walk to Tunnel Bay.
Walk: 30km / challenging / 8-10 hours
Cape Pillar is the most difficult Cape of the 3 Capes to walk largely because of the distance needed to walk in one day to complete the walk. It is walkable in one day, but this requires a very high level of fitness. Many people choose to camp at Wughalee Falls and walk the 8kms back to the trailhead the following day to break the walk up, making the walk much more palatable. It also means you can leave your bags at the camp ground and walk to Cape Pillar without carrying all your bags.
There are fantastic views over the Cape and the surrounding peninsula from the tarck and at the Blade
Camping is available at Wughalee Falls or Bare Knoll, due to this, walking times across the 2 days are 22km day 1 and 8km day 2.
From Hobart, travel out over the Tasman Bridge and continue driving along the Arthurs Highway, the A9 through Sorell, Murdanna and past Eaglehawk Neck. About 10 km turn left off the Port Arthur road to Fortesque Bay.
The Cape Pillar Walk
- The track begins about 100m before Fortescue Bay on the right, heading toward the bay.
- The Cape Pillar Track gently climbs into the forest, double backing on itself, reducing the incline until you get to Agnes Creek about 20 minutes into the walk
- From the Agnes Creek, the track climbs again through sclerophyll forests. The track scenery begins to vary quite significantly in the next few kms from dense forest to boggy button grass plains.
- Approximately 2 hours into the walk, you will reach Mount Fortescue track junction. This track on the left makes its way back along the coast back to the Cape Hauy track. Continue walking straight ahead or take this track to Wughalee Falls camping area. This is one of the two free camps available for independent walkers, the other campsite being at Bare Knoll. From the camp, the trail climbs steeply back up to meet the main Cape Pillar Track and then turn left.
- Continue to walk south, winding around the sheltered side of Tornado Ridge, descending down towards Lunchtime Creek where drinking water is available.
- From the creek, the track goes uphill steeply for 350m to an open grassy area at the top, where you will start to enjoy the views. This is the best part of the walk, with great views of Tasman Island and the spectacular cliffs of Cape Pillar.
- The track descends to the base of the Blade. With the most outstanding views from anywhere on Cape Pillar, climbing the Blade is a must. You can climb onto the top of the Blade, but you will need to keep your wits about you. At the top of the able, there are more magnificent views.
- Retrace your steps back to the campground or the trailhead.
CONVICT COAL MINE CIRCUIT
Walking: 3km / the main circuit can take up to 2 hours to complete.
The Coal Mine established in 1833 site had a fearsome reputation for being a place of gruelling punishment for convicts that were deemed to be the worst of the worst. In the 1840s the site held up to 600 people.
The prisoners worked underground extracting coal as well as in building works. There were also four solitary cells built deep underground to further punish those who committed additional crimes. Ít can’t have been much fun for the inmates.
From Hobart, travel out over the Tasman Bridge and continue driving along the Arthurs Highway, the A9 through Sorell, Murdanna and past Eaglehawk Neck. Continue heading towards Port Arthur and take the first right after the Tasmanian Devil Park onto Nubeena Road towards Koonya. In about 9km veer right onto Saltwater River Road. In 2km turn right onto Coal Mine Road. The site is a few hundred metres up the road.
The Convict Mine walk Notes
- From the convict site awa from the car park and head north to the Main Shaft, passing the Military Officer’s Quarters on the way. The trail is well marked with informative signs directing you through from point to point.
- Once you get to the Main Shaft site follow the road veering right for 300 m making your way to the Air Shaft site.
- Retace your steps from the Air Shaft back to the Main Shaft.
- Continue the circuit walk to the Commissariat Store site that’s is on the eastern coastline.
- From the Commissariat Store site thete is a 2km round optional walk out to Plunkett Point Quarry site.
- The track hugs the coast as you walk back to the settlement with splendid views of Norfolk Bay Walk past the Jetty just before getting back to the trailhead.
CLARKS CLIFF CIRCUIT
Walking: 8 km / 2-3 hrs/ Easy to moderate
This walk is very different to all the other walks on the Tasman Peninsula and the 3 Capes track, which are almost all coastal based. It is very nice change up and the views are well worth the effort.
From Hobart, travel out over the Tasman Bridge and continue driving along the Arthurs Highway, the A9 through Sorell, Murdanna and past Eaglehawk Neck. Continue heading towards Port Arthur and take the first right after the Tasmanian Devil Park onto Nubeena Road towards Koonya. In about 4.5 km go left on Fire Tower Rd and drive 4km to the where the road joins the track. The trailhead is well signposted.
The Clarks Cliff Track Notes
- The walk can be completed in either direction as it is a circuit. It is best to walk on the section that starts with the fire trail near the carpark as the other direction involves a steep uphill section instead of downhill.
- The first section has you walk through a delightful forest canopy, to the point to which it feels like that you’re walking through a tunnel.
- The trail eventually opens up and there are great views over the northern coast and the bay.
- The track leaves the fire trail the and meanders through dense forest of beautiful Myrtles and eucalypts.
- The walk heads up the mountain and as you get higher the forest begins to completely open up. You will come to a track that leads to the Musk Forest. Follow the track through a sea of trees densely populated by Musk and Blackwood.
- Continue walking up to the top of Mount Clark (480m) and of course the dolerite outcrops called Clarks Cliffs.
- As you head back towards the carpark the trail becomes more challenging, zig zagging down the mountain. The track skirts Plummers Creek and in some sections, the track can be quite slippery.
- The track becomes flat as you get closer to the car park. Arrive at the carpark.
Getting there: The Tasman Peninsula is a short 1 1/2 hour drive from Hobart, see individual walks for more detailed information on how to get there.
The walking: The tracks are all reasonably well maintained and the walks are mostly moderate. There is some elevation though on many of the walks.
What you need to take: You will need to bring your rain protection no matter what time of the year, plus warm clothes. Check the weather as the weather can get quite cold. Importantly, there will be plenty of warning on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website as to what the wether is likely to be. Good quality walking shoes or boots are necessary as some of the tracks are a bit rocky.
We offer the following 3 Capes and Tasman Peninsula Walks:
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