Three Capes Track, Tasman Peninsula

Climb a rocky cape and stand, triumphant, on the Southern Hemisphere’s highest sea cliffs. Three Capes Track, Tasman Peninsula
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Three Capes Track, Tasman Peninsula

Climb a rocky cape and stand, triumphant, on the Southern Hemisphere’s highest sea cliffs.  

The sides of Tasman Peninsula’s southerly capes are sheer rock walls, worn and weathered over millions of years by waves, salt spray, ice and wind. It’s dramatic terrain to explore and with the opening of the 46-kilometre (29 mile) Three Capes Track in late 2015, this remote part of the Tasman National Park is accessible to just about anyone. 

Tasmanian Devil

Come and experience the Tasman Peninsula

This place of great beauty and biodiversity is the traditional territory of the Pydairrerme people, who lived and hunted here for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. Hike their coastal heathland, open moorland, native grassland, eucalypt forest and cool-temperate rainforest on a new pathway through an ancient landscape. Keep an eye out for spotted-tailed quolls, Tasmanian devils, wombats and eagles. The sea cliffs you’ll be exposed to on the trail are dolerite columns from an almighty geological intrusion way back in the Jurassic period. From up high, scan the sea and rocky coastline for seals, dolphins, turtles and passing pilot, humpback and southern right whales, between May and November.  

Walk the new cape track

Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife’s stethoscope-shaped track is upgraded sections of the original trail between Fortescue Bay, Cape Hauy and Cape Pillar, with fresh routes joining accommodation sites. Wide gravel pathways and purpose-built timber platforms form much of this track, so there’s less need to watch your feet and more time to look around at the changing scenery. Hand-built stone staircases at steeper sections are like rough-hewn works of art. There is very little railing overall and no clifftop fences, just natural lookouts.  

Stay the night in a bush hut

During the four-day hike, a different host ranger will greet you on arrival at Surveyors Cove, Munro and Retakunna Creek hut sites. Each cluster of buildings includes a large food preparation area along with an eight-bed dormitory and 10 more rooms of four bunks to cater for a daily maximum of 48 walkers. Pellet heaters take the chill off the air during colder weather and there’s running water, toilet blocks, solar lighting, books, yoga mats, comfortable seats and even a shower at Munro for your second night. Each hut site has a theme: Surveyors Cove is early, colonial Australian; Munro has a sea-faring feel; while Aboriginal clans throughout the state have contributed to Retakunna Creek. 

Read the stories of the area

Learn even more about this precious part of south-east Tasmania through the “story starter” panels along the track. This art installation is attached to the seating and encourages you to rest, read, reflect, socialise and snack. Dear Eliza, for example, is a weathered colonial seat supported by leg irons with a copper-coloured love token embedded in its back and a view across the water to former convict settlement Port Arthur. All 37 stories appear in your walkers’ guidebook, Encounters on the Edge.  

Port Arthur Historic Site, Port Arthur, Tasmania

Start your Tasman Peninsula adventure 

Your adventure begins and ends at Port Arthur, which is a 90-minute drive from Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart. The cost of the experience includes secure parking and a locker, entry to Port Arthur Historic Site, a Pennicott Wilderness Journey, national park access, three nights of accommodation, walkers’ guidebook and bus transfer from Fortescue Bay back to Port Arthur. Three Capes Track is open every day of the year and daily hiking distances range from four kilometres on the first day to 17 kilometres on day three. While you need to be prepared for variable weather conditions in Tasmania and be able to bring food for the duration of the trip, the track itself is very achievable with normal fitness levels and the will to explore.