January 19, 2016
Cape Pillar Hike -34km
What a magic day. We got to experience hiking to one of the capes that is now part of a new hiking circuit known as the The Three Capes Walk which costs $495 for a 45 km, 3 day hike. We were told by a few hikers we met, that it was possible to do two of the capes as day hikes for free.
We headed off from our campsite at Fortescue Bay to hike along the Old Cape Pillar trail before we joined the new Three Capes trail on the way to the most spectacular of the three capes, Cape Pillar. We took our day packs and were intending to run/walk as the terrain and our legs allowed. The weather was glorious, sunny with a cool breeze. The old trail was good in parts and very runnable but after a few kilometres gave way to an overgrown narrow goat track. We traversed a dry schlerophyl forest with evidence of recent fire damage. This undulated and soon gave way to an open grassland moorland with some boardwalks through it.
Boy did we know it when we joined the new track…it was like a hiking superhighway. Perfectly groomed underfoot, wide and kilometres of newly installed boardwalks. We reached Munroe hut, which is part of the new trail experience and were astounded to find the most beautiful bit of architecture right in the middle of the wilderness. This and the perfectly formed trail plus some bits of other pizzazz certainly explained the cost of the hike. Another 6km from the hut we reached our destination..A rock bluff that has been carved into perfect columns. I was running on my own at this stage and must admit that on the way to the Cape experiencing a bit of an eerie feeling. Running along the edge of the cliff face, the wind was blowing gusts of mist from the ocean hundreds of metres below. I sort of felt like I was on the edge of the world..knowing that beyond the cliffs was the Southern ocean and Antarctica. Reaching the end of the Cape, referred to as the Blade, was beautiful.
Across the water was Tasman Island with a lighthouse and a few cottages. The ocean below was wild and it really felt like a very special place that we were privileged to have seen. On our way back we stopped to chat with the ranger, stationed at the Munroe Hut. Closer look at the hut and the beautiful timber work here and along the new sections of the trail has given us a whole new appreciation of the Three Capes hike. The reason for the high cost can be clearly seen in the trail design and various installations along the way.
The work on the trail has made this section of Tassie accessible to people who may not have ventured out otherwise. We ran, walked and shuffled our way back to camp. My Achilles felt battered. We stood in the cold water for a short time to chill the aches and pains. Sore but very happy to have visited a very special place.