South Coast Track -D1
Tasmania Take 2 Tour: Day 17
Sunday January 20, 2019
South Coast Track Day 1: Cockle Creek – Granite Beach 19km
We spent the night at Cockle Creek campgound and were woken by the flapping of the tent in the strong wind that was blowing across the bay. Last night we spoke to the Volunteer Ranger about the status of the track and she said it was still open and if anything changes they’ll post a notice on the office window. The wind direction this morning was from the south which means that the fire burning near Malaleuca is not likely to be moving towards the track.
We were planning on walking out and back for 4 to 5 days if conditions allowed. The South Coast track is usually hiked eastwards from Malaleuca to Cockle Creek.
In our eagerness to get going this morning we forgot to check the parks office window to see if there were any further track status notices. Todays plan was to walk to Granite Beach campground passing two other campgrounds along the way. It is a distance of 19km which we thought we could cover relatively easily.
As soon as we started on the trail the wind disappeared and we had a lovely couple of hours walking through button grass meadows and teatree forest before reaching the coast. You hear the pounding of the surf long before reaching the shoreline at South Cape Bay.
It was grey and overcast when we reached the bay. But the ocean still looked beautiful,if a little wild and furious. It is an incredible clear, green colour. We walked for a bit along the black shale-like cliffs before descending down to the beach for a relatively short beachwalk. We passed the turnoff to the first campgpund and continued through a teatree forest. The teatrees are in stunning floral display at the moment. The wind knocks the petals off the flowers and they line the trail like delicate snowflakes.
We passed a group of 6 hikers and 2 guides who were finishing their 9 days hike from Malaleuca. We stopped to chat for a bit to the last two of the group….the group were all friends from the Springwood bushwalking club in Sydneys Blue Mountains. The guide was an intersting fellow with very strong views about the problems with the environmental stewardship of our country.
Soon after we parted we descened onto our second beachwalk which was a little but longer and more exposed to the scouring wind. The beach was remarkably clean with no visible flotsam washed up on the shore. At the end of the beach we had a short and shallow creek crossing before reaching the South Cape Rivulet campground. The creek water was very brown, coloured by the tannins in the vegetation.
We covered a distance of 11km in nearly 4 hours. We had no plans of stopping here and we hiked on and away from the coast. Not really being familiar with the trail we really did not know what to expect of this section. It was a very tough 8km of continual climbing through muddy and tree root covered trail. It seemed to go on forever. The only reward for hours of grinding work was a short section on wooden boardwalk through a button grass meadow which was flat and was covered in masses of flower blooms. Patches of blue sky and views of distant mountains were a wonderful respite from the mudfest we had to go through.
About and hour from Granite Beach campground the trail started to descend and we were scoured by the strong wind coming off the ocean. It took us almost 5 hours to cover this 8km section.
Just below the campground is a beautiful clean looking creek cascading over the cliff towards the sea. The wind was so strong it was blowing the top of the waterfall back for quite a distance.
We filled up on water from the creek and had a wash before retiring our smashed bodies.
It took us 9 hours to hike 19km, with the section between South Cape Rivulet and Granite Beach being very slow going.