South Coast Track -D4

Tasmania Take Tour: Day 20

Wednesday January 20, 2019

South Coast Track Day 4: Granite Beach to Cockle Creek – 19km

We camped on the headland facing north rather then further down in the teatree forest. A lovely outlook to the ocean and reasonably sheltered we thought. It was only after the tent was up and we were settled that we realised the wind was blowing very fine granite dust through the tent mesh and all over the inside. It was like very very fine sandpaper grit all over our sleeping bags and the tent floor. How annoying we both commented on how we had previously camped in barren lava fields and had no problems with grit. But I guess the strength of the wind off the Southern Ocean made all the difference.

The wind subsided through the night and some rain must have fallen as the tent was wet when we woke this morning. It was still dark and I lay in my sleeping bag listening to the incessant pounding of the ocean. It was a background roar and it sounded angry. I realised that I much prefer the silence of the forest and the sound of slow awakening of the birds at twilight.

It was nice to pack up knowing that we’ll have a chance to clean up in town before needing to camp again. We broke camp and were on our way by 6.30am under very dark looking skies. We walked through the campground and saw that a few other tents were there. It was nice to be out before anyone else stirred.

Morning miles are always the best which was good this morning as we had a 40 minute uphill slog right from the start. Reminded me on a stair master session in the gym except all the steps were muddy and were different heights.

After the first big climb we knew there were 6 others hills to climb before we reached South Cape Rivulet camp. It was a mudfest just like before except today we were fresh and we knew we were in for a long, slow muddy slog. The main objective was not to get hurt and not to get knocked on the head by the low lying branches. Not all was bad squelching through the mud. There were some incredibly beautiful plants that seem to prefer growing in this wet mud. It was so nice to stop and admire the contrast of such beauty existing in such an unusual setting. After stopping to take photos I would place branches around some particularly fragile looking plants so that they may not get trampled by the next set of hiking boots that come through. I hate to think how many I may have crushed without noticing. I can see why there are so many boardwalks on Tasmanian trails.

And slowly the muddy ascent got done…amazing how much easier it felt today, firstly because we knew what was ahead and secondly because we were walking in the morning and felt rested and fresh. The open boardwalk section in the middle of this section was like a breath of fresh air.

You come out of the wet dark and muddy forest into button grass fields and boardwalks, open air and clearing skies and sunshine. Hammer was brought to a stop at this point by a large tiger snake lying by the side of the boardwalk section. It was coiled and sunning itself. It was just where you would expect to see a snake. Lucky this one was not aggresive and slithered away. Despite feeling like we were moving faster we ended up covering this first section in almost the same time as on the outgoing leg …it just felt easier.

It was so nice to reach the South Cape Rivulet and realise we only had one more section before we were done. The sun was out and we spent a bit of time sitting on the beach and having lunch. The Rivulet to Cockle Creek took us just a bit over 3 hours with the last bit just dragging on a bit.

We got back to Cockle Creek at 3pm….such a huge relief to have completed almost 80km of some of the toughest terrain we’ve hiked.

The weather was perfect…the sun was shining and there was very little wind. A few sailing boats were anchored in the bay as the waters gently lapped the shore. We found a camp spot, put the tent up and went in for a swim. The water was a bit chilly but ever so nice to wash off the hard slog of the track and get excited about what’s next.