Tasman Peninsula – Three Capes Track
Bushwalking in the Tasman National Park
After much controversy and opposition from the Tasman Peninsula community, work has commenced on the Three Capes Track. The Parks and Wildlife Service expect that the 68km track announced in 2007 will become an iconic walk to rival the much overused Overland Track.
As proposed the Three Capes Track will provide hikers with a spectacular six day experience commencing near White Beach and walking to Safety Cove via Cape Raoul. From there a sea journey will take trekkers across Carnarvon Bay near Port Arthur to Denmans Cove where the walk continues to Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy, finishing at Fortescue Bay. The plan is to offer a fully guided experience provided by a commercial operator as well as catering for independent walkers. The Peninsula Environmental Network are against the current proposal as they believe tour operators will transport hikers by bus or helicopter to “habitation nodes” which will degrade the natural beauty and wilderness of the Tasman National Park. They would prefer to see the existing tracks upgraded with accommodation hubs located outside the national park, thus transforming the experience into a series of day walks, or a 5 day walk that would not incorporate large cabins for bunkhouse accommodation.
The cost of the current proposal is estimated at $33 million and it is believed that maintenance costs will also be high as materials will need to be flown in by helicopter. When fully operational it is anticipated that 10,000 visitors will walk the track each year.
When I visited the Tasman Peninsula in February 2012 work was well underway on one part of the walking track – the section from Fortescue Bay to Cape Hauy. Rocks, construction materials and equipment for track construction had been transported by helicopter and a number of track crews were busily at work in this magnificent and rugged coastal area.
On my walk to Cape Hauy I met up with a number of the local bush walking group returning from their walk. A senior member of the club remarked “They have made it too easy now!” but then she added “I expect that I will be able to enjoy this walk for ten years more than I otherwise would”
Prior to discovering the Tasman my favorite pastime was to drive down the Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell and the Bay of Islands to walk the rugged cliffs and marvel at the coastal formations. In recent years the pleasure of this experience has greatly diminished as many areas are now fenced off and hundreds of tourists are encountered over the summer. I love the Tasman Peninsula the way it currently is…………..who knows what it will be like a decade from now?
If you enjoy walking or longer hikes the Tasman Peninsula is a must. The walks along the tallest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere are breathtaking.
- Port Arthur
- Sited on the beautiful but remote Tasman Peninsula, historic Port Arthur was one of Australia's most infamous penal settlements from 1830 to 1877.