Had the best time on our recent 4-day, 3 night, 46km adventure hike around the Tasmanian Three Capes Track. Awesomely scenic, active and fun, and totally rejuvenating, we would highly recommend this experience!
First stop Hobart
Henry Jones Art Series Hotel
We flew into Hobart the afternoon before our hike, picked up a hire car from the airport and drove to the beautiful Henry Jones Art Series Hotel to check in for the night. A gorgeous hotel with interesting art generously displayed, it was a lovely place to stay before our adventure began.
We made a quick visit to the local grocer to stock up on the last minute necessities.
Then we were finally ready for our hike the next day. Time to relax!
We headed downstairs for a drink at the Hotel’s IXL Long Bar, complete with attentive bar staff and a live pianist. It had a great atmosphere and was really such a lovely way to start our evening out.
Dinner at The Glass House
Then it was off on a short walk to dinner to meet up with our friends at The Glass House. Suspended over Sullivan’s Cove, the restaurant is in an amazing location with beautiful water views. And most importantly, the food was so flavoursome and absolutely delicious! The unanimous vote for best dish of the evening was the miso eggplant with avocado cream! YUM!!
Source: The Glass House
OK, so enough of the pampering. It was time to get serious and set out on our hiking adventure, just what we came for!
Our Tasmanian Three Capes Adventure
- The Tasmanian Three Capes track explores the natural coastline bordering the Tasman Sea as per the map below. You are on an easy to follow designated path with patches of timber boardwalk, gravel, stone steps and story seats along the way.
- Overnight stops each day were in modern purpose-built environmentally-sensitive cabins. They were complete with comfy bunk beds, a range of cooking utensils and gas cooktops and drop toilets. There was even a hot shower on night 2!
- The entire experience is managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, with a walk set each day to cater for a maximum of 48 walkers along the whole course.
Source: Three Capes track
Day 1 – Depart Port Arthur and head to Surveyors
The next morning, we drove down to Port Arthur for the start of our trip. We’ve been to Port Arthur before with the kids, but if you haven’t or want to take a wander around again, it’s a great opportunity to do so before meeting up for the hike.
Here we started Tasmanian Three Capes adventure with a boat trip and a scenic cruise around the Bay before we reached our drop off point, Denmans Cove.
Depending on the tide, you are most likely to need to take your boots off to step into the water while disembarking the boat to get the beach shore. (TOP TIP: Good idea to have a small towel easily accessible at the top of your pack. Handy to wipe your feet off after, so your socks and boots don’t get sandy before you’ve even started on your adventure!)
From here, it was a short 4km walk to the Surveyors cabin where we spent our first night.
When you check in for your trip at Port Arthur, you each receive an Encounters on the Edge guidebook. It includes daily walk notes, maps and 40 stories which match the story-seats that you will find along the way.
In the book, each day has been given an estimated walk time, this first one is expected to take 1.5-2 hours. At a brisk walk and with time taken at all the stops on the way to read the guidebook, we took around 50 minutes.
Our first day’s hike was a bit wet but we were so excited to be on our way! (Another good tip is to have your wet weather gear always packed up the top of your backpack or somewhere easily accessible.) Walking with full packs for the first time was all good, although ours did seem to be loaded up much more than others’. We definitely didn’t skimp on our food provisions!
Day 2 – 11km hike to Munro
The skies cleared for a better day today, with lots of variation in both the track and surroundings.
Day 2 of the Tasmanian Three Capes hike begins with a short climb to Arthur’s Peak giving you amazing views across Crescent Bay and beyond to Cape Raoul.
After another ascent, this time up Crescent Mountain, the trail opens up through the windswept Ellarwey Valley. It would have been great to stop for lunch here but it was a little too windy. So we just paused briefly for a snack to enjoy the beautiful view.
We headed just a bit further up to “Love in the Woods” for our lunch stop at the cute love seat. After demolishing our tuna & brown rice, avocado and spinach wraps, whilst packing up to go we were surprised with a small brown snake that darted out of the bushes near our packs! It was the one and only we saw on our trip.
This walk itself is estimated to take around 4-4 1/2 hours. At a brisk walking pace and with lengthy breaks, we took around 3 hours to reach the Munro cabin. As you can see, there really is plenty of time for you to go at your own pace. We just happen to have an energetic group of friends!
A hot shower!
Similar to the cabins on the first evening, the biggest difference at Munro was the hot shower! But there is only one, which really services two groups of 48 people (more on that later), so the first thing we did was drop our packs and headed for a wash. Luckily, we were one of the first ones there, but if you arrive later there can be quite a wait!
(TOP TIP: Pack your clothes and toiletries at the top of your pack and head to the shower as soon as you arrive at Munro or you could be waiting a very, very, long time!)
Find the Helipad
Also unique to Munro is the helipad lookout! It has an amazing view and is surprisingly quite protected from the winds too. The helipad is hidden as it sits up a pathway next to the toilet area. So when we discovered it early on after our arrival, no one else seemed to know about it. We took up the yoga mats (you can find them in the kitchen communal areas) and spread them across to sit on to enjoy our secluded sunset drinks and nibbles!
At the evening Ranger’s meeting (held each night at 5.30pm), the secret helipad was revealed and had many visitors from then on! (TOP TIP: Get there earlier to enjoy the view by yourselves!)
Facing east, the helipad is also the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. But despite many of us getting up early the next day to watch it, unfortunately, we were greeted mainly by the clouds. But if you’re early enough or go later in the evening, you should however, be able to find some time to be there on your own. A perfect spot for some peaceful meditation or yoga with a view!
Day 3 – 19km hike with Day packs to Cape Pillar and back to Munro, then off to Retakunna
Day three was the best day of our Tasmania Three Capes trip! With no heavy packs to take (you leave them at Munro and pick them up on the loop back to Retakunna), breathtaking cliff-top views, and beautiful sunny weather, we were really blessed with a full day of adventure!
The walk again was easy to follow. There was a combination of trails and boardwalks with many story seats along the way. The main target for the day was to reach The Blade at Cape Pillar. But on the way, there are still so many high top plunging views to appreciate!
One of the optional walks recommended (and estimated to add another 1 hour to your hike) is to Seal Spa. It’s a gorgeous spot and well worth the extra time!
This hike is estimated to take 5 hours to get back to Munro, with an extra hour if you take on the Seal Spa loop. Just to give you an idea, we took 5 hours to do the whole distance in total at a brisk walk and with our breaks and lunch included as well. It took us just under 1hour 30 minutes to hike straight back from Seal Spa to Munro as we had done all our sightseeing and stops on the way up.
Shower up again before you go!
Once we got back to Munro, again we quickly grabbed our packs from storage and headed straight to the shower. Because you come back to Munro to pick up your packs, your group also competes for the one shower with the group coming into Munro for the night, like we did yesterday. So nice to get one in before heading to our last camp stop! (TOP TIP: Again, keep your change of clothes and toiletries at the top of your pack for easy access and line up fast!).
After a refreshing wash and some afternoon snacks to refuel, it was a quick 45-minute hike to our last camp stop, Retakunna. (Estimated to take 1 hour.)
Even though we didn’t have our packs for most of the day, I started feeling stiff after today’s longer 19km hike. Whether it was the increased distance or a culmination of previous days, this seemed the consensus feeling amongst others too. It was great to spend some time on the yoga mats, thoughtfully provided at each of the cabins. Rollers are provided too. So, so handy to relieve tight muscles!
Day 4 – Last hike, destination Fortescue Bay
With high winds overnight expected to continue, and with heavy rain predicted for the morning, we left early on the last day of our Tasmanian Three Capes adventure. It was a long and challenging uphill climb up Mount Fortescue with packs on. But we wanted to conquer it before the worst of the rain was predicted to hit.
Despite the rain, we did manage to appreciate the vast views at the top. And walking through the rainforest to get there was also a lovely change in environment from the rest of the hike.
Unfortunately, the heavy rain did eventually reach us just as we neared the Cape Hauy track junction. We still dropped our packs off and headed down the steep descent toward Cape Hauy. But with visibility getting worse and the rain pelting sideways into our faces, we decided to turn around at Dragon’s Den.
Then it was back to the junction to pick up our packs and hike the remaining way to Fortescue Bay. Even with our wet weather gear on, we were soaked by the time we reached the end of our hike. This hike took a pretty solid 4 hours of straight walking as the rain did not allow for longer stops. Normally, with the full trip to Cape Huay and back, walk time is estimated at 6-7 hours.
Having left early and not gone out the full distance to Cape Hauy due to weather conditions, we were also then 3 hours early for our 2pm bus pick up. Luckily, so were 95% of our 2pm group (there was also a later 4pm group). One of our very clever friends did think to call the bus driver to ask if he would pick us up sooner. As there were enough of us to make his trip worthwhile, he agreed to come!
So after a quick change into dry clothes, we were soon on our way to Port Arthur to pick up our car. This was the end of an amazing Tasmanian Three Capes Track experience!
- Pack a change of clothes at the top of your pack for the end of the hike along with wet weather gear.
- Make sure you take down the bus driver’s number. So handy in case you’re late to the pickup point, or in our case, early. The Ranger will remind you the night before and tell you where it’s posted.
You’ve probably got heaps more questions about the Tasmanian Three Capes Track experience. Their website is pretty comprehensive covering everything you need to know from:
- How to get there,
- What should I pack?
- What food should I bring?
- And so many other questions like fitness level requirements, is it suitable for children too, is there water available on the track, mobile reception etc. All of these and more are addressed on their website FAQs page.
A Highly Recommended Experience!
We can highly recommend the Tasmanian Three Capes Track experience! We really had a fantastic trip, loved the hiking – made easy with the designated tracks, were amazed by the breathtaking scenery and enjoyed the company of our super fun group of friends!
Would love to hear if you’ve been on this hike too, or if you have any others you would recommend! Please leave your comments below!