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South Coast Track – Tasmania

Posted on 31 Dec 2008 | 0 comments

After buying Lara we decide to abandon the idea of camping up north for NYE as we want to drive through that area in 2009 on our big trip. Instead we decide to go hiking the South Coast Track in Tasmania in the pristine World Heritage Area called the Southern Wilderness. Amazing place!

We arrived in Hobart the day before x-mas around 10pm. Jon tries to take somebody else’s bag with him, but thankfully they are on the ball and give us a call. We haven’t left the aiport yet, so we quickly swap back. She (smaller than Jon) had the same colour and style pack, but was going kayaking… hmmm could have been interesting…

As we sit in our taxi to our hotel, we realise we don’t have anything for breakfast or lunch the next day. We quickly go out towards the docks and find a cocktail bar that is still open and normally serves food. The owner feels sorry for us and gives us some pita bread, brie and sun-dried tomatoes. We drink a few cocktails in return 😉

preparing a packed lunch bought at a cocktail bar

preparing a packed lunch bought in a cocktail bar

The next day we take a taxi to Fern Glade and start our hike up Mt Wellington. It is a gorgeous hike and there are lots of people in the picnic areas. We find a quiet spot with an echidna and have a fabulous lunch thanks to the guy in the cocktail bar! By the time we get back into town (7hrs later), we have a shower and go straight to our x-mas dinner in the Grand Chancellor Hotel. The waiter gives us a great table at the windows and we enjoy great views and great food. We’re the last ones to leave…

hiking up Mt Wellington

hiking up Mt Wellington

cute echidna wasn't bothered by us having lunch

cute echidna wasn’t bothered by us having lunch

great views

great views

great hiking shoes :-)

great hiking shoes 🙂

brewery - unfortunately not open

brewery – unfortunately not open

The next day we take a taxi to the Cambridge airport for our flight to Melaleuca. We have to fly in as there is no other option to get to the start of the track. It is a beautiful flight and we see most of the terrain we will be hiking in during the half our or so we fly over that area! Fly in – 45 minutes, hike out – 7 days…

South Coast Track

  • day 1 – 27 December – fly from Hobart to Melaleuca + Melaleuca to Point Eric 13.4km (3.5 – 4.5hrs)
  • day 2 – 28 December – Point Eric to Louisa River 16.8km (5 – 6.5hrs) with a side trip to Louisa Bay for a swim (6.6km, 2,5 – 3hrs return)
  • day 3 – 29 December – Louisa River over the Ironbound Range to Little Deadman’s Bay 12.3km (6 – 9hrs)
  • day 4 – 30 December – Little Deadman’s Bay to Prion Boat crossing 9.4km (3.5 – 4.5hrs) + Prion Boat crossing to Surprise Bay 9.0km (3.5 – 4.5hrs) where we stayed for New Year’s Eve even though it was only 30 December as you are allowed to have a fire at this camp site
  • day 5 – 31 December – Surprise Bay to South Cape Rivulet 9.1km (5 – 7hrs)
  • day 6 – 1 January – South Cape Rivulet to Cockle Creek 11.4km (3 – 4hrs)
  • day 7 – 2 January – Cockle Creek to Hobart by shuttle bus
our route

our route

For this trip we bought a dehydrator and prepared our own food again. It is really nice food, you get enough, it is easily and quickly prepared (great for when it rains) and it weighs a lot less than carrying fresh food or tins (also less rubbish to take out).

food preparation at home

food preparation at home

using our own dehydrator for the first time

using our own dehydrator for the first time

about to board to Melaleuca

about to board to Melaleuca

on board

on board

it will take us a week to hike what we fly over in less than an hour (and that doesn't even include the 148km from Hobart to the end of the track at Cockle Creek...)

it will take us a week to hike what we fly over in less than an hour (and that doesn’t even include the 148km from Hobart to the end of the track at Cockle Creek…)

you can see some of the track we will be walking on

you can see some of the track we will be walking on

landing strip at Melaleuca

landing strip at Melaleuca

signing the intention sheet at the start of the walk

signing the intention sheet at the start of the walk

ready to go

ready to go

we meet up with Karen, Sue and Rick

we meet up with Karen, Sue and Rick

The first 2 days we have glorious sunshine and we are hopeful this will stay this way. We swim, cook our dinner on the beach, have baths in the creeks and walk in shorts and t-shirts. We arrive at the bottom of the Ironbounds after a long day (with a side-trip to Louisa Bay for some more swimming) with our shoes still dry! But overnight things change. It’s windy the next morning as we start hiking up the Ironbounds, but it’s still dry and the sun shines some times. And then we get to the top… OMG. Wind is extremely strong now and we even get some hail and rain as we try to make our way across the exposed ridge. With pack we weigh 80 and 100kg and we are still blown off the track regularly! We stopped counting after a while… Getting blown off the track doesn’t mean instant plummeting to your death as it is a broad ridge, but it can be nasty as you might fall on rocks or (which I preferred and did a lot) land in some softer but prickly bushes…).

the walk leads straight to the coast from the airstrip

the walk leads straight to the coast from the airstrip

a bit nippy...

a bit nippy…

blue sea star

blue sea star

easy beach hiking

easy beach hiking

rewarded by a swim at our camp site

rewarded by a swim at our camp site

preparing for dinner on the beach

preparing for dinner on the beach

at high tide we need to go through the water around some of the headlands

at high tide we need to go through the water around some of the headlands

putting on our gaiters

putting on our gaiters

start of the muddy bits...

start of the muddy bits…

Tasmania is known for its muddy tracks

Tasmania is known for its muddy tracks

morning tea

morning tea

amazing views on the hike

amazing views on the hike

south_coast_056

some sections are boardwalks to protect the environment

some sections are boardwalks to protect the environment

creek crossing

creek crossing

filling up our bladders

filling up our bladders

heading for another swim after a day's hike

heading for another swim after a day’s hike

Ironbound Range in the background

Ironbound Range in the background

easy walking on the boardwalk sections

easy walking on the boardwalk sections

another creek crossing, the rope is to help when the creek is high

another creek crossing, the rope is to help when the creek is high

heading towards the Ironbound Range

heading towards the Ironbound Range

weather still looking fine

weather still looking fine

it's getting rather windy now

it’s getting rather windy now

we are literally being blown off the track at the top with hail and rain coming in horizontally

we are literally being blown off the track at the top with hail and rain coming in horizontally

Once we got to the other end of the ridge and we started going down again we were more sheltered and we could laugh about it all. We decided to continue hiking until camp as we were quite cold and didn’t fancy stopping for a long lunch in the mud pools on the way down. It was a long hike that day, but we made it to camp (Little Deadman’s Cove) after 7.5hrs. Not bad considering the conditions we had at the top. This camp site is one of only 2 spots on the entire track where camp fires are allowed and we enjoyed a lovely dinner by the fire – finally getting warm (although the sun was shining for pretty much the rest of the day with some showers that didn’t last long).

very happy to start the descent still in the pouring rain

very happy to start the descent still in the pouring rain

it stops raining a bit further

it stops raining a bit further

lots and lots of mud - Jude has given up trying to keep her feet dry

lots and lots of mud – Jude has given up trying to keep her feet dry

stack Jude

stack Jude

stack Jon

stack Jon

a cute wallaby, we don't see much wildlife on the trail

a cute wallaby, we don’t see much wildlife on the trail

camp site

camp site

at some camp sites you are allowed to have a fire, we certainly loved this one

at some camp sites you are allowed to have a fire, we certainly loved this one

but after rain always comes the sun (eventually)

but after rain always comes the sun (eventually)

After another day on the trails, we worked out a cunning plan to celebrate NYE at the next campsite where fires were allowed. It just meant we had to hike only a few hours the next day and move NYE forward by a day… which we did 😉

Sue organised a treasure hunt, hung up some balloons and brought the sparklers. We hung up some tarps to stay dry (-ish) and tried to stay awake until midnight in the freezing cold. One by one they all went to bed until it was just us two left… We did stay awake until midnight, but it was rather cold and wet.

plastic bags over Jude's socks stops them getting very wet in the mornign

plastic bags over Jude’s socks stops them getting very wet in the mornign

with all this mud around it is pointless anyway

with all this mud around it is pointless anyway

we get to a beach section again

we get to a beach section again

and a cleaning station to help stop the spread of root rot (phytophtora)

and a cleaning station to help stop the spread of root rot (phytophtora)

it's easier when somebody helps...

it’s easier when somebody helps…

leach alert!

leach alert!

Rowing across the New River Lagoon was also a special experience. We didn’t have a lot of experience with rowing and realised it was quite a bit different from kayaking… We managed to get across 3 times without too many problems, but wondered if it would have been faster to swim (but the water was probably a bit too cold for that any way!).

rowing boat across New River Lagoon

rowing boat across New River Lagoon

there is a rowing boat on either side and you need to leave one on either side after you crosed

there is a rowing boat on either side and you need to leave one on either side after you crosed

it was a bit windy!

it was a bit windy!

Jon and Karen about to descend to the dunes and beach

Jon and Karen about to descend to the dunes and beach

Jude crossing another river

Jude crossing another river

Jon on the beach

Jon on the beach

another beautiful rainbow

another beautiful rainbow

somebody had made a throne from drift debris

somebody had made a throne from drift debris

the other throne - this one with a lovely view

the other throne – this one with a lovely view

true wilderness

true wilderness

pancake bake-off

pancake bake-off

cooking dinner

cooking dinner

it was raining again

it was raining again

great flowers

great flowers

some of these trees are enormous

some of these trees are enormous

a bit muddy shoes

a bit muddy shoes

collecting debris from the beach

collecting debris from the beach

another section on the beach

another section on the beach

filling up with water from the creek

filling up with water from the creek

views over the beach

views over the beach

a little friend comes to visit our camp site in the night we celebrate New Year's Eve (one day early)

a little friend comes to visit our camp site in the night we celebrate New Year’s Eve (one day early)

The rest of the days were short hiking days with the weather mostly giving us 5 minutes sunshine, 5 minutes rain, 5 minutes hail and 5 minutes of dry but cloudy stuff. And that cycle just kept on rotating… Lots of times changing in and out of wet weather gear trying to keep at least one set of clothes dry for in camp.

funky coloured mushrooms

funky coloured mushrooms

waterfall

waterfall

we have to hike up the falls

we have to hike up the falls

as we said, Tasmania is known for its mud...

as we said, Tasmania is known for its mud…

more of it

more of it

the views alone are worth the hike

the views alone are worth the hike

oh hello

oh hello

another section of board walk

another section of board walk

the South Cape Rivulet crossing gets pretty hairy at times

the South Cape Rivulet crossing gets pretty hairy at times

it's quite deep on a calm day

it’s quite deep on a calm day

we are very happy with our poles

we are very happy with our poles

some more wallabies around our camp site this night

some more wallabies around our camp site this night

and a river rat comes out to forage at night too

and a river rat comes out to forage at night too

our camp site

our camp site

somebody had rigged up a tarp here and left it

somebody had rigged up a tarp here and left it

afternoon stroll on the beach

morning stroll on the beach as we have a late start from here

the creek next to our camp site

the creek next to our camp site

looking back over the beach we just came from

looking back over the beach we just came from

pretty much at the end...

pretty much at the end…

signing off at the hikers registration hut

signing off at the hikers registration hut

we walked from here to there...

we walked from here to there…

finished!!

finished!!

happy hikers

happy hikers

 

the reason why it is called cockle creek...

the reason why it is called cockle creek…

the end of the road!

the end of the road!

our shuttle bus back to Hobart

our shuttle bus back to Hobart

After we get back (bus from Cockle Creek where the hike ends to Hobart) we meet up with Marcus, Mel and Jen at the Taste festival. Lots of great food and delicious wine!! We have breakfast in a nice cafe on Salamanca square and we explore the Salamanca markets. More food and wine tasting (and buying) in the evening 😉

back at the Taste Festival in Hobart we meet up with Marcus & Mel

back at the Taste Festival in Hobart we meet up with Marcus & Mel

Marcus, Jon and Jude unanimously vote for the Melrose Pinot Noir from Spring Vale Estate as the best Pinot from Tasmania (possible even in Australia).

The next day we go to the museum and leave early in the afternoon, back to Adelaide…

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