South Coast Track – Tasmania
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 😉
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…
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
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).
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…).
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).
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.
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!).
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.
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 😉
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…