It was the day before Christmas, well as close as a work day gets before the holiday break.
A friend of mine came up to me and said, "have a think about this hiking tripping in Tasmania" called the Three Capes. 4 days, 46kms just you and a backpack filled with everything you need and more travelling along the cliffs of the South shores of Tasmania.. What and interesting idea, I had a looking at the three capes website I started to fall for the Majestic landscape instantly.. Their website is www.threecapestrack.com.au their heading was...
You, a pack, and 46 kilometres of cliff-hugging wildness in Australia's far south-east. The next stop is Antarctica. Tasmania's Three Capes Track is not about getting from point A to point B. It’s about the journey. Few places on Earth remain that feel so remote, so raw, so removed from the ordinary.
What more could you want as a photographer or a lover of the outdoors? So when I got back to work in the new year I went up to my colleague and said lets do this, So there and then over lunch we book our tickets to track amongst this wilderness like no other. Then the search started for hotels, AirBnB's, Flights, transport, google searches on where to go and what to see in Hobart, 2 months went by accommodation locked in, Flights booked, hire car located... However all that planning was a pebble dropped into the ocean compared to what we need to research now, How to survive, what to wear and how to carry it all, Let the games begin..
It was mostly about weight for me, I have over 40kgs of camera equipment and no I don't need it all at once, some things are for my wedding shoots, landscapes, macro and others for my videos, I just need my landscape equipment and a go pro which took it down to about 10kgs which is a lot when you also need to carry a sleeping bag, warm clothes, 4 days worth of food with eating utensils, minimum 2 litres of water each day, raincoats, toiletries, towel and your little personal extras, and a rubbish bag that's right, a rubbish bag as what you bring in you must carry out. So after all that my pack was just around the 20kg mark my walking buddy lucky had only 10kg to carry.. For a good list for any hiking experience here is the three capes Essential list Click Here
But there's one thing that it doesn't mention. A beverage your liquid gold an alcohol ice breaker for that thirst, some people on the track brought wine cases, others a bottles of wine, but the golden choice was a flask, we ventured with a couple of cans of coke as there was nothing better than arriving to your next cabin taking off your backpack, kicking off your shoes, and pouring a smooth drop of your favourite drink into a cup and just sitting down watching the sunset a reward for a days effort well done..
The time has come months of packing organizing, finding power chargers, working out meals, planning, test equipment.. It was 5:30am on the 22-04-2017 when my alarm started, Looking like zombies with hardly any sleep we head off to board the plane from Brisbane stop at Melbourne then skipping onto Hobart. We arrived at Hobart around 4pm that day over 2000kms away from Brisbane the weather changed from 22 degrees to 8-10 degrees during the day, it wasn't one jumper weather at night it was minimum 2 with a beanie. We find our hotel in the heart of the CBD in Hobart nice and easy when you book a bus from the airport, they drop you off at major hotels if you are wanting and easy travel for $35.00 return.
We unpack the bags only to repack them for hiking and it was off to Woolworths to grab the food that you can't import to Tassie and get last minute supplies and then around 9pm it starts raining another restless sleep hoping the rain goes away, fingers crossed, good Tassie weather cant be predicted..
Day 1: Leave it all Behind..
Good Morning Tasmania, What a perfect morning, chilled fresh air fills our lungs as we walk down Constitution Docks backpacks ready and food pack nerves heighten cloths nice and warm, we board the bus at 7:45am to travel to port arthur stopping on the way the Eaglehawk Neck lookout, drivers said one of the best coffee vans around and the view of where we are trekking for the next 4 days in the background, after a 40 minutes legs stretched more coffees and a snack we headed to Port Arthur historical site, We walked around the re-enacting some photos of mine the last time I was there at age 3 while waiting for the boat to take us to the capes track. Port Arthur historic site http://portarthur.org.au
At 11am the sound of the captain shouting out our names with a "hello we are here" we stepped aboard the boat put on what can only be descried as a huge red onies water coat, We headed out looking at the ancients cliffs from a seals view some cliffs on the boat tour are over 80 millions years old.. WOW, after an hour cruise the boat ducks into the little beach cove called "Denmans Cove" little drama with a rope around the propeller strains us in the bay for a while but we get to shore and drop the draw bridge and we jump our feet touch sand landing sturdy are as rock this was it the start no turning back now if you've forgotten anything its 4 days away, then it dawns on me there's no reception here, its really time to disconnect now. So if you are not a Telstra customer you have a break from Civilisation, no communication no distraction just you and the wilderness... (But don't worry I found some secret stops that not even the rangers knew about) but a tip turn your phone onto airplane mode and the battery will last twice as long as its not fighting to find a signal but you can still take photos knowing that you still have power by the end of the day.. It was only a small 4k walk to the cabin for the first night just enough to make sure the shoes felt good the bag was positioned right, and that you had a breath taking view of The historical Port Arthur site, We arrive at our cabin greeted by Katelin the ranger of the cabin called the surveyors. You drop your backpack and Katelin shows you around where you'll be sleeping how the kitchen works the USB charges station and a little about the place. Don't worry I didn't miss where the showers are because there aren't any.. Once you settle in and pull out those decks chairs and watch the clouds float by while you over look the stunning panoramic views to Cape Raoul, you know you're on an adventure and the evening only gets better with the milky way clear as streets lights above while you are counting shooting stars..
Day 2: Colour and Contrast..
Its early not as early as it could have been as your were staring at the milky way in the crystal clean skies, but early enough to still see the dew melting on the leaves. You make a hot breakfast a warm coffee and start planning how to repack you backpack to make the most out of what you know now as in like how to grab you lunch on todays track and making sure the cameras are primed and ready to snap away, walking sticks on hand and water bottles by your side, its an 11km track today which walks beside cape Raoul and you disappear in and out of a eucalypt forest...
I only mention this now just like how I forgot at the start of the track myself, at Port Arthur they provide you with a book a thick one at that you go WHAT more weight, but trust me the book has all these little versus as not only the seats on the path good to rest the legs but there's a story behind them too, Well worth the read as this walking is getting from point A to point B it all about being on the track, you could just trek the whole distance in a couple of hours but then you have twice as many hours sitting around watched the clouds, stay out enjoy the open air read the stories, find every knok step out onto every outlook drop the backpacks and put your hands up screaming "I'm on top of the WORLD" even tho you're on the land from down under you are pretty high up... There are some great little views along the path its a real eye opener, you are just walking thru the bushland and next minute there's a gap and you see cliffs your jaw drops in amazement of the beauty this land has and you look forward to see where you yet to go and look back and go WOW did I really just walk that? Now you're about 3 hours in and you come to a place called Jurassic crack, yes have a giggle this is all Jurassic period stone that we are walking one, but if you haven't got your phone on flight mode you'll hear a faint buzz or lucky your ring tone, that's right at the Jurassic crack of all places there's reception my travelling buddy could stop laughing at my it was like the 4 of July, Christmas, Easter all rolled into one...
After that little bit of enjoyment getting texts have a chat we started to adventure off again down the hill and onto the plans what a view mountains in front and behind blue water to the left and the Tasman ocean to your right. We had to stop I pulled out the go pro took a 30 minute time-lapse stunning resting spot, then it was off to the woods down the gully and back up we stop for our tuna, cheese lettuces wraps yum, as you walk seeing the flora and faunaand not another person any where. There's 45 people spread over 11ks of bushland and cliffs just prefect distance between everyone. Our backs were starting to feel the load, legs starting to shaking from 6 hours of hiking, stop at head turning views, we turn a corner and see glimpse of a building, I look at John and John looks at me and we both smiled with the same thought not long now & that was it WELCOME to Munro Cabin haven, We dropped our bags in our room and heard a whisper that there's a hot buck shower around somewhere, with eyes opened we hunted around found the line up joined celebrating the sprit of the water gods, after a nice wash when headed to our room to find the scotch and coke and enjoy a nice drop while we watch a great view for the sunset fog on the mountains playing and the waved below crashing picking out the boats and the seals that were playing. These cabins are just a little shack in the woods, they are well drafted timber with 2 bunks beds in each or more, the matters are think and soft and the rooms have a either a large glass door or a huge glass window that you can watch the outside change from light to night...
Day 3: Take you Breath way..
ANZAC day no sleeping in today, time for the dawn service there was a faint smell in the air that everyone woke up too early the smell getting stronger and stronger as we walk to the helicopter pad Ranger Nick opens up a contain and says guys I made some ANZAC biscuits last night there wasn't a dry tear on the pad, just the thought of a sweet, the crisp break the freshness, the taste just made the morning extra special.
After our biscuit, our warm oat breakfast and a hot coffee. Now it was the Blades turn to be conquered, it was a 17km walk today tho best news is that we can leave the packs at the cabin only take a day pack little bit of food for lunch, water and cameras a few hours in of walking thru the gullies and a dense fog crossed the lands as we were weaving in and out of bushland, walking along a well made wooden footpath, only stopping to enjoy what views there were between the fog. It was 4 hours of fog and you can hear the sounds of winds blowing hard but you cant feel a thing the fog so dense you cant see more than 10 meters in front, Where are we, I wish I knew what we are walking along, my biggest stress was caring all this camera equipment and only taking photos of fog, As it was day 3 in our trek and we have meet some great people, johns up ahead talking to a couple as I stopped for a camera shot of fog and a cliff in the background that's breaking thru.. I just make them out up ahead, they see me stepping out thru a thick area of fog and they say welcome but the view isn't any good, with smiles on their faces, 5 stairs I walk up and my jaw DROPPED clean blue skies the view magnificent we have reached the start of the blades cliffs 400 meters straight down to the sea the Tasman Island light house a few kilometres ahead the blade it self standing proud in the distance, this is the sight you want to see. The cameras came out the tripod legs extended the sounds of the waves crashing below the birds flying around what amazement, You cant describe the feeling of know the trek you going to walk the track the you already have the scale of the cliffs the vasesness of the ocean meet the horizon, the blue crystal like waters, even the only 4 degrees yet you still feel the sun rays on your face, your only wearing a shirt everything goes out of your mind while you walk the next few kilometres to the top of the blade just looking everywhere the views endless...
MADE IT, What a sight standing on top of the blade a cliff edge 500 meters straight down to the waters below, width of the blade is only half your body length but you're stand there for minutes looking out over the Tasman Island lighthouse, below watching the seals play in their spa bath a rock formation on the Tasman island, the rolling hills behind you as the clouds just skip across the tops, I stood up there for a good 30 minutes taking photos and just watching the blue waves roll in crashing against the cliffs wall and of course sending few videos home as we have reception. But nothing good lasts I had to get to the next cabin called Retakunna another 8kms away and it was already 2pm in the afternoon..
Day 4: Up, over, Out and Back..
Ranger Jason made us feel welcome when we arrived the other day wiry from 17kms of walk and arriving just minutes before the best sunset of the trip that brought the best cloudless night for taking photos of the milky way hours we spend looking up that night. But its now morning and it's pouring with rain, we're cold and wet even before having breakfast. We adventure out, up the path to the moss filled rainforest of the three capes over the heights mountain on the trek 700 meters for the last look of where we have already trekked.. I just start counting stairs when john turned around and said thanks I know we've done 6 stairs already I said glad I could help of 4678 thousand more to walk today, the day of stairs it was up, over, down and around the cape, thru moss gardens, fern gullies, trees wilderness, cliffs escapes,rocky slopes in pouring rain and winds and hail but we adventured on. Stop only to admire the sheer size of the forests and the faint lasting sights of the wildness before the patches of rain took over. 4 hours in.. and we arrive at Cape Hauy the last of the treks detour we drop our bags seeing the glimpse of Fortescue bays our meeting point for the bus back to Port Arthur, We adventured out to the cape and back deep heavy rain, hail stones striking from above and stairs below and cliffs to one side, We get back the bags after a 2 hour stroll have some lunch to empty the bags a little more and with smiles on our faces we pick up our bags only an hour to go of trekking an HOUR, off we going hiking thru bush seeing new people walking the track towards us, families, couples, friends all taking a days walk out the cape, we knew we are close to the end.. It was few more stairs after the last few stairs till we hit a few more stairs but after the next lot of stairs we are faced with 3 large man made seashells with a sign saying welcome three capes walkers.. We have arrived.. It was photo op time screaming ands raised to the air we have made it, we done it, the goose bump all over our body the adrenaline kicks in the joy of such a mission is worth every bit of out sore body, sore legs, acing bones, blisters, tiredness and smell of un-showed bodies..
We make it to the bay drop our bags to wait for the bus, a sandy white beach was in front I could contain myself that's it might be only 4 degess but the sun is out we conquered the capes its time to take the victory swim, a few laughs amongest the walkers saying that's crazy but a few volunteers also decided to joined in the plugged. WHAT A GREAT ENDING TO A GREAT TIME.. We did it.. The three capes was worth it, what an adventure, what a story to relive. But now its back to Port Arthur, for a hot meal and a hot drink...
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