The walk from Fortescue Bay to Cape Hauy, 10Jan2011

In January 2011, we camped at Fortescue Bay (-43.142182,147.967191) on the Tasman Peninsula in the southeast corner of the island of Tasmania, about 95 km southeast (by road) of the capitol of Hobart (-42.885728,147.331055). The campground is about 10 km down, and up, an improved forestry/logging road from Eaglehawk Neck (-43.017827,147.925558).  The Isthmus that is Eaglehawk Neck about 100 feet wide at its narrowest point and in convict times in 1830s, a line of dogs was chained to posts across the neck to warn of any convicts attempting to escape the prison at Port Arthur (-43.145665,147.850612).

[Just enter the (latitude, longitude) pair into a Google search box and it will return the map of the location].

Eaglehawk Neck (at the right) as seen from Pirate’s Bay Lookout.

We were car/tent camping and hauled everything to the campsite from the parking lot in carts/wagons. We did not want for food conveniences, as we had a well-stocked larder brought from home base. I don’t think we had a fire and, as a former Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow and thus a pyromaniac (just kidding), I think I would remember having a fire. There seemed to be a significant fear of fire that summer due to the drought on the Island the previous year. I do remember not having a bottle opener to open the beer after the bush walk the following day. Thank goodness the next tent over came through with an opener for the beer following the return from the bushwalk. The campsite was a couple of hundred feet from the beach and one could hear the calming sounds of the water crashing on the beach. We walked up and down the beach near the campsite that evening. Turquoise waters and white sands seemed to surround the eastern side of Tasmania and this beach was no different.

Another gorgeous east coast Tasmanian sunset.

Even though there were very few people at these beaches, and with Tasmania only having a population of slightly more than 500,000 souls, my native guide informed me that it was so much more crowded than it had been twenty years earlier. The next day we set off midmorning on the bush walk to Cape Hauy, at the tip of a small peninsula leading from the campground. We first passed by some campers and fisherman who might not have had the most environmental approach to the beautiful landscape. It was a cool overcast day but not raining. As there was little public water, it was always important to carry bottled water and of course, in that tradition borrowed from the Indian subcontinent, we had tea for our midday repast. Also for lunch we had that fabulous local sandwich-like concoction of sprouted grain wraps spread with tahini and vegemite and rolled up for the trip. The outbound walk was pleasant, generally uphill and after a while closer to cliffs and their sheer drop offs. I suppose the trail was never really close to drop-offs , but it was close enough for me. We paused at one of the first good viewing points and it was just a bit steep for me and my acrophobia (fear of heights). When we got to the  Lanterns (-43.138307,148.004376) we managed to have our cup of tea and snacks and a brief rest before heading back to camp.

Return walk from Cape Hauy, approximate location: -43.134878,147.978444

It was not long after we returned to camp that the rains came. Luckily with a couple of air mattresses, one on top of the other, in the tent we did not get too wet. But as fair weather campers we packed up the camp and got in the car to avoid the rain and headed to Port Arthur (-43.145665,147.850612) to see the former convict settlement before heading back to Hobart.

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