The view from the trail out to Cape Hauy, Tasmania.
Native Australian bushland greets the salty waters edge. Grand gums, hundred of years old, stand firm on the granite bed and dip their roots in the wild seas. Rivers run into the bays, tinted with the tannin from the fallen trees. Oyster shells shucked adorn the beaches as if to tease you into the water for a feast. It’s an invitingly simple lifestyle that awaits in Tasmania.
Boasting 4500km of coastline, it’s easy to be swept away into the wild seas, if only metaphorically.
Whether walking along pristine beaches, diving into the waves or taking in spectacular views of the dolerite columns jutting from wild seas, you will lose all sense of time.
(Fun fact-NSW & VIC have less than this in their collective coastline)
Sphinx Lookout- Kunanyi / Mt Wellington overlooks Hobart and waterways dotted with Islands.
SPHINX LOOKOUT HIKE
Start: The walk starts at The Springs car park, Mt Wellington (Kunanyi)
Distance: 3km return
Time: Allow 1 hour
Trail: Easy, be mindful after rain as can be slippery
Travel: Approx 20km from Hobart
The calm washed over me with the cool wind gently blowing on my face as we set off along the trail. With only a few days in Hobart, we sought to discover the best adventures close by. The trail to Sphinx rocks was damp from overnight rain, the trees a vibrant green having been bathed, now emitting a light scent with wildflowers signalling the end of winter is near. The moss forest atop the giant boulders that partly obscured the trail, was glistening with dew drops, drinking in the minerals from the stone.
(Fun fact – some species of moss can live dormant and dry for up to 80 years, reactivating with rainfall/water and they are capable of absorbing the calcium stored in giant stones that they live upon)
The microforest of moss clings to the granite boulders on the trails
The easterly aspect of the walk took in views of Hobart’s coastline and the intertwined rivers through a native outlook of tall gum trees, an understory of wildflowers and native shrubbery. A narrow trail permits only a single file, so I fell in behind Shan as I do on our many walks, slowing my pace to walk more mindfully and to capture some photographs. With many species of birdlife darting around the canopy, the quietness of the trail was only broken by their calls to one another.
Sphinx rock lookout itself is a Sandstone ledge offering 180-degree views of Hobart and the River Derwent. Off in Storm Bay's distance, you'll see the dotted islands of Bruny and Betsey Islands.
Return along the same trail and enjoy a hot drink at the café at The Springs Café.
(Fun Fact- Almost half - 41% - of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park, or marine and forest reserve. )
Tasmania has over 2000km of walking tracks and with limited days to explore we woke early to make the most of it. Having a hire car, we drove the 45mins to Kettering, south of Hobart to board the ferry across to Bruny Island. If you ever wanted to go in a time machine, then this is your ticket. Its landscape has been frozen in time and those that do reside there seem to build with such conscious awareness that they blend with their surroundings with little to no impact.
The ferry ride across was only 15mins then we drive down to Get Shucked for the freshest oysters I have ever eaten. Quite literally, we sat across from the purest water where these delicious morsels were removed from the bay, taken to the kitchen, prized open revealing the treasure within. With a line that ran out the door, it was the place to be for oysters.
(Fun Facts - Oysters usually live in large reefs or beds, growing together within a community. This characteristic of oysters is mainly due to their reproductive behaviour. They thrive next to each other by bonding through the outer shell.)
The drive further south through the Islands centre took us to a place called The Neck, any image provides a clear indication of where the name came from. The staircase climb to the outlook takes in the gorgeous 360-degree views of surrounding bays and coastlines. The Neck is an important habitat for Bruny Island's native wildlife. Boardwalks and viewing platforms let you observe short-tailed shearwaters and fairy penguins safely as they make their way to their burrows in the sand dunes at dusk.
We meandered along the coastal drive to Adventure Bay and did a few small walks and discovered meeting spots where Truganini is said to have first encountered European voyagers. With the Island wild with bushland that meets the sea, it's understandable how significant these meeting places were to the natives. It saddens me to think of their treatment of them in those times.
We drove further south, stopping in at Alonnah to eat. A Seafood mecca, it would be hard to go past the freshest source and Hotel Bruny did not disappoint. Highly recommend the Seafood Chowder and Linguini with a local apple cider to round off.
Considering the 20+km drive to the Lighthouse we started off along the dirt road only to turn back a few kilometres into the drive. The rutted road made for a slow journey and in a hire car, we were hesitant to approach the drive at the recommended 90km/hr speed limit.
Taking in the fresh air from atop the ferry, the coastline of Kettering was inviting us to stay and discover more however we headed back up to Hobart and an early night. Tomorrow we would hike to Cape Hauy.
Start: The walk starts at Fortescue Bay Carpark, Tasman NP
Distance: 10km return
Time: 4 hours
Trail: Hard – Bushwalking experience recommended. Short steep hill sections, a rough surface and many steps.
Travel: 90mins from Hobart
Fee: Entry fee to park car/ hike is applicable.
The waves crashed on the rocky foreshore, echoing through the campground. The wallabies cruised around nonchalant that we had walked into their presence. It was obvious that the number of visitors to the area, the animals didn’t perceive us as a threat and with my phone filming, a little wallaby hopped over with an inquisitive nose to see what I was about. I could see from the softness in his coat, that he was only a joey.
The stunning walk is along a section of the Three Capes Track. The coastal heath abundant in wildflowers, banksia and she-oaks set the backdrop for the ascent up numerous stone steps into undulating woodlands. The path continues for a few kilometres, turning left at the Signed post to the Cape. An engraved trail cuts through the twisted coastal vegetation that clings atop the windy peninsula inviting you to explore each bend. The initial descent is quite steep onto the cape with many steps, twists, and turns. Watch your footing and take this slow as some sections were slippery when wet.
Once onto the first saddle, the well-formed path provides some light relief from all the steps before climbing to the second saddle and onto the point. Breathtaking 360-degree views of the dolerite columns that plunge into the wild seas with extensive panoramic views stretch far north past the Forester coast to Maria Island and south, detailing the ridges of Cape Pillar.
The trail continues to rise and fall over the remaining two saddles, passing a large sinkhole on the left. As you near the end of the track, many viewpoints open to the edge of the trail. Be mindful and keep your distance as these aren’t fenced and the cliffs can be unstable. The large dolerite column formations- Candlestick and Totem Pole, jut from the ocean can be viewed along the trail at many viewpoints making for some great photographs in the moody skies.
Return along the trail via the same route.
(Fun- Fact- Tasmania used to be attached to Wilson’s Promontory, VIC via a land bridge until 10,000 years ago when the polar caps melted, making the oceans rise. All that’s left of this land bridge is the Furneaux Group of islands of which Flinders Island is the largest. )
I can categorically state that if you are planning a trip to Tassie, you wouldn’t be disappointed in spending a month here. A hikers paradise, this lovely landmass is even shaped (sorta, kinda) like a heart. It won mine.
If you are keen on exploring the Wilderness coastline of Wilsons Prom - once connected to Tasmania or other pack kikes and or events, check out our UPCOMING HIKES