Cape Hauy Track
Tasman National Park
Directions - Located just over 90 minutes south east of Hobart, to reach Cape Hauy head east out of the city on the Tasman Highway and follow the signs for Port Arthur. Before the Port Arthur Lavender Farm turn left onto Joiners Link then right onto Coronation Road before a left onto Fortescue Road. Follow this all the way down to the car park at Fortescue Bay.
The Hike - With the Tasman National Park famous for the Three Capes Track and the great four day adventure that you can have on that experience, the good news for hikers looking for a day hike is that most of the park is still accessible. If you don't have the time, money or gear to do the Three Capes (or have just missed out on a booking) then you can still access both of the capes (yes the Three Capes only visits two of the capes). The day trip to Cape Pillar is the longer option at 18km so Cape Hauy at 10km return is a good length with plenty to see along the way. Day or weekend trips from Hobart exploring the historic Port Arthur region of the state wouldn't be complete without some time in nature and the Cape Hauy Track is a fantastic option if that's what you want to do.
Once you driven through the forest along the bumpy gravel roads and reached the car park, the beautiful Fortescue Bay is visible through the tree line. This picturesque turquoise bay is where the forest meets the water with a thin strip of white sand providing a fun border. The result is very photogenic and if you pick a sunny day then it almost feels like you're on a tropical beach somewhere in Mexico (minus the palm trees). There are campgrounds available if you want to make a weekend of it and you can't argue with the location. The start of the trail begins at the north eastern side of the car park and heads towards the boat ramp (follow the orange markers). With the money that has been poured into the Three Capes Track, you can certainly tell from the get go on this essentially almost free hike (Tassie Park Pass is required) that the track is going to be a good one. A metal bridge takes you over a small stream and you begin hiking along the edge of the bay and up the hill. Resting sea birds were making some noise on the rocks below as we passed but it isn't long before you lose touch with the shoreline as you get higher up the hill and into the dry sclerophyll forest that dominates the coastal parts of the Tasman Peninsula. With the views out over the bay keeping your eyes distracted, I enjoy that the trees compliment the view rather than get in the way.
Reaching the public art display that signifies the ceremonial end of the Three Capes for those completing the journey, it's a fun piece that overlooks Fortescue Bay and makes for a nice photo opportunity. Still continuing uphill you leave the views of Fortescue Bay behind and enter the thickest part of the forest for a mix of boardwalk and single track towards the Cape Hauy turnoff. This is a really relaxing part of the hike and it doesn't feel like you need to rush to get to the money shots of Cape Hauy. The thick tree trunks and lush undergrowth provide welcome relief if it's a warm day and a section of native pines adds a bit of variety to the mix. In spring and summer watch out for the wildflowers that blanket the undergrowth along with the occasional skink sunning itself on the boardwalk sections. At the 3.5km mark the forest starts to thin a little and you catch sight of the Cape Hauy turnoff. A rather elaborate meeting junction, depending on the time of day you might see a lot of backpacks stacked against the seats as Three Cape Track hikers dump their packs for the return trip out to the cape.