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Cape Raoul Track

Cape Raoul Track

Tasman National Park

Directions - Located just over an hour and a half from Hobart, take the Tasman Highway towards Port Arthur, turning right onto Nubeena Road at Port Arthur. Follow this until you reach a left turn for Stormlea Road, continuing all the way to the end where you will find a car park. The trail head is located to the south of the car park as you head into the forest.

The Hike - With a late 2022 trip to Tasweginland to attempt the South Coast Track, I added a couple of days to the start of the holiday just in case flight delays occurred. The good thing about this if the delays didn't happen, was that I had some time to explore some tracks around Hobart that have been on my to-hike list for a while. Having hiked up to the summit of Mount Wellington on the Pinnacle Circuit the previous day after arriving in Hobart that morning, my plan for the day before setting off on the South Coast Track was to visit the third Cape I didn't get to experience in 2018 on the wine and cheese version of the Three Capes

Joining me today were fellow SCT companions, Donovan and Bronwyn, and if memory serves me correctly this is the first time we have all hiked together. Donovan had hiked the Cape Raoul Track for The Long Way's Better, way back in 2018 but as a budding videographer and influencer, he was keen to shoot this for his new YouTube channel of the same name (be sure to smash those like and subscribe buttons hard). Unfortunately for Bronwyn and I, this meant repeated shots of walking past a camera and waiting for shots to be setup. While some friends may argue I can be annoying on hikes, I mainly ask them to get out of my shots instead of the other way around but given we knew about the filming requirements from Donovan for the SCT, this would serve as practice for seven days of being ordered around. Driving the hour and a half to reach the start was quite pleasant given the stunning scenery that Tasmania provides and after a quick roadside coffee stop, we were at the new and improved car park. Given this is peak summer holidays in Tassie, it wasn't surprising to see a lot of cars already here as this corner of the state has plenty to see and do for prospective holiday makers. 


After sun-creaming ourselves up, we made our way to the start of the track, that is a little underwhelming given the exposed car park in the middle of farmland that borders the national park. I've found this to be the case with many Tassie trails but once you get into it, the true beauty is never too far away. After taking a look at the new information shelter, we headed along a mix of boardwalk and compacted track. It didn't take long to see why this is rated as one of the best day hikes is Tasmania, with the fern lined boardwalk providing early photographic delight for me. During our visit they were in the middle of track upgrades so there were white bags everywhere and a digger parked up just off the trail. It didn't last long and soon we were enjoying the dry sclerophyll forest that was very similar to the Jarrah and Marri Forests from back in WA, albeit with one noticeable difference, it wasn't carrying obvious scars from recent burns. The first part of the track sees you climb continuously along a gentle gradient and this was made easier by the quality of the forest all around us. Add in the summer wildflowers and Bronwyn and I were in iNaturalist heaven. 

After crossing a small wooden footbridge, we rounded a corner and I spotted a bird flitting on a stump, so alerted Donovan so he could film it. Up ahead, we arrived at the first and only piece of public art on the trail with a wooden chair overlooking the forest that is meant to resemble an echidna (and spoiler alert but perhaps an omen for later on today). I enjoyed the public art along the Three Capes and this was a fun little reminder of my time on that track. I had a quick sit before having to get up to simulate what I'd just done for the camera. Just after the echidna chair is the junction to pick either Cape Raoul or Shipstern Bluff as your hiking destination. Having not heard of Shipstern Bluff before today, it seemed quite interesting and perhaps something for future trip to Tasmania. Donovan informed us of the excellent surfing at this location but I forgot my board (and surfing skills). Continuing through the excellent forest, we hadn't even arrived at the "good bits" yet and I was already loving this place. 


Not far along was the first real "wow" moment as you reach the Cape Raoul Lookout, with stunning views over the cape that had to be the main title photo for this post. With absolutely perfect weather conditions today in terms of temperature, lighting and cloud cover, this was just an incredible place to experience. The wooden barriers protect you from the sheer fall down the cliffs and into the ocean below, something that would be quite easy given how distracting those views are. Both Bronwyn and I were busy snapping away at every angle, me with a combination of my DSLR and new phone, eager to capture the place just as I saw it (not with much luck). Whether it was the wide angle shots looking to Cape Raoul and across to Bruny Island (my post SCT destination), or the close ups of Shipstern Bluff and the little islands at the base of the cliffs, there was so much to enjoy here. Eventually prying myself away from the epic views, Bronwyn had a little more trouble, to the point where Donovan and I wondered if she had fallen off the cliff when she didn't join us, even though we had waited a decent amount of time in the forest ahead.