Three Capes Lodge Walk
Cape Pillar Lodge to Fortescue Bay
Cape Pillar Lodge
The Hike - I'm not going to lie, I was starting to warm to this luxury hiking malarkey after waking up at Cape Pillar Lodge for the final time and walking down to the lounge pod for a moody sunrise display. A subdued palette of orange and grey greeted me this morning and it was an appropriate send off for my last day on the Three Capes. On the itinerary today was our longest distance at 17km and the most challenging of the four day experience. Because we had a bus waiting for us at Fortescue Bay and a drive back to Hobart, it was decided by Lauren that an early start would be a good idea. After another lovely breakfast and some fresh brewed coffee we loaded up our packs and gathered on the deck ready to depart on the days adventure. Descending the switchbacks for the final time, we actually headed the wrong way down the boardwalk as Candy wanted to show me a Tasmanian Waratah she had seen on the previous day and I wasn't sure if I photographed it.
We re-joined the group and began the familiar hike up to the public hut where we stopped and enjoyed the fantastic views from the wooden platform, along with eyeing up our foe for the first part of the morning, Mount Fortescue. Lauren had a chat with the ranger at the public hut and she explained that there was a family of blue wrens that had moved into the scrubs around the main building. With another perfect day on the cards we marched off into the forest on the section we'd hiked in on that second day from the four ways intersection. Taking in the mixed scenery of creepy tunnels, exposed sections full of wildflowers and wet forest, it wasn't long before we reached the four ways intersection and the fleeting views of Mount Fortescue through the trees.
We waited for everyone to arrive (we weren't the last ones for a change) and a plan was made for the day as one of the group members had developed a bit of an injury. With everyone in the one location we began the "new" hiking for the day and the exposed boardwalk section to the Retakunna Hut. If you were doing the self guided Three Capes option then this would be your accommodation for the third night, having explored Cape Pillar, picked up your pack from the Munro Hut and walked the three kilometres here. Unfortunately we didn't stop here so I had to take my pictures on the move but it looked like another fantastic place to stay being right on the edge of the open plains and at the foot of Mount Fortescue. The morning sunshine was glorious and it felt like a great day to climb a mountain and explore another cape.
The wildflowers were out on display in the open section heading towards the edge of the forest so I took full advantage and snapped away while I could. Lauren was waiting with the faster members of the group at the base of the hill and soon it was time to begin the 250m vertical climb to the 488m summit. I'd gone a few days without music and with a couple of kilometres of climbing to get through I decided that I might do this alone and Caris could make her way up at her own pace without the pressure of trying to keep up with me. Entering the forest I was in heaven with an abundance of the impressive Stringybarks around and the emergence of a wetter style undergrowth. Passing a large Stringybark I felt like this was the beginning of one of the better sections on the track and maybe a glimpse at what the terrain would look like on the rest of my Tasmania trip.
A sharp left turn proved this theory right as the path changes to a series of small wooden stairs and rocky pavers through increasingly mossy and fern filled terrain. One thing Caris had noted about the Three Capes was the lack of rubbish and as I ascended one of the stairs I thought that observation had come to an end with someone dumping a heap of blue tape all over the forest but as I got closer it turned out to be another art installation. It certainly was a contrast against the greens and greys of the forest and without the guidebook (we didn't get the free copy that you receive doing the self guided option) I have no idea what it was meant to represent. This was highly enjoyable forest to walk through with more ferns starting to appear and good photographic conditions with this side of the mountain being somewhat shaded from the morning sun.