Tasmania Three Capes Walk – our best hiking experience
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service offers a variety of nature walks in Tasmania, one of which is the Three Capes Walk. This scenic coastal walk takes visitors through stunning landscapes, including towering cliffs and sweeping ocean views.
The track is well-maintained and provides comfortable huts for overnight stays. The Three Capes Walk is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, as it showcases the natural beauty of Tasmania.
The Tasmania Three Capes Walk is a stunning and challenging trek that takes you through the heart of the Tasman Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed region.
The walk covers a distance of 46 kilometres and is set over four days, with three nights of camping in huts along the way.
The Tasmania Three Capes Track begins and ends in the charming coastal town of Port Arthur and takes you past towering cliffs, pristine beaches, and lush rainforests, offering breathtaking views of the ocean and the surrounding landscape.
If you did the Great Walk on Gold Coast – this is quite a different experience.
The History of the Three Capes Walk
The Three Capes Walk was officially opened in December 2015 and has quickly become one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist attractions. The cost of building the trek was $25 million dollars.
It is a unique and sustainable way to experience the beauty of Tasmania’s wilderness in Tasman National Park, with minimal impact on the environment. The trail has been designed to blend seamlessly into the landscape and offer visitors an immersive experience.
The presence of numerous boardwalks immensely improved the walking experience for hikers.
The best time to do the Tasmania Three Capes Walk
The best time of year to do the Tasmania Three Capes Walk will depend on a variety of factors, including personal preferences, weather conditions, and availability.
In terms of weather, the summer months (December to February) offer the warmest temperatures, with average temperatures ranging from 10-20°C. Also in the summertime, usually there is less rain. Winter (June to August) can be cold and wet, with average temperatures ranging from 5-12°C.
The peak season for the Tasmania Three Capes Walk is from December to February when the weather is warm and the days are long. During peak season, booking a place on the walk can be challenging, so it is important to book well in advance.
Book Three Capes Walk at least 6 months ahead if you plan to do it during the school holiday
How long does it take to complete the walk?
The Three Capes Walk takes four days to complete, with each day consisting of roughly 11 – 19 kilometres of walking (except for day one – 4 km).
The walk is organised to slowly increase the distance every day to get you accustomed to the track condition.
The individual days are:
Day 1 – 4 km (2 hours)
Day 2 – 11 km (4 hours)
Day 3 – 19 km (6 hours)
Day 4 – 14 km (7 hours)
The hours, however, can vary depending on your pace and the amount of time you spend exploring the breathtaking views along the way.
Three Capes Walk has a few kilometres of boardwalks to make the experience more enjoyable
It’s important to take your time and not rush through the experience. Allowing yourself plenty of time to rest and take in the views can help make the journey more enjoyable.
Make sure to pace yourself, take regular breaks, and listen to your body to ensure that you don’t over-exert yourself.
There are regular stops on the way but don’t expect ordinary seats. Each resting point is a uniquely crafted art with a story behind it. It could be a seat, a painted rock or a throne chair – you never know what to expect.
Stop, enjoy the moment and read the chapter from the book you were given.
Is the Tasmania Three Capes Walk difficult?
Due to many boardwalks and in general good trek conditions, the Tasmania Three Capes Walk is a medium-difficult trek that requires a good level of fitness and mental toughness. There are many families with children as young as 8 years old doing the track.
The walk has a lot of uphills and downhills, and the steep and rocky terrain can be challenging, especially in wet weather.
However, the stunning views and the sense of accomplishment upon completing the walk make it a truly unforgettable experience.
Can you do the Tasmania Three Capes Walk on your own?
Yes, definitely. The Tasmania Three Capes Walk is done as a self-guided walk. A self-guided walk offers more independence and flexibility, allowing you to set your own pace and make your own decisions about when to stop for breaks.
However, it also requires a higher level of responsibility and planning, including finding your own accommodation, carrying all your own gear, and being prepared for emergencies.
Don’t worry, there are up to 48 people on the walk (maximum allowed per day) each day. If something happens there is always someone to ask for help.
On the other hand, don’t be a stranger, talk to other hikers and share your experience.
Are there showers on the Three Capes Walk?
Munro is the only hut where you can take a shower.
Munro Hut is where you arrive on day 2 of the hike. As you see, it is conveniently placed in the middle of the walk so you can refresh yourself before you hit the most distance-challenging parts of the walk on days 3 and 4.
What food to take on the Three Capes Walk?
Food is always a big topic on walks like this.
The food we eat every day is heavy and it can really add a few kilograms to your backpack that you don’t want.
During our walk, we have seen people who brought fresh vegetables and food, packs of fresh meat – in general, heavy stuff. There are facilities in the huts to cook proper meals but to carry everything is a different story.
We always recommend nutritious dry food, that is lightweight, easy to store, and provides adequate nutrition to sustain you on the walk. Some suggestions include dry meet and pasta, trail mix, energy bars, dried fruit, nuts, and cheese.
Plan ahead by pre-packing individual servings of snacks and meals for each day, and make sure to include plenty of water and electrolyte-rich beverages to stay hydrated.
Dry food – buy or prepare?
Indeed you can buy dried food that is designed for hiking from the hiking shops. The big cons of purchased food are it might not be to your liking and the price – usually $20 for an individual meal.
If you multiply how many days you hike by 3 meals per day it can be a huge cost especially if you walk with your family.
The way we prepared for the walk was to dry our food using a food dryer and pack individual meals in separate bags. This way we had 4 bags of 3 meals each: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Upon arrival to each hut every day, we only boiled the water, soak the food for 10 minutes and off you go, the meal was ready.
Can you do the Three Capes Walk in one day?
No, the walk is designed as a four days hike with three nights of sleeping in the wooden huts with facilities.
Planning your trip
When planning your trip to the Three Capes Track, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. The best time to hike the trail is from November to April when the weather is mild and the views are at their best. However, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly.
Booking the hike is easy – simply head to the Three Capes Track website and reserve your spot. Be sure to book in advance, as the hike is extremely popular and spaces fill up quickly.
When preparing for your hike, make sure you have the proper gear. This includes a hiking backpack, sturdy hiking shoes, a waterproof jacket, plenty of layers, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
You’ll also want to bring along a day backpack as on day 3 and day 4 you will be able to leave your big backpack in Munro and go all the way up to The Blade and back with only a day backpack.
Training for Three Capes Track
The Three Capes Track takes about four days to complete and is considered a moderate to challenging hike.
The hike is well-maintained and has a few kilometres of boardwalks. There are many places to have a break, relax and enjoy the views.
Before you come to the Tasman Peninsula, it is a good idea to do some practice hikes in a national park or conservation park to get your fitness level to the right level.
The best part of this walk is that you don’t need to bring a tent as the accommodation is provided in huts along the walk.
Accommodation and Amenities
There are three well-equipped huts, each with bunk beds, a kitchen, and a lounge area. The huts provide a comfortable place to rest after a long day on the trail.
Food and water are readily available at the huts, but you’ll want to bring along your own snacks for the day’s hike. There are also a few basic supplies available for purchase at the huts, but it’s best to come prepared.
Toilets are available at each hut. The shower is only available in Munro hut.
The Three Capes Walk – Our Experience
We did our walk between 24 December and 27 December. Luckily, after some miserable rainy months in Tasmania, we got beautiful weather and not even a single drop of rain.
We arrived in Port Arthur at 9.30 am, so we had plenty of time to explore the historic site of Port Arthur. After a quick lunch, we were ready for the adventure!
Day 1 – Port Arthur to Surveyors Hut
2.30 pm – getting on the boat in Port Arthur
We left Port Arthur on the boat to explore the waters of Carnarvon Bay and Maingon Bay. We navigated to Safety Cove and Crescent Bay. Even though it was summer, there was a bit cold and windy on the boat. The blankets were provided.
Interestingly, it is a very popular spot for a daily trip by locals. You can get there by road.
On the way back, we admired the cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula.
3.30 pm – arriving at Denman Beach
We arrived at the sandy Denman Beach. Due to shallow waters, we had to get our feet wet. The water was 14 degrees.
4.00 pm – the start of the walk
We put on our socks and shoes and started the walk. It was only 4 kilometres of a small incline that finally lead us to Surveyors Hut.
6.00 pm – arriving at Surveyor Hut
Our big surprise was the quality of the huts. It is a modern decked villa with boardwalks around it, and great kitchen and lounge facilities. Even the path to the toiled is a boardwalk!
The view of the distant cliffs was stunning.
We had plenty of time to prepare our meals, read, relax and enjoy.
6.30 pm – Briefing by the ranger
The purpose of the briefing is to let us, hikers know what to expect the next day. It is a good, informative 30 minutes that everybody should attend.
Day 2 – Surveyors to Munro Hut
8.00 am – 1 pm – getting to Munro
On day two, our destination was Munro Hut. It was an 11 km walk without too much of the incline.
On the way, we stopped a few times but the biggest highlight was Arthurs Peak with its magnificent views.
Slowly we were getting accustomed to the unique stops they prepared for us. Each seat or stop had a unique art design and story behind it.
We arrived at Munro very early. Munro Hut has the best view you can ever expect. In good weather, you can see the huge cliffs, Cape Hauy and The Lanterns in distance.
The weather was warm and sunny. We took a hot shower and relaxed for the rest of the day.
4.30 pm – Briefing by the ranger
Day 3 – Munro to Retakunna Hut
Day three and day four are the most exciting days, so we were looking forward to seeing the spectacular view. And, we were not disappointed.
8.00 am – 9.30 am – Munro to the cliff’s edge
We left our hiking backpacks at the small hut next to Munro and we only took daily backpacks. I can tell you the walking was much easier
The first part of the day three walk was not very challenging and there were a lot of boardwalks, so walking was easy. After having a few short breaks we arrived at the cliff’s edge, and from there it was only getting better.
9.30 am – 11.00 am – The Blade and Cape Pillar
I think the pictures tell the story. One thing you have to know is that the final part of The Blade is not for the fainthearted. There is a really narrow path that leads to the top. Be very careful!
Cape Pillar access is very easy and the views are amazing.
11.00 am – 1 pm – back in Munro, collecting our backpacks
We were able to return to Munro in 2 hours.
Don’t stay at Munro too long. Instead have a quick rest, grab a drink and walk to Retakunna Hut – if you stay too long in Munro it will be difficult to get your rhythm back.
1.00 pm – 2 pm – arriving at Retakunna
After we collected our full hiking backpacks it was more difficult to walk, but we had done it already. Surprisingly we were first at the hut. Other hikers arrived within 3 hours.
Retakunna Hut is located in the middle of the bush, without a spectacular view. This time we also got a thick fog and limited visibility. This did not affect us, as we were already safe in the hut.
5.30 pm – Briefing by the ranger
Day 4 – Retakunna to Fortescue Bay
It was another amazing day!
8.00 am – 10.00 am – Retakunna to Track Junction
The first challenge was to climb Mount Fortescue. I can’t remember how many steps we did but once we got to the top we were relieved.
Slowly after we went through a rainforest with huge ferns and trees. Later we were rewarded with a spectacular view over the clouds.
At the track junction, we left our hiking backpacks again and took only daily backpacks for the Cape Hauy walk.
10.00 am – 12.00 pm – Cape Hauy
I have to say that this part of the walk is the most challenging one.
There are two huge descends and ascends to get to the final lookout. Take it slow and easy.
Believe us, it is worth it. The 360 degrees views are one of a kind and you will not find many places like this in Australia.
12.00 pm – 1.30 pm – arriving at Fortescue Bay
The final part from the track junction was a gentle, rocky descent. Slowly, the Fortescue Bay waters emerged on the right.
We did our Three Capes Walk photo in the designated photo area (one of the stops). We felt like we achieved something.
Fortescue Bay has crystal clear blue waters and many hikers had a short swim. For us, the water temperature was too cold – only 14 degrees.
We had a great time and we can recommend it to anyone seeing some new challenges in life.
The Three Capes Walk – Summary
In conclusion, the Tasmania Three Capes Walk is a unique and memorable experience that offers stunning natural beauty and challenging physical activity.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-timer, the Three Capes Walk is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the rugged and breathtaking landscapes of Tasmania.
So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and embark on an unforgettable adventure along the Tasman Peninsula!