The walk starts at Fortescue Bay. As you drive towards Port Arthur south of Taranna, the road to Fortescue Bay is signposted to the left. Initially this is Crompton Road, and it joins Fortescue Bay Rd after a couple of kilometres. The road is unsealed for the 12km trip through the forest, quite a bit of which has been logged.
The track leaves the road a couple of hundred metres before the ranger station, but it is probably best to park in the signposted parking area near the beach. If you park in the very small space across the road from the track you will need to get right off the roadway, and I think you might as well put up a sign saying "Thieves: This car unattended for a day or two."
I recommend a three day walk, but you can do it in two. I have done it both ways, and two days is a bit rushed. The two-day itinerary would look like this:
- Day One - Walk to campsite, somewhere between Bare Knoll and Perdition Ponds in the morning. Drop packs and proceed to the cape with day packs, returning to your campsite in the evening. The walk out to the cape takes longer than the distance on maps might indicate.
- Day Two - Return to the road, which will probably take slightly less time than the walk in.
Obviously a three-day, two-night trip enables a more leisurely day in between for the visit to the cape, and there is enough to see to fill a day.
Choice of campsite isn't necessarily easy. The best water is at Lunchtime Creek, but this is some distance from the cape and cliff views. Water is also often available at the southern end of Corruption Gully, closer to the cape. Perdition Ponds is the most convenient campsite for visiting the cape, and is where I have chosen to camp. The water from the ponds has a slight brackish tang to it, and some people believe it needs to be boiled. I'd probably recommend boiling and taking some Staminade to flavour it as drinking water, but it's fine for cooking and tea/coffee. You could of course carry water in from Lunchtime Creek.
Therefore my proposed walk would be as follows:
|Waratah along the Cape Pillar track|
A descent to Lunchtime Creek follows and on the way the track passes the Bare Knoll campsites. There are many tentsites amongst the trees, and this site seems to be favoured by school groups. They collect water on their travels from Mount Fortescue or from Lunchtime Creek, and if you are going to try camping here you will have to work out where/when you will get your water. The final descent to Lunchtime Creek is steep. The water is usually flowing well here, but might be unreliable in very dry weather. There is a boot-scrubbing station here, and a few small campsites. You might plan to camp here and find no room, so be prepared for that.
The awesome views commence about ten minutes beyond this point, enabling sunrise and sunset visits to the clifftops on all days of your visit, and for me this easy capacity to get to the clifftop makes Perdition Ponds the preferred campsite. Eating breakfast or dinner perched 270m above Storm Bay as the sun rises or sets is a great way to start or finish a day. Day One would finish therefore with a visit to the cliffs, continuing along the track up a small hill onto the mainly flat clifftops in this vicinity, until you find a view you are happy with that allows comfortable seating for your party. There is one particular spot maybe 15 minutes away, just before the track starts to descend again, which has clear views of The Blade, Tasman Island, the cliffs back towards Port Arthur and also Mount Brown and Cape Raoul to cap it off. Obviously care is required along these cliffs. You can also push through the scrub a very short distance right at Perdition Ponds to emerge on the edge of the cliffs there. This is quite spectacular too, although the view is of the sea rather than any landmarks.
|Tasman Island from the best high viewpoint.|
|Tasman Island from the|
summit of The Blade.
|Tasman Island and The Blade|
from the cape high point.
You reverse your outward journey to return to camp.
The final day then consists of a return to the car at Fortescue Bay. Some parties vary this by climbing over Mount Fortescue. I haven't been there, and I'm told the views are sparse. I'll update this sometime when I get around to visiting Mount Fortescue.