Saturday, 26 November 2016

Cape Pillar

Tasman Island and The Blade from the Seal Spa lookout, early morning - 18th November 2016
Now that the Three Capes Track has altered the landscape here, it has also made some changes to the way Cape Pillar can be visited by non-3CT walkers.

The Bald Hill former campsite has been decomissioned with lots of bits of dead tree - 17th November 2016

I set out to do a 2-day walk, carrying water to the Cape from Lunchtime Creek, and camping amongst the sheoaks near The Blade. I wasn't too sure of the logistics or legitimacy of this approach. The parks website says camping is at Wughalee Falls for anyone not on the 3CT. I haven't yet found any explicit banning of camping anywhere else, and I've often worked on the assumption that "camping" could occur anywhere more than 500m from a road, where camping wasn't explicitly (and legitimately) banned.

Cape Pillar shadows on the sea at sunset - 17th November 2016

The location of the Wughalee Falls campsite is decidedly unhelpful in walk organisation. This is presumably the intention, so we shouldn't be surprised. I gather it also has very healthy and active populations of leeches and mossies to enliven your evening.

The plan all went fine, and the ranger I spoke to on the way out was enthusiastic about the attractiveness of the camping near The Blade, so it didn't seem to be a problem. I think if lots of people did it very obviously, then we'd find a ban in place though. You just need the capacity to bivvy wherever you can find space.

The new track makes the walk significantly easier just because the rougher parts of the old track are now much easier walking, and the hills are fewer and gentler. You can collect water from the huts (at least nobody complained when I got about 2 litres) or from Lunchtime Creek. The old track can be found leading steeply down to Lunchtime Creek, or the new track crosses it higher up about 5 minutes beyond Munro Hut. Note that visiting Lunchtime Creek campsite means a lot more down and up than following the new track gently round through the Munro Hut complex.

The "Seal Spa" lookout, which overlooks the seal haulout on Tasman Island, is great for a sunrise viewpoint.

There are apparently 36 story seats along the 3CT, designed by students. They are certainly interesting. More photos of them can be found in Google.

"Wind Song" on the Cape Pillar track - 18th November 2016

The Munro Hut is undoubtedly sited in a very spectacular spot. The views to Munro Bight and Cape Hauy are superb, and they have built a special viewing platform to maximise the effect. The 3CT huts themselves are very luxurious, but they would want to be given the cost of the walk. I was surprised at the size of the packs some of the 3CT walkers were lugging - they don't need tents, mattresses or cooking gear. I'm not sure exactly what some of them had brought along. Others obviously had economised appropriately on weight.

Munro Hut complex - 17th November 2016

View to Cape Hauy from Munro Hut - 17th November 2016

The sun sets beyond Bruny Island, as seen from The Blade - 17th November 2016

Tasman Island - 18th November 2016

Waratah, Telopea truncata, Cape Pillar Track - 18th November 2016

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