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03 March 2013

Bushwalk - Fortescue Bay - Cape Hauy - Mt Fortescue return via Cape Pillar Track Monday 23 July 2012

Bushwalk - Fortescue Bay - Cape Hauy - Mt Fortescue return via Cape Pillar Track
Monday 23 July 2012

Dad suggested a bushwalk & we decided to go to Cape Hauy near Fortescue Bay on Tasman Peninsula.  We got down there at 9.15am and there was no-one else around - except for 2 Parks guys with their boat at the ramp.

The track to Cape Hauy has been upgraded to the level of a gravel footpath with very professional stone work - similar to the walk up to Wineglass Bay lookout.  The upgrade will be part of the Three Capes Track.

We came across a few wallabies happily grazing in the morning sun on the early sections.  It seemed that the new track followed a more scenic route looking over Fortescue Bay than the old one.

After a short time we reached a track junction to the right that lead to Mt Fortescue.  We had a quick chat and headed that way.  This is a 'regular' bushwalking rough track that initially follows the cliff-tops with some awesome views.

There were occasional numbered pink tags on pegs which we guessed were marking the route of the Three Capes Track.  The climb up to Mt Fortescue was pretty gradual and we reached the top at 12.45.

The top is about 490m high and is covered in tall trees with a small gap for views down to Cape Pillar and the lighthouse of Tasman Island beyond it.  After a sandwich and a mug of hot chocolate we continued down a much steeper track south towards the Cape Pillar Track.
This had been in shade for a few months and was pretty slippery.  After a few kilometres in the dense bush we reached a rocky cliff that reminded us of Sphinx Rock from Mt Wellington.

We followed a path below the cliff & climbed up at the other end & realised that there was another path we could have taken along the top.  We continued a short distance to a creek and small waterfall.  There was a log crossing here and an old sign pointing across it saying 'Camping' - pointing across the log crossing.

I thought that this might just be a side-trip to a campsite.  There were a few other tracks following up next to the creek and we looked up those but they all faded away.  We returned to the log-crossing to 'Camping' and followed that well-worn track.  It seemed to head the correct direction so we kept going.  It eventually turned to run parallel with the creek that we had just crossed - but was up about 10m higher than the creek - to the south of it.

After a few hundred metres we reached another log crossing with a sign to Camping and another sign the way we had come to Mt Fortescue.  We headed up the only route that didn't have a sign which was up hill towards the Cape Pillar Track.
After some steep & scrubby climbing we eventually reached the sign-posted junction with the Cape Pillar Track.  It was now about 2.45 but the sky was clear & sunny.  We headed back to the n/w and at 4pm we reached an open plain we spotted a 5 men ahead and then noticed the Parks Helicopter on the ground in buttongrass.  They were about to leave & we said hello as we passed. 

We continued along the track with was partly boards (in the boggy spots) and dry, rocky track in other areas.  At 5pm it was getting dark and we got our head torches out of our packs to be ready for the darkness.  We started heading down to the creek near the end at 5.30pm and my eyes were adjusting to the dusk so I didn't use the head-torch.

We reached the road at 5.45pm and strolled back to the car.  It was nice to sit down in the comfy car seats after about 8 hours of walking and a good day out.