Experience one of Tasmania’s most challenging walks with the South Coast track pioneers
Wild unspoilt wilderness, remote untouched beaches, rugged mountain ranges, pristine rivers, and towering rainforests – this is wilderness at its best. Originally an escape route for shipwrecked sailors, the South Coast Track now doubles as an escape route from modern life. Amidst this truly wild area you will discover a land with a history of early pioneers and indigenous Australians that is occupied by an abundance of wildlife including wombat’s, pademelons, quolls and the rare orange-bellied parrot. The generous time frame built into this itinerary allows for side trips and a complete rest day for swimming and relaxing on an empty beach. You will walk 10-15kms per day carrying packs up to 20kgs; no special skills are required other than excellent fitness and an open, flexible approach to being in remote areas for consecutive days.
9 days (including 1 rest day)
Quality. That’s the one word that resonates throughout our whole program. We select only the highest quality guides, use the best equipment, the freshest local food and allow ample time to achieve our trip objectives. Combine our decades of experience with the inclusions listed below and you’ll have a special kind of Tasmanian experience – a quality one.
Our adventure begins early today as we are transferred to Cambridge Airport. The scenic flight into Melaleuca in the remote south western corner of Tasmania is a definite trip highlight. After a quick look around we begin walking to the coastline and today’s destination, Point Eric. On arrival at our water-front campsite we pitch our tents, collect drinking water and settle in with a hot drink.
After breakfast and packing up camp we head out along the beach. Tides dictate this morning’s timing as we skirt around a rocky headland before climbing up onto Sedge and Melaleuca clad plains that draw us inland. There are a number of suitable lunch spots where the tannin stained fresh water trickles through the ancient quartzite hills. We have a short but steep climb and descent over Red Point Hills and enjoy wonderful panoramic views from the top – today’s high point. In the afternoon we make our muddy way toward Louisa Creek where, depending upon our timing, we may camp beneath the towering trees that border this beautiful watercourse.
Today’s destination is Louisa River which flows close by the base of the impressive Ironbound Range. If timing and conditions are favourable we can enjoy a side trip to the stunning Louisa Bay. Here we can explore, swim and enjoy morning tea before continuing our journey towards the looming Ironbound Range. Our night’s camp is located in the wonderful eucalypt forest that lines the Louisa River. It is a stunning campsite that sets us up for the following day’s early start. The broad river is a favourite swimming spot if the afternoon is warm and a major obstacle after rainfall.
The mighty Ironbounds!!! Our high point is almost a thousand metres above where we start and finish today. Your guides will have breakfast ready in the predawn darkness and be busy getting the group on the track by sun-up. We climb up the exposed western slopes, over open ground and vegetation stunted by the prevailing westerlies. In fine weather there are plenty of great rest spots where the views are spectacular beneath us. From the top of the range we may be lucky enough to see the Eastern and Western Arthur Ranges including Federation Peak, through to Mount Anne and all the way to formidable South West Cape and Maatsuyker Island. The broad top of the Ironbound Range commonly receives the harshest conditions known in Tassie and snowfalls, gale force winds and pelting sleet are never unexpected. This is a long and demanding day and the top is not even half way, the slippery and muddy descent is through a tangle of lush rainforest which in turn becomes thick Teatree bush as the last few kilometres follow the coastline to a very welcome sight – our campsite at Little Deadman’s Bay.
Today is the only full rest day on the tour and the only place along the track where an open fire is permitted. It’s a wonderful treat to sit by the glowing embers, read a book, play some cards and let your body relax and recover from the last few days’ activity. Your guides will spend some time today re-supplying from our nearby food-drop.
Feeling refreshed, we look forward to tackling some of the track’s best mud holes, a challenging rowboat lagoon crossing and walking along the coast’s longest beach. We trek over broad sand dunes, wade across watercourses and climb over headlands letting no obstacles stand in our way! There are a few campsite choices for tonight and your guides will decide where to stay based on the availability of fresh water, the fitness of the group members and their own personal favourite spots where they may know special sights and hidden points of interest.
This is a favourite day for many people as we wander through wet sclerophyll forest from beach to beach. Today’s short distance means a leisurely lunch with time to wriggle your toes in the sand, swim in the ocean, search for Devonian Fossils, or just sit back and relax. A favourite lunch spot is Surprise Beach, which is just a short distance, if not a little steep, to our afternoons destination Granite Beach. As we descend onto this bay our eyes are drawn out to the incredible fluted dolerite columns of South Cape. At the eastern end of the bay our campsite is perched above the cliffs beneath the tea tree and eucalypt canopy. Our water source here cascades off the cliffs onto the beach to make a wonderful, refreshing shower.
A big day in the hills – We get an early start to make our way over the South Cape Range to our final night’s camp at South Cape Rivulet. We begin with a lengthy climb through the moist forest to the day’s highpoint about 500m above sea level offering beautiful views back along the coast as far as South West Cape if we’re lucky into the mountains of Pindar’s Peak, Mount LaPerouse and Mount Lilateah. This is a deceptive day with our high point being the first of 7 hills that we climb and descend before stepping into the sand of South Cape Rivulet where we cross the sometimes deep, outlet of the lagoon to our campsite. This is a wonderful day of wet and dry forests, buttongrass plains, tea tree swamps and dazzling coastal views. The beach at our camp is one of the best along the South Coast for a swim and not many people pass through without enjoying one.
Today is a gentle end to an amazing trip. The morning has us strolling along a couple of picturesque beaches and then up over a headland. The top of the cliffs is a perfect place for a rest while the waves below crash at the base of our lookout. Our 9 day trek concludes at Cockle Creek – this quiet blissful bay has a couple of holiday homes, an information shelter and our chartered bus & driver make a welcoming site waiting to take the group to Hobart. We usually drop you at your accommodation in Hobart at approx 5pm & after a shower and some clean clothes it’s common for the group to get together, to enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants. An astonishing trip that will truly stay with you for some time to come.
Cultures throughout history and around the world have stories of travellers lost in or stolen away to wild and magical lands, where trials are undertaken, challenges overcome and allegiances made as the adventurers strive to return home. We too were transported to the distant reaches of the South Coast of Tasmania and enchanted by the wondrous wilderness, the surging seas and the breath-taking sunsets. We battled the potent and determined mud and conquered the mighty Ironbounds and thanks to Paul and Vincent, our heroic guides, we too returned home safely; triumphant and inexplicably, somehow transformed by our experiences.
The South Coast Track that I did was an excellent experience. Despite setting off 2 days late due to weather, we all had a good time. It was very physically challenging but well worth it. Once in a lifetime experience. The guides were top notch and I felt their skills and knowledge were exceptional. We were in good hands.
Had the most amazing walk on the south coast track. The 2 guides Will and Will got me to Cockle Creek to the end of the walk. They picked me out of the mud and carried my pack on the hard climb up the waterfall and across creek crossing. Couldn’t have done it without them. Awesome guys, thank you. I will be 60 soon so will be doing some easier walks next time.
Hiking the South Coast track with Tasmanian Expeditions was one of the best experiences of my life.There were multiple highlights: the beauty of the Ironbounds; the camaraderie of the whole group; and the gentle isolation from the rest of the world, but it was the whole experience led by Paul, Will and Vincent that fills me with a happy glow.
At almost 67 I knew it would be hard and it was. Each day involved breathtaking landscapes which often varied hourly. The challenges were many including avoiding bogs and cutting grass and descending the Iron Bound Range but at every stage the guides Ash and Ken were supportive and knowledgeable and equipped with everything needed to meet challenges e.g. my gaiters blowing out because they were Velcro which Ken repaired so well that they lasted for the rest of the trip. The camp sites were exceptional and again varied from beachside to an incredible sunset and sunrise on top of the Ironbounds! The food was exceptional and the equipment provided – tents sleeping mats etc – reminded me how far things have progressed since my last big walk about 8 years ago. To emerge at Cockle Creek at the end was exhilarating and I would encourage fit people of any age to do the walk. It is an experience that I will never forget; bookended by Ash’s magnificent mushroom risotto on a rock out in the South Cape Rivulet in the afternoon sun on our last night on the track
Communication before the trip was excellent. Guides were organised and informative. Enjoyed the company of the whole group. The scenery was spectacular and every day was an adventure.
I highly recommend doing the South Coast Track with Tasmanian Expeditions. The coastal and mountain scenery is great. The walk itself is so varied with plenty of challenges to break up the walking day eg mud, water crossings, beach and rock walking. The leaders- Paul, Will and Vincent, through their planning, hard work and care made the trip feel comfortable, relaxed and so much fun. Their passion for hiking and exploring the natural environment was infectious. I think the entire group would agree that the hike left its mark on us, in terms of amazing memories that we are revisiting often, new friendships, and a thirst for the next adventure.