We collect you from your Hobart accommodation at approximately 7am and transfer to the Southwest National Park, stopping for coffee on the way. Our walk begins from Scotts Peak Dam and the green shelter of the Huon River Campground. Waving farewell to our transfer vehicle and driver, we begin our journey south through small pockets of rainforest and buttongrass plains.
The trail undulates over a series of ridges before we cross Junction Creek and a Phytophthora (root rot) wash down station. Junction Creek marks the meeting point of McKays Track and the Port Davey Track. Our camp for the evening is located on a protected knoll close to here and Junction Creek.
Walking Distance: 7km | Walking Time: 4hrs | Driving Time: 3hrs
Today we are provided with great views of the western extreme of the Arthur Range. In good weather the optional side trip up Moraine Alpha (A) towards the high peak of Mt Hesperus (1098m) is offered. We hide our packs behind glacial erratics and scramble to the top to be rewarded with expansive views of the Frankland and White Monolith Ranges, including Wombat Peak, Sculptured Mtn and Stonehenge Peak.
Returning to our packs, we continue to skirt along the western rim of the Arthurs. We trek through open country of Swamp Melaleuca and buttongrass and climb through a broad saddle with the White Monolith Range to our west. Tonight we pitch our tents at the southern side of the Crossing River.
Walking Distance: 9km + 6km side trip | Walking Time: 5hrs + 4hrs side trip
The walking today is spectacular: low scrub beside the track allows unobstructed views of the magnificent surrounding peaks, and a great chance to see some of the many bird species that call this remote part of the world home. The trail leads us around Mt Robinson and along the vast Crossing Plains with its large water catchment.
We traverse up to eight different creeks, which in wet weather can extend this day's walking immensely. Small pockets of resilient south west rainforest are encountered and we arrive at camp approximately two hours after the last major creek crossing. We make camp at Watershed campsite and settle in with a hot drink and nibbles while our guides prepare a well earned evening meal.
Walking Distance: 11km | Walking Time 5-8hrs
The phrase ‘being in the middle of nowhere’ definitely rings true here; pristine wilderness spreads as far as the eye can see, and a spellbinding sense of real isolation spreads through all bushwalkers. Today is a long day with relatively easy trekking and expansive views along the course of the Spring River, Bakers Ridge and Mt Braddon.
A distinctly Tasmanian quartzite track leads us up onto the Lost World Plateau after negotiating several creeks. A brand new (much needed!) foot bridge takes us over Spring River to our waterfront campsite. At dusk, the bridge is the perfect place to sit and watch for platypus.
Walking Distance: 14km | Walking Time 6-8hrs
Today commences by climbing on top of a spectacular ridge just after gaining the high peak of Border Hill. We continue along the ridge and descend steeply into paperbark forest and into a deep rainforest gully. This gully harbours the most dense and biodiverse rainforest of the entire track.
Lunch is often enjoyed in this refuge of shade before climbing back up to the exposed ridgeline, around Lindsay Hill exposing Mt Rugby to our east and immense views over the entire Bathurst Harbour. Depending upon the tidal update from our Tasmanian Expedition base and current weather conditions, the Bathurst Narrows are crossed late this afternoon in rowboats. If a crossing is not possible, we make camp at Farrell Point on the northern side of the Narrows.
Walking Distance: 10km | Walking Time: 5-7hrs
After a relatively leisurely sleep-in, we begin our last day of trekking to the tiny post tin mining era outpost that is Melaleuca. Your guides may offer an excellent side trip down to the waters of Bathurst Harbour affording expansive views north and into the harbour and a chance for an invigorating swim. We walk into Melaleuca mid-afternoon with time to kick back and reflect on the journey behind us and the present beauty at hand!
Walking Distance: 12km | Walking Time: 4-6hrs
After a hearty breakfast there is sufficient time to explore the historic mining and conservation surrounds of Melaleuca. Spend some time bird watching and catch a glimpse of the rare and endangered orange bellied parrot, or walk up to the inlet and go for a swim.
Today is enjoyed lazing under the shade of our camp, enjoying a game of cricket on the remote airstrip and simply resting up for the South Coast Track ahead.
Today we have a great opportunity for a sleep-in and a relaxing morning at Melaleuca. Further guests may be flying in from Hobart on this day to join the next section of our adventure.
Leaving Melaleuca, we trek towards the Southern Ocean and arrive at Cox's Bight and Point Eric. On arrival at our water-front campsite we pitch our tents, collect drinking water and settle in with a hot drink and time for a game of beach cricket, a swim or just a wander along the beach before dinner.
Walking Distance: 12km | Walking Time: 4-5hrs
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 the beautiful watercourse of Louisa Creek and our evening’s campsite.
Walking Distance: 11km | Walking Time: 5-7hrs
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!
Walking Distance: 6km | Walking Time: 2hrs
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 the formidable South West Cape and Maatsuyker Island. The broad top of the Ironbound Range commonly receives the harshest conditions known in Tasmania 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 Tea Tree bush as the last few kilometres follow the coastline to a very welcome sight – our campsite at Little Deadman's Bay.
Walking Distance: 13km | Walking Time: 7-10hrs
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.
Walking Distance: 11km | Walking Time: 4-5hrs
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 ts 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.
Walking Distance 10km | Walking Time 4-5 hours
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 moist forest to the day’s highpoint about 500m above sea level. If we are lucky there are beautiful views back along the coast as far as South West Cape to the mountains of Pindar’s Peak, Mount LaPerouse and Mount Lilateah. This is a deceptive day with our high point being the first of seven 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 can resist taking an invigorating plunge!
Walking Distance 8km | Walking Time 6-8 hours
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 crash below. Our 16 day trek concludes at Cockle Creek, Australia’s southernmost town. This quiet blissful bay has a couple of holiday homes and an information shelter, and is where you will be met by our friendly bus driver to be transferred 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 and enjoy a celebratory dinner at one of Hobart's many wonderful restaurants. This is a spectacular and wild trek that we believe will stay with you for a long time to come.
Walking Distance 11km | Walking Time 3-4 hours