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South East Cape walk (19 November 2011)

contributed by iandsmith
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Tiger snake on the trail

Then I rang Gerry, someone Iíd never met, and arranged to do a day trip as far south as you can go, further than any road in Australia. Itís a quirky drive to Cockle Creek, past settlements with the odd cafe and even odder attractions, like the Ida Bay Railway for instance. Gerry proved to be effervescent and well travelled around Tassie, one of his part time jobs assisting him there. Heís also put out a number of DVDís on Tassie, something he was going to film for today.

Cockle Creek - Start of all the tracks.

Both being into photography we stopped not infrequently at ever smaller places like Moss Glen with its two houses and Catamaran Creek where there were only caravans and tents. Another thing Gerry had his eye out for was Mount La Perouse and he spotted its snow capped presence beyond a new bought of forestry clear felling that had blighted the foreground but made photography possible.

South East Cape

Cockle Creek is one extremity of the great South Coast walk, one of two classic multi-day treks in Tasmania, the other being the Overland Track.

The Whale sculpture Thisis just after the end of the road and records details about when whaling used to be the major industry in this region.

After we checked out the whale sculpture we set off and signed the walkersí book, something they ask you to do on a lot of trails. I then remembered Iíd left my wallet on the front of the dash but couldnít be bothered returning for it.

We pushed on through the bush on an uneven track for just under an hour, the unquestionable highlight being when we had to loop around a fallen tree and I came upon a tiger snake who then eyeballed me as I carefully got a few shots and then retreated.

Gerryís highlight was getting a good shot of a parrot, the like of which Iíd not seen before. He was learning to keep an eye out for other things on the trail.

Then we reached the boardwalk, it goes for another half an hour through mostly dry type swamp, more your mud really, something Tasmania excels in at these latitudes, before we reached the melaleucas, native laurel and a small tannin stained stream that trickles through the undergrowth just before the sand dunes.

The roar of the wind blown surf now filtered through the trees as our anticipation rose until we broke through and there was the Great Southern Ocean in all its glory, windswept by a stiff onshore breeze that blew the tops off the swells. The cliffs where we came out were bare of all but the most hardy of plants and the occasional one of them was only a few millimetres in height.

Cockle Creek About halfway from Cockle Creek to South East Cape

We found it difficult to maintain our footing at times as we walked around, gusts pushing us this way and that. Somehow it added to atmosphere as we sat and ate and fixed our gaze on the South East Cape of Tasmania whose battered ramparts reach for a couple of kilometres out into the sea.

By the time we started the return journey we were feeling our exertions and our legs told us they would be very happy when they reached the car but that was two hours away so we both got into a rhythm and strode purposefully along the path until we gratefully saw the UNLOCKED car. Fortunately my wallet was still there!

It had been wonderful to see this southern area, on a fine day it is truly special. Sadly, thatís not something that happens a lot down here!

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