South Cape Bay Walk



For our after Christmas holiday we made our way back to Tasmania as we had finally managed to do some overnight walks with the kids, and thought that there is nowhere better to be doing an overnight walk than Tasmania! It’s hard work getting the boys out to a walk-in campsite, carrying our gear, carrying one or more children, or alternatively bribing the oldest child to walk himself!

Our first bushwalk was 3 nights on the South Coast of Tassie. Plan A was to spend the first night at Lion Rock, night 2 at South Cape Rivulet, and night 3 back at Lion Rock. Plan B was to push really hard and get to South Cape Rivulet on night 1 (12kms), thus having a day walk from there, and camping at Lion Rock on night 3. We weren’t overly confident about plan B.   So we arrived at Cockle Creek nice and early (at 9am) with Plan B on our minds, and also as it is a very warm day, potentially over 30 degrees, we wanted to beat the heat. After giving the kids the slip, slop, hat action, we head off to sign-in to do the walk and also clean our boots at the boot station.   With our 3.5 year old walking we expected to take 4 hours to travel the 8.5kms to Lion Rock, with Dad heading out ahead to drop his back (and then retrieve the child) if we needed to pick up the pace.

Some 4kms in, walking along the easy boardwalk, we started hearing distant noises. Dad made the comment “I’d like to think that’s waves, but I think it’s thunder”. Given the pleasant weather in Tassie so far, and our previous glorious days on the South Coast Track we have naively forgotten to check the weather report and the potential thunder came as a complete surprise. As I looked up towards the Southern Ranges I realised the error in my thinking. And of course, we were still some distance from the ocean!  As we had been walking for well over an hour and my shoulders were aching, we took a break at the next shady spot we arrived at (given it was still hot and sunny), however due to the impending thunderstorm Dad rushed ahead to drop his pack off, with the aim of me giving the kids lunch. I barely had time to put rain jackets on myself and the boys before the rain was pelting down and the thunder was above us. I sat my two boys on my lap with muesli bars, and tried to keep them dry and happy, as we watched people rushing back to their cars, dressed in shorts and tshirts, also unprepared for the weather.

When Dad got back to us, soaking wet, some 30 minutes later I was surprised he wasn’t carrying his pack, as I thought conservative Daddy would want to go home, given he, myself and our eldest were soaking wet! As I couldn’t be the one to call it quits, we headed on up the track, only about 1km, to the dropped pack. From there, to save time in the intermittent rain, we took the youngest out of the comfy baby carrier and attached him to Dad, whilst I carried the eldest. So Dad was loaded with an extra 13kgs, and myself with an extra 6kgs. We slowly and steadily made our way to Lion Rock, fighting driving rain as we finally hit the coast and walked down the beach.

In a tragic twist, we missed the sign to the campsite and started heading up over the headland along the South Coast Track. After climbing about 50ms, of which Dad had to give me a lift on some of the bigger steps, we realised our mistake and backtracked to the campsite.   It was with great relief that we got our kids undressed and dried in the tent, and we were able to entertain them with lunch, a makeshift tennis match, and jumping on the big pile of sleeping bags, whilst the rain continued outside. It was with much relief that their bedtime came around and they fell asleep quickly .

Whilst the rain had stopped in the early evening, enabling Dad to take some photos on the beach, it came back during the night and was still persisting during the morning, so we made the sad decision to head back. The kids were great, and hadn’t complained despite spending 20 hours in the tent. In order to get back to the car as quickly as possible, and due to the potentially very wet track, we decided it was best to carry two children, making for an exceptionally heavy load for each of us.

The track which had been bone dry on the way up, was now under water in places making quite a spectacle! Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos as Dad wasn’t taking any chances with his new camera getting wet, and had it locked away in a dry bag. As we neared the car we past a couple of walkers starting the South Coast track and asked them for a weather report. They said the weather would be clearing in about 3 days, which vindicated our decision to pike. The walker then added it would be sunny for a couple of days after that and then probably raining again by next week, such is the fickle South West Tasmanian weather.

Despite the rather unsuccessful walk, I am formulating plans for our return, with the ambition of extending the walk to Surprise Bay. Of course I will check the weather report next time.






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