Treks: Cape Raoul, Port Arthur
|Route:||Stormlea Road -> Summit -> Cape Raoul (lower plateau) -> Summit -> Stormlea Road|
|Distance:||14 km (8.7 miles)|
|Average Trekking Time:||~ 5.5 hrs|
|Difficulty:||🙂 🙂 🙂|
|Scenery:||🙂 🙂 🙂|
How to get there?
The journey from our stay (Port Arthur Motor Inn) to the trail head of Cape Raoul was approximately a half hour’s drive away. Do drive prudently on the narrow gravel roads, and be vigilant for any wild creatures- bunnies, echidnas etc. You DO NOT want to run over these cute animals down. Trust me, YOU DO NOT. The empty roads with cars occasionally passing by, makes the drive pleasantly comfortable- not to mention good company with good music jamming over the radio. Aaahhh… … That was the life… …
The route to Cape Raoul is somewhat similar to the journey to Coal Mines Historic Site. We drove on Nubeena Road, but instead of continuing on (as with Coal Mines Historic Site), we made a left turn onto Stormlea Road. Just travel on to the end and voila… …
The trail for the trek starts at the end of Stormlea Road, next to the Raoul Bay Retreat- a wooden cabin standing tall on the fairly much open field. Parking spaces are available just at the mouth of the starting trail.
Another structure that stands tall on the open field is the toilet. Yes, people, a toilet.
TIPS (Toilet, Log Book, Lunch)
I have no qualms having an open concept designed toilet, you know; like the ones at a SPA- breathtaking and fresh. However, this is way too medieval. I may be an inch overboard on this divisive issue, but I can’t, I just can’t go into cubicles like this. Period. I couldn’t face the latrine- awfully too much of a city girl for that. There is no flushing system installed, and who knows what creepy crawlies have been there.
Of course, I pressed J into going in first to recce. She knows she can’t win in the battle or who goes first when it comes to this kind of situations. Haha… 😀 Thanks girlfriend! I will never forget the many unwilling times you wished you didn’t have to go first, but you know I am too stubborn to barge unless you took the lead.
After a few seconds (definitely less than 2 minutes), she came out. And then the decision. I was in a catch-22. Either I tighten my incredibly small feeble bladder for the next 5 hours during the trek, or I put aside the cleanliness freak inside of me, and just do it!
The latter option seemed more wise.
I went in, shut the door for 2 seconds, then dashed out gagging at the revolting smell from within the cubicle walls. To be fair, the cubicle wasn’t so bad, it was… …decent, if I must say, as compared to other toilets in the wild of course. I mean, there wasn’t any flies hovering around (thank goodness), maybe a few spider webs and ants, but it was decent. It was all in my mind. The whole idea of not being able to flush after use, and thinking of all the waste left by previous occupants just sends shivers down my spine.
I decided to try once more. Hurriedly, I did what I had to do, shut the toilet seat behind me, and scrambled out gagging for the second time. Oh boy, an experience, I may not want to relive unless imperatively necessary.
But I would like to say, thank goodness for the free use of toilet facilities provided by the Retreat, for if it wasn’t there, I would have to endure 5 hours or more of excruciating torment.
A word of advice? Use the bathroom before you leave your hotel/motel if you are like me, a cleanliness freak. Otherwise, the toilet facilities are actually quite alright. I mean, J could take it, and there aren’t any flies or flying bugs, so that’s cool right? Oh, did I mention there’s a sink to wash your hands. 🙂
The Log Book
This is probably the most fundamental thing to do BEFORE any trek in Tasmania! Sign it/ register your treks before embarking in your odyssey.
The log books are kept inside a metal container bolted to the signboard at the head trail.
This is a great preventive measure to ensure our safety, just in case we got lost in the woods, the rangers can come and get us. When will they come to our rescue? Well, I’m not sure how often they check the log books. Probably not that soon, I reckon. A few days, maybe? I do not ever want to find out either.
Pack some energy foods (bars, sandwiches, drinks), you need it. With loads of oomph spend climbing, and manoeuvring on the patchy ground, we needed a break on the summit to embrace nature, have water break and, without saying, to take photos of course. I brought along my favourite carton of hydration drink- COCONUT WATER! Obsessed. Invigorating and thirst-quenching with every gulp. 😀 I got mine at Woolworths in Sorell Township en route to Port Arthur.
It is vital that we constantly stay hydrated throughout the trek. We may be too engross and exhilarated with the scenery that we may forget to hydrate our body, and this can be dangerous. Bring a huge bottle or two of water in your bag pack!
The trail starts of intimidating, with many muddy “carpets” sprawled at intervals to welcome us into the inland. This was the part J loathe the most, and I have never seen her so irritated before. This was definitely pushing her buttons. As we travelled on, we jaunted through very narrow walk path surrounded by overgrown tall grass, what seemed like a never ending route of tall bushes.
Once out, we inclined up a gentle slope and cross a fallen log bridge. I would say this was the most galvanizing part of the trek, and I adore this part the most. The log was huge, steady and covered in slippery green moss and algae. With lack of experience crossing something like this, I did it on 4 limps cautiously. Haha…! As I crossed, I imagine myself as a little rascal on a great adventure with my buddy, with a mission to find hidden treasures in the enchanted woods. How enthralling! I LOVE IT! 😀
Soon enough, going through the woods on a wider path, we reached a junction with a huge signboard (left heading to Cape Raoul and right towards Shipstern Bluff). This was also our indication to take a water break.
Following the left hand trail upwards, the forest bore our first magnificent view of the incredible dolomite cliffs of the Tasman National Park! Also another indication for a break! Haha… The view was breathtaking and so worth it. All the effort of braving through the mud, grass, moss, and algae seemed to all melt away with the sweat that trickled down our backs and foreheads. We took a moment to catch our breath and snapped pictures (well, mostly J did the snapping) simultaneously. While she was capturing the views with the lens, I was out and about exploring the other side of the lookout and absorbing every moment my eyes can capture and store in my brain.
At the summit, to the left, we could see the heathland on the lower plateau (Cape Raoul)- our end point before retracing our steps. To the right, the lookout opens to a stunning view down to Shipstern Bluff.
Continuing on, the trail leads along the cliff top before descending the steepest section of the trail onto Cape Raoul plateau. Trekking along the cliff top provides many amazing angular views of the sea against the cliffs. With the blazing sun dazzling the sea into sparkles, the vista is just beyond words. No camera can do justice.
We did some climbing on 4 limps near the edge of the cliff as it was pretty rocky and windy, but the journey near the edge of the cliff has the perfect view- no obstruction by those wretched trees. I was so thrilled by God’s creation, that J was yelping at the back asking me to be cautious with my steps in fear I would fall to my death! Haha… …
On the lower plateau, hurls of hostile wind gusting pushing us two steps back as we advanced one. In the middle of the plateau, lies a small lake. We didn’t venture towards the lake for the high winds were going through great lengths to prying our feet from the sandy ground. We pushed on further towards the edge of the plateau to get a better view of the rock formations. Not too close to the edge though- you never know when the wind could really pry your feet from the ground!
As we detoured, the view of the summit seemed so far-fetched that we were reverent we actually climbed that high prior! On the flipside, we languor at the fact that we had to ascend that much to reach the summit once more.
A 14 km expedition to the end of Cape Raoul (inclusive of returning the same way) and 5.5 hours(ish) spend with my best friend, trekking until we both looked half dead was so worth it! 🙂
Just a word of caution- DON’T FALL OFF THE CLIFFS! Tremendously hostile weather conditions like high winds can occur near the cliff edges and on the lower plateau! STAY SAFE PEOPLE!
Hope this inspires you to go be a nature lover, do some trekking, and travel whenever!