200 INCREDIBLE HIKES OF A LIFETIME: AMAZING ADVENTURES AND EPIC TRAILS
Stuart Butler and Mary Caperton Morton
Explore the most epic walking routes of the world from the comfort of your armchair.
Among the walks included in the book there are some spectacular Australian and New Zealand routes. It features Australia's Three Capes Trek and Dove Lake Circuit, both in Tasmania, as well as the Larapinta Trail (The Northern Territory ) and the Great Ocean Walk. Also included are classic New Zealand walks: the Tongariro Crossing and the Milford Track.
Whether the Himalayas or Mt Fuji are on your bucket list, or you are looking for more obscure treks to discover, such as striding with Maasai guides through the remote corners of their homeland, Greatest Walks of the World will spur your spirit of adventure and set you planning the trek of a lifetime
Stuart Butler is an avid hiker who writes about hiking, wildlife and conservation issues. He is also an award‐winning photographer.
Mary Caperton Morton is a science and travel writer. When she's not writing, Mary climbs mountains, hikes, skis and takes photographs.
Greatest Walks Of The World
by Stuart Butler & Mary Caperton Morton
Out September 2023
Tasman National Park,
28.5 miles (46 km)
Hema Tasmania State Map
Port Arthur/Fortescue Bay
Hike to the ends of the Earth on the ragged edge of Tasmania.
Curiously, there are only two capes along Australia's famous Three Capes Track: Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy. To hike the third, you'll need to tack on an 8.7-mile (14 km) out-and-back day hike to the tip of Cape Raoul, west of Port Arthur, best done as a warm-up before tackling the other two capes on your four-day hut-to-hut trip. But even if you skip the day hike and only visit the two capes, you won't feel short-changed on this gorgeous multiday hike along the Tasmanian coast. Between the colourful stands of eucalyptus trees and stunning views of the Tasman Sea along the narrow, clifftop peninsulas, there are many reasons that this is one of Australia's most popular treks.
Devils and Tigers
The island of Tasmania, located 150 miles (241 km) south of the mainland, was separated from Australia by rising sea levels around 11,700 years ago. The Bass Strait has presented a formidable barrier to animal and plant migration for at least that long, resulting in a unique assemblage of flora and fauna on the island. The most famous endemic residents of Tasmania are the Tasmanian devil, a small carnivorous marsupial, and the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, which was declared extinct by the
Tasmanian government in 1986. The last thylacine was shot in the wild in 1938, but rumours and unconfirmed sightings of the doglike tiger-striped marsupial persist to the present day.
The Three Capes Track begins at Port Arthur, once a penal colony, now a historic site, where you'll catch a boat across the bay of Port Arthur to Denmans Cove. From there you'll trek for four days, stopping each night at modern huts, so you don't need to carry a tent or cooking equipment. The four-day walk visits Cape Pillar, Cape Hauy, Mount Fortescue, Arthurs Peak, and the Ellarwey Valley, and ends at Fortescue Bay.
Port Arthur is a beautiful place with a notorious past. Located 60 miles (97 km) southeast of the state capital Hobart, Port Arthur operated as a large
penal colony from the 1830s until 1877. Touted as an inescapable prison, the
peninsula on which Port Arthur sits is a natural fortress, surrounded by water.
The only connection to the Tasmanian mainland is via a 100-foot-wide (30 m)
isthmus called Eaglehawk Neck. Today the penal colony is preserved as the Port Arthur Historic Site.
2. Cape Pillar
The southeasternmost point of the island of Tasmania is a long, narrow strip
of land that juts out into the Tasman Sea. This cape is named for its distinctive
pillars of Jurassic-era dolerite, a type of volcanic rock that forms the tallest
sea cliffs in Australia, soaring 980 feet (299 m) high above the waves. As you
approach the needlelike end of the cape, the towering columns of dolerite narrow to a dramatic, crumbling knife-edge called the Blade. Offshore sits the
oval-shaped cliff-bound Tasman Island, home of the Tasman Island Lighthouse,
truly the ends of the Earth.
3. Overnight Huts
On the Three Capes Track you can choose to carry a tent and camp in
designated campsites or book beds in the three backcountry huts"Surveyors
Cove, Munro, and Retakunna Creek" along the way. Each hut has running
water, gas top stoves, sleeping cots, and toilets, as well as modern amenities like USB charging stations, yoga mats, and memory foam mattresses. The huts
sleep four to eight people so tenting will likely be a quieter option.
4. Cape Hauy
The second cape of the Three Capes Track isn't as dramatically narrow as
Cape Pillar, but the views of the rocky coastline and the sea beyond on both
sides of the cape are just as spectacular. You'll descend a series of steps toward the end of the cape, which is also lined by towering dolerite columns that plunge straight down into the sea. Be careful of the cliff edges as it's often
windy here. You might consider carrying binoculars on your trek as this is an epic spot to watch for humpback whales, seals, seabirds, and the endangered
Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle.
5. Mount Fortescue
The high point of this hike comes on day three, with a climb up 1,608-foot (490 m) Mount Fortescue. The trail up the mountain runs through mossy, fern-filled
eucalyptus forest. Keep an eye out for the elusive Tasmanian short-beaked
echidna, a spiny-backed insect-eating mammal that lays eggs. From the
summit, through thick vegetation, you'llbe able to see Cape Pillar, Cape Hauy,
Fortescue Bay, and the rest of the trek.