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Like your journeys epic? Peaks and Cliffs is for you. It begins in the heart of World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park for The Cradle Mountain Huts Walk. We set out on the famed Overland Track, a six day journey staying in the park’s only private huts. Rainforest-hugged alpine tarns, dolerite peaks and vast button grass plains are our constant across six days.
It’s then onward to the bustling capital of Hobart for a well-earned rest day before the wilderness calls once more. Three Capes Lodge Walk takes you through Gondwanan forests to edge-of-the-world cliffs. Think wild Southern Ocean views as your loyal neighbour. There are 37,000 years of history to ponder and architecturally-designed lodges on this trek. It also comes complete with exquisite massages rivalled only by the lodge views.
On our Peaks and Cliffs epic, you’ll walk over 100 of Tasmania’s finest kilometres.
Approximately 7 hours walking
After an early breakfast at your accommodation, we will transfer you to our walkers base. Here you and fellow Cradle Mountain Huts guide will do a gear check and introduction before being transferred to Waldheim in the Cradle Mountain - Lake St.Clair National Park.
Today we climb the steepest section of the whole Overland Track. Reaching Marion’s Lookout (1250m) takes about an hour, with steps leading through steeper sections. The reward, providing weather conditions allow, is staggering views of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake. Every uphill step is worth it.
We continue around the base of Cradle Mountain along the edge of a spectacular glacial cirque before dropping into Waterfall Valley. Our private hut awaits, beneath towering Barn Bluff, having completed the steepest part of your journey (excluding side trips). It’s a welcome retreat after several hours walking over exposed alpine plateau where some days the wind howls – a reminder of nature’s power.
Approximately 6 hours walking
Today we’ll be walking across plains where glaciers once rested, slowly moving and scouring out shallow tarns. Although an undulating trek with a few sections of exposed moorland, there are no significant climbs today.
We take our time venturing across vast button grass plains where ancient pencil pines fringe alpine tarns. Rising from the moors, the peaks of Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff are behind us. Look ahead, and the stately Mt Pelion West comes into view.
Those looking for additional challenge today can take a side trip to Lake Will. Hugged by pencil pines and with its narrow quartzite sand rim, Lake Will is striking. Keep an eye out for gravel mounds along the way, remnants of Joseph Will’s coal mining efforts in the 1890s.
This evening, at Pine Forest Moor Hut, enjoy our outdoor dining setting with views out to Mt. Oakleigh in fine weather.
Approximately 5 hours walking
This morning we venture through gorgeous myrtle-beech rainforest as we descend around the base of Mt Pelion West, down to the Forth River before it plunges into Lemonthyme Valley. We’ll take a break at Frog Flats beside the Forth River, which happens to be the Overland Track’s lowest point.
From here, it’s a gentle ascent back out of the valley. We leave thick Eucalypt forest behind as the trees part to reveal Pelion Plains. Uninterrupted views of Mt Oakleigh’s dolerite spires now come into play.
The Pelion Plains area offers a host of side trips, hugged by mountainous terrain. There are excellent swimming holes, peaceful nooks to rest and abandoned copper mines to explore. Come nightfall, we’ll be nestled amongst dry sclerophyll forest at Pelion Hut.
Approximately 4-9 hours walking (Optional 5hr side trip to Mt Ossa)
Today begins with a climb of almost 300m to Pelion Gap through beautiful rainforest. Pelion Gap is a plateau stretching between Mt Pelion East and Mt Ossa, affording fantastic views to the south as well as back to the north.
There’s plenty of time for side trips from Pelion Gap including the option to summit Mt Ossa. At 1617m, it is Tasmania’s highest peak. There are other less challenging climbs, including Mt Doris.
From Pelion Gap it's a further two hours of gentle downhill to the hut. Today, choose to keep things relaxed or challenge yourself to stand atop the island’s highest point. Once we arrive at Kia Ora Hut, enjoy a Tasmanian drop with spectacular views out to Cathedral Mountain.
Approximately 4 hours walking
Today is about icy-flowing waterfalls. We depart Kia Ora hut and walk about an hour to Du Cane, where a 1910-built hut remains from the long-gone days of animal trapping. Du Cane Hut is a fine spot to rest, surrounded by native gardens and overlooked by the spectacular Du Cane Range.
From here, we wander through some of the oldest forest in the National Park, with King Billy pines as much as 2000 years old. Now, we are above the Mersey River, which descends deeply northward towards Bass Strait, spilling down cliff faces.
There are three major sets of waterfalls in the area. We aim to visit one or more of these, choosing the best to have lunch beside depending on conditions. During the afternoon, we make our way over Du Cane Gap, and then descend beside the spectacular Falling Mountain to Windy Ridge Hut. Tonight is a celebratory one, our last evening on the track.
Approximately 3 hours walking
Our destination today is Australia’s deepest natural lake – Lake St Clair – shaped by glaciations over two million years. Birdsong helps us along this final day as we walk mainly through flowering dry sclerophyll forests.
We arrive at Narcissus at the northern end of Lake St Clair in time for lunch, before boarding the Idaclair cruise boat for a spectacular 17km cruise back to Cynthia Bay. There’s typically around half an hour to look around the Visitor Centre here.
Upon meeting the bus you will be transferred to Hobart and checked into your accommodation at the stunning MACq01. Tonight you’re free to explore the streets of vibrant Hobart and discover your endless dinner options
*If MACq01 is unavailable you will stay in accommodation of similiar standard.
Approximately 2 hours walking
At the start of your walk we will pick you up from MACq01 between 9.00am - 9.10am, followed by the Old Woolstore between 9.05am - 9.15am. Or make your way down to our walkers base (164 Murray Street, Hobart) at 9.30am. Here you will meet your guides and have a briefing.
Upon arrival at Stewarts Bay we will make our way down to the jetty where a private boat will be waiting to depart for our short trip across to Denman’s Cove at 1.15pm. Cruising with views back to Port Arthur, aside from the possible seal and dolphin spotting, some of the highest dolerite cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere come into view, an indication of the drama to come.
A short wade ashore from the boat signals your arrival at Denman’s Cove. On day one, please wear shorts, zip-off walking trousers or pants that can be rolled above your knees. You may encounter knee-high waters, depending on where sandbanks have formed. At the beach, we’ll fuel you with local produce for lunch, in preparation for a gentle walk through coastal woodland to the rocky refuge of Surveyors Cove. At this point, if the Southern Ocean begs, head for a dip before a gradual incline up to the lodge.
Crescent Lodge is perched high, with far stretching views across Crescent Bay to Cape Raoul, with guest rooms spilling into the gully. Settle in with a warm shower as your guides-come-chefs prepare a three-course feast of local fare. Post dinner, take your Tassie pinot to a quiet deck for your own private sunset.
Approximately 5 hours walking
Wake to the stillness of Crescent Lodge, with the aromas of your cooked breakfast wafting through. From here, head due south while taking in views across Safety Cove and Maingon Bay to Bruny Island. A climb up Arthurs Peak, 300 metres above sea level, is well worth the oceanic vista. In these parts, White Bellied Sea Eagles soar in the thermal currents, so be sure to look skyward. Lunch isn’t far away, an easy downhill descent to south-facing cliffs where pelagic seabirds are plenty - albatross, petrels and gannets. Here, there’s nothing between you and Antarctica.
Following lunch, skirt the edge of Tornado Ridge before heading south toward Cape Pillar Lodge, your base for the next two nights. Your pace might quicken with the knowledge that there is a massage, facial or relaxation bath on offer.
Approximately 6 hours walking
This is the most adventurous day of your journey. Today you’ll walk through silver gum forest (Eucalyptus Tenuiramis), a species endemic to the area and out to the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. There’s little wonder Cape Pillar has been afforded other names – Hurricane Heath and Desolation Gully. A side trip to The Blade is a must, with staggering views across to Tasman Island.
Lunch is served at Chasm Lookout – with Tasman Island’s weathered lighthouse in sight. Then, it’s a direct return journey home to Cape Pillar Lodge where the relaxation pavilion, three-course dinner and ocean views await. Unlace the boots, kick up your feet and let the sea breeze tickle your toes.
Those with a penchant for pampering can forego today’s walk and spend the day at Cape Pillar Lodge. Enjoy one of our relaxing treatments ranging from 45 minutes to a splendid three hours and immerse yourself in the enchanting surrounds.
Approximately 6 hours walking (Cape Hauy side trip optional)
It’s time to farewell Cape Pillars safe forest haven. From here you’ll cross Retakunna Creek (local indigenous dialect for creaking trees) en-route to a patch of rainforest. Breathe it in – lush mosses, ferns and vibrant greens. Next mission is the peninsula’s highest peak, Mount Fortescue, climbing some 490 metres above sea level. Enjoy lunch with leafy-framed ocean views overlooking The Monument.
Take the side trip and enjoy the majesty of Cape Hauy - or simply remain with the group for a final cliff-walk descent onto the cool white sands of Fortescue Bay. This is your chance to drop the pack and sink your toes into pristine sands or perhaps take a celebratory dive into the crystal clear waves. After some canapes and a glass of sparkling to celebrate the wonderful time spent together, you’ll be transported back to Hobart for those staying on in Tasmania and via the airport for evening departure flights.