Jutting out from the southeastern tip of turrakana / Tasman Peninsula is a spectacularly rugged hunk of coastline that offers one of the most rewarding hikes in the state: Cape Hauy. Gemma and her pals tackled the track one afternoon, and were so impressed by the sheer grandeur of the vistas that they quickly stopped caring about how many stairs they had to climb!

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Paredarerme people people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

Tasmania’s Cape Hauy is a challenging but well-marked 9.4km return hike that starts from the very pretty Fortescue Bay on turrakana / Tasman Peninsula. The start of the trail is 96km from Hobart – about a 1.5 hour drive.

About Cape Hauy

Cape Hauy is situated within the bounds of Tasman National Park – a protected area of extreme natural beauty on the tip of turrakana / Tasman Peninsula. Lovers of the great outdoors flock to this part of Tassie to surf, swim, snorkel, dive, fish, camp and enjoy the myriad scenic walks the peninsula is riddled with.

Part of the famous Three Capes Track and one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, Cape Hauy is a real zinger of a hike that can be knocked off in just a couple of hours: depending how fast you walk and how long you stop to picnic. Once the path opens up from the initial scrubland, the views are staggering, and walking along the cliff tops for a good few hours is an experience so magnificent it’ll sear into your memory forever.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

History of Cape Hauy

turrakana – the palawa kani name for the Tasman Peninsula – has been a place of cultural significance for the Paredarerme people for tens of thousands of years. In the winter months, they subsisted off the land here, especially shellfish – a history that can still be seen in several parts of the peninsula – before migrating up the coast, into the midlands and across to the Central Highlands when the weather got warmer.

The peninsula’s European name comes from Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, whose expedition first sighted this coastline in 1642. In later years, many of its original inhabitants were killed or ousted, and Port Arthur, Australia’s most infamous convict settlement, was established there in the 19th Century. 

The prison closed in 1877, then in the 20th century, became a popular tourist destination – with history buffs delighting to explore the ruins. 


How to Get to Cape Hauy

By Car

From Hobart, jump on the Tasman Highway (A3) – swinging by Sorell to grab a coffee from Velvet Cafe, if you’re so inclined – then get on the Arthur Highway (A9) towards Port Arthur. From Eaglehawk Neck, stay on the A9 until you hit the juncture with the C344 – which you follow for 12km until you get to Fortescue Bay. Though this road is unsealed, it’s fine for 2WDs and mountain bikes.

By Bus

There are private bus companies that can pick you up in Hobart and take you to the start of the track, but the closest public transportation only takes you to Rosny Park Interchange – and the bus only leaves once a day. Best to go private, carpool or self-drive!

Where to Stay Near Cape Hauy

If you’re keen to hike Cape Hauy, then Fortescue Bay – the start of the trail – is the perfect place to camp out for a night or two. Surrounded by towering stringybark trees and perched on the edge of a heavenly slice of beach, the area offers two campground options to rest your head: Banksia and Mill Creek. 

The former has showers that can be used with tokens bought from the site office (which also sells ice and basic camping equipment), and both have toilets and tank water that needs to be boiled before drinking. Bookings are strongly recommended from November to April, and note that campfires are only allowed seasonally (BYO wood).

If camping isn’t your vibe, there are plenty of cabins, apartments, lodges, holiday homes and a hotel in nearby Eaglehawk Neck – a 30-minute drive away.


Skill Level


Though this trail is exceptionally well marked, there are lots of stairs and several steep sections, so a moderate level of fitness is recommended. 

Distance / Duration / Elevation Gain

9.4km / 3 – 4.5 hours return / 550m

Essential Gear for Hiking Cape Hauy

  • Water bottle
  • Hat
  • Good hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Raincoat
  • Windproof and warm clothing (it can get pretty breezy out there!)
  • Swimmers (or a wetsuit) in case you want to take a dip in Fortescue Bay
  • Camera

What it’s Like to Hike Cape Hauy

It was mid-afternoon when we set off from the car park alongside sublime Fortescue Bay – backpacks crammed with hunks of cheese left over from a boujie lunch we’d scoffed en route at the Bangor Vineyard Shed.



The first hour or so of Cape Hauy’s trail is a pleasant stroll that meanders through thick bushland dotted with wildflowers. Though I’d spotted an echidna snuffling in the scrub on this hike once before, there were none today – but birds carolled out at us from all directions and wallabies frequently hopped across the path. 

After a bit of up, down, across, and then back up again on sets of stairs, the bushland opens up to the most explosive of views: the cape itself, which stretched out before us in all its jagged glory.

It’s the kind of landscape you need to admire with your mouth hanging open for a couple of minutes before you can continue to move towards it.

From our initial vantage point – which incidentally makes for a great snack stop – a stony staircase is cut into the rock that descends, ascends, descends, then ascends again.


All around, the sights are eye-popping: high cliffs that plummet towards the churning ocean, some with a waterfall tumbling down them; dolerite columns that seem to defy gravity; a slew of sea-sprayed islands and the lush, forested Tasmanian coastline.



For the next hour or so, we wandered along the top of the cliffs and back again, snapping pics and whooping in awe. At the end of the trail, you can also see the famous sea stacks known as the Totem Pole and Candlestick, which rock climbers scramble up from time to time. It was epic.

As someone who can be a little averse to stairs, the continually amazing views were all I needed to egg myself on, and I soon forgot my tired legs as I was rewarded over and over again with the majesty of Cape Hauy. The setting sun occasionally peeked out from behind the clouds on our walk back, creating the most striking scenes.

Back at the car, the crackle of campfires and the scent of sizzling sausages was oh-so inviting, making us wish we’d set up a swag for the night too! But it was already super chilly, so we reneged our promise to jump in the ocean and drove back to Hobart (carefully, as it was wildlife hour) to treat ourselves to a huge bowl of spicy noodle soup somewhere yum in town.

Tips For Hiking Cape Hauy

No matter the season, weather in Tasmania can change rapidly – so pack for rain, sun, cold, and warmth! The cape, being so exposed, is also prone to strong winds, so don’t wander too close to the cliff edges as it’s a helluva distance if you fall. 

Cape Hauy is located within Tasman National Park, meaning you need a valid parks pass to enter. 

Avoid driving at dawn, dusk and night if you can, as the area is thick with wildlife.


FAQs for Hiking Cape Hauy

Where is Cape Hauy located?

Cape Hauy is located on turrakana / Tasman Peninsula. The start of the trail is 96km from Hobart – about a 1.5-hour drive from the city.


How do you get to Cape Hauy?

From Hobart, take the Tasman Highway (A3), then get on the Arthur Highway (A9) towards Port Arthur. From Eaglehawk Neck, stay on the A9 until you get to the juncture with the C344 – which you then follow for 12km until you hit Fortescue Bay. 


Do I need a National Parks pass to go to Cape Hauy?

Yes! A Tasmanian National Parks pass is required to enter Tasman National Park, including to hike Cape Hauy and visit Fortescue Bay. 


How long does it take to hike Cape Hauy?

The Cape Hauy trail is 9.4km, and takes between 3 – 4.5 hours to walk, depending on your fitness level and how often you stop.


Do you need a 4WD to get to Cape Hauy?

No, you don’t need a 4WD to get to Cape Hauy. Though the last 12km of the road are unsealed, so 2WD should be fine. 


Cape Hauy – A Guide to Hiking This Jaw-Dropping Tassie Coastline, Remi Chauvin, hiking, Tasmania, yay, jump, happy, cliffs



Photography by @monsieurremi