Dolerite Done Right // Cape Hauy, Tasman National Park (TAS)

Sometimes you just need a lie-in. This laid-back version of the hike to the dramatic dolerite columns and sea stacks of Cape Hauy could be just the thing after a lazy morning in Tassie.


Highlights

  • The dolerite cliffs at the end of Cape Hauy are pretty damn incredible. You can see abseilers sometimes too.
  • Watching the sunset over Fortescue Bay on the walk back, if you time it right.

A Cruisey Start at Fortescue Bay Campsite

As a bloke that enjoys taking photos at sunrise, and who never truly appreciated the value of a sleep-in before starting full time work, my recent trip to Tassie was a new one. I’m not taking seven of my twenty days off a year so I can get up earlier than I would to go to work, so the plan for a sunrise hike to Cape Hauy was scratched pretty quick. At 2.00pm we parked at Fortescue Bay Campsite – which, by the way, would be a super chill place to stay for a day – and started the hike.

The hike itself is really nice. You start out looking over glistening Fortescue Bay to your left and typical Aussie bush to the right. The shrubs and bush and so forth actually reminded me a lot of the Royal National Park back home in Sydney, which was nice. It was just a hell of a lot colder than the Royal in Sydney, which was not.

Eventually you warm up though, because the hike gets pretty steep after the first forty minutes or so. Halfway to halfway it’s a lot of downhill, and you have this awesome view of both the bay, the ocean, the cliffs that plunge into it, and the rest of your route cutting straight between them all.

The dolerite cliffs you see are easily the highlight of this hike for me though. The grandeur of the coastline in Tassie is almost Jurassic.

The Totem Pole

After 5km hiking, which took us about two hours from memory, we arrived at the end of the road so to speak; where the Totem Pole is. Apparently this famous rock spire is a popular spot for abseilers, although there weren’t any that day.

Regardless, 4.00pm when the sun was dipping a bit was a really cool time to have arrived. The sun slices between the cuts in the dolerite cliffs, casting these awesome light rays onto the ocean. We were pretty knackered at this point (not as fit as I used to be…) so it was a good excuse to relax and take some photos before the hike back to beat the sunset.

Short But Sweet

There’s not as much to say about the Cape Hauy hike as some others I’ve been on, without delving into a George R. R. Martin-esque level of description; but it is definitely a really cool hike. Well worth your time doing if you want to do a decent hike in the Tasman National Park, but don’t have the three days needed for the Three Capes Track.

Lachy Firmstone Cape Hauy Bay,and Tree, still water, glassy rocks, lake, view

The view over Fortescue Bay in the Tasman National Park, where the hike begins.

Essential Gear

  • A camera
  • Comfy shoes
  • Plenty of water

How To Get There

This hike begins at Fortescue Bay in the Tasman National Park.

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Abseilling

Skill Level

Intermediate.

Distance / Elevation / Duration

The hike to Cape Hauy from Fortescue Bay is 4.5km each way.


Want more Tassie adventure inspiration…?

Top 5 Tasmanian Waterfalls

Three-Day Freycinet Peninsula Circuit (Tas)

Forest of Natural Greens // Trowutta Arch (Tas)

Camping The Friendly Beaches (TAS)