South Coast Track

Unter dem altruistischen Vorwand über eine schöne Wanderstrecke (cooler ausgedrückt: Hike-Route) zu informieren, gebe ich mal mit meinen Erlebnissen vom South Coast Track in Tasmanien, Australien an:

South Coast Track, Tasmania (November 2006)

Introduction

The South Coast Track is a 85km long track through the South West National Park of Tasmania and takes 6 to 8 days. Unless you combine it with the Port Davey Track you have to either fly in and walk out or walk to the air strip at Melaleuca and fly out. The Track follows the Southern coast of Tasmania through swampy plains, rain forests, rivers as well as over mountains and a lagoon – and each night you are able to camp at a lonely beach.

To give you an impression of what you might look at:

Cox Blight.jpg

Ironbound Range.jpg

New River Lagoon.jpg

Prion Beach.jpg

Photos of painful feet, deep mud, wet shoes and dense rain-forest not shown…

Experience

Tasmania is a beautiful country, especially for a lot of outdoor activities, such as trekking/hiking/bushwaking or whatever you may call it. The most famous bushwalk being the Overland Track in the Cradle Mountain National Park. However I fancied a track where you don’t have to sign up for a walk, pay a fee and which was more remote and a bit more ‚challenging‘.

So at first I wanted to walk the whole distance from Cockle Creek where the South Coast Track track starts, over to Melaleuca where the air strip is and from there on take the Port Davey to Scotts Peak. However considering the amount of food I would have had to carry I dropped the idea. Thus I flew in to Melaleuca from where I walked out to Cockle Creek on the next 8 days. In the end I was glad I made the decision and furthermore I was told that the Port Davey Track is not that spectacular as it is even muddier as the South Coast Track. Another alternative would be to just have a plane drop food supplies at Melaleuca – This way you can have a quite cheap and long trip.

I guess I was pretty lucky with the weather, as it rained only the first day and only occasionally in between. Thus I could have been a lot faster, but why hurry when you can enjoy the beaches. (Besides, on some days my feet were just hurting badly…)

However, I was somehow disappointed, that the track was not as lonely as I had expected/hoped: I knew that one day in front and behind me where other walkers and one day I met 4 different groups comming from the other direction. However on the other hand, if something had happened help would not have been that far away…

All in all it was a challenge (especially the crossing of the Ironbound Range was exhausting), I saw beautiful wilderness and… yes, it was a great experience.

To make it short: If you are interested in hiking and like a somewhat challenging experience I can only recommend doing this track.

Recommendations

A comprehensive Overview of the South Coast and Port Davey Track and an FAQ is provided by the Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania.

To get an overview of other the available bushwalks in Tasmania you may also have a look at The Great Walks of Tasmania – there is a special chapter on the South Coast Track, too.

If you want to do the walk I strongly recommend buying the Map + Tracknotes. The tracknotes are not the one linked above but a quite clear outline of a 7 day trip, describing the terrain, expected walking times etc. Also the map is especially important if you leave the track. The Tracknotes only cost about $5 and are available from Service Tasmania Shops, where you can also by your National Park pass. Most conveniently located is probably the one in Hobart:

Hobart Service Tasmania Shop

134 Macquarie Street

Hobart TAS 7000

Also have a look at the different Factsheets published by Parks & Wildlife Service as they – depending on your existing knowledge – may provide some insights.

Two companies offer flights to and from Melaleuca: Tasair and ParAvion.

My strongest and best advise: Be prepared!

Equipment

Deciding on the equipment you need is part of the fun, isn’t it…. 😉

There are tons of hiking gear checklists out there. I just point to this Packing Checklist for Tasmanian Walks (see Page 11) and my own Hiking Gear Checklist.

One more hint: If you arrive in Hobart and miss something: There are at least three Outdoor shops in Hobart (Paddy Pallin, Mountain Design and „Jolly Swagman’s Camping World“) all located beside each other on Elizabeth St.

I used this Hiking Food Spreadsheet (ODS Version) to decide on the food I’d take with me.

Have Fun!

Other Resources

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