Looking for the ultimate guide to the Three Capes Walk in Tasmania? In this article you will find all your essential travel information, what to know before you go and what to expect along the trail and at the cabins. Plus we will provide you with invaluable information on what to pack for the Three Capes Walk and other travel tips. You will also find accommodation recommendations for the Tasman Peninsula. Two Lost Feet have you covered for the three capes track!
The three capes walk is an exceptionally scenic 4-day hike in Tasmania’s South East. The hike starts from the Port Arthur Historic Site, 1.5hrs from Hobart. From the very beginning you will be captivated by not only the stunning views but small, thoughtful additions that continue to add a special element of comfort and enjoyment to each day. Transforming the journey from a walk into an unforgettable experience.
The greatest care has been taken to ensure the hike is as pleasurable as possible. There is fantastic infrastructure along the trail and at each cabin. The host rangers are very knowledgeable and there to help with any questions or concerns you may have. And the transportation to the trailhead is much more than a ferry ride. It is an excellent and informative eco-cruise. The inclusion of unexpected extras like hot showers and board games combine to make the Three Capes Walk an exceptional hike.
There is the option to take a guided tour. However, with everything I have just mentioned and no need to carry a tent or any cooking equipment there is no reason most people would not be capable of self-hiking the Three Capes Walk.
The hike is 48kms long, spread across the 4 days. It has been designed to cater for a broad range of ages and abilities. For many people, this will be their first multi-day hike.
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How To Book The Three Capes Walk
All walkers need to have a reservation. Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance. I’d recommend booking as early as possible as the hike is very popular and there are only 48 spots available each day.
At the time of writing, the hike costs $495 per person, with child and concession passes available. The price is considerably more expensive than most other hikes. But, the quality of the huts, track and rangers along with all of the extra inclusions justify the fee.
Included in the three capes walk booking fee:
- Entry to Port Arthur Historic Site (valid for 2 years), car parking and secure lockers
- Pennicott Wilderness Journey cruise to the trail head departing from Port Arthur
- 3 nights self-catered accommodation in cabins along the track
- Bus transfer from Fortescue Bay back to Port Arthur Historic Site
- “Encounters on the Edge” guide book with maps
- Three Capes Walk 4-day track pass
The Booking Process for the three capes track
- Go to the Bookings and Reservations page. Select your group size and desired departure date
- Select your boat departure time from Port Arthur to Denmans Cove (the start of the trail) on day 1. There are two options available 11.30am or 2.00pm (Oct to March).
- Select your bus departure time from Fortescue Bay to return to Port Arthur on the final day of your hike. There are two options available 2.30pm or 4pm (Oct to March).
- Enter your personal details, along with the details of those in your hiking party.
- Submit your booking and payment.
- You will receive an email confirmation of your booking.
What To Expect On The Three Capes Track
The track is roughly a metre wide, well defined and passes over gravel, rock and timber boardwalk surfaces. It is one of the best maintained tracks anywhere in Australia. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in the surroundings and enjoy views rather than focusing on navigating the trail.
The only place to find water on the three capes walk is at the cabins. All of which have fresh rain water available for drinking and cooking. There is no need for filtration or water treatment. You will need to have the capacity to carry at least 2 litres of drinking water per day. There are no opportunities to find water along the trail.
One of the highlights for many people on the three capes track are the superb cabins. At each site, there are two separate sleeping cabins. The cabins have been designed to sleep 4 or 8 walkers. The 8 bed rooms include a partial wall, effectively making two smaller rooms. Each walker has their own bunk bed with a surprisingly comfortable single mattress. These rooms have no heating or lighting.
As beautiful as the cabins are, the true highlight is the exquisite and thoughtfully designed common areas. These shared spaces bring a little style and comfort to the three capes walk. The kitchen and common areas have both indoor and outdoor dining and cooking options. There are gas cooktops, barbeques, saucepans, frying pans and all cooking utensils and kettles supplied. However, there is no microwaves, oven or fridge and you will also need to bring your own cutlery, cup, plate and bowl.
Other thing you can find in the huts are:
- USB Charging ports for mobile devices
- Heating and lights in dining areas
- Toilets with hand wash basins and toilet paper
- 2 outdoor showers (at Munro cabin only)
- Host Ranger to answer questions
- Board games and a library (all huts have the same collection. You can continue the same book each night of the walk, just don’t forget the page number!)
- Large outdoor decking with lounge chairs
- Yoga mats
The weather in Tasmania can be extreme and conditions can change in an instant. It is essential to pack appropriate wind and rain gear for warmth. It is also essential to stay informed and know the current weather forecasts when high winds and extreme weather is predicted.
Phone service in the area is limited. Telstra gets the best range but can still be without any signal in some places.
Day 1 Of The Three Capes Walk
Port Arthur Historic Site – Denmans Cove 1hr 15min Ferry
Denmans Cove – Surveyors Cabin 4km, 1.5 – 2 hours
One hour before your scheduled departure time, you will need to check in at the Three Capes Track office. The designated three capes tracks walker check in room is located downstairs at the port Arthur historic site visitor centre. When checking in each walker will receive a copy of the encounters on the edge booklet. The booklet is full of interesting stories on many of the natural and cultural highlights of the walk, track and terrain information, leave no trace principles and other important information.
It is possible to leave any luggage at the office while you are on the hike, or if you arrive early and want to explore the Port Arthur site you can also leave your pack here.
If you want to see the sights of Port Arthur prior to the day of your hike it is possible to collect your pass early.
After checking in for your walk you will need to make your way down to the jetty while you wait for the Pennicott Wilderness Cruise boat to arrive. There is a small shelter and toilets here.
The ferry is equipped with full length waterproof trench coats. These are terrific at keeping you warm and dry on those cold, frigid Tassie days. I’d recommend using these over your own rain gear, to keep it as dry as possible for the hike.
After a short safety talk you will be on your way to Denmans Cove via the first of the Three Capes; Cape Raoul.
The ferry ride was a pleasant surprise. Contrary to what I expected it was much more of a tour, than just transportation from A to B.
When you arrive at Denmans Cove a small ramp is lowered onto the sand to step off on. Great care is taken to try and keep your boots dry but this isn’t always possible!
From the beach it is 4km (1.5-2 hours) to the first night’s accommodation. The walk is mostly flat through Eucalypt woodland and coastal heath to Surveyors Cabin where you will be greeted by panoramic views to Cape Raoul. A host ranger will also be there waiting to let you know all of the information you need, including your cabin allocation.
Day 2 Of The Three Capes Walk
Surveyors Cabin – Munro Cabin 11km, 4 – 4.5 hrs
Day 2 begins with a mystical walk through eucalypt forest. On day one of the walk you will encounter rest areas with informative signs about the area. There are more as you continue the journey on day 2. Each rest area has a short article related to key points of interest along the hike in the encounters on the edge booklet. These stops are a delightful way to learn more about the history and culture of the area. They are also a welcomed opportunity for a rest.
Continuing on along the trail there is a short climb to Arthur’s Peak which provides sublime views across Crescent Bay and beyond to Cape Raoul.
Before you know it, you will be arriving at Munro Cabin. The cabin is set in the most captivating location with an impressive outlook over Munro Bight. It is here where you have the only opportunity to take a hot shower. The showers are simple outdoor showers but will leave you feeling rejuvenated for the remaining two days of the hike.
The Heli-Pad here is in the perfect spot to see the sunrise over the Southern Ocean.
Day 3 Of The Three Capes Walk
Munroe Cabin – Retakunna cabin 19km, 6 hrs
Day three’s hike takes you out to the Blade and on to Cape Pillar. For the majority of the day you will only need to carry a small bag with necessities for the day. The day starts with leaving your hiking pack in the store room at Munro Cabin and making your way out to Cape Pillar. Because the trail is a return walk there is no need to carry your full pack.
The many view points along the trail to Cape Pillar will leave you speechless and in awe of mother nature. It all culminates on top of the blade where you will be standing atop of the tallest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere. The panoramic views over to Tasman Island are unparalleled with anything I have seen and will remain etched in my memory for many years to come.
There are many striking photo opportunities along the track but it goes without saying, do take great care as there are no barriers.
From Cape Pillar you return to Munro Cabin along the same trail. Once you have collected you pack it is roughly 1 hours walk to Retakunna cabin. The final night of your three capes walk is the perfect location for wildlife spotting. Around sunset or just after dark, go for a short stroll and try to spot a Tasmanian devil or other marsupials.
Day 4 Of The Three Capes Walk
Retakunna cabin – Forescue Bay 14km, 6 – 7 hrs
For the final day of the Three Capes Walk you will need to be on the trail early to ensure you arrive at Fortescue Bay in time for your return bus back to Port Arthur. The day starts straight up with the climb up and over Mount Fortescue. From here you descend down into a magical grove of cold temperate rainforest. Another section that was a favourite of mine on the Three Capes Walk. The forest here really enhances the walk by adding a vast contrast to the high sea cliffs of the capes and previous days walks.
Soon enough you will reach a junction where you can again leave your hiking pack and carry only a small day bag with necessities out to the tip of Cape Hauy. Here, you see the Totem Pole, Candlestick and other dolerite columns rise up from the sea. After returning to the junction it’s mostly downhill from this point, to the white sands and turquoise water of Fortescue Bay. If you a brave, jump in the icy cold water for a swim before hopping on the bus. The transfer from Fortescue Bay back to Port Arthur Historic Site takes 30 minutes. You can choose from 2:30 and 4:00pm at the time of booking.
The return walk to Cape Hauy is possibly the most challenging section on the hike. This along with the climb up Mt Fortescue can make day 4 a challenging walk. Allow yourself plenty of time to be sure that you still enjoy the hike.
How To Get To And From The Port Arthur Historic Site
If you are flying into Tasmania the best place to arrive is the capital, Hobart. Great value flights can be found on Skyscanner. Once you arrive, the easiest way to get to Port Arthur is the 1.5 hr drive from Hobart. If you need a rental car for the trip Europcar has an extensive range of options. This can be very convenient if you are wanting to spend more time sightseeing after the three capes walk. There is a free designated long-term car park at the Port Arthur Historic Site for walkers at the visitors centre.
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys have a fantastic bus service between Hobart and Port Arthur for $35. If you arrange your ticket in advance, they can also collect you from the Hobart Airport.
Hobart to Port Arthur Bus
8.00am departure from Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Hobart.
8.30am pickup at Hobart Airport (prior arrangement only)
9.45am drop off at Port Arthur Historic Site
Port Arthur to Hobart Bus
4.45pm departure from Port Arthur Historic Site
6.15pm drop off at Hobart Airport
6.45pm drop off at Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Hobart
GreyLine have a very similar transfer service for $45 one-way.
TassieLink operate the local bus service. Bus 734 will take you from Hobart (or other stops along the way) to Port Arthur. The cost is around $24 if travelling from Hobart. You will need to check there website for timetables.
Transport to and from the trail
The logistics of getting to and from the trail can often be the most challenging aspect of organising a hike. Another superb addition to the Three Capes Walk is that transportation to and from Port Arthur is included.
On day one a 1.5hr scenic cruise via Cape Raoul will take you to the trail head at Denmans Cove. On the final day of the hike a 20min bus ride will take you back to the Port Arthur Historic Site.
The Contact details for the bus company are listed in the cabins right besides the charging ports should you want to try and change your booking time.
What To Pack For The Three Capes Walk
For a very in-depth list on what to pack for a multiday hike see our hiking packing list and first aid kit recommendations. Remember that for this hike you will NOT need a tent, stove or camping mattress. You will also have to opportunity to take a hot shower on night 2 at Munro cabin so you may like to pack some toiletries for this.
For some locally made, lightweight and delicious hiking meals, I love the company Strive. I can never go past the Thai inspired Laksa. They are a Hobart based company but, you can order online here.
You can also try Wild Earth. They stock a wide variety of dehydrated and freeze-dried food. Along with anything else you could possibly need for your hike.
Where To Stay Before Or After The Hike
There are many more incredible things to do on the Tasman Peninsular so why not make the most of your time here by spending a few extra days exploring the area.
My favourite is the safari tents at the NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park.
If you after some well-deserved luxury and pampering after your hike there is the Stewarts Bay Lodge set on 22 acres with it’s own private beach area.
Or another worth considering is the Port Arthur Villas.
Other Things To Do And See In The Area
We love the Tasman Peninsula. So much so, that we wrote a seperate post about all of the amazing things that you can do and see in the area. You can read all about things to do & see on the Tasman Peninsula here.
For something that doesn’t involve any more walking the Pennicott Wilderness Journeys Tasman Island Cruise is almost as unforgettable as the Three Capes Walk. I can’t recommend the three-hour tour highly enough, especially during the Humpback whales migration season between May and July each year. However, any time of year the tour is simply impressive and shouldn’t be missed.
There is also a full day Tasman Peninsula sea kayak excursion which will take you out to Cape Hauy for a very differnt perspective of the Totum Pole.
For some more stunning hiking try Cape Raoul –
The hike out to the third cape of the Three Capes Walk. Cape Raoul offers some of the most spectacular coastal sights in Tasmania. It’s a 14km, 5hr return walk that has recently been upgraded.
Or if short walks under 10 minutes is more of what you’re looking for following 4 days of non-stop hiking these 4 sites are marvelous –
Tasman Arch – If you are only going to do one other thing while in the area, make it the Tasman Arch. It is right beside the car park and offers astonishing views of the natural sandstone bridge.
Devils Kitchen – Not far from the Tasman Arch with more memorable views of the impressive Tasman sea cliffs.
Remarkable Cave – A popular surf spot and impressive blow hole on its day. It’s only a short 5min walk from the car park.
Tessellated Pavement – A natural phenomenon where the natural rock platform resembles pavement.
Or for more on the rest of Tasmania read our post on the best things to do and see in Tasmania here.
Travel Insurance - Stay Safe In Tasmania
Make sure that you are covered for any mishaps that may happen on your trip to Tasmania, even if you are an experienced traveller.
Be confident in knowing that you’ll be covered for anything that may happen. Hiking injuries, car accidents, lost and delayed baggage, are all things that can go wrong on any holiday. Give yourself peace of mind with quality Travel Insurance.