Hiking the Cape Hauy Track with KIDS
The views from the Cape Hauy Track are truly unique and memorable. However, I’m not going to lie. The Cape Hauy Track is brutal on the legs in spots if you are carrying a heavy child in a carrier.
My verdict……TOTALLY WORTH IT!
The Cape Hauy Track is number 5 on Tasmania’s awesome list of 60 Great Short Walks. I was really looking forward to trying out this walk and the views did not disappoint. By the end of the walk, I was a bit disappointed in my own fitness level though. I think practicing on stairs would have really helped with this hike!
What to expect on the Cape Hauy Track with kids
Name: Cape Hauy Track (#5 of Tasmania’s 60 Great Walks)
Location: The Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania (Australia)
Distance: 4.4 km one way (therefore 8.8 km return)
Classification: Level 4
Time: 4 hours return
Notes: The information above is taken from the Tasmania National Parks and Wildlife Services website. I tracked this walk a fair bit longer at 10.7 km return from the car park using the Samsung Health app on my phone. The track is well maintained and obvious for the whole length.
The walk starts near the boat ramp at the beautiful Fortescue Bay. For the first fifteen minutes, it follows the rocky coastline with lovely views of the bay before ascending and heading inland.
The next 1 km (approximately) climbs steadily with the landscape changing to more of a dry forest. There is a lovely flat section after the initial ascent that young kids can easily manage. This includes some man made boardwalks over low-lying areas. At the ages of two years and four years, the steep sections on this hike were a bit too much for their little legs to sustain.
Just as your legs have recovered and the kids have had enough of walking, the track climbs again. Eventually you reach a sign announcing that it’s one hour back to Fortescue Bay and two hours return back to this point if you head out onto the cape.
Even though its one hour return back the way we came, it actually took us two hours to get here. In my defense, it was mostly uphill and I’m just an average mum with an average fitness level so uphill is fairly slow going for me. There are a few seats here to rest up on and have a snack before attempting the cape track.
There would be no shame in snapping some photos and returning at this point. I nearly did this myself!
Not long after the rest spot, the forest opens up to reward you with a spectacular view of the walking track etched into the rolling slopes of Cape Hauy.
The first scramble down feels like the steepest part of the hike. I was fairly nervous about heading back up and how my legs would manage carrying the heavy load.
The track rises and falls brutally over the remaining two saddles and towards the end, the track is very close to the cliff edge. I would not let young kids out of the carrier here. There are flattish sections between the ascents and descents they can safely stretch their legs on. Once the end is reached, you can view the unique dolerite formations of the iconic Candlestick and Totem Pole jutting out of the ocean.
We completed this hike in nearly six hours, which is two hours longer than suggested. This included a few rest stops and a short lunch break. If I was to do this again with young kids, I would make a day of it and take longer breaks to rest my legs as I had very sore calf muscles for the next three days.
I’ve got a confession to make. I actually wasn’t even going to head to the Tasman Peninsula until I realised there was a few good walks to do here. I’m so glad we decided to spend some time here because it’s a fantastic place to visit and there is a LOT of stuff to do!
Check out my post on Free things to do in Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula to see for yourself.
How to get there:
The Cape Hauy Track commences near the boat ramp at Fortescue Bay. If you are heading down the Arthur Highway, turn onto the Fortescue Bay road and follow the unsealed track for 12 km. You can easily get through here in a standard 2WD vehicle although proceed with caution if there has been rain.
Where to stay:
There is National Park camping at Fortescue Bay (details can be found here) however we stayed at a powered site at the Port Arthur Holiday Park. The facilities here were excellent and the natural surrounds were a real highlight. There are more upmarket accommodation options in the area as well.
A National Park entrance fee is required to visit the Tasman National Park. You can buy a single day pass or if you are exploring more of Tasmania, an 8 weeks pass which gets a whole family into all of Tasmania’s National Parks is better value for money. Passes can be purchased online here.
Visiting With Kids
The Cape Hauy Track is achievable with kids but it’s not to be taken lightly. You will need a reasonable level of fitness to manage this one whilst carrying a child on your back.
It’s not as fun for young kids as other walks, such as the Apsley River Waterhole and Gorge Walk or the nearby Historic Mine Site Walk as there isn’t any water holes or crumbling buildings to play on and around. Kids just aren’t as excited about spectacular views as adults are.
Once you head out onto the cape, there is not much opportunity for them to stretch their legs. However, with enough well timed rest breaks to play with sticks, enticing snacks and wildlife spotting games; they will still have a good time.
Just don’t plan on managing it within the four hour time frame.
Want To Learn About More Awesome Places?
For more blog posts, photographs and information on my travels through Tasmania, please check out this page: Tasmania
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