Cape Hauy – Incredible day hike, Tasmania

Pronounced like ‘Cape hoy’, this spectacular hike is part of the Three Capes Walk, one of Tasmania’s premier 4-day hiking trails. This hike is famous for its rugged and raw scenery, which will absolutely encapsulate you with its beauty. 

At the edge of Cape Hauy is the iconic candlestick rock features, which are truly like nothing I have ever seen before. The coastline on this cape is beautiful and is something you must see if you are ever in Tasmania. 

This hike can be completed as a singular day hike or as part of the Three Capes Walk, a 4 day 48km trail. 

Cape Hauy – Hike Details

Hike distance | 8km return

Time | 4 hours

Elevation Gain | 500m

Difficulty | Moderate

When to visit | All Year

What to pack | Hiking boots, water, rain jacket, warm layer, first aid kid, camera, snacks. 

Cost | Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife national parks pass is $60 per vehicle and valid for up to eight weeks. More options available here.

Where is it? 

The Cape Hauy hike is located in the Tasman National Park, roughly an hour and a half drive from Hobart. It begins at the Fortescue Bay boat ramp, near the Fortescue Bay campgrounds. 

How to get there? 

Car

I highly recommend you hire a car for your time in Tasmania, as it will make travelling around a lot easier. I hired a campervan through Spaceship rentals, which made travelling and camping around Tasmania a lot more convenient.

Tour 

Another option is to opt for a tour. There are several tours which operate from Hobart and will take roughly 10hrs. These tours usually include transportation, coffee/tea snacks, picnic lunch and a guide. 

If you would like to see Cape Hauy and the coastline, minus the 4 hr hike – you can opt for this tour here.Which includes all of the above (minus lunch), a 3 hr scenic cruise along the coastline and a trip to Port Arthur. 

When is the best time to go? 

Cape Hauy is accessible all year round. However, because it is a such an iconic hike in Tasmania, it does get very busy during the peak season between December and February. I would recommend taking a jacket or warm cover up despite the season, as there can be cold wind chills at the end of the hike. 

During summer, I recommend starting this hike early. There is no shade cover once you reach the end of the hike, and the Australian sun is very harsh (even in Tasmania), so start early to avoid the heat. 

What to Expect? 

The hiking path can be a bit tricky to find, as there isn’t really any signage. Simply head down to the boat ramp and you will see the path leading around the bay to your right. The trail is very well marked and easy to follow from here. 

The track to Cape Hauy starts off with a mixture of flat sections and steps with a slight gradient. The first hour of this hike is very easy to complete, taking your through native Australian bushland. Once you reach the ‘picnic area’, the hike starts to become a bit more strenuous. This section contains 800 steps, which is why this hike is classed as ‘difficult’, 

You will first descend a few steps with spectacular views over the cliffs and coastline, before having to ascend steps. There are benches and viewpoints along this part of the track, so make sure you stop, have a rest and take in the views! 

You have come to the end of the hike once you reach the lookout platform. You return the same way you came. 

TRIP NOTES

  • Take plenty of water with you and use the bathroom at Fortescue campgrounds as there are none on the trail. 
  • Take a jacket with you despite the weather. The wind can be very chilly at the end! 
  • This hike would be incredible at sunset, so I recommend completing during this time if you are comfortable walking in the dark.
  • The Fortescue Bay campgrounds is right next to the start of the trail, so if you are camping this is the place to stay. 
  • Take everything you brought on the trail with you, remember to leave no trace. 
  • Trail Etiquette: Always walk on the left side of the path (like driving), give way to uphill traffic and listen to music through headphones. 

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