Cape Raoul is pants down one of the best walks I have ever done. The walk, which takes approximately 5.5 hours, traverses beautiful heathland, scrub, towering cliffs, dense forest and there is even a lake somewhere in the middle (end? Depending on your interpretation of a ‘there and back’ walk).
I did the walk with two friends last month when the weather was still undecided on whether it wanted to be crisp or dank. We were lucky enough to go on a day where we saw the best of everything. On our way up to the first lookout the fog was thick, we met some walkers who were making their way back to the car park who weren’t impressed with how little they had seen. We made it to the first look out and discovered a sharp cliff face surrounded by a wall of fog. It was so thick that it didn’t feel unreasonable to assume you could step out on the fog and not fall. We hung over the side a little, felt the sea breeze sweep up from the ocean and took pictures. After we left the cliff we walked through a dry pine forest that eventually gave way to dense bush. It’s really hard to describe just how serene and beautiful the area is, the thick fog gave it an almost eerie feeling, our laughter and conversation didn’t echo through the forest, everything was dulled by the heavy fog.
We walked for what felt like an hour, the forest started to get more and more compact until eventually we were pushing tree branches and ferns out of the way to avoid being smacked in the face. Suddenly the bush gave way and we were faced with more cliffs and views of the ocean. This was, by far, my favourite part of the walk. It felt as if we’d completed one level of a game and progressed to the next. It seemed surreal.
At this point the fog had cleared substantially and we were able to take in the full view.
We pushed on from this point through shrub and heathland, every now and then we would stop and look back. In the background the mountain was immense, Australian bush tumbled down and a heavy fog would occasionally obscure our view of the whole scene.
Once past the heathland we entered an area strewn with large chunks of sandstone and other types of rock. We had reached the end (or middle? You decide) and were met by the sea. Large cliffs surrounded us.
I’m a sucker for a loop walking track. Cape Raoul walk is one of the few walks I’ve done where the walk back, along the same path, felt completely different.
It’s definitely worth the 2 hour-ish drive from Hobart.
Depart reasonably early, 8 or 9 am means you get to spend more time taking photos.
Pack food, you’ll definitely want to linger.
Wear hiking boots in autumn, winter and spring. There were massive muddy pools of water and sludge.
Grab a walking stick at the start – you don’t need a fancy store bought one, any old sturdy stick will do.
Take your camera and charge yo’ batteries, I cannot recommend this enough. We took a combination of film, digital SLR and iPhone.