Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Stormy Day At Cape Raoul

Wind warnings, sheep graziers warnings, gale warnings, bushwalkers warnings, the day we went out to hike to Cape Raoul there was every kind of warning you can imagine issuing from the Bureau of Meteorology. I like bad weather hiking. It toughens you up and reminds you all of life is not meant to be easy, and, there is something wonderful about witnessing raw nature. Doug prefers fair weather hiking, but was easily persuaded out on this day as we were hoping to see some big swells pounding the cliffs of Cape Raoul, and, maybe, just maybe, Shipstern Bluff would be pumping. 

 Looking along the coast towards Shipstern Bluff

The start of the 7 km walking track to Cape Raoul was a bit of a long drive from our house-sit. We knew it would be, knew we would hate sitting in the car for that long, and purposefully did not work out exactly how long it would take so that we wouldn't wimp out. Long walks, long kayaks, long climbs, no problem, long drives, big problem. We did eventually arrive at the end of the road and start of the walking track. A blustery wind was blowing and gray clouds were scudding across the sky.

 Rainbow over dolerite columns at Cape Raoul

This is Tasmania, so there is some mud to contend with, but not deep mud, and not that much. Within a kilometre, the mud zone is pretty much passed and the track climbs onto the shoulder of Mount Raoul and approaches the coastal sea cliffs. There is a lookout over the ocean where Shipstern Bluff comes into view, sadly, not “going off” today as the wind, while strong, has been too westerly to bring in the huge swells. 

 Mount Raoul above a small tarn on the coastal plateau

A short walk across a eucalpytus plateau and then the track drops down onto the broad coastal plain and heathland to the long promontory that ends at Cape Raoul. All along this section of the walk there are fantastic views of the sea cliffs, and Mount Raoul above a small tarn. Near the end, the track bifurcates and each arm leads to a wonderful vantage point out over the Tasman Sea, across to Tasman Island and Cape Pillar, Mount Brown and West Arthur Head. In calmer, warmer weather, you could sit and dangle your legs over the ocean watching sea lions below, or, you could head out on a wild and windy day as we did, and do some storm watching. Either way, this walk won't disappoint. 

 Doug holds on at Cape Raoul

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