January 1, 2000

South Coast Track - Melaleuca to Cockle Creek

Senior Walkers
Melaleuca can also be reached by light aircraft. For details contact Tasmania Travel Centres in Hobart and Launceston.

Melaleuca to Cox Bight - 3 to 4 hours, easy/medium walking.

Shortly after leaving Melaleuca, cross Moth Creek then head southwards on buttongrass towards the New Harbour Range. This large bay, interrupted midway by rocky Point Eric, is hard sand and makes for good walking. Campsites are found near the outlet of Freney Lagoon and at Point Eric.

Cox Blight to Louisa River - 5 to 7 hours, medium walking.

Go around headland and continue to the eastern end of Cox Blight. There the track leaves the beach and crosses buttongrass nearly all he way to the foot of the Ironbound Range. On the way it climbs over the Red Point Hills, crosses two major creeks, and winds around the Spica Hills, before reaching the Louisa Plains. The many small creek crossings can be hazardous after heavy rain. Good-forested campsites are on either side of the Lousia River. This is crossed with the aid of a fixed rope. If the river is in flood, delay crossing until the level drops.

Louisa River to Deadmans Bay via Ironbound Range - 7 to 10 hours hard walking

From Louisa River the track climbs steadily to around 900 metres. This is the hardest part of the South Coast walk, but one of the most rewarding. In good weather there are superb views right along the coast, and inland to Federation Peak. After traversing he top of the range, a long steep descent through dense rainforest, leads to Deadmans Bay. The first of the two beaches, little Deadmans Bay, is more sheltered and has a good campsite.

Deadmans Bay to New River Lagoon - 3 to 4 hours, medium walking.

From Deadmans Bay, cross some buttongrass plains before going up and around Menzies Bluff. Continue through forest before dropping down to Prion Beach. Follow the Beach to the eastern end of the dunes where the boats cross the Lagoon. There is a campsite on the northern side of the crossing.

New River Lagoon to Granite Beach - 4 to 6 hours, medium walking.

From the campsite the track runs the bank of the lagoon through scrub until steps lead down to Milford Creek. Cross the creek and walk down the foreshore until you pick up steps on the eastern side of the bay. Follow buttongrass moorlands for some kilometres, then climb through spectacular mixed forest, before descending to Suprise Bay. Follow the beach to the rivulet crossing. Climb steeply up and over the headland, then down through forest to Granite Beach. Boulder hop to the eastern end of Granite Beach, then climb up the small cliff near a waterfall to the campsite. Take care negotiating this section when seas are rough.

Granite Beach to South Cape Rivulet - 6 to 8 hours, medium/hard walking.

There is a long ascent through forest to Flat Rock Plain, where there are good views. The climb continues to the top of the top of the South Cape Range. It is advisable to carry water in drier weather. No campsites are found on the range. From the top a long descent through wet forest leads towards the coast. The often boggy track then passes over a series of hills before reaching South Cape Bay. There is a campsite on the eastern side of the South Cape Rivulet. This stream must be waded, and can be impassable at high tide or after heavy rain.

South Cape Rivulet to Cockle Creek - 3 to 4 hours, easy walking.

From the western end of the bay, the track crosses a series of beaches and headlands until steps lead up to a final bluff overlooking South Cape Bay. From there the track is boardwalk most of the way back. It soons enters the open heathland of Blowhole Valley - spectacular during its early summer flowering. The valley also contains remains of tramways used in timber getting. After skirting the lightly forested Moulders Hill, the track finally comes to an end at Cockle Creek.
Cockle Creek is 2 to 2 1/2 hours by road south of Hobart.

Boat Crossing

There is a boat crossing at the New River Lagoon. Two small dinghies have been provided at each end of these crossings for the use of bushwalkers.
There should be one boat left on each side of the crossing, well out of the water, turned upside down and securely fastened. Each boat should also have a pair of oars stored securely with the boats. Please leave the boats as you would want to find them. Other peoples' lives may depend on it.

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