South Coast Track, Tasmania

Rick McCharles

Most serious hikers who travel to Tasmania hike the Overland Track as training for the far more rigorous South Coast Track.

That adventure on the southern most shore of Tasmania takes even fast hikers 7 days, 6 nights after flying into the Melaleuca airstrip trailhead. It’s 83km (51mi) to exit at Cockle Creek through the world’s largest temperate wilderness.

Me – I ran out of time.

Instead of doing the entire South Coast Track, I spent only 4 days, 3 nights enjoying the southern beaches out of Cockle Creek.

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South Cape Rivulet campsite

I’ve seen tea stained water before, but never as dark as the water of south coast Tasmania. (It’s quite safe to drink.)

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The only hassles on this section were biting flies and the odd very deep mud pool. (I almost lost my shoe knee deep at one point.)

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I enjoyed the beach sunsets best of all.

Though it looks lovely, be aware that “there are no huts or people living along the track so you will need a tent. There are no fires allowed along most of the coast. You will need to carry your own fuel stove. Lastly and most important – there are no food resupply points between the two ends of the track. You must carry all your own food for the entire trip and also carry out your rubbish. There are no hut wardens …”

John Chapman – guidebook author on the South Coast Track

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whale statue at Cockle Creek

More annotated photos of the South Coast Track out of Cockle Creek

Final word. One veteran hiker told me that the similar Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea was “more difficult by half” than the South Coast Track. On the other hand, in PNG you can have porters carry your pack.

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