Cape Hauy and the Antechinus

I haven’t spent a lot of time down at the Tasman Peninsula. A few trips here and there to try and get an aurora at the Tessellated Pavement, a trip to Port Arthur with my daughters grade 5 class, and I think that pretty much sums it up it since I was a kid. I figured that since I would be spending 2 days down at Fortescue bay with uni doing ecology stuff I may as well go down early and head out to Cape Hauy for a wander. So I did.

The Tasman National Park is about an hour and 45 from my place, unless you totally luck out and get stuck behind every car doing 60 in an 80 zone and manage to catch every red light on the way out of town. In that case it is closer to two or two and a bit hours. Oh well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles at times.

The uni had booked out the entire Banksia campground for the field trip, which was lucky because there ended up being a village of us. Being the first one there I didn’t really have the option of setting up camp near the people I wanted to and away from the ones I didn’t want to be near, but I figure I only sleep in my tent and I can just use my legs to walk to the campfires with the people I like at them. So I just put my tent up, got my shit together and then Leena and I wandered off to Cape Huay…

Cape Hauy

I’d seen the photos, read the walk notes and heard all the people raving about it, so I was looking forward to checking it out myself. It’s a nice walk. The start of heads up through some happy looking Eucalyptus and Banksia woodland with a decent patch of Callitris rhomboidea (Oyster bay pine). The track starts to level out and the woodland gives way to a pretty even stretch of coastal heath with some short and stumpy mallee formed Eucalyptus tenuiramis scattered in there. I’m still working out the Leptospermum species, because I think there were a couple. I found a paper about leaf gigantism in certain species which grow in coastal areas, Cape Huay being one of them, so I will read that after. I was sure there was L. scorparia along there but the leaves and capsules seemed way to big, so perhaps that’s my explanation. Or I just got the species wrong.

Being a part of the new(ish) Three Capes ‘experience’ the track has been all done up and turned into a beautifully landscaped stairway. A very long stairway, something like three thousand or more steps according to one bloke. They are nice steps, all a pretty even height and nicely spaced. The stone work on them is pretty good, they clearly spent a lot of time and effort building them. Made it a tad boring to be honest, if I’m going to go up up up and down down down again I’d prefer to have a bit of variation in my step. Having said that I do appreciate that not everyone likes to have things to trip over, and that a nice stairway makes it heaps more accessible to a wider range of people. And that is aways a good thing, the more people out enjoying the world and the nature in it, the better. That’s a whole seperate conversation though, the beautification of the walking surfaces…

Don’t get me wrong, the walk was nice, and the plants and vegetation stunning, as they always are. The sea cliffs were magnificent and I could have stood there all day looking down at the water smashing over the rocks. Perhaps it had been built up too much for me, hearing all the people rave over it as one of their favourite walks and what not. Maybe I was expecting unicorns and sea dragons or something. Having said that I am glad I wandered out there and saw it with my own eyeballs. My knees probably wouldn’t say the same, if they had mouths and could speak they would be abusing the hell out of me for sure.

All up it took us five hours and 47 minutes. Which is pretty good for a four hour walk really, I was planning on six so I estimated well. We spent a bit of time at the end lookout bit. Met a really wonderful family who were holidaying from Bendigo, no idea of their names though, but we had a lovely time clambering around rocks and talking about all the brilliant places to camp and explore in Tassie. If for some miraculous reason you are reading this, I hope the rest of your trip was fantastic and there were no more axed finger incidents!


Did you know… The male Antechinus lives for exactly 11 months and two weeks and then basically gives up and dies. Females don’t live a whole lot longer, maybe a few extra months. Enough time to gestate some babies, give birth to them and maybe hang around for a bit to make sure they will do something productive with their lives. Which is pretty much mate and die. They are like vegetables of the animal world, in the sense they are annuals, not in the sense they are tasty. They sprout, fruit and die all in one season. Intense.

They are also super freaking cute…

The weekend was a field trip for a population and community ecology unit I am doing at uni. It was pretty cruisy with the whole idea of the weekend to get some experience in various surveying techniques. Invertebrate pitfall trapping, mammal catch and release, seine netting, bird surveying and some other stuff which I didn’t do. Good thing is this is also part of another unit I have left to do so I get to do it all again next year!

No field trip is complete without a rad group of folks to sit around campfires with. I always manage to find the good ones, ha. This was no exception. Met some fantastic new people who I will continue to annoy. They made the weekend ever better. Good times, strange conversation and lots of laughs. Perfect.

Saturday afternoon a few of use wandered around to Canoe Bay, which is along the coastline in the opposite direction from Cape Huay. Cool little walk through the trees, with a shipwreck thing in the bay. We never went as far as Bivouac Bay, we needed to get back to the camp for beer o’clock. I’ll go back and do it again one day. Maybe next year…
I’m going to be a little sad when I finish this degree, which should hopefully be mid next year. I feel like I have been doing it forever, in-between having kids and moving states and what not it has been on the go for a while. I am close to the end now though, unless I do an honours year…


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