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Cockle Creek, the edge of Australia

7 September 2011 No Comment

Cockle Creek Tasmania

About two hours drive south of Hobart lies the very end of the road. The tiny remote settlement of Cockle Creek is the farthest south you can drive in Australia. You can look out to sea and know that it’s next stop Antarctica.

One of the greatest bushwalks in Australia ends here, the South Coast Track. This hike is for experienced bushwalkers only and well known for throwing up harsh weather conditions as walkers traverse mountains and cross rivers. Walkers generally fly into Melaleuca on the west coast and walk east to arrive in Cockle Creek some seven to ten days later.

For the rest of us, there are still some beautiful shorter walks to show off some of the area’s natural landscape and human history.

A five minute walk from the car park you’ll find a bronze sculpture of a southern right whale, with signs explaining the area’s history. The view opposite the sculpture is of rugged peaks in the Southwest National Park, part of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage area, including Mt. La Perouse and Adamsons Peak.

For a longer walk, head to the navigation light and the ruins of an old pilot station on Fishers Point. You can see remnants of history along the way, including aboriginal middens, pieces of crockery and bricks from long-gone buildings. The area was once home to more than 1000 people and even two pubs when the whaling stations were in operation in the early to mid 1800s.

A longer walk again is the track to South East Cape for cliff-top views of the Southern Ocean, coastal beaches and Maatsuyker Island. It takes around three hours and it’s mostly flat, but even so, a warm sunny day can turn quickly into bitterly cold winds, so a wind and rainproof jacket is essential.

Cockle Creek is a popular camping spot in summer and there is a small permanent settlement there. Just be aware that there are no shops or other facilities other than a part-time ranger’s office, a toilet and a water tap to refill your bottles. You’ll need to take a picnic lunch with you. The nearest shop is at Southport pub.

Click on the link for more information about  day tours from Hobart to Cockle Creek .

Susan Moore lives in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. She shares  a glimpse of daily life in Tasmania, as written by a “blow in” from the mainland,  on her fascinating site Houn View. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive her regular articles.
Image: Tonifish via Flickr

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