Headspace was the reason I decided to walk on the wild side at the far southern tip of my home state, Tasmania, last month. I was at that three-months-out-from-summer-break energy dip. Lots of great projects and strong business growth, but I was fatigued and looking for a short total switch off.
I’d heard about the Three Capes Track when it opened last December. 46 kilometres of “cliff-hugging wildness” over four days sounded challenging, but hard to resist. I decided at the last minute to book an Autumn walk, and when I couldn’t enlist any walking buddies at short notice, “are you kidding me, 46 kilometres with a pack and a cold outdoor shower on one night only?”, I decided to do it solo. It turned out to be the perfect tune-out to do alone, with just myself for company.
The Tasman peninsula is an extraordinarily beautiful part of Australia that takes pure air and blue water to a whole new level. Next landfall is Antarctica. Tasmania does not exaggerate its guide book claims that “few places on Earth remain that feel so remote, so raw, so removed from the ordinary.” The Track’s Website invites the walker to “look up, look out, look within…let nature’s drama unfold…stand on nature’s edge, hear the silence and be overcome with awe.” With prophetic place names like Tornado Ridge and The Blade, the Track delivered eloquently on its promise.
Nature calms me; the transformative benefits of the bush are very strong in my life. From the minute I stepped onto the secluded sands of Denmans Cove from the drop-off boat, I felt the place’s immersive presence folding itself around me. It is a stone’s throw from the infamous Port Arthur penal site, is rich in Aboriginal presence, and local place names like Labillardiere and d’Entrecasteaux echo French trysts with colonial Australia. History’s imprint is palpable here.
The track itself is an artwork; University of Tasmania design students have created a whimsical collection of sculpted story-seats that punctuate the daily distances. Eucalypt forest alternates with wind-whipped coastal heath, and the foaming surf of the Tasman Sea pounds the foreshores far below. Nights are spent at brilliantly designed minimum-impact eco-lodges built from Tasmanian woods. They shine from resisting the trap of tarting the experience up beyond basic cooking and sleeping facilities. The views from the decks and surrounds are astonishing. Yoga mats, stretching rolls and locally relevant books repeated at each stay add a thoughtful touch. The fact the 4000th walker since December was clocked the week I was there says much about the appeal of the experience.
There are overnight USB charging stations, and connectivity at sporadic spots along the track, but I didn’t make, nor take any work calls. Snapping photos of jaw dropping land and seascapes was a much better use of my phone. I didn’t check emails or open my Internet browser. I quietly deflected any thoughts of work that arose – actually not many did. I limited personal calls to briefly checking in with family so I could take the chance for long stretches of sleep. I took a small notebook, but didn’t feel the urge to write anything. Apart from enjoying a few pages of a novel by torchlight, my mind stayed refreshingly empty. I completed the 46Ks on Day 4 with a spectacular walk up out of Cape Hauy and a dip in the bracing pristine waters of Fortescue Bay at track’s end. Tune-out mission accomplished. Brilliant job, Tassie. A privilege to experience it.