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Thursday, 5 September 2013

Tatnells Hill Circuit

Wednesday 4th September 2013

I had previously walked to Tatnells Hill a couple of years ago, but only from Waterfall Bay, so this circuit walk that I made up was going to be a new experience.
This morning I left home at 0600 and drove down to Eaglehawk Neck where I parked the car 100 metres into Blowhole Road off the Arthur Highway. As it was going to be a fairly long walk I wanted to get an early start so it was about 0745 when I commenced walking.
The walk went in a southerly direction for 300 metres to a sign indicating a track to Cashs Lookout. I went up this track for a short distance and found another sign lying in the bushes and followed this track which alternated between an overgrown road and an overgrown walking track. The long and the short of it is that I lost the track altogether, so I decided to head steeply uphill to the ridge line that I could see, and where I suspected the track would be. The walking was quite easy as the area had been burnt in the fires last year and when I reached the top of the ridge, sure enough the track was there. This track was  poorly marked as I suspect that the fires had destroyed many of the tapes and there were some large trees down also, but it was really just a case of following the ridge line up to Cashs Lookout.
At Cashs Lookout there is a hang glider launching pad with excellent views of Eaglehawk Neck and Pirates Bay but unfortunately today it was quite hazy in the distance. From here the walk was down Plateau Road for 2.8 kms. to Lichen Road which was followed for 1 km. to a sign indicating the start of the track to "Tatnells Hill via Lichen Hill". This track was flagged and marked with pointers, but I suspect that it is not used very much, and it was possible to loose the track on a few occasions, but generally not too difficult to find. At first the track went through wet forest with lots of moss and lichens and then once the ascent to Lichen Hill was reached it became quite dry. There were reasonable views on the approach to Lichen Hill where I stopped for a short break. After this the descent from Lichen Hill went into wet forest once again before finally reaching Tatnells Hill. I did not spend any time here but headed on down to the junction with the Tasman Trail where I had lunch.
After the break I just followed the track down, passing Camp Falls which had more water flowing over it than last time I was here, Waterfall Bay and then on to Tasman Arch. I really love the scenery along this part of the coast with the high sea cliffs. As I was venturing out on a rocky ledge to take a photo I looked down and here was this snake coiled up and sunning itself. I suspect it was a Tiger Snake, but I am no expert, I just leave then alone.
Once I reached Tasman Arch I found a somewhat overgrown track that went around the coast and eventually came out at the Blowhole carpark. It was along this track that one could stand right on the edge of the cliffs and watch the waves breaking 60 or 70 metres below. Quite spectacular. I then descended to Egg Beach and walked along this around a few rocky headlands for 3 kms. back to the car. I suspect it would not be possible to do this if the tide was in. I was rather glad to get back to the car as it had been a long walk but it was also an enjoyable one.
It is possible to access parts of this walk by car eg. Cashs Lookout via Plateau Road, Tatnells Hill via Balts Road, Tatnells Hill via Waterfall Bay Road and of course from Tasman Arch and Blowhole.
Distance: 20.9 kms.
Time: 6'30'
Ascent: 870 metres
Click here to download GPX track.
Pirates Bay from Cashs Lookout

Hang Glider pad Cashs Lookout

Walking track to Tatnells Hill

From Lichen Hill

From Tatnells Hill

Camp Falls

Sunny disposition

Waterfall Bay

Along the coastline

Patersons Arch

Looking towards Cape Hauy

Along the coastline

A long way down

Egg Beach

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