Day 13: Finishing the South Coast Track

Friday December 2, 30.2km/18.8mi

Osmiridium Campsite (58.1/8m) to Cockle Creek (88.0/3m) (TAS) +0.3 campsite

I had a great camping spot in the trees, and woke up to a condensation-free tent and the sound of the ocean in the distance. I got moving after 7:30am, and much of the morning was on overgrown forested trail.

Sometimes it was a nice trail.

The short beach sections were definitely the highlight of the day, the first one was Surprise Bay, a short 1km beach. There were a couple spots to weave thru some big rocks, which was fun.

I had to time the waves just right to get thru this gap in the rocks. Exciting!

The beach was easy walking, and the waves were extra-large today.

I was back in the forest for a couple kilometers, before dropping down to another beach.

This one was Granite Beach, slightly longer than the previous beach.

It started off sandy…

And the last half of the beach was these big smooth rocks that were challenging to walk on. They were cantaloupe-sized wet stones, and sometimes would shift under my feet.

The exit to the beach was marked by a nice 10m waterfall, which also made a perfect water source.

I refilled my bottle at the bottom of the falls, getting kinda wet in the process. A few minutes later, I discovered the trail went across the stream at the top too. That would’ve been much easier. Oops. For the next 2 hours, I hiked uphill on an insanely muddy trail. I was too focused on not falling to take any photos, except in this one short stretch of boardwalk.

On the descent, the muddy trail added a new challenge of being weirdly channelized. It was hard to walk in such a narrow trench.

Thankfully, towards the end of the descent was a rather long stretch of boardwalk. It felt good to just walk and stretch my legs, without having to focus on each step.

I love the views of the southern ocean, the photos don’t really capture the enormous size of the waves crashing on the cliffs.

I emerged onto South Cape Beach, a very short 500m beach that started with a shallow river crossing.

The second half of the beach had some rocks, but those were easily avoided.

This little viewpoint was a nice surprise, I climbed up 100m to a clifftop, and saw this behind me. The beach I had just hiked:

After 30 minutes in the forest, I was on the final beach of the trail, Lion Roch Beach. It’s only 7km from the finish and a carpark, so I saw a few dayhikers out enjoying the sand (but not the water – too dangerous).

Leaving a beach always means a staircase to get up on top of the dunes and cliffs.

My favorite section of the day was the short walk along the top of the seaside cliff. Apparently they can spontaneously collapse, which was alarming.

Cairns!

The trail wrapped around the edge, I could feel the mist from the waves crashing violently below.

The last 7km were on an easy trail that went thru unremarkable forest and meadow. I enjoyed the flat, wide, smooth trail, and had a good 5km/hour pace going. This guy slowed me down, since he didn’t stop eating or move out of the way for a few minutes.

The nice boardwalk continued almost to the end.

The finishing trail register! I signed out, and searched the book for other hikers who finished today, to potentially get a ride out with them. But nobody today, darn.

I finished at 6pm and got my finish photo! It was a nice 4-day hike, I’m not sure who established the “6-8 day” guideline.

Southwest National Park is a world heritage area. And Cockle Creek is the “end of the road”, since this is the furthest south you can drive in Australia.

As I was walking over to the free campground to setup my tent for the night, I passed this seal pretty far up the beach.

The camping options weren’t great, as they were either in grassy meadows (wet), or in spots that were rutted from cars’ tires. I settled for a flat spot that will surely be dewy and damp in the morning.

Tomorrow I will hitchhike back to Hobart, which is a 2-hour drive. This is literally the end of the road, so it sees very little traffic. Should be interesting!

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