Hiking the South Coast Track in Tasmania – Surprise Bay to Cockle Creek

In this post, Larry Hamilton continues his extensive trip report on the South Coast Track in Southern Tasmania.

This post commences on Day Eight where Larry had overnighted at Surprise Bay, (one of our favourite places on the SCT) and continues to the end of the Track at Cockle Creek.

Day Eight 26 June

The rain continued heavily overnight and was steadily falling in the morning so I took an enforced rest day. Because of the previous rest days I got a little stir crazy and would have liked to keep moving but it wouldn’t have been pleasant walking. I had a brief respite from the rain in the afternoon and ventured out with my camera. The creek I crossed yesterday which was over waist deep was impressively high and I got a photo of it which unfortunately didn’t do it justice. Had I been crossing it today it would have been an exciting swim.

Surprise Bay from the campsite

Day Nine 27 June

It stopped raining about 1am and apart from the occasional sprinkle was pretty dry. The wind had also dropped off so the condensation issues in the tent were pretty severe. It is a short hop to Granite Beach with the South Cape Range thereafter so in clearing weather and showers I walked over the range and down to Granite Beach. Granite Beach turned out to be the highlight of my trip probably because I arrived with rainbows and three quite big waterfalls pouring into a very pretty bay. I also liked the climb up beside the waterfall and the interesting location of the campsite. The rain showers gradually decreased and stopped late in the afternoon enabling me to dry some of my gear out and really appreciate just what a pretty spot it is. I’d go back there in a flash.

Tent and tarp setup at Granite Beach campsite

Granite Beach from the western campsite

Day Ten 28 June

I started early and was walking in pretty dim light at 7.30am as I anticipated a long day over South Cape Range. The weather had cleared and I had a bright, sunny and cool day. As predicted it was a muddy day and I sloshed over the range getting dirtier and dirtier. Initially the descent is tough with long drops and lots of exposed and slippery tree roots. Because of the rain, the track was in many places the river course and I got pretty wet. The later descent from the range when I broke out of the forest is a really nice walk and because I had made good time over the range I ended up whistling happily along a nice track through light coastal forest down towards South Cape Rivulet. I’d had a good day which I didn’t really expect, given the tales I’d heard about South Cape Range.

Looking back at the ocean from the South Cape Range

I ended the day by swimming South Cape Rivulet which was still big from the rain on the previous days. The camp on the west side of the rivulet is a nice spot in a unique environment. I set up camp and got into dry gear. Towards the evening clouds gathered in the west and it looked as if rain was on the way again as I prepared my evening meal.

South Cape Rivulet

Day Eleven 29 June

I had some rain showers overnight but the day dawned clear with light and fluffy clouds which cleared during the day. It wasn’t too pleasant putting on completely saturated clothes when it was only six degrees in the morning but it didn’t take long to warm up. The walk to Cockle Creek is a pleasant one and has some great views, some beautiful beaches and some interesting landforms at Coal Bluff.
The author – Larry Knight

It is a really enjoyable way to end the walk and I felt a bit ambivalent at the finish. I still had food and fuel in my pack but had to stop. I was pleased to be at the end but also disappointed that there was not more to go.

The beach – Cockle Creek

I arrived at Cockle Creek at midday and after phoning Dover for the pickup taxi had plenty of time to change into clean clothes, phone my wife and poke around Cockle Creek taking photos.
Bridge over Cockle Creek

I was lucky with the weather and had taken it easy. The walk was everything I’d expected and certainly as good as it is reported to be. I’d happily do the walk again but am setting my sights on seeing some of South West Cape and of the side bays, now that I’ve seen the main track. I enjoyed having the South West Track to myself and didn’t see a soul for the eleven days. That for me adds to the sense of wilderness. I’d certainly recommend the walk as one to do. The track is well marked and navigation isn’t an issue. The muddiest plains have boardwalks and there is sufficient challenge in the walk to make it exciting and interesting. But it is the environment and the scenery that really make it worth doing.

Related Posts

The South Coast Track – Solo Winter Trip report by Larry Hamilton – Part One
South Coast Track – Part Two by Larry Hamilton – Ironbound Ranges and Leeches
Larry’s Port Davey Trip Report– great reading
Gear List for Wilderness Bushwalking Trip – Larry Hamilton’s excellent gear list
Stuck between Louisa and Faraway Creeks – Our adventure on the South Coast Track
Hiking the South Coast Track – our first (and last time)


  1. David Marrison says

    Hi Guys,

    noticed you have titled a photograph cockle creek beach,the beach is at South Cape Bay with Lion Rock in the background not cockle creek.


    Dave M

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