Cape Connella is the next cape south from Fluted Cape on South Bruny Island. I’d heard somewhere that a track to it had been re-cleared in the last year or so, and also that there was a taped route directly between the two capes. That would make a lovely circuit which I was keen to explore.
The walk begins along the Slide Track from Adventure Bay. That track is notorious for leeches but I encountered none, perhaps because I had comprehensively sprayed my feet and ankles with repellant. Traces of the track’s origin as a timber tramway could be seen in the form of occasional logs both across and parallel to the track. After climbing steadily to about 100 m the track runs across a long flat section of lush wet sclerophyll forest, but I suspect all the large trees had disappeared down the old tramway.
After about 2.5 km a sign showed the turnoff to Cape Connella (on one of the few remaining very big trees). The route was now a more conventional bush track – well marked and well trodden but twisting and turning through the vegetation. More big trees here, generally more lush forest, particularly as it started to drop towards the coast through rainforest of sassafras, myrtles and tree ferns, and of course fungi. At a steep gully crossing some ropes had been placed down a steep bank to help those who are less sure-footed – I thought not essential but a nice touch and I used them anyway.
(Click to enlarge any photo)
Soon I was at the small promontory called Bev’s Lookout which gave views north to Cape Connella itself and south towards the southern tip of Bruny, as well as to the seriously rough shoreline 120 m below. I had morning tea watching surf crash over rock faces and a boulder beach. A large group would need to take turns looking at the view – scrub right to the edge means there is room for only one or two people at the lookout.
The track became more faint and rough from here but still mostly easy to follow. The vegetation was now what you would expect on a coastal clifftop – fairly sparse dry sclerophyll which would not have been too hard to walk through even without a track (but the track was definitely easier).
As I neared Cape Connella and looked at the map I was disappointed to realise that the track was heading nowhere near the point of the cape itself. But disappointment was unjustified because I was lead to a higher summit where dolerite cliffs plunged 240 m to the water. The top of the cliff line was more dissected than we are used to at, say, Cape Raoul which made it more intricate and interesting. I dawdled along here and the next long section of clifftops for a long time, looking at the views from different places and different angles.
I was even able to get a promotional shot for Pennicott’s boat trips and a self-portrait of my own silhouette.
Eventually the route moved away from the clifftops which had become less distinctive anyway. The marker tapes became more intermittent and the trampled pad was very faint so I often wandered off the route for a short distance but the vegetation was so open it didn’t matter and I always picked it up again. Navigation here was never going to be a problem – just keep the cliff to your right. In one patch that was more rainforesty but still open I was delighted to find orchids in flower – unexpected at this time of year.
Just before the summit of Fluted Cape I stopped for lunch with yet another view and was glad to continue enjoying the solitude before encountering walkers on the popular tourist track at the top. I didn’t linger at Fluted Cape – been here before and the views seemed not particularly special after where I’d been. From there it was a cruisey walk back down the well-graded track to the end of Adventure Bay and a little further to my car. A bit less than 5 hours including meal breaks and lots of lookout loitering – I’d expected longer. Total distance was only 11.5 km and just under 600 m of climbing.
This was a reconnaissance walk – it will definitely appear on the program in future.
(Disclaimer: I know solo walking can be unwise. On this occasion I was comfortable alone because I was on a well-defined route and had a PLB, a phone that had signal for more than half the walk and a pack full of survival gear.)