Things To See And Do: Southern
Cape Raoul: a rugged cape offering panoramic views of spectacular cliffs and the dolerite spires at the end of the cape, views across Storm Bay to Bruny Island from the Storm Bay Lookout, and a seal colony on the rocks below. The walking path across the cape begins at the Nubeena Post Office.
Tunnel Bay on Cape Raoul at the foot of Tasman Peninsula is just one of the numerous walking destinations on the peninsula. Tunnel Bay is named because of a natural rock tunnel there that has ben created by water erosion. Nearby, to the south, is Shipstern Bluff, a rugged headland jutting out into the sea. Suitable only for the most capable and experienced extreme surfer.
Below the bluff, heaving swells hit a reef head-on, causing a huge body of water to arc up seemingly out of nowhere. In recent years, this churning swell has become a major surfing spot that attracts elite surfers from around the world, dominating the surf media and setting the bar for extreme surfing in Australia.
Located off the south eastern tip of the peninsula, Tasman Island stands defiantly beyond the tip of Cape Pillar. It is a rugged, desolate and windswept rock that was named after Dutch seaman Abel Tasman who cautiously skirted its thunderous shores in 1642. Like a fortress, the island's grey basalt columns rise 240 metres straight out of the sea. Above is a plateau of only 50 hectares, pock-marked with sink holes, caves and small clumps of windswept vegetation. Perched atop the island is Tasman Island Lighthouse, one of Australia's most inaccessible light stations, being posted there was so unpopular that it was likened to the infamous American island prison Alcatraz. There was a sense of isolation which sent numerous lightkeepers mad.
There are few more dramatic, scenic features on the Tasmanian coast than Cape Pillar. The sheer cliffs rise vertically to a height of 300m and are fluted like organ pipes - a common characteristic of the Jurassic dolerite from which they are formed. And if they are not enough to take one's breathe away, there is also Cathedral Rock, The Blade, the Chasm and Tasman Island just 500 metres away across a turbulent strait. A signposted walking track to this rugged corner of the continent begins off Fortescue Bay Road.
One of the most dramatic, distinctive looking capes on the Australian coastline, the end of which looks as if it has been sliced up like a loaf of bread to form the two rounded islands called The Lanterns. Next to them is The Candlestick and the famous Totem Pole (see below). The location provides views to Cape Pillar, Cathedral Rock and Schouten Island off the end of Freycinet Peninsula. A walking track to the end of the cape begins at the Fortescue Bay boat ramp.
One of the most spectacular pieces of rock on the planet. It is a free-standing dolerite pillar spearing straight out of the water in a gloomy chasm infested with sharks and subject to volatile swell patterns. It is over sixty metres tall, but only about four metres wide at the base. It sways in the wind and shudders with the crash of every wave. The prospect this piece of rock presents the climber is uncompromising and chilling. It demands you take at handful of bravery pills, as the challenge of the climb is psychological as much as technical.
Remarkable Cave: A truly remarkable work of nature, Remarkable Cave has been carved out of the rock of Safety Cove. The cave, which is actually a natural bridge with two entries from the sea, was created over millions of years by the raging seas which pound this isolated coastline. A staircase leads from the cliff top down right into the mouth of the cave. At low tide it is possible to walk through the cave to the ocean side of the cliffs.