Hiking Cape Hauy and a Prison Ghost Tour in Tasmania
On our fourth day, in Tasmania, we woke up early and hit the trail! Our plan was to hike Cape Hauy, which is one of the three hikes along the Three Capes Track. We knew it would be about a four hour return and offer spectacular views. So we set off, eager to see what adventures awaited!
Not long after we began, we realized that almost the entire trail is made up of stairs, and then the cloud cover dissipated—leaving us in the bright sunlight. We had all liberally applied sunscreen, before our hike. But even then, with the mix of sweat and sun, we could feel the burns beginning… On our skin and in our muscles.
However challenging, the end result was well worth the effort! The trail ends on top of a narrow sea cliff, that jets out into the ocean, with a platform that’s only big enough for a couple groups of people, at a time. We plopped down, to rest our legs and eat our lunch, and to soak in as much of the view as we could, before heading back the way we came.
After our hike, we drove over to Port Arthur—a beautiful and historic site that is home to one of the most haunted places in Australia… The Port Arthur Prison. This prison was virtually inescapable, as this part of Tasmania is only connected to the rest of the island by a small neck of land (Eaglehawk Neck), which was guarded by dogs. Those prisoners who did happen to escape, usually came crawling back after a few days, when they realized life in prison was much easier than life in the Tassie bush.
We took a tour of Port Arthur, which included a short boat ride around the island where many of the inmates are buried, but by this point in the day, we were all feeling a bit exhausted from the constant sun exposure. So as soon as the tour ended, we drove back to our Airbnb for dinner, a quick shower, then my eldest niece, brother in law, and myself drove right back to Port Arthur for a nighttime ghost tour.
Since none of us had much energy or desire to do a lot of exploring on our earlier visit, the three of us decided to head outside, before our ghost tour, to check out the main building. This was definitely my favorite part of our Port Arthur visit, as no one else was around, the air had cooled, and we could finally take in our surroundings, before the sun set completely.
The tour began just as night fell; setting the mood for what was sure to be a spooky experience. Our guide asked for three volunteers to be lantern bearers, and since no one else was jumping at the chance, I volunteered my niece to be the “rear lantern bearer”. This meant she got to carry a lantern around, to light our way, but was to stay at the back of the group, ensuring that no one was left behind. Of course, this also meant she had to be the last one out of any of our “spooky stops”, so I made sure to stick with her… Just in case!
Overall, the ghost tour ended up being a bit of a let down, with very few historic facts and more just “eerie hearsay”. But, I do think my niece rather enjoyed being the rear lantern bearer, even if she wasn’t pleased with me, in the moment when I volunteered her for the job.