Why I’m Hiking Tasmania’s South Coast Track in 2018

This could be you! I can’t wait for it to be me!

When I first got into bushwalking and hiking twenty years ago (showing my age!), I can remember sitting around campfires and listening to stories and epic tales of multi-day walking adventures. It wasn’t just about the walking, it was also the travel to far-flung places that these trips provided that seemed somehow mystical. As a beginner, I couldn’t imagine packing enough food and gear on my back to carry me through 8 days (let alone being able to lift it and walk with it), so I started to feel as though trips like Tasmania’s South Coast Track, were out of my reach.

As my skills, fitness and experience grew, I started to realise that actually, with the right amount of prep and planning, this type of trip could actually be a reality. I COULD be ‘that’ type of hiker.

There’s so much in our lives that can tell us we can’t do things. We can try and point the finger of blame to things outside our control like work and family commitments, time to get fit, time to save money, but in the end the most powerful driver (unfortunately) is the quiet whispers in our own heads that say, ‘you can’t do that.’ In the battle between external and internal pressures, for me… it’s the words we say to ourselves and about ourselves that can be the most persuasive.

The South Coast Track leads through inland plains and over two mountain ranges
So remote that you need a scenic flight to get to the start at Melaleuca

But something’s happened to me in the years since I started focussing on spending longer periods of time in nature and bushwalking. It can start to sound a little Oprah/Chopra (is that “Choprah”?) but it’s something about actually choosing the life that I wanted and realising that we DO actually have a choice. But when we spend so much time working in our lives (work, family, etc), constantly busy, we don’t have any time to work on our lives.

It wasn’t just about choosing something from a list of prescribed or smorgasborded options, it was about actively designing and working towards a life that I wanted, a life that was deeply connected to who I was as a person, not just what society, culture, family and friends expected of me.

Throughout this realisation, change and work (yes, it is work… sometimes hard and painful), the trip that I’ve always held up as a dream for me, has been the South Coast Track. It’s an 85km walk, which takes between 6-8 days to traverse and follows the dramatic coastline of Tassie’s South West National Park, crossing two mountain ranges and across inland plains, to connect Melaleuca to Cockle Creek.

There are multiple water crossings, including one that needs small boats
Day 1 from Melaleuca

There’s no denying that trip reports, official TasParks notes, photos of thigh deep mud and the reality of the 1000m climb up (and knee jarr-ingly down) the Ironbound Ranges on day 5, point to the fact that this isn’t a trip for beginners. However, having spoken to many friends who’ve done the track, along with the words from the bible of the walk, The South Coast Track by John and Monica Chapman (2nd ed) and chats with local Tas-wegians/Hobartians, this is a walk that is within reach of bushwalkers with some overnight experience, good fitness and who can be completely self-sufficient in terms of gear and food.

Suddenly, all those ‘you can’t do that’, are turned into ‘you CAN do that.’

Is this you?

And that’s why I’m so excited to be heading down to Tassie on 18-28 February, to finally walk the South Coast Track and once again team up with the fantastic guides from Tasmanian Expeditions who will be taking care of all the logistics including food, transfers, flight to Melaleuca and importantly, be bringing their vast knowledge of local history, geology, flora and fauna, to provide first class interpretation along the way.

Campsite on day 6 – there’s no huts on the South Coast Track!
The awesome guides from Tasmanian Expeditions will take care of all the food (I can vouch that it’s delicious)… all we have to do is carry it!

So why am I telling you this now? Well, because I also get to bring some people with me and I’m hoping that if you’re reading this, you might be one of them!

As part of the trip, I’m also going to be sharing from my experiences, including offering training along the way in navigation (topographic maps, compass bearing, route planning, etc), as well as advice and thoughts on gear and packing, apps for the outdoors and importantly, Minimal Impact (aka, leave no trace) Bushwalking.

Maybe you’re wanting 2018 to look dramatically different to all the previous years and my comments about working on your life have rung true. This trip could be the perfect line in the sand for you.

There’s already some great people who are on the list (you know who you are BR, AW, LH and KJ!), so places are strictly limited. This is Wilderness area and so the numbers that we can take are small. I’m not a fan of big groups in the bush – quality over quantity every time – so if you feel you’re a quality person (:-D), then I’d love you to check out the Trip Page, have a read through all the notes there and step up for a trip you’ll never forget.

Day 9 is a day of hills and if we’re lucky, weather that lets us see the views!
This is the trip where I need to get my shiz together around beach walking… there’s a bit of it!
There’s no denying that weather on the SCT can be brutal at times, I’m glad the guides will be prepared for temp shelters!

Writer, producer and content creator by trade, search and rescue volunteer by passion, Caro Ryan started LotsaFreshAir.com to inspire, teach and encourage people to get into hiking and the outdoors safely.

It’s all about connecting people to wild places in meaningful ways, so they can look after themselves, their mates and these precious places we visit.

She teaches wilderness navigation, authored the book, ‘How to Navigate’ and hosts, ‘Rescued - an Outdoor Podcast for Hikers and Adventurers.

In the bottom of her pack you'll find coffee grounds, instant noodles past their used by date and an insatiable curiosity.

Bushwalking & Hiking Tips from an Unexpected Outdoors Chick

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