South Cape Bay Track

Southwest National Park

This is a 16km return walk from Cockle Creek to South Cape Bay. This walk is the most southerly day walk you can do in Australia! When you arrive at the rocky headland, you are looking south to Antarctica but it is still many kilometres south. About 4,000 kms in fact.

Bird Watching
Swamp or Wetland
Maximum Elevation
Total Climb

Getting there

From Hobart, head south on the Southern Outlet (A6) for 10km. Take the right hand lane at the Kingston Bypass and continue on for 2km before taking the 4th exit to Channel Highway (B68) at the roundabout. Continue through Huonville on the Huon Highway for 70km to Hastings Caves Road (C635). Following this road for an additional 22km to get to Cockle Creek. The start of the walk is well sign posted at Cockle Creek behind the Ranger's Station.


n.b. allow 2 hours to travel to Cockle Creek from Hobart. The last15 or so km's is on an unsealed road - suitable for 2WD but be cautious of animals and large potholes.



Route/Trail notes


From the carpark the trail first skirts Cockle Creek, meeting the walker’s registration box soon after. For the next 3km the trail scrabbles over the gentle rocky slopes of Moulders Hill before opening up onto duck boarded marshlands. Thanks to the duck boards, the walking here is  easy and the next few kilometres are quickly covered.  The trail then climbs along several gentle hills, emerging onto the rugged dark cliff top surrounding South Cape Bay.

This cliff top section of the trail is enticingly beautiful and eerie all at once. The barren grey rock stands in stark contrast to the lush forest recently departed. From here incredible views of South Cape, Lion Rock and the turbulent ocean occasionally packed with surfers are offered.

Continuing down onto South Cape Beach is highly recommended via the staircase provided on the far side of the cliffs. Toilets and campgrounds can be found inland near the creek leading onto the beach. Return via the same route.



No additional cost apart from your National Parks Pass

Other References

How can I find more info? Any guide books?

GPS Tracks

  • No GPS available for this walk yet.


Beautiful walk, muddy in sections which is tough but varied enough that the walk is engaging most of the way through. Extremely beautiful coastal views - we saw so many dolphins!

The campsite at the end is lovely but watch out for rats that will go to great lengths to get into your gear for food. Also had two snake encounters on the way back so recommend gaiters in the warmer months if you have them.

Christa on 10 Dec, 2022

Even when Tassie has been dry for a while, this walk is beautiful. Fungi everywhere and beautiful breezes walking along the duckboards. The views are terrific from the cape…I can’t wait to do the full walk from Melaleuca. We completed this walk in 3 & 3/4hrs and that included a LOT of fungi photos 🍄🥰😊

S K on 27 Apr, 2022

Very enjoyable hike. Took us 5 hrs which includes a picnic lunch at the camp grounds at the end of the beach near Lion Rock. Spectacular views of the Southern Ocean & Southeast Cape. Was a windy day - could blow a dog off a chain; however, still enjoyable. First quarter (& last) is rocky & muddy; second & third quarters spent a lot of time on boardwalk. Undulating in parts & stairs at the beach; however, not bad at all.

Nick.b on 17 Nov, 2020

Loved this walk! A huge variety of birds and plants especially wildflowers! Saw a large black tiger snake on the path who quickly slithered away when I got closer. The walk is moderate but wear good quality hiking shoes as there’s a lot of rocks and tree roots to walk over. The muddy tracks were everywhere but it was good to see hikers still treading along the mud and not making new tracks to avoid dirtying their boots. The view at South Cape Bay is impressive and was wonderful to sit and have a quick bite to eat. It took us 5 hours with quite a few stops for photos along the way.

Plenty of spaces to park at the start and there is a toilet and information sign just behind the Ranger’s Station. Camping is also permitted.

S K on 17 Dec, 2019

A great walk with a diversity of plant life. It was lovely to come out to the bay - be sure to have a picnic there!

Anoogle on 17 Dec, 2019

Husband and I did this walk in Autumn but it was still light until 8pm here. It took us about 5 hours. We left at 230pm and got back at 730pm. We had planned to go to Hastings caves but the access road was closed that day. It is not a steep walk but the rocks and roots in parts make it tiring in parts. Just remember that when you first hear the ocean you are still 20 or 30 minutes away from the coast.

Caroline Smith on 11 Mar, 2019

Great walk and it tested our stamina as we arrived late and wanted to be out by sunset, so had to really maintain a cracking pace. Despite this we still enjoyed the scenery, and had a half hour stop at the turn around point. Towards the end of the return leg, it was threatening to rain and the wind had picked up to well over 40kph. This was scary with falling branches, but was good as it was at our backs helping to push us on even faster.

Brian on 17 Aug, 2016


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