Tunnel Bay  2020


Tunnel Bay lies within the national park network managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS), so you need a Parks Pass. 

I walked the track to Tunnel Bay with Sophie, on September 12. We made the campground at Fortescue Bay our base.



Walkers to Tunnel Bay and Shipstern Bluff (a famous big-wave surfing location) use the Cape Raoul carpark, at the end of Stormlea Road on the Tasman Peninsula. On the way in we passed four surfers heading back to the carpark; three were carrying surfboards, while the fourth was carrying half a surfboard. Apparently accidents are common at this location...  a place for experienced surfers only. The return walk to Tunnel Bay took us six hours, but it could be done easily in four hours.


Tunnel Bay is a small bay lying just west of the Cape Raoul peninsula. The red pin was placed by Google Earth and marks the start of the track where it branches from the Cape Raoul track. Tunnel Bay is the next bay to the west.


Before our walk to Tunnel Bay, we took the short two-hour track to Crescent Bay, just south of Port Arthur. The carpark for Crescent Bay also provides access to Remarkable Cave, however this track was closed for maintenance. If you're planning to visit Remarkable Cave, I recommend you get there very early, on a sunny (not cloudy) day. Because it's so accessible, it's usually very crowded.


The Maingon Blowhole lies at the extreme northeast corner of the Google Earth image above.

Even in calm weather, the blowhole is impressive:  https://youtu.be/_H6fudX_fxk


Crescent Bay, at the entrance to Port Arthur. Lots of clean sand. Popular with families on weekends.


At this time of year, wildflowers are a feature of the walk.

Healthland casuarina in flower.


That's Cape Raoul in the distance.


The walk to Tunnel Bay does NOT provide views of the spectacular cliffs which are a feature of the Tasman coastline a few kilometres to the east. However it is a very pleasant walk, with relatively few other hikers on the track.  Shortly after leaving the carpark, the track enters an impressive eucalypt forest, with tall trees towering into the sky.


Not far into this walk, the track crosses a small creek. Up until 2005, walkers crossed this stream on a fallen log. However the surface of the log is covered with moss and algae, and this slippery surface presents a danger to hikers. In 2005 the PWS upgraded this crossing.


Some hikers, perhaps for reasons of tradition, insist on using the original crossing, in spite of the danger.

See https://youtu.be/U0Ae8ZEh7SY



Like the Crescent Bay walk, there are lots of wildflowers out at this time of year.


Shiny, colourful leaves on epicormic shoots.  You see these shoots usually after the plant has been stressed. This is a eucalypt.


The vegetation along the track changes from forest to woodland, then, suddenly, you get to the edge.... 

Although you can't see it clearly in this photo, there are three boats and about eight surfers here. The boats transport surfers who are too lazy, or too rich, to walk in with their boards.


Near the sea, there's lots of low forest and woodland. Trees give way to coastal heath in areas more exposed to wind.


Tunnel Bay. Quiet, secluded, beautiful. The rock beach tells a story of great wave energy coming in to the bay from the Southern Ocean.

We were the only visitors to the bay on that day. It was good to have the place to ourselves.


There are interesting rock formations...

What appears to be one igneous rock imbedded in a surrounding igneous rock... The original mudstones and sandstones in this area experienced multiple igneous intrusions. 


Wonderful yellow and orange lichens.


The eastern beach.





I love the brilliant colours of the pigface plant...





The western beach.



We headed home in the afternoon, with the sun behind us lighting the tree-trunks.