To get to Fortescue Bay from Hobart, take the Tasman Highway out to Sorell, and then the Arthur Highway all the way to Taranna. Keep driving through Taranna along the highway for another 5km and you will see Fortescue Road on the left hand side. Follow this dirt road for the next 12km until you reach the Tasman National Park and Fortescue Bay camping Ground (2WD access is fine). Be aware that park entry fees do apply.
The campsite at Fortescue Bay is quite extensive, with plenty of camp sites, toilets, hot showers, drinking water and a boat ramp. For more information see the Parks & Wildlife Service website.
1. The bushwalk commences at the southern end of the beach at Fortescue Bay. Follow the beach to the north for about 400m until you reach the outlet from Fortescue Lagoon. Under very high tides this creek may require wading to cross, but is generally not a problem. Another 250m further will bring you to the end of the beach where you will see signage directing you into the scrub.
2. The track ascends and descends numerous times as it hugs the coastline for the next 800m or so. We were walking in December and noticed quite a few wild flowers in bloom adjacent to the track. I couldn’t tell you what they were, but they looked great! For a short duration the track leaves the coastline and climbs a little, then descends down to Canoe Bay. On your right hand side you will see the scrub open up to give views across the water, at which point you can walk down to the waters edge. To your right hand side you will notice the wreck of the William Pitt rising out of the water. By all reports this is a great spot for snorkelling and swimming, but a little on the cold side for us!
3. A cable bridge crosses Walkers Creek at Canoe Bay. Beyond this point the track again follows the waters edge (to your right you will see evidence of the massive kelp forests that lie beneath the water) before narrowing and ascending up the hill. At times the path is steep, but is by no means difficult as it takes you through some green, damp temperate forests. Sections of the path were a little muddy, so I can imagine that in winter it could be quite messy. Approximately 1.5km from the cable bridge you will reach the top of the ridge line, at which point the track then descends for another 600m down to the Bivouac Bay camp site. At a number of locations you will get good views of Cape Hauy and The Lanterns to the south.
4. The Bivouac Bay camp site is small but in a very pretty location, adjacent to Bivouac Creek. Toilets and fresh water are available. At the mouth of the creek you have great views across Fortescue Bay. It took us a couple of hours to get to Bivouac Bay, by which time we were ready to take the boots off, remove the one little leech that had managed to attach himself to my leg, and have a bite to eat. According to maps we could have chosen to continue past Bivouac Bay, eventually reaching Waterfall Bay after another 4hrs walking. This sounds like a great opportunity for a multi-day walk some time in the future! Instead, we turned around and retraced our steps back to the beach at Fortescue Bay.
Overall this walk took us around 4hrs, including numerous stops for photos and lunch at Bivouac Bay. If you pushed hard you could probably do it in 2.5-3hrs quite easily. Despite a few steepish sections, the walk was not difficult at all and followed well formed tracks the whole way. We had a great day exploring this part of the Tasman National Park and look forward to returning another day!
Reward-to-effort ratio = 7/10
Snake count = 0
Leech count = 1