Today was all about what is supposed to be the highlight of this trip and that’s the walk down to Cape Pillar and the Blade. As has been the case at the previous hut we had an evening briefing from the host ranger who outlined amongst other things what’s happening the next day. The main thing we wanted to know was about the trip to Cape Pillar. Because of the crossover with our group and the incoming group we needed to fully pack up and carry our main packs down to the small shed located not far from the cabin and head out to Cape Pillar with a small day pack.
The entire trip in total out to Cape Pillar and then onto Retakunna Hut was expected to take 6-7 hours. We were geared to get up to take photos of the sunrise from the helipad adjacent to the toilet block and when I was there at 4:00am there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. By 4:45am the rain had set in but by that stage we were up and getting ready so we ended up starting our walk out to Cape Pillar just after 6:30am. The bonus of this was that we had the whole cape to ourselves for most of the morning and only really started to come across other hikers on our return trip. The drawback of today’s weather were the forecast 40km wind gusts – not what you want when you’re walking along cliff edges and rock outcrops. We had one point where we were well back from the cliff edge walking along the track and were almost blown off our feet. The rest of the walk out wasn’t too bad on the whole but it it still made us keep our distance from the cliff edges.
The views along the coastline to the tallest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere just kept on getting better and better as we went. The views to Tasman Island off the cape were excellent. We got to the Blade not long after the 2 hour mark which also included a breakfast stop along the way. From here was a 5 minute hike up to the offical stop point on the Blade to pick up the views. We thought about heading up to the Blade top but with the winds the way they were, we didn’t want to risk it as the way up was super exposed. Apparently the group immediately after us hit the weather change and did ascend to the top of the Blade, that’s just the luck of the draw. From here was the last segment on this walk out to Cape Pillar with stops at the Seal Spa which isn’t to be missed, the Chasm, and the lookout from Cape Pillar itself, all well worth the extra 45 minute return trip from the Blade.
We started our trip back to Munro Hut coming across our fellow hikers as we went. The return journey was much quicker (it’s usually the way) and in total this leg took us around 5 hours. A quick lunch at Munro Hut and it was on to Retakunna Hut with our full packs for a total journey for the day of 14km which we covered in just under 6 hours.
Retakunna Hut like the others is built on the same overall design with each being unique to fit into the surrounding landscape. The temperature had dropped this day so we ended up spending much of the afternoon in the kitchen areas with the pellet heaters on. This day was definitely spectacular but also tiring and after a very early dinner we were in bed before 7:00pm. Another reason for the early bedtime was that we have to catch the bus the next day at 2:30pm so have another early start planned.
Today was all about what is supposed to be the highlight of this trip and that’s the walk down to Cape Pillar and the Blade. As has been the case at the previous hut we had an evening briefing from the host ranger who outlined amongst other things what’s happening the next day. The main […]