The Totem Pole, Cape Hauy


Take a walk in the Tasman National Park to find some spectacular views and remarkable rock formations. Bring along a good head for heights!

If you visit Tasmania as a tourist, it is highly likely you will end up visiting the Tasman Peninsula. The area is steeped in early colonial history and is home to the old convict prison, Port Arthur. A large part of the peninsula is now a National Park, protecting beautiful scenery and an abundance of wildlife.

The sea cliffs on the Tasman Peninsula are really something. The Dolerite columns and cliffs rise from the ocean to amazing heights, creating some world-class rock climbs. The Totem Pole is one of these. If you don’t have a reasonable head for heights, chances are you will find it a challenge to peer over the edge and look down on the remarkable pillar. The Tote (as climbers refer to it) is 60 meters tall, as I looked down on it from above, it reminded me of a matchstick! It can’t be more than 4 meters across and you can’t help but imagine it falling over. For those game to try climbing it; good weather is a must! Low tide is also recommended, and any decent swell will ensure wet feet. I’m not going to go into more details of the climb, there are plenty of websites and stories for any serious or interested people to Google.

The walk out to the Tote is fairly demanding. Pick up the trail from the Fortescue Bay camping ground, for more detailed info; I’ve put a link to the Parks website below. The Parks and Wildlife service calls it a 4-hour return walk and I’d probably agree. Make sure you have good walking shoes, water, hat, and sunscreen as a lot of the walk is exposed. (The Tassie sun is STRONG – consider yourself warned!)

The walk takes you through various bushes and shrubs until the terrain opens up out at the coast. This is where the views come into their own, but be aware; the path is stony and steep in places.

When it seems like the path doesn’t go any further, it might be time to inch your way forward – easy does it – and peer over the edge. There is a large sea stack opposite known as The Candlestick, it rises up to an equal height with your position (about 100 meters). Squeezed in between, sitting in a little canal: is the Tote. If vertigo hasn’t got the better of you, just imagine the crazy adventure of climbing it!


For some great insights into the climb:

written by filby on 2011-05-10 #places #landmark #location #tasmania-walking-sea-cliffs-cliff-view-rock-rock-climbing-nature-ocean-coast


  1. lighttomysoul
    lighttomysoul ·

    oh man that's some damn steep edges and rocks! I couldn't even dare go near, I hate heights and drops... and there's a crazy side in me that would probably wanna sit on the edge and dangle my feet or hell, even jump.
    sweet pics though, we have such an amazing planet :)

  2. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    Wowww so beautiful!

  3. willyboy
    willyboy ·

    I bet Aaron Ralston is looking at these photos quivering...

  4. stouf
    stouf ·

    Ah ! I can't believe it... I was in Port Arthur the other day and had no idea about this... Thanks for the info, you're helping me knowing better my new home ! And your shots are great of course : )

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