Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Ted Mead

1.9 Capes – Another Bungle in the Jungle

Since the outset, the Tasmanian government’s effort to construct a high-grade walking track on the Tasman Peninsula has been fraught with ill-conceived blunders.

Given the $40 Million (projected $62 million) was intended to be a world-class track you would have thought it was imperative to employ a project supervisor who at least had some track construction experience. But that was not the case, leaving the on-site decision-making to the bumbling bureaucrats, which has resulted in an invairiable string of follies.

The first kilometre or so of the track east of Fortescue Bay is a monumental botch-up because Parks & Wildlife ignored the gently graded surveyed-line and opted for a highly-expensive undulated route that encompassed the installation of approximately 700 steps, some at a steep gradient to over 15 degrees. This ignominious and inconceivable action has been estimated to waste around $250.000, which ultimately resulted in a poorer quality section of walking track.

To the credit of track-workers some of the later formed track is high quality, though the selection of the materials by the department is highly questionable. The intended construction of a fire-proof track seems to have been abandoned and now walkers will find themselves strolling along kilometres of mesmerizing raised duckboard, which is preposterous considering only one section of the track traverses a wet area over a few hundred metres.

With such a high-standard easy-walking track the distance between the hut complexes sites on route to Cape Pillar will be only an hour’s walk, which essentially makes the Lunchtime Creek one superfluous. If these village sites have to be constructed then one alone at Calculation Hill would serve the purpose of servicing both portions of the route.

The full extent of the proposed walk to reach all 3 Capes seems abandoned beyond the foreseeable future. Even after the department came to that decision, the track has not been extended out to Cape Pillar, leaving the construction work terminated at the Blade lookout, around 800 metres short of the Cape’s viewpoint. So once we had a 3 Capes proposal, now it is ultimately a 1.9 Capes fiasco.

Several years after the project began the decision as to where the track will begin from is yet to be resolved. The drivers of the project still want the quick-fix Port Arthur to Denmans Cove boat access despite the expense and discouraging cautions from Peninsula seafarers. Given that the illogical 3 kilometre boat ride is being promoted as an integral part of the experience it would make more sense, considering the infrastructure is already in place, to travel a bit longer from Dootown along the scenic coastal cliffs to Fortescue Bay. Alternatively the track may begin near Oakwood and proceed through State Forest, though the link route suggested by The Keep the Capes Wild Group through Tunah Plains to Surveyors Cove region is the most practical, which would provide the option of a circuit walk.

The current construction work continues to cut large holes in the mature forest which allows helicopters to transport materials to the track sites. This insensitive and invasive action is totally unnecessary, as local materials around Mt Fortescue could have been used to construct the track at a lower standard than the projects design

With a seemingly blank cheque, an ill-conceived design and poor decision-making one wonders how the project will end up. Essentially all the major tracks in the World Heritage area could have been repaired and upgraded for the expenses gobbled up by the 3 Capes Project.

Given Tasmania’s prime walking tracks such as the Overland, Frenchmans, South Coast, Anne and Arthur Ranges are currently requiring major repairs or priority erosion control, it seems a very poor choice to continue with the 3 Capes project considering that it will never receive the estimated the 10,000 visitors a year.

So it is obvious that the tourism objective is to provide a boutique commercial experience, though to date, after many years of planning and promotion, the government still has not been able to sign-up a commercial investor. Seems like one more taxpayer-funded white elephant ending in another bungle in jungle.



  1. Mike Bolan

    July 20, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Sadly the entire State has been managed in pretty much the same way.

    Until we start to publish the costs of administration versus the costs of delivering something useful, we’re unlikely to have the tools to curtail the dead hand of the bureaucracy.

  2. William Boeder

    July 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Maybe this 3 capes walk was intended to be another grand business opportunity for the Federal Group, AKA Greg Farrell?

    No Mike not as a financial investor, but more of a financial benefits receiver, as in how most of the prime tourist venues in this State that were held under the umbrella of the Federal Group.

    I don’t believe that the estimated number of the 1.9 Capes Track walkers would be anywhere near the given 10,000 Per Annum that became the prediction, (by one of the many highly paid consultants) envisaged for this trail.

    The mere suggestion of big numbers would have our Tassie politicians giggling and clapping their hands in glee, wow, look how many walkers could soon be paying full tote odds for our new walk.

    This calls for 27 plus walkers per day for 365 consecutive days, this is also irrespective of the possible turbulent weather conditions found along the Southern most point of Tasmania’s coastal area.

    Consultants today are little more than guess-masters, mere ordinary persons that have no quantifiable nor qualifying expertise or background that provides them with the capacity to read into Tasmania’s futures.

    S now, 10,000 patrons over 365 days = 27 walkers paying $1295-00 each, this would offer somewhere in the amount of $34,000 per 3 day walk.

    So no there could not be 365 guides on the payroll to suit the projected number of 27 persons per day.
    No not at all logic would suggest 2 trips per week with somewhere close to 95 persons per trip.

    These numbers suggest to me that what is being offered here is 3 days of walking about in a crowd of 95 noisy people all ooh-ing and aah-ing at every turn along the length of this walk.

    each 3 day walk would rake in $123,000-00 odd dollars @ twice weekly = $246,000-00 per week, X 52 weeks = a possible total of $12.9 million dollars per year in revenues.

    Now its just the simple matter of rounding up 190 people each week keen to pay nearly $1300 dollars each for a 3 day walk.

    Steady back there, no pushing or shoving about, stay in your allotted queue, never mind about the rain, we will soon have you all organized for today’s departure, despite the increasingly heavy rain, now has everybody got their whistle on a lanyard around their neck?

  3. davanjac

    July 20, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    My first thought at “track end” was where to now,… down. I think there are a lot other things money could be well spent on.

  4. Pete Godfrey

    July 20, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I thought that the whole thing was set up so that Federal Hotels would build the huts and operate the venue. We were just supposed to pay for all the infrastructure, make the track and they were to collect the money. It seems that something went wrong along the way, they started pulling out of tourism ventures in Tasmania and focused on the real money spinner. Poker machines instead.

    Now if they put poker machines in all the huts that may be a game changer.

    All in all what we could expect from the incompetents that we have in the major parties in Tasmania. Set up a deal to help a mate out (again) and hope that no one notices how much the public end up having to pay in subsidies.

  5. Ted Mead

    July 21, 2014 at 12:53 am

    # Pete – Nobody with the department of Parks and Wildlife has any experience in running such a commercial development because they are simply land managers.

    When this project was in its infancy I did ask the question -” once this is all up and ready to run would it simply be handed over to an entity such as Federal Hotels”. I ask this directly to the face of the director of Tourism & Parks Scott Gadd, and subsequently to the minister responsible David O’Byrne. Both declined to comment on the question.

  6. Leonard Colquhoun

    July 21, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Given the sort of -lite MPs we have in governments / parliament, is it any surprise that from the get-go “the Tasmanian government’s effort to construct a high-grade walking track on the Tasman Peninsula has been fraught with ill-conceived blunders”?

    Would not be surprised if close to zero MPs have ever laid a brick or paving-stone path in their backyards, let alone have anything to do with anything like such a demanding project.

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