This is the most southerly point of Australia that we have ever camped.
Cockle Creek is at the end of the road when you’re heading south from Hobart. You’ll pass picturesque Franklin with the beautiful river and mountains for all the retirees to enjoy. There are also plenty of blackberry bushes to pillage on the way there, and apple orchards where you can buy a bag of Geeveston Fannies for $3.
Just beware of stinky beach…
“Did you fart?“
“No, it was the ocean.”
You’ll know once you get to Cockle Creek – you’ll see a few shanties by the sea and then the campers begin. If you continue over the bridge to the car park at the end of the road, this is the southernmost point accessible by vehicle. As French Admiral Bruny D’Entrecasteaux described in 1792 when he accidentally discovered Recherche Bay, the area is a ‘lonely harbour at the world’s end’. If you continue south, you’ll get to Antarctica, which is closer in distance than Cairns in Queensland.
There is a bronze whale sculpture on the headland. The Whale Sculpture is a life-size representation of a whale babe and if you examine it closely, you may find a rock with origins at Cape York! There are also a few hiking tracks that start from the Whale Sculpture and head deeper into the national park.
Cockle Creek on the Hobart side of the bridge is free camping, but when you cross the bridge, you’re in a national park and you at least need a parks pass to enter. We had a parks pass, but because we found the pass completely useless, we decided not to use it and we free camped instead.
There’s heaps of space on the free side of the bridge, but you’ll be lucky to find a campsite that has a nice flat surface. The ground is quite uneven and undulated, and you have to work around copious amounts of fire places as well. Once you’ve found a spot, it’s quite lovely.
There’s a great beach that turns into a shallow estuary after the bridge. Seagulls and albatross hang out there but they’re not pests. If the site hasn’t already been raided, you may be treated with the biggest oysters you’ve ever seen. We were not treated with huge oysters – just huge, empty oyster shells – piles of them everywhere. Someone had been there a few days earlier and consumed the entire colony.
Once the sun goes down, small wallaby start to graze through the area. Take a torch with you when you wander otherwise you’ll get as startled as them. You may also want to light a fire to keep warm because it gets quite chilly, being so far south of the equator and all.