Introduction to Bushwalking in Tasmania
The island state of Tasmania is famous for its mountain and coastal scenery, and its southerly position means there are areas of alpine vegetation. And it sometimes snows in summer. How very un-Australian. Read on for more info, or go straight to a list of the walks.
We’ve been to Tasmania three times, first in 2008, and then in 2018 and 2019. We should have been more often, because its great there, but we kept going to NZ. Its pretty much the only place in Australia where you get pointy mountains, many of them rugged with extensive boulder fields to traverse (I love boulder hopping!). They are not particularly high, (Mt Ossa at 1617m is the highest), but there are numerous peaks over 1,100m, and there’s in fact a two volume guide book and website dedicated to the 158 peaks that are over that height, and at least 150m above the surrounding area. The coastal scenery includes lovely beaches and in some places huge sea cliffs, like those pictured below on Bruny Island (visited on a cruise, which is cheating).
The south-west is a World Heritage Wilderness Area, some of it very remote. The famous Overland Track, in Lake St Clair-Cradle Mountain National Park, passes through another fairly remote area in the centre of Tasmania; it’s a roughly 5-6 day (65-80 km) walk, although some dude did it in 7 hours 26 minutes; what a dude! Much of the rest of the island, which is not that big, can be accessed by road. (Tasmania is about half the size of England).
Finding Track Notes
We used Day Walks Tasmania as our main walking guide (you can also buy it from the author, who is a full time guide book writer and self publishes); it’s got good track notes and maps. I also came across tastrails.com, and there’s the comprehensive trailhiking.com.au.
Tasmania is also becoming a culinary destination, and the state capital, Hobart, is home to the renowned modern art museum, Mona.
The weather in Tassie is mercifully cooler than the mainland, and is comparable to NZ’s South Island, so you can hike throughout the summer months with only the odd heat wave to worry about. The alpine areas can be frigid at any time of year; for example, when we started a mid summer walk up Hartz Peak it was 3 degrees Celcius at 11:00 am (at about 800m of elevation), and it didn’t get much warmer during the day. In winter some of the alpine walks will be impractical for those inexperienced on snow, so you might stick to the lowlands and coast.
The Tasmanian Walks
You can browse through a list of the walks I’ve posted on so far:
Cataract Gorge is very picturesque and sits just on the edge of Launceston, northern Tasmania’s largest city. There are a number of bush tracks in the area and we did a fairy wide circuit taking in some country further upstream on the South Esk River in the Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area. (more…)
Climbing Cradle Mountain (1545m) is one of the best day walks in Australia, and making a circuit of it by returning along the Face Track and by the Twisted Lakes maximises your scenery. There are excellent views pretty much the whole way, including views of the mountain from various angles, of numerous lakes, and there are extensive views from the rocky summit over the northern end of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. (more…)
This walk in a lesser visited part of the increasingly popular Walls of Jerusalem National Park visits two biggish alpine lakes, both backed by views of the summit rocks of Mt Rogoona (1350m). In early 2019 there were still substantial fire affected areas, but they often added an interesting aesthetic to the scenery.
This short walk on constructed tracks visits the upper and lower sections of Liffey Falls. The falls are nice, but the rainforest and tree ferns probably steal the show. We did it after climbing nearby Quamby Bluff. The whole walk is signposted so you won’t have any trouble navigating; brief details are on the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service site.
Southern Tasmania / Hobart Day Trip
The Cape Hauy Track forms part of the multi-day Three Capes Track, and takes in a variety of coastal scenery, including sheer sided cliffs on Cape Hauy itself. It’s roughly a 90 minute drive from Hobart; the last section is a dirt road to the picturesque Fortescue Bay, where they have a camp ground and facilities. The first part of the walk is through forest, which then opens up to heath vegetation and views of the surrounding cliffs, the most precipitous of which are at the turnaround point of the walk. (more…)
We did the Cape Raoul Track on our first trip to Tasmania in 2008, and I remember it being a great walk. The deeply textured cliffs are a highlight, made up largely of dolerite columns. I lacked a wide angled lens or panorama function at the time, which would have been handy to fit these cliffs into frame. But I think the drama of the landscape comes across well enough in my photos to inspire a trip out there. I’ll certainly go again on my next trip out that way. (more…)
The area west of Hobart known as Wellington Park is an alpine plateau that contains a number of accessible peaks over 1000m of elevation. The walk depicted here takes in three peaks in one day – Collins Bonnet (1246m), Trestle Mountain (1160m), and Collins Cap (1098m). The walking is mostly through forest or woodland, but you pass through the tree line on the way up each mountain, which provide unobstructed and quite extensive views of the protected area and beyond. The initial climb is through attractive rainforest where the tree ferns are flourishing. (more…)
The weather put on a bit of a show for us when we climbed to Hartz Peak and Mount Snowy, situated high up in Hartz Mountains National Park about 90 minutes from Hobart. Starting off in sleet, we ascended through a thin layer of snow into thick atmospheric mist, which then cleared to reveal excellent views of the surrounding area. This is a classic Tasmanian alpine day walk. (more…)
Climbing Mt Anne is a long day walk, and a long drive to get there from pretty much anywhere, but totally worth the effort. The scenery is just fantastic: there are vistas taking in much of Tasmania’s Southwest Wilderness, excellent views of the enormous Lake Pedder, and you get up close and personal with dramatic cliffs, countless boulders, and delicate spongy alpine plants. And with 1420m change in elevation it’s a good work out too. The final climb to the summit is up through shear cliffs and not for those afraid of heights, but even if you don’t do this bit it’s well worth walking to their base. (I stopped just short of the summit myself.) (more…)
Elsewhere in Tasmania
Wineglass Bay in Tasmania is one of Australia’s most photographed beaches, and the best views are from the summit of Mt Amos (454m). We did this walk on our first trip to Tasmania in 2008, so I don’t remember it very well. Nevertheless, after reviewing my old photos I realised it’s an excellent walk with large rocky sections, great views, and steep enough to be a bit adventurous. (more…)