Mt Anne, Southwest NP

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.

Hobart and the Derwent River Estuary viewed from Mt Wellington
Hobart and the Derwent River Estuary viewed from Mt Wellington

We’ve been to Tasmania twice, in 2008 and 2018. 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 boulder and scree 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).

Cliffs off Bruny Island, Tasmania. Viewed from a boat.
Cliffs off Bruny Island, Tasmania. Viewed from a boat.

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).

Cradle Mountain, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
Cradle Mountain, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania

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.

Lake Pedder and pandani (plants) viewed from near Mt Anne, Southwest National Park, Tasmania
Lake Pedder and pandani (plants) viewed from near Mt Anne, Southwest National Park, Tasmania

Tasmania is also becoming a culinary destination, and the state capital, Hobart, is home to the renowned modern art museum, Mona.

Tasmanian Weather

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.

Hartz Peak with a dusting of summer snow. Hartz Peak National park, Tasmania.
Hartz Peak with a dusting of summer snow. Hartz Mountains National Park, Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Walks

You can browse through a list of the walks I’ve posted on so far…

Mt Roland & Mt Vandyke, Tasmania

A great circuit walk up the prominent and rocky Mt Roland, returning via Mt Vandyke for variety. There are fabulous 360 degree views from the summit of Mt Roland, so aim to do this one on a clear day.

Barn Bluff ascent, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

Climbing the distinctively rocky and prominent peak of Barn Bluff (1559m) in Cradle Mountain National Park makes for a classic Tasmanian alpine day walk.

Lakes Bill and Myrtle, Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania

This walk in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park visits two substantial alpine lakes, both backed by the rugged summit of Mt Rogoona.

Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania

A pleasant circuit walk in the Dial Range, climbing two low peaks, then returning through attractive tree ferns on a section of the Penguin Cradle Trail.

Cape Huay Track, Tasman National Park

A straightforward walk that provides spectacular views of coastal cliffs on the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania.

Mt Rufus Circuit, Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair NP

This longish walk to the summit of Mt Rufus (1416m) takes in a variety of vegetation types and provides 360 degree views of the Tasmanian Central Highlands, mostly from a distance.

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

Probably the most spectacular Australian walk I’ve done to date, there are knock your hiking socks off views all the way along the track to the summit of Mt Anne (1423m) in Tasmania’s remote Southwest National Park. Huge lakes, rugged cliffs, mountain peaks, alpine plants, and more boulders than you can shake your walking poles at.

Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster Track, Mt Field NP

The Tarn Shelf & Lake Webster circuit in Tasmania’s Mt Field NP is a very picturesque alpine walk, passing by many lakes and tarns as the name suggests.

Collinsvale Peaks Track, Wellington Park

This long but reasonably straightforward walk takes in three peaks in one day, each of them offering 360 views of the surrounding alpine plateau and further afield. The area feels fairly remote, but is only a 45 minute drive from Hobart.

Hartz Peak & Mount Snowy Track

The route to Hartz Peak (1254m) and Mount Snowy (1160m) makes for excellent alpine walking, with a variety of alpine plants, rugged peaks, and extensive views.

Mt Wellington Circuit, Wellington Park

Mt Wellington provides the backdrop to the city of Hobart, and climbing it makes for a convenient day walk with great views from the summit of Hobart and the Derwent Estuary. You can drive all the way to these views, but they won’t look as good 😉

Liffey Falls Track, Liffey Falls State Reserve

An easy walk (with a few steep sections) visiting the picturesque Liffey Falls. It passes through lush forest with very healthy looking tree ferns.

Quamby Bluff Track, Great Western Tiers

The straightforward but steep climb up to Quamby Bluff (1228m) passes through myrtle beech forest and boulder fields, finishing in heath on the summit plateau, where there are extensive views of the surrounding area, including the Great Western Tiers.