Tasmania

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 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).

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:

Northern Tasmania

Meander Falls Split Rock Circuit, Tasmania

The Meander Falls and Split Rock Tracks are hidden gems offering quintessential Tasmiania scenery without the crowds, and were one of the highlights of my trip to Tasmania in 2019.

Mother Cummings Peak ascent, Tasmania

A sometimes steep walk through attractive beech forest and past the tree line onto the top of the Great Western Tiers at Mother Cummings Peak (1260m).

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.

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.

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.

Southern Tasmania / Hobart Day Trip

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 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 😉

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.

Elsewhere in Tasmania

Mt Amos Track, Freycinet National Park

A short but steep climb through rocky areas to the summit of Mt Amos for the best views of Tasmania’s most famous beach at Wineglass Bay.

Clickable map of Australian walks…