Mt Dial and The Gnomon, Northern 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 Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania

The Dial Range is a small mountain range in northern Tasmania that contains pleasant walking and mountain biking tracks. There are good views (sometimes partially obscured) over northern Tasmanian, as well as atmospheric forest with many large trees ferns.

We did this walk on the day we arrived from Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania, as it was just a 30 or so minute drive from Devonport. It’s a good option for a half day walk if you are staying in the north as we were. You might like to visit the sleepy town of Penguin afterwards, where we enjoyed some decent fish and chips. Track notes at the end.

Mt Dial and The Gnomon: The Scenery

Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Very dense undergrowth lining the track in this section.

Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania


Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Looking north from a viewpoint on the eastern side of the range (or was it The Gnomon?).
Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Mt Duncan from The Gnomon (or another viewpoint, I can’t quite remember).
Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Tall trees as we descended from The Gnomon on the aptly named Tall Trees Track.

Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania

Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Pretty lush.
Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
I liked this leaf.
Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Sophia amongst tree ferns.


Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Tree ferns lining the track on a section of the Cradle to Penguin Trail (CPT).
Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Tree ferns galore!

Track Notes

Mt Dial and the Gnomon, near Penguin, Tasmania
Disclaimer on this one: The walk is as described in my notes to this post, and my red line follows that route as route as far as I can tell. But I’m a little sketchy on details in some places as I’m putting this map together in 2023 and I don’t have access to the original track notes. The most confusing bit is the very start which I think has a bunch of mountain bike tracks from memory.

We used track notes in Day Walks Tasmania. The walk they describe starts on Montgomery Road just off Ironcliffe Road. You climb Mt Dial, then continue on to The Gnomon, descend via the Tall Trees Track onto Dial Road, then join up with a section of the Penguine Cradle Trail (you may notice some “PCT” signs). Continue through many attractive tree ferns, and eventually climb back up to the outward track, turning right to return to the car park. The map below shows the location of this car park… 

Nearby Walks

If you live or are staying in northern Tasmania then there are some real classic bushwalks to be done in the area. Have a browse through the ones I’ve done (below), and if you are travelling towards Hobart then I’ve included a list of those too.

Northern Tasmania
Barn Bluff ascent, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
The rocky summit of Barn Bluff (1559m) pops up out of an alpine plateau and cuts a striking figure (… although confusingly it’s not the featured image of this post). I first saw it from the summit of Cradle Mountain on a trip to Tasmania in 2008, and although it looks quite remote, it can in fact be climbed on a longish day walk: one of Tasmania’s best. On the day we did it the weather was all over the place, with snow squalls and mist adding to the sense of adventure. Luckily the weather cleared enough to reveal most of the fabulous views the area is famous for. (more…)
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston

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…)

Cradle Mountain Circuit, Tasmania

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…)

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

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.


Liffey Falls Track, Liffey Falls State Reserve

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.


Hobart Day Trips
Cape Huay Track, Tasman National Park

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…)

Cape Raoul Track, Tasman National Park

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…)

Collinsvale Peaks Track, Wellington Park

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…)

Hartz Peak & Mount Snowy Track

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…)

Mt Anne, Southwest NP

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…)

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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