A Complete Guide To Tasmania’s Stunning Hiking Trails
Known for its raw beauty, expansive national parks, and many micro-climates, Tasmania is a melting pot of different natural landscapes. Exploring Tasmania’s natural beauty is best done by your own two feet, and these walks and trails are some of the finest there are in the state.
For the serious long-distance hiker: The Overland Track
Snaking through the ever-changing terrain of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Claire National Park in the state’s north west, the 65km Overland Track is known as one of the world’s most beautiful hikes.
The 6-day trek comes with no shortage of breathtaking views, from the stunning peaks of Cradle Mountain and open moorlands full of buttongrass; to Lake St. Clair’s lush rainforest banks and several hidden waterfalls. The Overland Track itself doesn’t lead to climbing to the peak of Cradle Mountain or Mount Ossa, but there are short hikes off the main track that will get you to the summits if you choose to take them. With many resident wombats, wallabies and echidnas in the area, wildlife encounters are all too common along the way.
Open year round, the Overland Track can be tackled on your own, or as a part of a guided walk. During peak season (1 October to 31 May), walkers are required to pay the park entry fee, the Overland Track fee, sign in on the log books and walk the trail from north to south. Winter walkers need only pay the park entrance fee and register their walk in the log book. Although there are a few camping huts along the trail, it is advised that all walkers carry their own tents as the availability of the huts cannot be guaranteed.
The full trek from Ronnie Creek to Narcissus takes 6 days (7 if you opt to walk Narcissus to Cynthia Bay instead of taking the ferry) and is known to be quite challenging, with conditions being quite unpredictable. It is recommended that only well-prepared, relatively fit hikers tackle the full 6-day trek.
For beach lovers: Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Loop
Full of Instagram Fodder, the Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Loop is one of the more picturesque short walks that you can undertake in Tasmania. At just 4-5 hours long in its entirety, all you need to pack for the walk is your sunscreen, water bottle, lunch and swimmers.
Famed for its dazzling blue water and white quartz sand, Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park is one of the state’s main attractions. Hikers can choose to take the short 3km return walk up to the Wineglass Bay lookout for a vista out over the bay and Hazards Beach; or continue on and venture down to the shores of the bay on the 2.5hr return walk.
For even more stunning ocean views, walk the full loop from Wineglass Bay through to Hazards Beach and back around to the carpark. Not only does a section of the trail see you walking along the shoreline of Hazards Beach, but the Hazards Track leads you around Mt Mayson giving you an incredible, elevated view out over Great Oyster Bay.
Parts of the Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach loop can be quite steep and rocky, but reaching the water and going for a celebratory swim makes all the hard work worth it.
For the beginner: Mt Wellington
Just 20-minutes out of Hobart, Mt Wellington connects the bushland with the urban landscape of the city, offering spectacular panoramic views back out over Hobart, the Tasman Bridge, the River Derwent, and even as far as Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula. It is home to the famous dolerite columns of the Organ Pipes and Cathedral Rock too. The summit of Mt Wellington is accessible by car, but there are plenty of picturesque short walks that can be taken around the Park too.
Threaded with tracks and trails, the Mt Wellington Park has a walk suitable for all levels of fitness; from a 20-minute return walk from the Pinnacle carpark to the zig-zag look out, to a 5-hr high altitude walk that takes you through the Pinnacle, Zig Zag and South Wellington tracks. Being a less remote park, Mt Wellington has more facilities than some of the other national parks, including gas fired barbecues and mobile food vans at The Springs, and shelters and toilets at the summit.
Open 24 hours a day year-round, there are no entrance fees for visitors to Mt Wellington Park.
For the tree-lover: Tarkine Rainforest
Located in the state’s remote north-west, the Tarkine rainforest is Australia’s largest patch of temperate rainforest. It is thick, lush and full of wild rivers, waterfalls and towering hardwood tree forests. Home to echidnas, platypuses, wombats, possums, bandicoots and even the famous Tasmanian devil, wildlife encounters in Tarkine are very common.
The Arthur River town site is the starting point for most expeditions through the ‘Tolkinesque’ Tarkine landscape, with a few trails leading from the nearby South Arthur Forest drive too. For the full rainforest experience, take the 3km Philosopher Falls trail alongside the Arthur River down to the Philosopher Falls. The trail is lined with lush flowering mosses and fungi, and covered by a thick canopy of ferns. If a coastal walk is more your style, take the 16km round track from the mouth of the Arthur River to the Bluff Hill Lighthouse instead.
As Tarkine isn’t designated as one of Tasmania’s national parks, a park pass is not required to explore the area.
Published 31 May, 2018