Hiking in Tasmania


Tasmania is the only island state in Australia and is claimed to be one of the world's most mountainous islands. While this claim could be debated, it is certainly true that there is very little flat land in the entire state. Less than a quarter of it is flat enough for agriculture and farms - much of the state is undeveloped. The mountains are never very high reaching only 1600 metres.

Despite the low elevation, the landscape is surprisingly rugged and the effects of recent ice ages are evident. The scenery is so good that bushwalkers ignore mountain ranges that in any other part of Australia would be ranked amongst the best. Most head into the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area. This is comprised of four large national parks, South West, Wild Rivers, Cradle Mountain and Walls Of Jerusalem, plus some small reserves, and covers 20% of the entire state. There are many other parks and reserves elsewhere in the state that are also worth visiting.



Online Bushwalking Guides


• Bushwalk Tasmania

• Bushwalk Australia Online Forum

• Tastrails

• 60 Great Short Walks

• Aussie Bushwalking Tasmania

• Bushwalking in Tasmania with bushwalk guide author John Chapman

• Hiking Scenery: 12 of the Best Day-Walks

• Tasmanian Bushwalking Manual

• Tasmanian Rail trails

Tasmania's Major Hiking Trails


Tasmania is made for kayaking and canoeing. Whether it is a gentle paddle along Hobart’s foreshore, a kayaking adventure in the heart of Tasmania’s remote southwest wilderness, or a journey at dusk along the spectacular Freycinet coast – Tasmania caters for all. there are numerous tour operators around Tasmania who make it easy to participate in kayaking without having to have your own kayak and associated gear.

North and Central




The Overland Track


Travel through the heart of Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed wilderness on this famous 65-kilometre trek from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair. Walk the entire Overland Track in six days or do short and day walks from the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and Dove Lake. Remember the end-to-end walk requires planning. You’ll need to book in advance with Tasmania’s Parks & Wildlife Service and take with you a good tent and warm sleeping bag. While the route has eight basic stove-heated huts, there’s no guarantee of space. The best time to walk the track is between November and April, when the weather is milder and days are longer for Daylight Saving. During April, you can see the spectacular changing colours of the deciduous beech. As well as a physical challenge, this walk is a true communion with nature. You’ll see lakes, forests and gorges, mountains and moors, spectacular waterfalls and steep, stony peaks.

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Cradle Mountain Huts Walk


Cradle Mountain Huts Walk is a six-day, five-night walk by Tasmanian Walking Company. The itinerary maximises opportunities for optional side trips including Mt Ossa – Tasmania’s highest peak (weather permitting), Lake Will and a number of lookouts and waterfalls. This walk experiences offers the only private accommodation on the trail. Each day, you’ll walk between 7-12km (excluding side trips) over varied terrain including button grass plains, temperate rainforests, alpine meadows and open moorland. Wildlife encountered along the way may include wombats, paddymelons, echidnas and an array of birdlife. The Tasmanian Devil also makes this area its home. At the end of the six-day adventure, walkers take the truly spectacular 17km boat trip across Lake St Clair before returning to Launceston by private transfer.

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The Tasmanian Trail


The Tasmanian Trail runs from Devonport in the north of the state to Dover in the South East and is 460 km long. It consists of 15 sections. Each section is approximately one day's journey for a horse rider or cyclist. The trail can be hiked, or riden by bike or on horseback, but its use of roads and other vehicle tracks means certain sections are not always appealing to walkers. The track runs mainly through state forest, national parks and other reserves. The trail often leaves valleys to seek ridge lines which then offer many scenic outlooks. The trail commences at Devonport, includes the Cluan Tiers, Great Western Tiers and then climbs into the Central Highlands, the Great Lakes region, the Derwent River and Huon River valley.

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Penguin Cradle Trail


For those seeking to stay in the vicinity of Cradle Mountain but with less people around than the Overland Track and a more challenging bushwalk, the Penguin Cradle Trail is an attractive aternative. The complete walk is over a distance of 76km, and it is recommended that a party allow five to seven days for the trip. The Trail starts at the coast at the town of Penguin, and takes you though some rural areas and much seemingly untouched open woodland and rainforest. Combine these with rugged mountain ranges, a canyon with a wild river running through it and some idyllic lakes with vistas of snow capped peaks. Add waterfalls, ancient conifers, wildflowers and clean water and the purest air in Australia, and you have a bushwalk featuring some of the best experiences available in Tasmania.

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Walls of Jerusalem


This mountainous area is part of the extensive central plateau of Tasmania. The plateau is covered with thousands of lakes which are depressions that were gouged out by an ice cap during recent glaciation. The Walls are a series of higher craggy hills on the western side of the plateau and are a significant feature of the area. Initially the higher peaks seem to be the feature but once in the Walls you quickly realise the major features are the 'u' shaped glacial valleys and the pretty lakes. A good track is provided from the closest road and the main valley of the Walls around Lake Salome can be visited as a day walk. Most prefer to explore further and two day walks with an overnight campsite is the most popular trip. Camping platforms have been provided in the entrance to the Walls below Herods Gate. This is also a good area for experienced walkers as there are multiple multi-day approaches across the Central Plateau to the Walls.

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East Coast




Freycinet Peninsula Circuit


Freycinet National Park on Tasmania's east coast has a series of wonderful bushwalks - this walk takes in the whole peninsula, including the Wineglass Bay and Hazard circuit Great Short Walks. The 30 kilometre Freycinet Peninsula Circuit travels around the Hazard Mountains to Hazards Beach. The track continues south to Cooks and Bryans Beaches. Walkers then cross the Peninsula over a heathland plateau next to Mount Freycinet where spectacular views are possible before descending to the white, quartz sands of Wineglass Bay. Walkers should allow at least two days to complete the trip - although the trip can be longer depending on the number of restful days you have on the beach. Walk information | Walk diary | 3 Day Guided Walk | Shorter peninsula walks | Photo gallery

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South




Tasman Coastal Trail


This walking trail passes through one of the most accessible stunningly picturesque stretches of coastline in Australia. It follows the clifftop from Waterfall Bay through to Fortescue Beach, out to Cape Hauy and on to Cape Pillar. Along the way are such notable natural features as Tasman's Arch, The Blowhole, Tasman Island, The Lanterns and The Totem Pole. The track lies with the Tasman National Park. Walkers will need to be prepared by taking water, food, tent and wet weather gear. Walkers should allow 3-5 days to complete the trip one way - although the trip can be cut short if time frames are insufficient or the weather is not agreeable to walking. Most people start the walk on the northern section of the Tasman Coastal Trail at Waterfall Bay near Eaglehawk Neck.

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Three Capes Track


This walking trail passes through one of the most accessible stunningly picturesque stretches of coastline in Australia. It follows the clifftop from Waterfall Bay through to Fortescue Beach, out to Cape Hauy and on to Cape Pillar. Along the way are such notable natural features as Tasman's Arch, The Blowhole, Tasman Island, The Lanterns and The Totem Pole. The track lies with the Tasman National Park. Walkers will need to be prepared by taking water, food, tent and wet weather gear. Walkers should allow 3-5 days to complete the trip one way - although the trip can be cut short if time frames are insufficient or the weather is not agreeable to walking. Most people start the walk on the northern section of the Tasman Coastal Trail at Waterfall Bay near Eaglehawk Neck.

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South Coast Walking Track


The South Coast walking track passes through the Southwest National Park in Tasmania. The Park is an unforgettable, enormous area of World Heritage wilderness that is remote, ancient, and epic in its proportions. The Roaring Forties lash the park for much of the year, adding to the drama. This walk is recognised as one of the world's great wilderness walks and its reputation is justified. The track takes walkers through the heart of over 600,000 hectares of wild, untouched and challenging country into which, unlike the famous Overland Track, there are no roads. Most people take approximately 6 - 8 days to complete the South Coast Track.

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West Coast & South West





Port Davey Track


Like the south Coast Walking Track, the Port Davey Walking Track lies within the Southwest National Park Tasmania and take walkers through the heart of over 600,000 hectares of wild, challenging country. They are more remote than many other walks in Tasmania, such as the famous Overland Track. The Port Davey Track is 70 km in length and used by walkers between Scotts Peak Road and Melaleuca. The Port Davey Track starts from the Huon Campsite, near the end of the Scotts Peak Road, approx. 2 - 3 hours drive west of Hobart. Approximately 200 people a year walk the Port Davey track. The walk may be combined with the South Coast Track as a long trek requiring as a long continuous trek requiring around 8-14 days.

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West Coast Wilderness Walk

This is without doubt the greatest wilderness walk in Tasmania. This is because the route takes about one month to walk 165 km of coastline - the route is logical and difficult to escape from, there are no tracks or signs of people and the coastline keeps varying. It is not a trivial walk and takes considerable planning and walking experience to be successful. There aren't many places in the world where you can follow a coastline for a month and be nowhere near anybody or any civilisation for the entire walk. While there are places like Antarctica and Ellesmere Island, these are all icy wildernesses. Tasmania is a temperate wilderness and one of the few such places left in the world. The West Coast is a pure wilderness walk - no signs of other people or developments like tracks, campsites etc. For visitors from other countries, this will seem very rare and it is.

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West Arthur Ranges


The Western Arthurs is a small mountain range in South West Tasmania. The range was heavily glaciated during recent ice ages and is an almost continuous series of steep headwalls. While it is only 15km long, the range contains 22 major peaks and 30 lakes. The scenery is spectacular with glacial tarns surrounded by towering cliffs. The range is the best example of glaciated scenery in Tasmania (and Australia). Along the range there is an established walking route. This follows the serrated crest of the range from one end to the other. The route follows a complicated path and at first glance it looks highly improbable that anyone could pass through.

The track is very rough and at times dangerous. It ascends and descends many steep gullies which are at times more like a rock climb than a walk. There are no handrails, ladders or any safety aids as this is a wilderness area and such improvements are contrary to the area. The distances may seem short but a typical 4km day will take from 4 to 7 hours to walk.

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Federation Peak


This is the most spectacular peak in Tasmania and for many walkers is one of the ultimate goals. Part of this is because it is visible from much of the south-west and dominates the area. It is not the highest peak but its rocky thumb like profile make it unmistakable. Of course, the mountain stands in one of the worst weather regions of Tasmania and many groups are defeated from standing on the summit by the often appalling weather.

While it is only 1300 m high, Federation Peak is surrounded by cliffs. These cliffs reach 600m to the north and south and the only feasible approach is along the two razorback ridges. Even then, the final 200m is a near vertical climb. It is normally climbed without ropes but this is dangerous. The peak is located in a large wilderness area. You need to allow between 5 and 9 days to walk to the peak, climb it and return. Of course the weather might dictate no ascent and this happens to about half of the parties who attempt the climb.

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Frenchmans Cap


This track leads to the summit of the magnificent white quartzite dome of Frenchmans Cap (1446 m), the most prominent mountain peak in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The track passes buttongrass plains, unusual rainforest where Huon pine grows alongside King Billy pine, and spectacular glacial valleys, up to Lake Tahune, perched under the huge and spectacular cliff face of Frenchmans Cap. The silvery Precambrian quartzite is some of Australia’s oldest exposed rock.

The track is considerably more arduous than many other Tasmanian walks, and should only be tackled by experienced cross-country hikers. The track is rough and muddy over extended sections, especially across the Loddon Plains, and is steep in places. To do the summit climb you must have good weather and a good head for heights and exposure. Most walkers spend between 3 and 5 days completing the return trip, a distance of about 23 km each way. Allow extra time for adverse weather.

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