Undiscovered Bushwalks of Tasmania
Date 28 Jan 2022
BEST WALKS IN TASMANIA
THE Apple Isle boasts more than 2800km of tracks, trails and paths making Australia's southerly state the perfect place to hike, trek, walk, wander, ramble or simply stroll.
Tasmania's roaming routes range from brief meandering to epic multi-day marching – the Friendly Beaches inside Freycinet National Park take as little as five minutes, while the 480km Tasman Trail needs considerably longer to complete – and cater to all abilities.
Almost 60 per cent of the state is protected making national parks, state forests and conservation areas the most apparent sites to stretch the legs. And with more than 800 courses scattered around these picturesque parcels there's always somewhere new to see.
But not every one of the best walks are far from the tourist trail with some of the most scenic settlements, extending from the capital city to historic hamlets, also offering locations to lace up the walking shoes and encounter something intriguing.
So, before you book your next trip to Tasmania, read on to learn about the top addresses to amble around Australia's smallest – and some may say sweetest – state.
BEST FOR SHARING STORIES
Independent walkers tackling the Three Cape Track – a 45km trip across the Tasman Peninsula from Denmans Cove to Fortescue Bay that takes four days to complete – stay in accommodation managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service with shared dining hubs.
This sense of community, and the chance to catch up with fellow trampers covering the same territory at the same time, means this is one of the best routes in Tasmania for sharing stories. There's nothing better to do at the end of a day on the trail than sit around for a good chin wag.
BEST FOR WATERSIDE WALKING
There's more to Tasman National Park than soaring sea cliffs and fantastical rock formations that show off along the Three Capes Walk, with a string of quiet coves lining the south-eastern coastline that's just a stone's throw from the Port Arthur Historic Site.
The 10km track to Bivouac Bay leaves the white sand of Fortescue Bay with this grade-three route demanding four hours to conquer and promising the chance to watch the seabirds that call the address home as well as the seals, dolphins and whales that occasionally visit.
The Waterfall Bay route is a grade-three stretch that takes between an hour and 90 minutes to master, with the course passing vantage points that frame the peninsula's steep ocean-side cliffs and swirling waves below.
BEST FOR SOCIAL MEDIA STARS
Wineglass Bay, deep inside Freycinet National Park on Tasmania's spectacular east coast, is a bona fide social-media star with hundreds of snaps posted on Instagram and Facebook every day.
Those keen on capturing the view from up high should conquer the 1km clamber to the summit of the Hazards, and the Wineglass Bay Lookout, while hikers with a little more time up their sleeve should tackle the Isthmus Track to Hazards Beach which clips the northern end of this shaped stretch of sand.
For something a whole lot longer – and considerably more challenging – the Mount Graham Summit is a demanding 22km course that rises through 920m of elevation and not only goes via Wineglass Bay but delivers long-distance views of the landmark from the summit marking the halfway point.
BEST FOR SUMMERTIME SWIMMING
There's no doubt it's only the bravest of souls that plan on taking a summertime dip in the chilled blue water surrounding Australia's most southerly state.
But those that intend taking their togs to detour for a dip should set their strolling sights on Maria Island, with this historic destination boasting a string of beaches that come complete with crystal-clear ripples.
The Darlington Township Walk is an easy 1km path that provides insights into the island’s rich human history while staying close to a spectacular spot to swim, while the McRaes Isthmus Walk takes a taxing eight hours to complete but passes special sections of white sand and sapphire water.
While the challenging Bishop & Clark route leaves the water behind – or should that be below – it's a must-do meander for competent hikers visiting Maria Island with the demanding 11km circuit delivering magnificent cliff-top views across the Southern Ocean.
BEST FOR BRAGGING RIGHTS
The famed Overland Track is considered "Australia's premier alpine walk" and takes at least six days to traverse the 65km of tricky territory twisting through the heart of Tasmania's iconic Lake St Clair-Cradle Mountain National Park.
Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service describes the one-way wander as an "exhilarating and life-changing journey" and explains that the trail "will be physically demanding, emotionally challenging, and scenically spectacular”.
The undulating course crosses terrain carved by ancient glaciers, navigating pretty buttongrass pastures and cold-climate rainforests, with side trips visiting isolated waterfalls and the lofty crowns of towering peaks including Mount Ossa which is Tasmania's highest summit at 1617m.
But this one isn't for the underprepared and, once on the track, the next access road comes at the very end of the path six days later.
BEST FOR BACK BEFORE BREAKFAST
The Enchanted Walk, deep in the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, is one of the Apple Isle's shortest strides that not only suits all ages but provides every visitor with a taste of this iconic location.
The route departs from the Pencil Pine Creek bridge before flanking a creek to wind through mossy forest. Walkers are encouraged to keep an eye out for colourful fungi that thrive during the cold season and the pademelons and wombats that call this place home.
BEST FOR SPECTACULAR SUNRISES
Tourism Australia describes the Bay of Fires as "one of Tasmania's prettiest locations" with empty expanses of ivory sand, shallow emerald water, vast cobalt skies, and boulders carpeted in layers of ochre lichen celebrating the vibrant shades of Mother Nature.
But this world-renowned region puts on a show at dawn, when the rising sun paints the sky pastel shades of pink and purple that turn into neon reds and oranges as light creeps across the land.
A beach walk – done at a dawdle or dash – is by far the best option for observing the changing shades of morning with Binalong Bay the location professional photographers linger to get that perfect frame.
BEST FOR TAKING IN THE TREES
Those with an hour up their sleeve, and time to make the 90-minute drive south from Hobart, should schedule a stop in the Huon Valley to gaze upon the bird’s-eye views from the network of elevated boardwalks that make up the Tahune Airwalk.
This tempting tree-top walk rises 30m above the pristine old-growth forests to a cantilevered platform positioned to peer across the Huon River to the World Heritage Area on the horizon.
There is also something for visitors keen to keep their feet on the ground, with many short walks on the menu. The Huon Pine Track takes 20 minutes to complete and winds through the bush in the shadows of Tasmania's most famous trees, and the 3km River Walk loop crosses the Picton and Huon rivers.
BEST FOR WATERFALLS
The Apple Isle is home to more than 200 waterfalls – some famous places on the tourist trail, others hidden gems only the locals know about – with Mount Field National Park a unique spot to lace up the walking shoes and roam between these picture-perfect landmarks.
This address – which is an hour from Hobart on the road to west-coast stars like the Franklin and Gordon rivers – is home to Russell Falls which has been promoting Tasmania tourism since the 1890s. If that doesn't scratch the waterfall itch, then Horseshoe Falls is 15 minutes further into the forest by foot.
BEST FOR OVERCOMING CHALLENGES
There's no doubt Tasmania is home to some stunning single-day treks, but Australia's southern state also sits high up on the list of the country's most arduous multi-day treks with wild weather and remote regions combining to create challenging conditions.
While the Walls of Jerusalem and Frenchman’s Cap vie for the title, the prize for Tasmania's toughest hike goes to Saint Anne Circuit, with this 33km route classified a difficult grade-five journey.
The South West National Park walk winds east from Lake Pedder to cross the highland pastures, ascend Mount Anne which is the tallest peak in Tasmania's south-west corner at 1423m, and gaze up at the dramatic gothic summits conquered early in the adventure.
BEST FOR BIG-CITY STROLLING
Travellers looking to navigate less rugged terrain should embark on one of Hobart's public art walks, with the team at the City of Hobart producing the Battery Point Sculpture Trail Map and Urban Art Walls Map.
These easy-to-ramble routes pass through some of the circa-1804 settlement's most artistic enclaves, with the maps not only explaining the concrete and brick canvases but weaving a story about the artists behind the colourful creations.
BEST FOR ESCAPING THE EVERYDAY
You know you're in for something special when you must hitch a ride on a light plane to reach a trailhead.
That's what's waiting for trampers tackling the South Coast Track with this tricky eight-day trek, that covers the 85km between Melaleuca and Cockle Creek, described by the Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service as "a true adventure" and a circuit that cultivates "a feeling of achievement" in those that endure to overcome.
This expedition encounters a variety of terrain, from windswept beaches regularly battered by Southern Ocean gales to rocky peaks reliably cloaked by cold-season snow, and with no roads into Melaleuca it's an isolated spot only served by boats and aircraft.
BEST FOR ENJOYING ISLAND TIME
Bruny Island – the plot of pristine land close to Hobart on the state's scenic south-east coast – is celebrated as a "nature lover, foodie and photographer’s dreamscape" brimming with quiet corners to put one foot in front of another.
Complete the five-hour circuit of the Labillardiere Peninsula – be sure to pause for a picnic along the way to appreciate the scenery – or spend 60 minutes on the Alonnag Sheepwash Track following the old carriageway past the remains of European settlements dating back to the 1850s.
For something shorter the Mavista Nature Walk is a 45-minute loop through the rainforest, Nebraska Beach to Bligh Point takes as little as 10 minutes to see sandstone cliffs shaped by the weather, and the 15-minute circuit to Truganini Lookout guarantees spectacular 360-degree views.
WANT TO WALK TASMANIA? INSPIRING JOURNEYS WILL GET YOU THERE
Travellers set on seeing this spectacular southern scenery during a guided holiday should sign up to do Taste of Tasmania with this thoughtful seven-day excursion taking in some of those famed east-coast addresses – Bay of Fires, Freycinet National Park, Maria Island – alongside other Apple Isle icons.
This Inspired Journeys' itinerary begins in Hobart, with time to explore the capital by wandering the wharf precinct and strolling Salamanca Market, before a day trip deep into the Huon Valley where those comfortable climbing to new heights can ascend the Tahune Skywalk.
A ferry ride to Maria Island is on the schedule for day three – with time to explore Darlington's convict-built ruins or stride to the Painted Cliffs – before the fourth day of the journey covers the territory between Freycinet National Park and Bay of Fires.
Late in the east-coast excursion there's the opportunity to indulge in some of the island's gourmet goodies with a stop at the Pyengana Dairy Farm, Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm, 41° South Salmon Farm, and Bell & Gong Winery before the adventure wraps up in Launceston.
The itinerary is flexible enough that those set on walking will find time to don their hiking boots in some of the more scenic spots or, for travellers looking to indulge in something a little longer, pre or post-tour extensions are easy to arrange.