Contents
Tasmania
Icon: North toward Cradle Mt from Mt Ossa, Overland Track
Walkopedia favourite: the Overland Track, Tasmania
Vignette: Grady and the bog
En passant: very relaxed wallaby
Nature as art
 

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Tasmania


Overland Track - Cradle Mt from Ossa

Wonderful, wild, rugged, remote, beautiful Tasmania: west Scotland without the heather but with wallabies and devils. Much of it still fairly unvisited, it is a traveler’s delight and a walker’s paradise.

The landscape varies from the tangled rainforests and wild rivers of the west to the glens, peaks, moors and lakes of the centre to the perfect beaches and coastal cliffs of the south and east.

Tasmania’s great wilderness areas achieved World Heritage Status in 1982, powerful evidence of its international importance.

Complementing the extraordinary landscape is an exceptional array of wildlife. As well as animals found elsewhere in Australia – kangaroos, possums, platypus echidnas snakes and spiders ( evidence of the island’s recent separation from the mainland at the end of the last ice age) – it has its own unique fauna, including the famous Tasmanian devil.

Tasmania’s plants are also diverse and in many cases unique, including the extraordinarily long- lived Huon pine. Fascinatingly, some of them are closer related to South American plants than mainland Australia.


Overland Track - West from Ossa


Tasman Peninsula - Across Waterfall Bay

Tasmania has more than merely world-class walking: it is some of its very best. Our Tasmania guides you through a huge number of options: here are just a few of the very best.
  • The Overland Track: Tasmania’s most famous walk, and justly so. Five or more days southward through the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair area. See our special feature below.
  • The amazing Tasman Peninsula includes famous 300m high cliffs, beaches and wildlife. Not to be missed if visiting the Port Arthur penal colony. The Tasman Coastal Trail is one of Tasmania’s great hikes.
  • South Coast Track: one of Tassie’s great tracks: rugged, utterly remote coastal scenery. 85 outstanding kilometers ( 6-8 days). Beware frequent bad weather.
  • Wineglass Bay and other day walks and the multi-day Freycinet Experience on the glorious Freycinet Peninsula, one of Tasmania’s most special places.
  • The Bay of Fires: wonderful, unsullied coastal scenery, huge, empty white sand beaches claimed to be some of the most beautiful in the world. Think seriously about taking in the four day Bay of Fires Walk.
  • Ben Lomond NP: fantastic walking in yet another area of peak and plateau, Tasmania’s largest alpine area. Vegetation ranges from ancient forest to alpine wildflowers. Interesting rock columns. Legges Tor, at 1,575 m the second-highest Tassie mountain, is a fine 4 hour round trip.
  • Cradle Mountain area: a plethora of gorgeous walks in Tasmania’s most famous area. Includes a tough ascent of the eponymous mountain itself for outstanding views. And the Enchanted Nature Walk and the Dove Lake Circuit.
  • The Nut: a volcanic plug near Stanley. A steep 20 mins plus half an hour circuiting up the top, with splendid views across bay and sea. Beware crowds due to the chairlift.
  • Mt Field National Park. High mountain to rainforest to waterfalls, a mere 80 km from Hobart. Options include the short trail to Russell Falls and the Pandani Grove Nature Walk by Lake Dobson. The high level walking is marvelous, the most famous being the Tarn Shelf Track.
  • The Hartz Mountains, including the day walk to Hartz Peak. High, rugged, beautiful county easily reached from Hobart.
  • Lovely, empty Maria Island, to the north of Hobart, has wonderful scenery and wildlife – and very few people. You can do a fabulous (but expensive) four day guided walk.

Across to Freycinet


Freycinet - Wine Glass Bay from Lookout

 

More information on this walk

Best Books: Walking in Australia (Lonely Planet) has good details


TOP

Icon: North toward Cradle Mt from Mt Ossa, Overland Track

Perfectly sited pavilion on the summit plateau
North toward Cradle Mt from Mt Ossa, Overland Track

Walkopedia rating: 88
More information on this walk


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TOP

Walkopedia favourite: the Overland Track, Tasmania


Pelion from Ossa

Tasmania’s best-known trail winds, for six to eight days, depending on whether you allow time for some side trips, through outstanding glacially scoured scenery and varied vegetation. Think peaks, broken ridges, scree, high moorland, perfect lakes, waterfalls, plunging gorges; and near tundra to surprisingly beautiful low scrub to rich, thick forest.

The Overland Track richly deserves its increasing fame. This is one of the most enjoyable – happiness inducing – walks Walkopedia has encountered, despite two days of rain out of six.

The Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, through which the trail passes, is part a network which constitutes the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area, one of the southern hemisphere’s great wilderness areas.


From Pelion Gap

Here you will find genuinely breathtaking (overused expression, but it is thus) scenery: great buttes, scarps, and spires of dolerite rock dominating a world of high moorlands, forest and deep river valleys.

Much of the trail is above the tree line, winding, often on trademark boardwalks, through fragile, almost poignantly beautiful bogs and low shrubland. The forests, when you get there, are themselves delightful and seldom dull. You will meet wallabies and may encounter an enchanting echidna or traces of the Tasmanian devil.

Camping or basic but excellent huts (can be crowded in Summer) are the only options here, so you will need to carry your food, sleeping and cooking kit (fuel stove) – and a tent, so they say, even if you are staying in the huts. Or you can make a guided expedition using the excellent but expensive Cradle Mountain Huts (www.cradlehuts.com.au), which provide food, sleeping bags and a hot shower.


South of Pelion Gap

It will be mad not to make some side trips. The views on a good day from Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest at 1,617m are to die for – and some have. Cradle Mountain itself shouldn’t be missed and Mount Oakleigh is a tough slither up and down tree roots, but very rewarding. You can safely leave your packs to make the side trips.

Due to its position at the west of an island in the path of the Roaring Forties, the weather here is extremely variable; while it can be lovely, and not just in summer, you must come prepared for, and be philosophical about, some pretty horrible stuff. The summer months are busy (it gets over 9,000 walkers a year), and you will have to book ahead and pay fees; and a north-south journey is imposed. Come prepared: this is tough country.

The numbers are necessarily kept down by a booking system during the popular summer months, when you have to walk north – south. Book well ahead.


Pelion East from Mt Doris


Ridgetop tarns


South from Ossa


Cathedral Mt from Kia Ora hut

Walkopedia rating: 88 – Top 100
More information on this walk

Best Book: Walking in Australia (Lonely Planet) has good details

 


Our expedition was organised by the outstanding Crade Mountain Huts (www.cradlehuts.com.au), who provided excellent and very knowledgeable guides and comfortable and beautifully sited accommodation. Like much in Australia these days, they aren’t cheap, though.


Vignette: Grady and the bog, Overland Track

With decided third day blues, we shoulder our packs and strike out through the button-grass bogs towards the sheer fluting of Mount Oakleigh. After a clever little suspension bridge over the local stream, the fun and games begin. We had been warned of waist-deep mud in places but had imagined this to be in unavoidably thick sections of woodland. Not at all: our trail winds through the impeccable boggy grasslands, fringed all around by open eucalyptus woodland with thicker forest up the hillsides. It feels so primaeval that a diplodocus could raise its head at any moment. I can’t think of a more pristine landscape – even the car-free reserves of Africa are criss-crossed with animal tracks and visibly heavily grazed.

We reach a boggy stretch, and Grady goes in up to his knees. We follow, reluctantly. After another 100m he is struggling through waist-deep mud. Tony tries to step beyond the hole, but goes straight in up to his bum. The rest of us, except good Joe, tiptoe round gingerly. Collective guilt develops as Grady is in again, to mid-thigh: a surreally truncated, lonely figure in a brown slash in the vivid greenery. It is too much, and giggles turn to near-hysteria as we fall behind, vying to be behind each other and thus invisible to the prefect at the front. We wade through knee-deep troughs but shirk the waisters. Mutterings of “fundamentalism” produce further laughter. But here’s the thing: Grady’s dedication is infectious. We all walk more carefully, sticking to the narrow route of rectitude to avoid the “braiding” -multiple paths - that could turn into scarring of this perfect landscape. And his example lingers with us: although it was almost a bit theatrical, this really was caring for the environment.


That unecesssary rut-wading....



En passant: very relaxed wallaby, Pelion Plains



Nature as art


Dead trees contrast with sculpted shrubs, near Mount Ossa, Overland Track



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