Bushwalking in Tasmania

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Walking In Tasmania Index

Overland Track | Federation Peak | Western Arthurs | South Coast | South West Cape
Cradle Mountain | Wild Rivers | Walls Of Jerusalem | South West | West Coast
Mt Field | Tasman Peninsula | Freycinet | Douglas-Apsley | Ben Lomond
Penguin Cradle Trail | Tasmanian Trail | World Heritage Area | Guide Books | Weather

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. There are many good walks in this state and I have divided the state into separate regions - East Coast, Cradle Mountain, Wild Rivers National Park and South West Tasmania.

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 (WHA). This is actually 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.

The most famous walk in the state, The Overland Track passes the highest peaks in Tasmania. This track is well known and a favourite of both locals, interstate and overseas walkers. It deserves it's popularity as the track is well defined and easy to follow. The walk itself is one of the most varied as it passes through a wide variety of landscapes in the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park.

Other popular long tracks are the South Coast Track and Frenchmans Cap. For first time visitors, these two walks or the Overland Track are recommended. None of these walks can be regarded as easy although on Tasmanian standards they are.

There are also many other walks but the tracks become rougher with few markers and lots of deep mud. The mud is often over knee deep and even though visitors are warned, until they meet these horror stretches, they just don't believe it could exist. Also the weather can be very miserable with high rainfall. The climate is strongly effected by the surrounding ocean and the temperature is often just above freezing - never extremely cold but not very warm either.

For those prepared to put up with the conditions and with lots of time, there is some magnificent wilderness walking. It is possible to come and walk for a month and never see any road or even any walking tracks. Like all regions there are some popular sites and in the South West National Park - Federation Peak, Mt Anne, Western Arthurs, Southern Ranges, Denisons and South West Cape have rough tracks formed by walker use. Most of these trips range from 7 to 12 days in length. Many of these walks are tough and are not recommended to first time visitors to the state.

For the really experienced there are some very tough long wilderness walks. Places like the West Coast, Vanishing Falls, White Monoliths, De Witt Range, Prince of Wales Range and Mt Norold are destinations for hard 14 to 28 trips. These tough trips are in scenic terms, less attractive and best attempted after walking the more popular routes. There are no detailed notes for these places as they are wilderness walks.

For easier wilderness walks, the Walls Of Jerusalem and Cradle Mountain National Parks provide excellent walking. Walks ranging from 2 to 15 days can be created within these two parks and they range from signposted tracks to wilderness walks where there are no tracks or signs that others have been before you.

For shorter walks there are some excellent places in Tasmania. The good news is that these locations generally have much better weather as well (study the weather charts). Mt Field, Mt Wellington, Tasman Peninsula, Maria Island, Freycinet, Douglas-Apsley and Ben Lomond all have good 2 or 3 day walks. If seeking shorter walks of one day then refer to Day Walks Tasmania.

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John Chapman, PO Box 5042, Laburnum, 3130, Australia
Photographs and text are copyright © 1998-2012 John Chapman.
Last updated : October 3rd 2012