Experience the ancient and epic beauty of Tasmania’s 17 national parks.
Many of these are part of the World Heritage-listed wilderness that makes up 20 per cent of the island. Climb over the Hazard Ranges and lose your breath at postcard-perfect Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park. See your face in Dove Lake and trek the Overland Track in Cradle-Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Bushwalk through Gondwanan rainforest and discover the 18th century French garden of Recherche Bay in South West National Park. Take in Russell Falls, towering swamp gums and ski fields in Mount Field National Park. Cruise the silent Gordon River and whitewater raft down the Franklin in Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. However you weave through Tasmania’s natural wonders, we can bet you won’t want to leave.
Take five on the Tassie wilderness:
Stay in tranquil Coles Bay at the entrance to Freycinet National Park and walk to Wineglass Bay. Capture its perfect contours on your camera, then swim, boat, fish, snorkel, sea kayak and scuba dive from the dreamy white beach. If you feel like stretching your legs, go climbing, abseiling and mountain walking in the steep pink and grey granite rocks of the Hazard Ranges. Or follow the day walks along the coastal heathlands.
Travel back millions of years in this wilderness only a couple of hours drive from Launceston. Walk round Dove Lake, past waterfalls and through forests of King Billy pines, to the jagged dolomite peaks of Cradle Mountain. For a real challenge, follow the famous 80 kilometre Overland Track all the way south to Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest natural lake. On the way, marvel at Mount Ossa, Tasmania’s highest mountain, and see a species of beech tree more than 60 million years old. Stroll next to cascading rivers and dense, old-growth rainforest on the Enchanted Walk or take most of the day to tackle the summit. You can also spend one to five hours on one of the other popular walks, including Mount Campbell, Hanson's Peak, Twisted Lakes, Lake Rodway, Lake Lilla and the Ballroom Forest.
Drive from Hobart and see huge Scotts Peak Dam and the towering peaks of Mount Anne, Mount Eliza and the Western Arthurs on the shores of Lake Pedder. Or soar over the park’s 608,000 hectares of Gondwanan rainforest, horizontal scrub and rare Huon pine on a scenic flight. Walk across the Gordon Dam wall or abseil down its staggering chasm. Spot the endangered orange-bellied parrot around Bathurst Harbour between October and March. Weave through moss-covered trees and over giant logs on the short Creepy Crawly Nature Trail. Or do a day trek around deep, ice-carved Lake Judd. Tackle some of Australia’s most challenging terrain on the multi-day Port Davey and South Coast Tracks to remote Melaleuca, where you will need to be collected in a plane. Kayak to Recherche Bay, where you’ll find an 18th century French garden surrounded by thick forest and sweeping white beach.
You only have to drive an hour from Hobart to see the three tiers of Russell Falls, lush fern forests and some of the world’s tallest trees. Walk to Lady Barron Falls past Lake Dobson, groves of palm-like pandani and forests of towering swamp gums on the Lady Barron Falls Circuit. Climb higher to the highland plateaus and precipices of Tarn Shelf, where you can look over the expansive lakes in the valley below. In April and May, the mountain slopes are alight with the gold, red and orange leaves of the fagus, Australia's only winter deciduous tree. In the winter months of June to August you’ll find small ski fields for cross-country skiing amongst the snow gums and stunted pines.
Cruise down the majestic Gordon River from the west coast fishing village of Strahan. Or drive past the dramatic landscape on the winding Lyell Highway. Once here you can whitewater raft on the furious Franklin River, past forested valleys, deep gorges and mountains carved by glaciers. Learn how environmental protesters saved this force of nature from being dammed for hydro-electricity along the way. By boat, you can also coast along the Picton and Huon Rivers almost as far as Hobart. Follow the Donaghys Lookout Walk for views over the Franklin River or mountain tops. Or take the challenging multi-day Frenchmans Cap Track past buttongrass plains, glacial valleys and rainforest of ancient Huon pine and King Billy pine. Your destination is Lake Tahune, under the towering peak of Frenchmans Cap, some of Australia’s oldest exposed rock.