From gentle strolls to epic adventures, the best way to experience Tasmania's wilderness is on foot.
By Jennifer Ennion
Slow it down, put one foot in front of the other and breathe in some of the freshest air on the planet. Tasmanian walking tracks traverse the epic, ancient and transforming wilderness of our southernmost state, and their quality attracts walkers from all over the world. Almost 60 per cent of Tasmania is protected within national parks and reserves and 20 per cent of this is World Heritage-listed. The 19 national parks are crisscrossed with trails to suit every level. Long and short, gentle and giant, from mountains to coast, there are some wonderful Tasmanian walks to take you away from it all.
- Take on Tasmania's newest trail, the Three Capes Track
- Enjoy a barefoot beach dinner in Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park
- Sleep in a luxury camp in Mount William National Park
How to get there
Tasmania's capital city, Hobart, has an airport with links to the mainland via Sydney and Melbourne. The regional centres of Launceston, Devonport and Burnie also have airports with mainland links. If you would like to bring a car, bike or campervan, the Spirit of Tasmania ferry sails into Devonport from Melbourne daily.
Top hiking trails in Tasmania
Three Capes Track
The Three Capes Track is a four-day, 48-kilometre (30-mile) trip on the Tasman Peninsula from Denmans Cove to Fortescue Bay. You can experience this walk independently or with a guide. Independent walkers stay in accommodation managed by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, with shared dining hubs and some supplied equipment. This journey starts at Port Arthur Historic Site before a ride to the trail head aboard a Pennicott Wilderness Journeys boat. You'll have to carry your own basic camping supplies, like meals and a first aid kit. Daily walker numbers are capped at 48, and you often need to book months in advance. For a guided journey, the Three Capes Lodge Walk offers the only private accommodation in this national park. This walk, by Tasmanian Walking Company, provides guests with premium accommodation in spectacular private eco lodges, twin-share accommodation with beautiful linens in each bedroom, showers, expert guides, optional massage and a fine showcase of Tasmanian food and wine.
Cradle Mountain Huts Walk
The guided Cradle Mountain Huts Walk spends six days walking the most renowned route in the state, the Overland Track in World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. View the jagged dolerite peaks of Cradle Mountain, glacial lakes, and untouched wilderness and embark on an optional side trip up Mt Ossa, Tasmania’s highest peak. On this walk by Tasmanian Walking Company, walkers stay in the only private accommodation on the trail and enjoy fine food and Tasmanian wine. Experienced hikers can tackle the Overland Track independently, as well as some smaller trails, such as the six-kilometre (3.7-mile) Dove Lake Circuit. After your hike, unwind at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, boutique wilderness accommodation with luxurious suites, fine dining and a day spa.
Bruny Island by foot
Bruny Island, home to stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife and artisan food, is a 15-minute ferry ride from Kettering, about half an hour south of Hobart. For amazing views of Bruny Island Neck – an isthmus of land connecting North and South Bruny Island – follow the timber stairway to Truganini Lookout. The Neck is an important habitat for native wildlife like short-tailed shearwaters and little penguins returning to their burrows at dusk. The best time to see the birds is from September to February. For a more challenging trail, check out the five-hour, 14-kilometre (8.9-mile) Labillardiere Peninsula Walk in South Bruny National Park. The self-guided walk is graded moderate and will lead you through dry sclerophyll forests.
Bruny Island Long Weekend
For a premium guided walk experience of the beautiful Bruny Island, book the Bruny Island Long Weekend, which will take you across beaches, over rocky headlands and through rainforest. At night you'll camp at a private retreat, surrounded by towering eucalypts, on the edge of South Bruny National Park. The camp is off the grid and features king size beds and a hot outdoor shower. Guests also get to try plenty of local seafood, native game and Tasmanian wine.
Wineglass Bay and Freycinet
Explore the spectacular beaches, peninsulas and national park trails along Tasmania's east coast on the unforgettable Wineglass Bay Sail Walk. You'll travel between Maria Island, Freycinet Peninsula, Schouten Island and the Tasman Peninsula aboard a 23-metre (75-foot) boat, stepping ashore for nature walks and barefoot beach dinners if weather allows. You can opt for a four or six-day itinerary, both departing from Hobart. Also on the east coast is Freycinet National Park and the Freycinet Experience Walk. Starting in Hobart, this four-day trip includes guided walks with opportunities to snorkel, swim, fish and learn about native plants and geology. At the end of each day, retire to the Friendly Beaches Lodge, a private lodge in a stunning coastal forest.
The Maria Island Walk
Amble along sparkling beaches, swim in the clear waters of a marine reserve and follow in the footsteps of convicts and explorers on the Maria Island Walk, off the east coast of Tasmania. The island is famous for its rare and endangered wildlife: you may come across the swift parrot, Cape Barren goose or Tasmanian devil during this easy grade four-day walk. At Fossil Cliffs, you'll see fascinating shellfish fossil beds. Nights are spent in a mix of environmentally friendly wilderness camps in the forest and a restored heritage-listed house dating back to 1880 in the convict settlement. All meals are provided on the tour, which departs from Hobart. A pack free/portered option is offered.
Bay of Fires walks
The Bay of Fires, in the state's north-east, has to be one of Tasmania's prettiest locations, with white sand beaches and boulders carpeted with orange lichen. You can get to know the area on a number of different walks, like the four-day guided Bay of Fires Lodge Walk, during which you'll have a night in an exclusive beach camp, then two nights staying in luxury at the award-winning Bay of Fires Lodge. The wukalina walk offers the incredible experience of seeing Tasmania's Bay of Fires through the eyes of the local palawa people. This four-day Aboriginal owned and operated guided walk is a deeply cultural experience. During your journey, you'll participate in ancient cultural practices and hear palawa creation stories as you immerse yourself in nature and stay in absolute comfort.
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