Those wanting to push boundaries can access some of the most amazingly spectacular sights by throwing on a pair of boots and packing your backpack for a number of days in the Tasmanian wilderness.
But what if 5 days knee deep in mud or crossing creeks is not your thing? Can you still see some iconic Tasmanian destinations in around an hours walking distance from your car? The simple answer is yes.
There are some spectacular short walks in Tasmania taking in scenery from coastal, alpine, rainforest, waterfalls and of course, mountains. These walks are scattered all over the state and provide a great chance to get out of the car, stretch your legs and breathe some of the freshest air anywhere in the world.
The diverse range of tracks means that you access some great views and locations with a moderate level of fitness and the right gear packed. Don’t forget Tasmania’s weather can change quickly, so pack for all seasons and stick to the marked tracks, it can be very easy to get lost should you stray.
All the walks in this story are maintained through Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania, and as such may require a Parks pass in order to access them.
In the south of the state, one of the most used walks would have to be exploring Russell Falls located within the Mt Field National Park, about an hours drive north-west of Hobart. This short 20 minute circuit walk takes you from the visitor centre through to Russell Falls, an impressive 3 tier waterfall surrounded by mixed vegetation rainforest. This easy track can be taken further once at the falls by moving onto the Tall Trees walk (adding a further 10-15 minutes) or by heading further on into the rainforest (around 2 hours return) to Lady Barron Falls.
The Tahune AirWalk 29km outside Geeveston is another great experience and is suitable for all fitness levels. There is an admission fee for the AirWalk itself, but is worth it for the experience 20 metres above the forest floor. It’s a 45 minute circuit, but you’ll find yourself taking much more time to fully appreciate the view from the cantilever section of the walk.
If you are heading towards Port Arthur, stopping outside Eaglehawk Neck will get you access to the Waterfall Bay walk. This walk takes you around the coast and some amazing cliff faces to see some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs and if you are lucky after a big rainfall, the waterfall plummets directly into the sea below.
On the east coast the choice becomes harder as the options increase, but the top 3 here would have to include Wineglass Bay lookout, St Columba Falls and the Painted Cliffs of Maria Island.
The Painted Cliffs on Maria Island is a perfect representation of Tasmania’s geological history. The sandstone face of the cliffs are tarnished with ground water working its way done the stone, staining the golden colour with iron oxides. In addition, wave action over hundreds of thousands of years has creating amazing features in the cliff face. Worth the 1-1.5 return walk to see.
Wineglass Bay is one of Tasmania’s most iconic locations and to reach the outlook is a pretty good achievement. The 1 – 1.5 return walk is up a fairly steep 1.3km bush track that is not ideal for those with health or mobility issues. But if you can make the walk, the view is worth every minute of the climb.
St Columba Falls in the north east is a beautiful drive through Tasmanian dairy country before reaching the carpark around half an hour from St Helens. The short 20-30min walk is through gorgeous Tasmanian rainforest to one of Tasmania’s highest waterfalls. Keep in mind the return trip is mainly uphill so don’t wear yourself out on the way in!
In the north, make sure you take time to stop at Hollybank Forest, Pine Lake and Duck Reach.
Hollybank is home to the Treetop Adventures, a zipline adventure above the tree top canopy of the forest below. But it’s the forest below that is just as interesting with some amazing short walks through native and exotic tree plantings and is one of the earliest private plantations in Tasmania, initially set up to provide the materials for tennis racquets and cricket bats! There are a series of short walks in this reserve and picnic and BBQ facilities are also on site.
Pine Lake south of Deloraine is home to Tasmania’s rarest trees, the Pencil Pine. The Pine can reach ages of more than 1200 years and on a short 30 minute return walk you can experience seeing these trees for yourself.
When in Launceston, no trip is complete without a stroll around the Basin at Cataract Gorge. The 1.5 hour return walk takes you alongside the fast flowing Gorge to the non-operational Duck reach power station. An interpretation centre provides more information when you arrive. A great spot for families wanting to get a quick escape close to the city centre.
Further on to the north west, a drive to Leven Canyon will provide you a great outlook into the canyon below. Just over 40kms from Ulverstone, this short 15 minute walk from the main carpark will take you to the spectacular viewing platform, but try to avoid overly low cloud days to make the most of your experience.
Springlawn Nature walk is around 30 minutes from Devonport and offers a raised timber boardwalk through swamp forest, home to a diverse range of birdlife and native wildlife. A great location for bird watching, the walk is around 1-1.5 hours return.
The iconic Nut at Stanley is a picture postcard location that rises 143 metres to the plateau from sea level. There is a short 10-20min walk to the plateau or visitors can take the chairlift to the top. Once on the top, you can take the 1 hour walk around the plateau.
In the west, no visit would be complete without experiencing Dove Lake Circuit, Nelson Falls or Montezuma Falls.
While it is a bit outside our short walk time limit, this 2 hour circuit has to be included in the list. The walk takes in Glacier Rock, Ballroom Forest and the hhighly photographed “Boatshed”. This walk in the lower foothills of Cradle Mountain is mainly boardwalked and takes you around the perimeter of Dove Lake.
Nelson Falls is a short 20 minute return walk off the Lyell Highway between Queenstown and Derwent Bridge. A perfect location to stretch the legs after a long drive and to experience the fern glade forest and the wonderful Nelson Falls.
Montezuma Falls is again fractionally outside the short walk category, coming in at 3 hours return. However the experience of walking the narrow gauge tram line through rainforest to the suspension bridge near the falls has be included as a walk of mention in Tasmania. Parts of the track can be accessed by 4WD too, but conditions can be tough so check with locals first. The 104 metre Montezuma Falls is a stunning site and well worth the return walk.Add Comment
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