Tasmania’s great walks

By AG STAFF June 15, 2021
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Here are five of our favourite Tassie walks.

The Overland Track

Distance: 65km one way
Time: 6 days
Difficulty: Hard

This is the classic Tasmanian walk, through an area of alpine wilderness unlike any other in Australia. The six-day Overland Track links Dove Lake to Lake St Clair, and traverses a high plateau in the heart of the island, scoured and shaped by ice ages. In every direction lie distinctive and unusual mountain peaks and ranges, sheer columns and cliffs of dark dolerite. The side trips on the walk rival the attractions of the main track, including a walk up Mt Ossa (1617m), Tasmania’s highest mountain, and exploring them can extend the trip by several days. The track winds through a varied landscape of open moorland, glacial tarns and rainforests of myrtle, deciduous beech and sassafras. There are also streams and waterfalls, stands of snow gums and native pines, and flowering heath. It’s one of the world’s great walks and an unforgettable experience. Of course, in the mountains it can snow at any time of year so walkers must be prepared for all conditions. This walk can be done independently carrying all your own gear, or as a guided walk with tents, or the luxurious way with comfortable huts, hot showers and gourmet meals.

Dove Lake Upper Circuit

Distance: 14km circuit
Time: 4–5 hours
Difficulty: Hard

Cradle Mountain sits at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair NP. The Dove Lake circuit is one of the park’s best-loved walks, and while it’s magical to wander the shores of the lake as the jagged peaks of Cradle Mountain loom above, the challenging upper circuit offers a truly rewarding taste of the alpine wilderness. From Dove Lake, the walk heads anti-clockwise to the pretty boat shed on the shore before climbing through a forest of deciduous beech to Marions Lookout. Here the bracing winds might keep you from lingering too long over the spectacular view. The track continues to Kitchen Hut, an emergency shelter, before joining the Face Track, passing below Cradle Mountain (1545m) and Little Horn (1355m) on the way to Hansons Peak (1185m). A steep scramble down from the peak leads to a gentle descent through forest on the Lake Rodway Track, before rejoining the track around the shore of the lake. This is a steep and sometimes taxing walk but is the next best thing to doing the Overland Track if time is limited. Make sure you are well prepared.

Liffey falls

Distance: 2km return
Time: 45 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Liffey Falls Walk
Image credit: Mauricio E. MozoTourism Tasmania

There are two walking tracks through beautiful rainforest to Liffey Falls beneath the spectacular Great Western Tiers. The popular 45-minute return walk from the top car park offers developed picnic facilities and a high-grade, all-weather walking track. The walk lies within the Liffey Falls State Reserve, an area of cool temperate rainforest, featuring myrtle, sassafras and leatherwood on the slopes of the Great Western Tiers. 

Cape Hauy

Distance: 10.5km return
Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Medium

A stunning return bushwalk leading to jaw-dropping cliffs, the Cape Hauy track first undulates through woodlands and heath before dropping down a steep set of steps, then ascending once more towards the cape. Cape Hauy juts out into the turbulent ocean with views to both sides. The cape itself has spectacular dolerite columns that plunge directly into the sea. Watch for seabirds, eagles and passing whales.

Bishop and Clerk

Distance: 9km circuit
Time: 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Medium

Fossil Cliff Quarry Site, looking towards Bishop and Clerk
Fossil Cliff Quarry Site, looking towards Bishop and Clerk. Image credit: Rob Burnett/Tourism Tasmania

The distinctive twin peaks of 599m Bishop and Clerk dominate the northern end of Maria Island. This walk leads you along Skipping Ridge before climbing into native gum forest towards the start of the scree field. The track zigzags up through a steep slope of loose rocks and leads to the summit’s craggy dolerite columns with views across Mercury Passage. 

Visit: parks.tas.gov.au