Bushwalking: Hartz Peak, Tasmania

This is another great day walk that is easily accessed from the lovely city of Hobart. It provides for excellent alpine walking with extensive views and secluded and attractive lakes and tarns.

The walk commences from a car park at the end of the gravel road that leaves the C632 road (see access below). There is a large visitors shelter and the path to Hartz peak is clearly signposted. Follow the path, which is boardwalks for a good deal of the way, as it climbs slightly and passes a signposted track to Lake Esperance (worth a side-trip). The path reaches Ladies Tarn another 1km or so further on at which point the track becomes less well used but still easy to follow, turning westwards for a short but very steep climb up to Hartz Pass.

From here the path turns south climbing steadily, marked by regular signposts with orange arrows and a series of small cairns. A bit of rock scrambling is required to attain the summit. The summit has a trig point and there is a small wind shelter nearby. The walk returns by the same route.

The day I was there in May the weather was pretty terrible on the way up to the summit – no views but plenty of wind and rain, which pretty much describes the weather when I did the walk in May 2008. Nonetheless, it was still enjoyable – or perhaps invigorating is the best word. Highly recommended, but please be ready and equipped for poor weather. There were a few Japanese tourists walking ahead of me in jeans and casual jackets – thankfully they only went as far as Lake Esperance as they were completely un-equipped for the conditions.

Walk date: 9th May, 2010
Time: Around 4 hours
Grade: Moderate day walk
My rating: A

Access: Follow the A6 from Hobart to Geeveston. From here take the road signposted ‘Hartz Mountains National Park’ and keep an eye out for further signposts. Eventually a gravel road is reached (just after Arve River Picnic Area) which leads to the car-park and start of the walk.

Bushwalking: Mt Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania

Mt Wellington provides an impressive backdrop to the city of Hobart, and also provides for some excellent walking in an alpine environment and tremendous views. Although you can drive right to the top, walking up at least part of the way is more enjoyable and provides a better introduction to the mountain. This circular walk commences from ‘The Springs’, located on the main road to the summit. It takes in the summit as well as a walk across the plateau. Because this is an alpine area, you should be well equipped for poor weather.

The walk commences from either the main car park at The Springs, or from the minor road that leaves the main road to the left and climbs briefly. The first part of the walk is the Pinnacle Track which is well signposted and easy to follow. After a series of steps the path becomes a well trodden bush track that climbs steadily to the north with occasional views to the east. After about 1.5kms a junction is reached; turn left up the accurately named Zig-Zag track which soon starts to climb steeply and provides superb views if the weather allows.

The track eventually reaches the plateau and a track junction, ignore the track to the left for the moment (this is the path for the return journey) and instead stay on the well formed track as it passes  to the left of the transmission tower on its way to the summit which is in the middle of a road loop so take care to watch out for traffic. After visiting the summit you could also drop down to the visitor centre or take in a viewpoint just to the west of the summit. In fine weather, the views are superb and extensive.

The return journey follows the path back to the above mentioned track junction and then follows a much rougher track, marked at regular intervals with poles fitted with orange markers. This track, the South Wellington Track, traverses the summit plateau before dropping briefly but steeply into bushland and ultimately reaching a signposted track junction with the Ice House Track. Take the Icehouse Track which is generally easy to follow as it descends through forest and eventually reaches the Miles Track. Turn left here back to the carpark.

Overall, a terrific walk featuring great views and a varied and interesting alpine and sub-alpine landscape, and all less then 30 minutes out of Hobart, a beautiful city in itself.

Walk date: 11th May, 2010
Time/Distance: Around 3.5 hrs
Grade: Moderate day walk
Map: TASMAP Wellington Park Recreation Map (1:20,000)
My rating: A+

 

Waterfall Bay and Tatnells Hill, Tasman National Park, Tasmania

View from Morleys Lookout

“The spectacular coastline around Eaglehawk Neck is a popular tourist destination … less known is the Tasman Coastal Trail which heads south from these formations to the even taller cliffs around Waterfall Bay”

Day Walks Tasmania

This is a very enjoyable half day or so walk based in the Tasman National Park about an hour and a quarter out of Hobart. It takes in Tasmans Arch and Devils Kitchen as well as some spectacular coast line and great views. I used the track notes from “Day Walks Tasmania” by John and Monica Chapman.

The first section between Tasmans Arch and Waterfall Bay is along an upgraded track with plenty of lookouts and suitable safety fencing. From Waterfalls Bay it becomes a more traditional bush track and skirts quite close to the cliff edge in places with no barriers. As such it is suited to more experienced and careful walkers although I’d still grade it as moderate only. The views along this section are great, particularly from Morleys Lookout (take care here, it’s a long drop down the cliffs) and Tatnells Hill.

Well worth doing, the walk commences at the car park at either Tasmans Arch or Devils Kitchen (a couple of hundred metres apart) and is an out and back walk. Access from Hobart is via the A3 to Sorrell (the nearest town), then A9 towards Port Arthur and finally Blowhole Road (C338) to the aforementioned car parks.

Walk date: May 15, 2009
Time/level: Around 4 hours, moderate (approx. 11.5km)
Map: TASMAP 1:25,000 Tarrana, map in guidebook
My rating: B+

Waterfalls and Tall Trees, Mt Field National Park, Tasmania

Russell Falls

Mt Field National Park, about an hour and a half’s drive from Hobart, is a small but attractive national park and well worth visiting. There are some excellent day and shorter walks and this one, which takes in three waterfalls including the impressive Russell Falls and a short meander through a forest of swamp gums, apparently the world’s tallest flowering plants, is most worthwhile.

The walk begins at the visitor centre which is just up from the entrance to the park. If you are parking a car, make sure you have a valid pass – these can be purchased from the centre, which will also supply a leaflet that outlines the walks available and includes a basic map. The path, which is well marked throughout, is sealed and fairly level up to Russell Falls and so suitable for pushchairs/wheelchairs, although the roots of trees have caused the surface to break up in a few places.

Russell Falls have been a scenic attraction for a long time – in the early/mid 20th century trains would take tourists on day trips to the park (known simply as ‘National Park’). There had been a lot of rain and some snow the day before I was there and as a result the falls were particularly impressive with a large volume of water flowing.

After taking in Russell Falls follow the track as it climbs by the side of the falls and eventually reaches an intersection and a short part to Horseshoe Falls. Follow this to have a look at these falls and then return to the intersection and follow the path as it joins with the ‘Tall Trees’ circuit. At this point, you could go left or right – I took the right hand branch which soon joins the Lake Dobson Road. Take care while crossing the road and join the track on the other side, following it to Lady Barron Falls. These falls are also quite impressive.

From here continue along the clear path back to the visitor centre. Note that the Lady Barron Falls section has a couple of moderately steep sections, one of which is a staircase which you will be ascending if you follow the route described.

Walk date: May 16, 2009
Time/level: Around 2-2.5 hours, easy/moderate
Map: Leaflet from visitor centre
My rating: A