As far as hiking destinations in Australia go, Tasmania is the bees knees. Not only does this island state contain the world-famous Overland Track, but it houses countless other day walks and multi-day adventures — many of which are known only to locals. Yes, Tasmania inexplicably continues to fly under the tourist radar much of the time, but this just means that it’s not uncommon to have some of the best walking tracks in Tasmania — nay, Australia — all to yourself.
While every pocket of the Apple Isle offers its own escapes into the great outdoors, you don’t have to journey far from the cities to get lost in nature. In fact, the bush walks in Hobart and the surrounding areas are simultaneously super accessible, and deceptively remote. These paths capture the very best of Tasmania’s wilderness, including its National Parks, reserves, coastal regions and alpine settings, and transport you into the poetic heart of Australia’s bush. While it’s hard to go wrong with any Tasmania nature walk, here are just a few of the best Hobart bushwalks.
Cape Huay Track
While one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Tasman Peninsula is the Port Arthur penal settlement, the same area, just a short drive south east of Hobart, also hosts a number of sublime coastal walks. These walks range from 15-minute family-friendly strolls to strenuous yet rewarding multi-day endeavours. Sitting roughly in the middle of this spectrum sits the Cape Huay Track, a picturesque walk that snakes through a variety of woodland to reach the steep and rugged cliffs of the peninsula. From here, you can view a range of incredible rock formations, including the Candlestick, the Totem Pole and the dolerite pillars.
Distance: 4.4km each way
Time: 4 hours one-way
Getting here: The trailhead can be found at Fortescue Bay
While you’re in the area, why not check out Cape Raoul as well? Of course, you’d be incredibly pressed to hike both these trails in the one day, but if you’re staying in the area, Cape Raoul is also well worth your time. While understandably boasting a very similar landscape to Cape Huay, Cape Raoul offers its own magic. The woodland trail traces the cliff-line and rewards hikers with sweeping views of impressive rock formations, towering columns, and out to Hobart and Bruny Island. Be sure to pack plenty of snacks, as you’ll definitely want to spend a bit of time out on the cliff before turning back around to retrace your steps home.
Distance: 7km each way
Time: 5 hours one-way
Difficulty: Moderate. Some of the trail is located along the edge of the cliffs, so keep an eye on children
Getting here: The trailhead can be found at Stormlea
Russell Falls, Mt Field National Park
Mt Field is the second oldest national park in Australia, having been established as a nature reserve in 1885. To this day it remains one of Tasmania’s most popular hiking destinations, not least of all thanks to its trio of stunning waterfalls. Russell Falls is perhaps the most recognisable waterfall in Tasmania, and accessing it from Hobart is incredibly easy. Beginning at the Mt Field Information Centre, walking groups with little ones in their midst can reach the falls in just 10 minutes via a very kid- and wheelchair-friendly trail. However, if you’re inclined to extend your walk, you can continue onto the Falls Circuit, which encompasses other local attractions Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls. The trail itself is worth your time, as it winds through lush ferns and towering swamp gums, which are some of the world’s tallest trees. If you have the time, be sure to stick around until nightfall, as this is when the local glow worms come to life amongst the vegetation, creating a naturally lit pathway to the falls.
Distance: 600m to 6.7km return
Time: 20 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes
Getting here: The trailhead is located at the Mt Field Information Centre, which is about an hours’ drive from Hobart
Truganini Track, Mt Nelson
If you’re looking for a very accessible trail that doesn’t require a lot of time but still rewards you handsomely, then the Truganini Track is for you. Beginning in the Hobart suburb of Mt Nelson, the trail climbs through bushland and open forest to the historic Signal Station at the summit, which offers both expansive views and a cafe for a post-hike coffee or meal. The trail also winds past the Truganini Memorial.
Distance: 2.1km one-way
Time: 2 hours per trip
Difficulty: Moderate. One-way is a steady uphill climb
Getting here: Take a bus or drive to the start of the track on Sandy Bay Road
Organ Pipes Walk, Mt Wellington
Wherever you are in Hobart, Mt Wellington is always in sight. Towering over the city, this mountain just begs to be climbed, and while it contains numerous hiking trails, one of the most picturesque is the Organ Pipes Walk. Accessible by public transport, the trail passes by a beautiful rock formation known as (you guessed it) the Organ Pipes, and requires a bit of a climb. However, the pay off to your efforts are views out over the city.
Distance: 3.7km one-way
Time: 3 hours per trip
Getting here: The trailhead starts at the Springs at Mt Wellington
Cathedral Rock, Mt Wellington
Another incredibly local trail, Cathedral Rock takes us once again to Mt Wellington, but this time on a more challenging adventure. The trail begins leisurely enough beside the North West Bay River, but then begins to climb quickly to the towering dolerite columns of Cathedral Rock. The last section is especially steep, but breathtaking views across southern Tasmania await once you summit. Pack plenty of water for this excursion, and be sure to rest your legs well at the top, as what goes up, must come down…
Time: 3 hours return
Getting here: The trailhead is located on Betts Road
Wineglass Bay within Freycinet National Park is one of Tasmania’s hottest tourist attractions, but Hazards Circuit allows you to enjoy the peace of this place without the crowds. With camping available at either Wineglass Beach or Hazards Beach, this trail provides secluded access to the area’s white sand and crystal-clear water for an experience rich in sea views and flat beach walking.
Distance: 17km loop
Time: 4.5 hours (best enjoyed over 2 days)
Difficulty: Easy. Aside from the steep ascent to Wineglass Bay Lookout, this trail is entirely flat.
Getting here: The trailhead is at the Wineglass Bay walk car park, about 2 hours 30 minutes’ drive from Hobart.
Three Capes Track
Remember how we mentioned that you’d be hard pressed to walk Cape Huay and Cape Raoul in one day? While this is true, the Tasmanian government acknowledged the bushwalking appeal of this region, and after more than 10 years of planning, opened the Three Capes Track in 2015. This 48km trail encompasses not only Cape Raoul and Cape Huay, but Cape Pillar as well. Now considered one of the best bushwalks in Tasmania, and in fact in Australia, the Three Capes Track offers an exciting opportunity to experience the Tasman Peninsula at its absolute finest. It’s not a cheap adventure (a trail pass will set you back about $495), but the incredible scenery and luxurious huts along the way make the price tag worth it.
Time: 4 days total
Difficulty: Easy and long. The well-maintained trail features public hut accommodation
Getting here: The trailhead is at the jetty at Port Arthur Historic Site