Australia Bushwalking


Tasmania is said to be one of the world's most mountainous islands. While not as high as the alps of Victoria or New South Wales, Tasmania's peaks are more rugged and spectacular in a true alpine sense. A great feeling of camaraderie tends to develop between trekkers tackling Tasmania's isolated trails. Independent groups maintain close contact by sharing the few campsites and huts dotting the mountain slopes. More commonly walked routes in Tasmania's World Heritage Area include:

The Overland Track: This 80 km (50 mi) track takes in some of the state's most spectacular alpine scenery including its highest peak, Mount Ossa. The trek takes between five and ten days. Most walkers commence their journey at Cradle Mountain, an easy drive from Launceston or Devon port in northern Tasmania, and head south towards the shores of Lake St Clair. There are a number of huts along the route complete with pot-bellied coal stoves; however, as these are often occupied, all walkers should carry tents and fuel stoves. Campfires are not permitted within the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Hikers should be prepared for severe climatic changes, even in summer when rain and snow are not unknown. Walking tours are available.

The South Coast World Heritage Track: This trail, renowned for its magnificent beaches and breathtaking coastal scenery, takes five to ten days to traverse. Located in the Southwest National Park, the track can be walked from Cockle Creek to Melaleuca or vice versa. Some combine this walk with the Port Davey Track for a ten- to sixteen-day journey. As the walk runs close to sea level, the climate is milder than Tasmania's alpine regions. However rain is frequent and wet weather gear essential. There are no huts along the track, except adjacent to the Melaleuca airstrip.

Frenchman's Cap (40 km/25 mi southwest of Queenstown): This sheer quartzite mountain towering over the Franklin River valley is reached by a track considerably more arduous than the Overland. Containing some steep climbs and extensive sections of mud, the round journey walk takes between three and five days. The track is equipped with two huts. Campfires are not allowed, so fuel stoves are essential. The daily Hobart to Queenstown bus provides access to the start of this track.

Other popular Tasmanian walks include the Walls of Jerusalem (109 km/68 mi west of Launceston), Federation Peak (Australia's most spectacular) and the Western Arthurs. RESTRICTIONS APPLY TO THESE AREAS. One of the track managers has notified us that a permit system has been proposed, and in the meantime access may be limited. So check with local rangers prior to setting off.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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