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The tallest call loudest

Tasmania is Australia’s most mountainous state, with more than 450 peaks rising across its terrain. The tallest of these mountains are prized sightings for walkers, and coveted summits for peak-baggers.

Here are Tasmania’s five highest peaks, and ways to discover them

 

Mount Ossa, 1617m

To enter the orbit of Tasmania’s highest mountain, you need to walk the Overland Track. From Pelion Hut (typically on the fourth day of the walk), the track climbs to Pelion Gap, where hikers dump their backpacks and set off up the slopes. The side track skirts Mount Doris, cuts beneath Ossa’s cliffs and then scrambles onto the summit. You’ll momentarily be the tallest person in Tasmania.

A hiker on the climb to Mt Ossa, Overland Track. The ground is covered in snow.
Climb to Mount Ossa, Overland Track
Tourism Tasmania & Don Fuchs

Legges Tor, 1572m

On the isolated Ben Lomond massif, Legges Tor strains above the high plateau, making for an easy ascent. There are two approaches – a 3km return walk on the Summit Pass Track from near Ben Lomond village, or the more interesting (and longer) climb from Carr Villa, just before the mountain road contorts into the spectacular Jacobs Ladder. This 8km route cuts through a wide break in the cliffs before crossing the barren plateau to the summit, sitting among the winter chairlifts of Ben Lomond’s ski fields.

The stark, treeless landscape at Ben Lomond Summit
Ben Lomond plateau
Simon Sturzaker
A hiker walking the Ben Lomond Summit
Hiking on Ben Lomond plateau
Simon Sturzaker

Mount Pelion West, 1560m

The day before the Overland Track rises to Mount Ossa, it passes directly beneath Mount Pelion West. There’s an unmarked track to the mountain, and its boulder-covered summit is the most challenging of the high peaks, so most walkers are content with the long views of the mountain as they hike across Pine Forest Moor from Lake Windermere.

A hiker walking towards Mt Pelion West, Overland Track. Clouds cover the mountain in the backdrop.
Walking towards Mt Pelion West, Overland Track
Luke Tscharke

Barn Bluff, 1559m

The only thing that keeps Barn Bluff from sharing fame with Cradle Mountain is the fact that it can’t be seen from the popular viewing point at Dove Lake – it’s hidden behind Cradle Mountain. Barn Bluff is as spectacular as Cradle - the two mountains are like companion pieces, sitting less than 5km apart, with their slopes scoured away by ancient glaciers, leaving only their rocky tips squeezed above. From Waterfall Valley, the site of the first hut along the Overland Track, a side trail scrambles steeply to Barn Bluff’s rocky summit.

Landscape of the Overland Track, with Barn Bluff in the backdrop. The leaves are orange Autumn coloured.
Overland Track, Barn Bluff
Emilie Ristevski
Barn Bluff mountain top covered in clouds at Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair National Park.
Barn Bluff
Jason Charles Hill

Cradle Mountain, 1545m

Tasmania’s most famous mountain comes in at number five on the height list, but it’s by far the most popular of the peaks. Standing tall above Dove Lake, it’s no easy climb. The walk (8hr return, 12.8km) scrambles over boulders and through cliffs to a grandstand view of the adjacent Barn Bluff, distant Mount Ossa and beyond.

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