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Here's a walker's secret.

Tasmania’s walking reputation is founded on its epic trails: the Overland Track, the South Coast Track, Frenchmans Cap. But you don’t have to walk far to see some of the state’s most spectacular natural sights. 

Short walks are threaded across the island, including the collection of 60 Great Short Walks put together by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.

Compress the rewards of walking in Tasmania on these favourite day walks.

 

Cape Hauy

One of the namesake capes on the Three Capes Track, Cape Hauy doubles as a great day walk in its own right. From Fortescue Bay, the 4hr return walk follows the coast to the ever-narrowing cape, emerging to a memorable view of Australia’s highest sea cliffs and down onto the Totem Pole and Candlestick, a pair of sea stacks famed among rock climbers.

Need to know

Start and finish: Fortescue Bay, Tasman National Park.

Time and distance: 4hr return, 9.4km.

Where: Fortescue Bay is a 90min drive (110km) south-east of Hobart. A parks pass is required.

Cliff top at Three Capes Track - Cape Hauy.
Cape Hauy
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service
A family stop and look at the views at a cliff top, Three Capes Track - Cape Hauy.
Cape Hauy
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach

See, touch and experience Tasmania’s most famous beach on this 4-5hr loop that also reveals so much more of Freycinet National Park. Climb through a low gap in the Hazards to the Wineglass Bay Lookout and then descend to the sands of the perfectly curved beach itself. Plunge in for a swim, then cross the narrow isthmus to Hazards Beach, before rounding the coast across the toes of the Hazards and back to the car park.

Need to know

Start and finish: Freycinet Dr, Freycinet National Park.

Time and distance: 4-5hr return, 11km.

Where: The walk is a 2hr 30min drive (195km) north-east of Hobart and a 2hr drive (175km) south-east of Launceston. There’s no drinking water along this walk, so pack all that you’ll need. A parks pass is required.

Painted Cliffs

You’ll be in the most charming of walking company – wombats – on this 2hr return walk on Maria Island, from the World Heritage-listed convict station of Darlington to the swirling patterns of the Painted Cliffs. Wombats graze the grassed clearings as the walk climbs out of Darlington, descending to the white sands of Hopground Beach and the swirls of the ornately patterned cliffs.

Need to know

Start and finish: Darlington, Maria Island National Park.

Time and distance: 90min-2hr 30min return, 4.3km.

Where:  Encounter Maria Island operates daily ferries to Maria Island from Triabunna, which is a 70min drive (90km) north-east of Hobart and a 2hr drive (185km) south-east of Launceston. Note: the cliffs can be seen only close to low tide. When you're at the cliffs, watch for slippery rocks and possible wave surges. A parks pass is required.

Painted Cliffs, coloured and patterned sandstone, carved and moulded by the sea at Maria Island National Park
Painted Cliffs, Maria Island
Pierre Destribats
Couple exploring the unique patterns of the Painted cliffs.
Painted Cliffs
Stu Gibson

South Cape Bay

Doubling as a taster of the week-long South Coast Track, this 4hr trail sets out from the southernmost road end in Australia at Cockle Creek and heads to Tasmania’s wild southern shores. Emerging atop coastal cliffs, there’s a sudden and stunning view over the Southern Ocean and to nearby South East Cape, Australia’s most southerly point. Walk along the beach for another kilometre and you come to the monumental Lion Rock just offshore.

Need to know

Start and finish: Cockle Creek.

Time and distance: 4hr return, 15.4km.

Where: Cockle Creek is a 2hr drive (120km) south-west of Hobart. A parks pass is required.

Castle Rock

As monolithic as its name suggests, Castle Rock is a massive, lichen-blazed boulder set in the sands of Marshall Beach on Flinders Island. The 90min return walk predominantly follows the beautiful white-sand beach, darting inland only to skirt a rocky headland before arriving in the long shadow of the giant rock, which dwarfs all around it, including walkers. Sunset is prime Castle Rock time.

Need to know

Start and finish: Allports Beach, Flinders Island.

Time and distance: 90min return, 6.6km.

Where: Sharp Airlines flies to Flinders Island from Launceston, Hobart and Melbourne. The start of the walk is a 15min drive (15km) from Whitemark, the island’s largest town.

The sun sets over the sea at Castle Rock, Flinders Island
Castle Rock, Flinders Island
Rob Mulally
Castle Rock, a massive granite boulder by the shoreline on Marshall Beach
Castle Rock, Flinders Island
Stu Gibson

Hartz Peak

For high alpine terrain in easy reach of Hobart, and a peek into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Hartz Peak is unsurpassed. The 3-5hr walk passes a pair of alpine lakes – Lake Esperance and Ladies Tarn – before ascending steeply to Hartz Pass and entering true mountain terrain as it rises onto the summit of 1254m-high Hartz Peak. On a good day, the view stretches across the wilderness mountains to the west.

Need to know

Start and finish: Hartz Rd, Hartz Mountains National Park.

Time and distance: 3-5hr, 7.4km.

Where: The walk is a 90min drive (86km) south-west of Hobart. Weather can be changeable and severe at this altitude, so check the weather forecast before setting out and carry plenty of warm clothing. A parks pass is required.

Dove Lake

Walk a lap around this high mountain lake, with the bowed figure of Cradle Mountain towering overhead. The 2-3hr circuit undulates around the shores and passes directly beneath the nose of the mountain. There’s a stunning section of rainforest, wide mountain views from atop Glacier Rock, and a famously photogenic boat shed on a gravelly beach.

Need to know

Start and finish: Dove Lake Rd, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

Time and distance: 2-3hr return, 6km.

Where: The Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre is a 2hr drive (140km) west of Launceston and a 4hr drive (320km) north-west of Hobart. Shuttle buses run from the visitor centre to Dove Lake – the bus ticket is included in the purchase of your required parks pass.

A couple rest and look at a map by Lake Dove, Cradle Mountain
Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain
Tourism Tasmania & Adrian Cook
View of Cradle Mountain across the glassy Dove Lake
Cradle Mountain
Tourism Tasmania and Jason Charles Hill

Apsley River Waterhole and Gorge

Not far from Freycinet’s fancy coastal scenes, the Apsley River carves its own inland wonder: Apsley Gorge. It’s a walk of just a few minutes to Apsley Waterhole – a great swimming spot – before the trail climbs over a low ridge and descends into the guts of the gorge, slowly rock-hopping its way back through the gorge to the waterhole. Allow 4-5hr for the full loop.

Need to know

Start and finish: Rosedale Rd, Douglas-Apsley National Park.

Time & distance: 4-5hr return, 7km.

Where: The trailhead is a 2hr 30min drive (190km) north-east of Hobart and a 2hr drive (170km) south-east of Launceston. The gorge is passable only at low water, and shouldn’t be attempted if rain is forecast or if you’re unsteady walking on rocks. A parks pass is required.

Montezuma Falls

Tasmania’s highest waterfall can be reached only on foot (or mountain bike), with the 3hr return walk to the falls following the course of a former mining tramway beside the Ring River. It’s almost entirely through rainforest, and the track leads right to the base of the 104m-high falls. Add an extra dimension to the walk – and a different angle on the falls – by venturing onto the narrow swing bridge beside the trail’s end.

Need to know

Start and finish: Williamsford.

Time and distance: 3hr return, 8km.

Where: Montezuma Falls are a 3hr 30min (220km) drive south-west of Launceston and a 5hr drive (320km) from Hobart. Heavy metals from early mining days still contaminate some of the waterways along the walk, so don’t drink from any streams.

Wide of Montezuma Falls, Tasmania's highest waterfall, taken from the nearby bridge.
Montezuma Falls
Pierre Destribats
Person walking on the very narrow Montezuma Falls walking bridge. Providing a spectacular view of one of the highest waterfalls in Tasmania. Surrounded by lush forest.
Suspension bridge at Montezuma Falls
Jess Bonde

Huon Pine Walk

Deep in the takayna / Tarkine rainforest, on the bank of the moodily dark Pieman River, a former gold-mining town named Corinna is the hub for several walks, including the Huon Pine Walk. This 20min trail burrows through the rainforest to an ancient Huon pine tree hanging over the Pieman River. These revered trees, which grow only along waterways on Tasmania’s west coast, are the world’s second-oldest tree species, growing for more than 2000 years.

Need to know

Start and finish: Corinna.

Time and distance: 20min, 600m

Where: Corinna is a 3hr 30min drive (250km) west of Launceston and a 5hr drive (350km) north-west of Hobart.

Liffey Falls

One of Tasmania’s most beautiful waterfalls, mossy and marvellous Liffey Falls pours through cool-temperate rainforest on the slopes of the Great Western Tiers. It’s easily reached on a 45min return walk from above the falls, following the Liffey River downstream until it tips over a series of cliffs in a picture-book scene.

Need to know

Start and finish: Riversdale Rd, Liffey Falls State Reserve.  

Time and distance: 45min return, 2km.

Where: The walk is a 70min drive (80km) south-west of Launceston. There’s a picnic ground at the start of the walk.

Liffey Falls at Liffey Forest Reserve North Tasmania
Liffey Falls
Tourism Tasmania & Brian Dullaghan
Liffey Falls
Liffey Falls
Tourism Tasmania & Scott Sporleder, Matador

Duck Reach

Explore Launceston’s deep Cataract Gorge on a 90min return walk to the former Duck Reach Power Station. Balanced on the steep bank of the North Esk River, beside a long suspension bridge, Duck Reach was one of the world’s first hydroelectricity stations and helped power Launceston for six decades. It’s an unexpected relic inside such a dramatic gorge.

Need to know

Start and finish: Kings Bridge, West Launceston.

Time and distance: 90min return, 6km.

Where: The walk starts just 1km from Launceston’s CBD, an easy extra stroll in itself.

Pandani Grove

Tasmania has several emblematic alpine plants, but few are as evocative as the pandani. The world’s tallest heath plant grows up to 12m in height, and looks like it could have been a Dr Seuss character. This circuit (30-40min) loops around Lake Dobson at the highest road point in Mount Field National Park (1000m above sea level), dipping deep into a tall stand of the shaggy pandani. Scan the lake also for a possible platypus sighting.

Need to know

Start and finish: Lake Dobson car park.

Time and distance: 30-40min return, 1.5km.

Where: Lake Dobson is a 100min drive (88km) north-west of Hobart. Mountain conditions at this altitude can be severe, so bring plenty of warm clothing. A parks pass is required.

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