Few cities can equal Hobart for the natural magnificence of its backdrop, with kunanyi / Mount Wellington towering 1271 metres above the city.
That’s almost 200 metres taller than the famed Table Mountain in Cape Town.
For Hobartians, "the mountain" is part of daily life: a place to walk, ride mountain bikes, play in the winter snow, and feel the reviving touch of nature, just a half-hour drive from the city centre.
It’s fair to say the city is dominated by kunanyi / Mount Wellington – stand almost anywhere in Hobart and you’ll see its forested flanks. Much of the mountain is covered by Wellington Park reserve, with the Organ Pipes escarpment running like ribs across the slopes, and trails threading across the mountain.
- The summit views over Hobart and far beyond.
- The Organ Pipes.
- Descending the mountain on a bike.
- A winter snowball fight.
The summit of kunanyi / Mount Wellington is a 30min drive (21km) west of Hobart’s CBD. The kunanyi / Mount Wellington Explorer Bus runs between the city and the summit.
Things to do
Take in the views
The summit of kunanyi / Mount Wellington has wonderful views of Hobart and much of southern Tasmania. Head to the summit’s west side for views deep into the Southwest wilderness. Boardwalks and lookout platforms are the vantage points, along with the pinnacle observation shelter, which is open 7am-10pm from September to April, and 7am-5.30pm from May to August.
Walk on the mountain
Walking options are plentiful. The Organ Pipes, one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, cuts beneath the mountain’s dolerite cliffs from The Springs, midway up the slopes – keep an eye out for rock climbers above. The Zig Zag and Ice House tracks climb to the summit from The Springs. The walking company Walk on kunanyi runs a range of guided walking tours on the mountain.
Walk beyond the mountain
Hidden behind the tower-topped summit is an array of other peaks, providing an alternative perspective on the monolith. Ascend from Collinsvale, passing Myrtle Forest Falls, to reach Collins Cap, Collins Bonnet and Trestle Mountain (aka Sleeping Beauty). Or head along North West Bay River to climb a local favourite, Cathedral Rock, for excellent views onto kunanyi / Mount Wellington.
Roll down the mountain – from the summit to the waterfront – on the guided, half-day Mount Wellington Descent. Mountain-bike riders gravitate to the North South Track, an 11km ride suitable for mountain-bike riders of intermediate ability, stretching from The Springs to the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park. The wide Pipeline Track, which wraps around the mountain from Fern Tree, is a gentler option. The shared-use track (open to bikes and walkers) provides good views of Cathedral Rock. A popular outing is to cycle the track to the Wellington Falls junction (13km from Fern Tree) and then walk to the falls.
Come winter, when the mountain gets intermittently smothered with snow, the greatest show in Hobart is a trip up the mountain to crunch through the fresh cover and throw a few snowballs – it’s tradition to build a snowman on the bonnet of your car for the drive back to the city. The road to the summit can be closed due to snow or ice cover, so check the City of Hobart website for any closures.
Food and drink
Warm up or cool down at Lost Freight, a designer shipping-container cafe at The Springs that serves as a good start or finish to a mountain walk. On the lower slopes of kunanyi / Mount Wellington, the Fern Tree Tavern has local beers, wines and a classic pub menu, with a roaring fire to seal the deal.