Tasmania’s Great Short Walks – Tried & Tested

If you are a lover of the great outdoors like myself, then Tasmania is most definitely the place for you. The island is home to over 2000km of tracks dedicated to all types of walkers, be you the fair weather type who enjoys a short stroll, or an avid bushwalker who likes to disappear for days at a time, poop in the bush and generally be one with nature.

Myself and Yasmin clocked up a fair few miles during our time in Tassie and after noticing that we were checking a bunch of walks off Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks list, I thought I’d share my thoughts, tips and photo’s with you – in a hope to inspire you to get your hiking boots on.

The times I give are based on my own pace and experience and I take into account the fact that I love to stand around gawking at things and taking numerous pictures. I have also given each walk a personal score. For me, I like a walk to include interesting, varied terrain and scenery, provide a challenge, a view or spectacle and I generally prefer to walk in a loop or circuit to keep things new and exciting.

So without further ado, here are the walks that we have completed, in the order that you’ll find them on the list:

1. Organ Pipes, Mt. Wellington

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Location
Just a 20 minute drive from Hobart (you can’t really miss it – it’s the big ol’ hunk of rock with a white pointy thing on top).

Time/distance
As a circuit, it took us just over 4 hours (8km).

The walk
A firm favourite of mine here in Tassie. We actually hiked it as a circuit, encompassing the Sphinx Rock into our route. Starting and ending at The Springs, the hike takes you uphill through the trees until some fabulous views over Hobart begin to emerge to your right. The walk then flattens out as the track leads you directly below the Organ Pipes, which are recognisable by their fluted, columnar shape. There are then a few rocky sections to clamber over as you begin your gradual descent back down into woodland. Don’t miss the Sphinx Rock lookout for more incredible views but beware, it has a childproof gate which took me and Yasmin about 10 minutes to get through!

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Effort
Moderate-difficult. The beginning of the walk is a fair climb, the rocky sections require quite a bit of attention and patience and there is also a steep climb back down the other side.

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My score
9/10 – Great views and fun, varying sections. Would definitely recommend walking it as a circuit rather than a return hike.

Where did I stay?
The Pickled Frog – a cheap, sociable, bright green hostel!

5. Cape Hauy // 6. Cape Raoul

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Location
Tasman Peninsula (East Coast Tasmania).

Time/distance
46km, 4 days.

The walk(s)
Instead of hiking each cape individually, I took things a step further and hiked the Three Capes Track as a whole. Read all about my experience here.

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Effort
A lot harder than advertised. Never have I climbed, let alone seen so many steps!

My score
9/10 – wild and rugged Tasmania at its best.

Where did I stay?
Other than three nights in the eco cabins you get to stay in as part of the walk, I loved staying at BIG4 Port Arthur Holiday Park in the bunkhouse accommodation. It’s cheap, the staff are friendly and the facilities are top notch – there’s even an outdoor pizza oven!

7. Fluted Cape

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Location
Bruny Island (via the ferry from Kettering).

Time/distance
3.5 hours (5.4km circuit).

The walk
One of my all-time favourite hikes in Tassie! I loved the challenge and the views were some of the best I’ve seen. In fact, I loved this walk so much, I dedicated an entire blog post to it!

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Effort
Hard going. The climb is incredibly steep and long. Take lots of water because you sure as hell are going to sweat!

My score
9/10 – this hike had me buzzing for days after. It is fun, interesting, rewarding and not to be missed!

Where did I stay?
Unfortunately, there is limited accommodation on the island which caters to the budget backpacker. We stayed at the Explorers Cottage – a cosy cabin with a lovely view.

13. Tahune Airwalk

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Location
The Tahune Airwalk is about a 90 minute drive south of Hobart, making it a good daytrip and a chance to escape the city.

Time/distance
We spent about 2.5 hours casually walking about the place. The Tahune Airwalk is a 1.6km circuit, McKays Track is a 3km circuit and the Huon Pine Track is 500m one way.

The walk
There are 3 walks you can do in total; the Airwalk itself is actually only 620m in length and takes you 20m above the forest floor on a large metal walkway, McKays Track takes you over the Picton and Huon rivers via two narrow, wobbly suspension bridges and the Huon Pine Track leads you through some beautiful rainforest.

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Effort
Easy. There are some inclines but the walks are very accessible for most people. They even provide transport to the Airwalk and have wheelchair access.

My score
5/10 – For me, this walk was a bit of an anti-climax. The entry fee was relatively expensive considering the size of the Airwalk and it became incredibly touristy as the day progressed (I have been spoilt with such quiet hikes elsewhere, I couldn’t help feeling disappointed). Saying that, there were some lovely views of the river and surrounding landscape from the top and the Huon Pine Track was definitely my favourite. I think this walk is more suited to families, or people who may not have the time or energy for Tasmania’s harder, longer hikes.

Where did I stay?
The Pickled Frog, Hobart.

14. Lady Barron Falls Circuit // 15. Russell Falls

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Location
Mt. Field National Park.

Time/distance
About 2 hours (6km circuit).

The walk(s)
The Lady Barron Falls Circuit is essentially an extension of the Russell Falls walk and includes two more waterfalls; Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls. The walk takes you through some delightfully mossy woodland, first reaching Russell Falls, which is just breath-taking. You then climb to the top of the falls and carry on through the trees to the next two waterfalls. I actually didn’t complete the full circuit. At the time, the track had been closed just passed Lady Barron Falls due to burn-off, so I had to double back.

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Effort
Moderate. There are a fair few steps, slopes and uphill sections to negotiate.

My score
6/10 – Russell Falls was definitely the highlight for me. The two waterfalls after that were slightly less impressive, which was a shame, as I saw the best of the walk at the very beginning.

Where did I stay?
Mt. Field National Park Campground – spacious, good facilities, cheap and the walks are on your doorstep. Read more here.

18. Lake St. Clair

Location
Cradle MountainLake St. Clair National Park.

Time/distance
In total, about 2 hours (4.7km circuit).

The walk
There are three short walks you can do at Lake St. Clair; Watersmeet Track, Platypus Bay and Larmairremener tabelti. We combined all three, making up a scenic, varied circuit. Watersmeet takes you along an old logging road amongst forest and over a bridge where the Hugel and Cuvier Rivers meet – hence the name.

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This then leads you along the lake edge to Platypus Bay, where the more patient and quiet folk can hide behind a viewing platform and try spot the elusive little critters. The small beach just further up the track is a lovely spot to have a snack and listen to the calming sounds of the lake as it washes gently up against the sand.

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Continuing on, you loop back to Watersmeet and can join onto Larmairremener tabelti, an Aboriginal cultural heritage walk, which was by far my favourite. Along the way you can learn about the indigenous people of the region and enjoy the gorgeous countryside.

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Effort
Easy. There are a few climbs on the Platypus and Larmairremener tabelti walks but nothing too demanding.  

My score
6/10 – Each walk is pleasant, but not overly exciting. I would definitely recommend doing all three for a bit of variety and purely because they are so short in distance.

Where did I stay?
Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel (in the bushwalker cabins) – cheap, basic but cosy, single rooms in a great location.

21. Echo Point, Lake St. Clair

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Location
Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park.

Time/distance
3 hours/10km one way.

The walk
Most people opt to get the ferry to Echo Point and walk the 3 hours return. Feeling ambitious, we set off from the visitor centre thinking that we would walk there AND back. This didn’t pan out too well and after about two hours of walking, we chickened out and turned around. So I suppose I technically haven’t completed this walk, but the parts I did see were worth a mention; beautiful forest, ferns, trickling streams, small secluded beaches looking out over the enormous lake and people plodding past who had almost completed the Overland Track. A worthwhile experience, no matter which way you attempt it.

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Effort
Moderate – lots of slopes, a few fallen trees across the path to climb over and it is generally quite long.

My score
6/10 – I enjoyed the walk but the lake was hidden behind trees for the majority of it. The map I was given led me to assume that it would be along the shore but it was actually more of a forest walk with occasional openings and opportunities to scramble down onto one of the little beaches.

Where did I stay?
Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel.

23. Donaghys Hill

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Location
Donaghys Hill can be found along the Lyell Highway, between Queenstown and Derwent Bridge.

Time/distance
Give yourself an hour (1.1km one way).

The walk
Being short, we squeezed this walk in between our journey from Strahan to Derwent Bridge. The route takes you uphill, mostly through forest, until you emerge on an open ridge with a fantastic view. Continue along the path and up the steps to the lookout to experience 360 degrees of rugged wilderness, distant mountains and the Franklin River running far below you.

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Effort
Though it is advertised as an easy grade, expect to get a bit out of puff!

My score
7/10 – The beginning of the track is pretty basic. It’s not until you start to climb through the trees, over roots and up steps that it gets fun. The views are stunning – even on a cloudy day we were really taken aback.

Where did I stay?
Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel.

24. Nelson Falls

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Location
Along the Lyell Highway, between Queenstown and Derwent Bridge.

Time/distance
20 minute return, 700m one way.

The walk
You will be dwarfed by enormous ferns fanning in all directions as you follow the short boardwalk to the falls, twisting through a rainforest blanketed in moss. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for pretty fungi along the way. The waterfall is one of the most beautiful I have seen in Tasmania, so I couldn’t resist ducking under the barrier for a closer look!

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Effort
Easy. The walk is flat and mostly boardwalk.

My Score
7/10 – A delightful walk to a very impressive waterfall, especially when you consider how short and easy it is. It’s also the perfect excuse to get out of the car and stretch your legs.

Where did I stay?
Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel.

26. Hogarth Falls

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Location
Strahan (West Coast Tasmania).

Time/distance
Give yourself about an hour tops (1.2km one way).

The walk
For a pleasantly picturesque stroll through some beautiful West Coast temperate rainforest, see my post, Strahan Life: An Introduction.

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Effort
Easy. Mostly flat with boardwalk.

My score
5/10 – if you are in Strahan I would highly recommend paying a visit to the falls, however, I wouldn’t travel from a long distance to see it.

Where did I stay?
I was living and working in Strahan at the time. However, there are plenty of accommodation options for all budgets, e.g. a YHA hostel, a campground, Strahan Village.

27. Montezuma Falls

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Location
Montezuma Falls is situated a few kilometres south of the town of Rosebery on the West Coast and is roughly an hours drive from Strahan.

Time/distance
Roughly 3 hours (8km return).

The walk
This waterfall is one of the highest in Tasmania and certainly not to be missed! Read more in my blog post, West Coast Wanderings.

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Effort
Easy. Mostly flat the entire way, just quite long.

My score
7/10 – I found the long walk beforehand a bit monotonous, but the falls at the end make it all worth it.

Where did I stay?
Strahan.

29. Dove Lake Circuit

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Location
Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park.

Time/distance
The lake alone takes about 2 hours (6km).

The walk
This is the most popular of all the walks around Cradle Mountain with visitors. Being relatively short, I also encompassed the Ronny Creek walk into my route. Read all about my time hiking around Cradle Mountain here.  

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Effort
Easy-moderate. Be aware that there are a few steps and rocky sections. Many people seem to assume that the whole way is flat boardwalk, so I saw folks wearing ridiculous clothes and shoes – this definitely isn’t the case! 

My score
6/10 – this walk is very beautiful, therefore unfortunately, very touristy.

Where did I stay?
I stayed at Discovery Parks, in the cheap, bunkhouse accommodation and at Cradle Mountain Hotel, for a little more luxury. Both are in superb locations.

31. Crater Lake Circuit

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Location
Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park.

Time/distance
About 2 hours (5.7km circuit).

The walk
With the majority of tracks around Cradle Mountain joining up, there are a number of ways you can do this walk, and I loved it so much, I did it twice. The first time I started and ended at Ronny Creek, the second I started at Ronny Creek, added Marions Lookout into the mix and then finished at Dove Lake. For all the info, read my story here.

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Effort
Moderate. There is some considerable climbing to do, but you should be so distracted by the beautiful surroundings, that you don’t really notice how hard you’re working.

My score
8/10 – A fun walk with lots of variety; wombats, waterfalls, lakes, rainforest and stunning views. 

Where did I stay?
Discovery Parks and Cradle Mountain Hotel.

34. The Nut

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Location
Stanley (North-West Tasmania).

Time/distance
This will depend on your fitness level. I did the whole walk (which includes climbing the Nut and walking the circuit track) in 1 hour, roughly 3km.

The walk
The climb to the top of the Nut is incredibly steep, so if this isn’t your cup of tea, you can jump on the chairlift (closed late June – late August and weather dependable). The Nut is 143m high and the views from the top are simply stunning. There’s the entire town below you, the beautifully blue ocean meeting the sandy beaches and rolling green fields as far as the eye can see. Just be prepared to be blown about a bit on top! The circuit walk around the plateau is a pleasant 2km and takes you to a number of view points. To my amazement, I even saw a wallaby up there!

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Effort
If you walk to the top, then expect a short but intense climb. The plateau circuit is a flat, gravelled path with a few steps.

My score
8/10 – A fun climb (I expect the chairlift is also a hoot) and the views up top are really beautiful. This short walk really put a smile on my face.

Where did I stay?
Stanley Cabin and Tourist Park, in the hostel. Cheap, comfortable, amazing location (you can walk everywhere), beach on your doorstep and really lovely staff.

42. Liffey Falls

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Location
Road C513, roughly an hours drive from Launceston. Be aware that you will need to drive on a long, bumpy, hilly dirt track, which may be quite dangerous in bad weather.

Time/distance
45 minute return, 2km.

The walk
Quite possibly my favourite waterfall walk in Tasmania. The rainforest was just so beautiful, with different fungi sprouting up absolutely everywhere. Visiting in late autumn meant that the waterfall was in full flow and again, I climbed over the barriers to get a better look.

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Effort
Easy-moderate. There is a bit of a steep walk down to the waterfall.

My score
8/10 – the drive there and the walk down was almost as impressive as the waterfall itself. The drive to Liffey Falls takes you through some really spectacular countryside with quaint farms, mountains and streams around every bend. The short walk is enchanting and of course, the falls are very impressive.

Where did I stay?
I visited Liffey Falls via my drive from Launceston to Stanley. I stayed at Arthouse Hostel in Launceston and the Cabin and Tourist Park in Stanley. For more info on Launceston, check out my blog, A Launceston Getaway.

54. Cape Tourville

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Location
Freycinet National Park.

Time/distance
20 minutes (600m circuit).

The walk
The walk is a short circuit around the lighthouse. Along the way there are some lovely views out to the ocean and distant coastline. Make sure you have a peek through the binoculars – I saw a colony of seals basking on a distant rock.

Effort
Easy. Suitable for most people.

My score
5/10 – Quite a basic stroll around the lighthouse. Viewing the seals through the binoculars was the highlight for me.

Where did I stay?
During my time at Freycinet National Park I stayed in two locations: Iluka Backpackers (YHA), a small, comfortable hostel in the centre of Coles Bay and within walking distance of shops and the beach, and Freycinet Lodge (details on my experience here).  

55. Wineglass Bay Lookout // 56. Wineglass Bay & Hazards Beach Circuit

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Location
Freycinet National Park.

Time/distance
Mt. Amos took about 3.5 hours in total.
The circuit walk took us 3.75 hours (though recommended 4-5), 11km.

The walk(s)
Freycinet is made for hiking and I went one better than just going to the Lookout. See my blog post about Climbing Mt. Amos and completing the circuit.

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Effort
Hard. Not for the faint hearted, ill-equipped or inexperienced.

My score
9/10 – Mt. Amos and Wineglass Bay will leave you breathless.

Where did I stay?
Iluka Backpackers (YHA) & Freycinet Lodge.

Remember, you will require a park pass for a number of walks on the list and a valid pass is required when visiting any of Tasmania’s national parks. As a backpacker, I opted for the holiday pass. This was definitely the most cost effective choice as a short term visitor and it covered my vehicle and anyone in it for up to 8 weeks.

Now, get off your butt and go enjoy Tassie!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mike Butler says:

    Nice collection of experiences and memories. X

    Like

  2. Sue Butler says:

    Well written, very informative and probably very useful for visitors. x

    Like

  3. Lovely write up of a few of my favourites of the island.

    Liked by 1 person

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