Go into the wild in the Southern Trove’s magnificent national parks. Choose from short strolls through scenic landscapes to more challenging hikes up mountainous terrain (with epic views to boot). Take your time, enjoy the spectacular scenery, and keep an eye out for curious wildlife.
Remember to grab a Parks Pass and be prepared for all weather. Please care for the environment by sticking to the tracks and leaving no trace.
1. The South Bruny National Park
Catch the ferry at Kettering to begin a magical Bruny Island adventure. The South Bruny National Park features peaceful forest, dramatic sea cliffs, swirling seas, rare flora and fauna, and pristine beaches. Experienced surfers will love Cloudy Bay, while families will enjoy sheltered Jetty Beach. You can even stay at the campgrounds at Cloudy Bay (the Pines and Cloudy Corner) and Jetty Beach.
At rugged Cape Bruny, tour the historic lighthouse (c. 1838) with Bruny Island Safaris, climb the spiral staircase, and gaze out wistfully from the balcony, pondering life as a 19th century lighthouse keeper.
Choose your adventure and explore the forest and coastline of South Bruny. The family friendly Grass Point Track (1.5 hrs return) and the steeper Fluted Cape Track (2.5 hrs return) depart from Adventure Bay (where white wallabies hang out). Bruny Island Cruises also depart from Adventure Bay, offering the chance to see South Bruny from a different perspective. For a more challenging walk, try the East Cloudy Head Track (4 hrs return) or the Labillardiere Peninsula Circuit (5.5 – 6.5 hrs return).
2. The Hartz Mountains National Park
The Hartz Mountains National Park, in the Huon Valley, is part of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. Take care on the drive into the park, as the area was affected by the early-2019 bushfires (lovely new green shoots are already bursting forth from burnt trees). The park itself is mostly in good shape.
A lot further back in time, glaciers shaped the epic landscape during past ice ages. An impressive dolerite range runs through the park’s centre with tumbling waterfalls. The park is home to echidnas, Bennett’s wallabies, pademelons, and many nocturnal animals. If you’re really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of an elusive platypus.
Walks vary from short strolls to the pristine glacial lakes that dot the plateau to more challenging hikes up the mountainside. Short walks (<1 hr return) include the Waratah Lookout, Arve Falls, and Lake Osborne. For a longer walk, head to beautiful Lake Esperance (2 hrs return). Experienced walkers will enjoy Hartz Pass (3.5 hrs return) and the bucket-list hike up Hartz Peak (5 hrs return). The summit of Hartz Peak is the highest point of the mountain range, so sit for a while and take in the amazing panoramic views.
3. The Southwest National Park
The Southwest National Park is the largest in Tasmania (around 600,000 hectares) and forms part of the Wilderness World Heritage Area. The southwest is rugged and remote, with magnificent scenery and a wild, adventurous spirit. The park is home to a myriad of plant and animal species, including the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot.
The only way into the park is by light plane, boat, or on foot. The southeast entry point is at pristine Cockle Creek, a 2 hour drive south from Hobart at the end of Australia’s southern-most road. Camping is available at Cockle Creek if you’d like to stay awhile.
One walk on the bucket list of many serious hikers is the epic South Coast Track; a seven day, 85 km walk between Melaleuca and Cockle Creek. The walk treks along some of the wildest coastline in the country. If you’d like a little taste, conquer the spectacular hike to South Cape Bay from Cockle Creek (4 hrs return).
Although these walks are open, please note that some parts of the Southwest National Park were affected by the early-2019 bushfires and some access restrictions remain. Check Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service for up-to-date information on area/walk closures and reopenings.
Dog Friendly Exercise Spots in the Channel
Top 10 Things to Do on Bruny Island
6 Stunning Walks on Bruny Island
Insider Tips: Unravel the Channel’s Secrets
Hidden Gems: 7 Walks in the Channel
Cockle Creek: Paradise at the End of the Road
Hartz Peak | @nellacorridasonoil_toro/Instagram