Hike Your Way Across Tasmania With These Stunning Trails

Walk your way around Tasmania, and head to the Wineglass Lookout for stunning views
Walk your way around Tasmania, and head to the Wineglass Lookout for stunning views | © jax10289 / Alamy Stock Photo
A mere 240 kilometres (149 miles) across the Bass Strait from mainland Australia sits Tasmania. The island state of Tassie, as the locals affectionately call it, boasts some of Australia’s most breathtaking scenery, rugged views and intriguing wildlife. It’s little wonder, since around 20 percent of the island is a World Heritage Area.

Certain areas in Tasmania are inaccessible by vehicle so intrepid hikers will find plenty of unspoiled spots and trails to discover. Before you strap your boots on and book a flight, check out our round-up of the best hiking Tasmania has to offer.

While these five hikes are just the tip of the proverbial trekker’s pole, they’re an excellent start and some of our firm favourites.

Three Capes Track

Canvassing 48 kilometres (30 miles) of windswept coastline and, as the name suggests, several capes, the Three Capes Track cuts through the southernmost part of the island.

This is a tightly run, eco-friendly trail and a maximum of 48 walkers are allowed each day, so booking in advance is essential. In total, you’ll hike for four days and spend three nights on the track with your guide. No camping gear is needed as eco-cabins are situated along the way. You will need to pack your own food, though.

The trip begins and ends in Port Arthur, a place once famous for being the drop-off point for new convicts to Van Diemen’s Land (the original European name for Tasmania). The town itself has a rich history and is worth a few nights’ stay before the hike.

Fitness level required: Moderate

Duration: Four days, three nights

Best time to visit: September to November for the chance to spot migrating whales

Three Capes Track Cape Hauy boardwalk, Tasman National Park.
Dolerite columns, Three Capes Track.
Booking ahead for the Three Capes Track is essential, as a maximum of 48 walkers area allowed each day © Danita Delimont Creative / Alamy Stock PhotoYou'll spend three nights and four days walking © Danita Delimont Creative / Alamy Stock PhotoIf you manage to visit from September to November, look out for the migrating wales © Danita Delimont Creative / Alamy Stock Photo

Overland Track

This iconic trail cuts into the centre of the island from Launceston and loops for 65km (40mi). Along the way, hikers get a taste of Cradle Mountain, Waterfall Valley and Lake St Clair, the deepest natural lake in the Southern Hemisphere.

Overland takes a full six days or more to finish, depending on your starting point. While many hikers go it alone, others prefer to book a guide and accommodation along the way. If you’re an inexperienced hiker and don’t know how to read a compass or a detailed map correctly, the latter option is best.

Highlights include truly remarkable scenery, wonderful wildlife — including the chance to see wombats — and vistas that are uniquely Tasmanian.

Fitness level: Moderate

Duration: Six to eight days, five to seven nights

Best time to visit: Summer is very busy with trekkers thick on the trail so try February or March, the Tasmanian Autumn

Hikers on the summit trail. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania.
The Overland Track, Tasmania, Australia.
Overland takes around six days, or more, but you'll get a taste of Cradle Mountain too © Genevieve Vallee / Alamy Stock PhotoExperienced hikers go it alone, but booking a guide is advisable © Travelscape Images / Alamy Stock PhotoYou'll get to enjoy truly amazing scenery and spot wildlife too © Bjorn Svensson / Alamy Stock Photo

Mount Atmos

Not all of Tasmania’s hikes are multi-day affairs; there are plenty of shorter walks to keep day trippers happy. Among these, Mount Atmos is a firm favourite.

At just 450 metres (1,476 feet) above sea level, Atmos isn’t a towering peak but the summit views would have you suspect otherwise. From here hikers can take in sweeping views of Wineglass Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula.

Of course, you will have to put some effort into achieving these rewards; the hike is steep and much of it is over granite, get prepared to utilise your hands. Because it’s a hard walk to pull off in wet weather, postpone the trip until a dry day. The 4km (2.5mi) return hike should take around four to five hours in total.

Fitness level required: Good

Duration: Four to five hours

Best time to visit: Summer or spring for dry weather

Mt Atmos is perfect for those keen to spend a day walking, and you’ll get stunning views © Travelscape Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The Painted Cliffs

Hiking to the Triassic sandstone cliffs is easy, but you will need to get on a boat first as they’re located on Maria Island, a short ferry ride from Triabunna on the main island.

The beauty of this walk is in the cliffs; multiple colours run through the stone as if they were hand-painted. Groundwater has tainted the sandstone and left iron oxides, causing the swirling strokes.

Seaspray hitting the exposed rock has left salt behind. As it dries, the salt crystallises and leaves a honeycomb pattern. The whole structure of the cliffs is very delicate so avoid scratching at the rock or damaging the area.

Walking to the cliffs takes just two hours return and many hikers complete the 4km (2.5mi) trek during a day trip to Maria. If you’d like to stay on the island longer and take in the Fossil Cliffs and the Oust House, there are basic huts and camping grounds. Note that there are no shops on Maria Island so make sure you bring your own provisions.

Fitness level required: Moderate

Duration: Two hours plus travel time to Maria Island

Best time to visit: Autumn is preferable as there are fewer hikers and you’re likely to have the cliffs to yourself

Painted Cliffs in Maria Island National Park, Tasmania.
Painted Cliffs, Maria Island National Park, Tasmania.
Multiple colours run through these stunning cliffs © Sérgio Nogueira / Alamy Stock PhotoIt's possible to do the hike during a day trip to Maria © Stuart Gray / Alamy Stock PhotoIf you decide to stay on the island, remember there are no shops, so take your own provisions © Genevieve Vallee / Alamy Stock Photo

Hartz Peak

For Tasmanian alpine scenery, it’s got to be the Peak trek in the Hartz National Park. Although the mountain itself isn’t huge, glacial lakes and rare alpine flowers make the 1,255m (4,117ft) above sea level feel much higher.

The start point is Geeveston, around 80km (50mi) southwest of Hobart. From here, the trail is clearly marked and traverses 8km (5mi) to the peak and back. Keep an eye out for rare platypus in the streams near the base. Wallabies and echidnas also call the Hartz Park home.

Choose your season for the hike wisely. Dense fog, ice, and high winds in the cooler months mean this trail is best avoided unless you’re a pro.

Fitness level required: Good

Duration: Three to five hours

Best time to visit: Summer or late spring, the alpine flowers are out and inclement weather won’t disrupt your trek

Visit Hartz Peak in summer or late spring, when the alpine flowers are in bloom © dbptas / Getty Images