Winter walking inspiration
With about 40 per cent of Tasmania protected as national parks, conservation areas, reserves and UNESCO World Heritage areas, and more than 2800 kilometres of walking trails forming about 880 separate walks traversing diverse landscapes, including pristine alpine wilderness, buttongrass plains, rugged coastal environments and lush temperate rainforest, it’s little wonder Tassie is renowned as a wilderness walking destination.
Don’t let the cooler temperatures be a deterrent – rugged up in warm and waterproof clothing, winter is an excellent time to explore on foot. Gear up, check the forecast before you leave and prepare for unexpected changes in the weather, particularly in alpine areas.
Tasmania’s alpine regions dusted with snow are transformed into crisp white wonderlands. Explore Mount Field’s Tarn Shelf on a five- to seven-hour circuit with striking views over the valley below, marvelling at the series of picture-perfect glacial lakes that often freeze during the coldest months. At Cradle Mountain, opt for the two-hour circuit through pristine alpine vegetation to the remarkable Crater Lake, or for 360-degree views of the Great Western Tiers and out towards Bass Strait, summit Quamby Bluff via dense myrtle forest on the four- to five-hour return track.
Clear winter days provide perfect conditions for exploring the coast. On the Tasman Peninsula, the towering dolerite columns of Cape Hauy provide expansive ocean views on the undulating four-hour return walk. On Freycinet Peninsula, the half-day Hazards Circuit provides majestic views over Wineglass Bay, before skirting Hazards Beach and the rocky shoreline. Head offshore to explore Maria Island’s Fossil Cliffs and spend a couple of hours on the circuit track from Darlington, viewing ancient fossils of clams and corals as well as fascinating historic sites.
Tasmania is threaded with wild rivers, winding through cool forested valleys. On the short (40-minute return) track to Alum Cliffs, traverse the ridgeline to the lookout for views over the Mersey River. Donaghys Hill track, a 40-minute return walk accessed off the highway between Derwent Bridge and Queenstown, offers excellent views into the Franklin River valley and across to Frenchmans Cap and, much closer to the west coast, take the 15-minute stroll along the Pieman River on the Huon Pine Walk at Corinna to marvel at huge myrtle beech and ageing huon pines, found only in Tasmania’s west and south west.