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Visitors Guide to Exploring kunanyi / Mt Wellington

Visitor’s guide to exploring kunanyi / Mount Wellington, Hobart Tasmania

kunanyi / Mt Wellington is much loved and enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. It is Tasmania’s most visited natural attraction. The sheer height of Mount Wellington, with views over the Greater Hobart Region, is stunning, to say the least. We have put together the ultimate guide to help you enjoy your visit.

Visiting kunanyi / Mt Wellington is a must-do in Hobart, no matter what time of the year.

Summit of kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image credit: Luke Tscharke
Summit of kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image credit: Luke Tscharke

When can you go up Mount Wellington ?

Access to Wellington Park is free and the park is almost always open, except when emergency closures are necessary (usually due to extreme weather). The observation shelter and toilets at the summit are open from 7am to 10pm from September to April, but close earlier at 5.30pm during the cooler months of May to August.

The open air lookouts are always open. Sunrise, sunset, and golden hour are particularly spectacular times to visit (when the weather cooperates). Sometimes a blanket of cloud covers the view of Hobart, but this is magical in its own way.

How do I get to Mt Wellington ?

Catch the kunanyi / Mt Wellington Explorer Bus, drive, walk, or ride your bike up Pinnacle Road to the summit (take care around all the bends).

The drive from Hobart to the summit of kunanyi / Mt Wellington is around 21 km and takes around half an hour (map directions here). Take your time and enjoy the journey as you pass through temperate rainforest to sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations.

kunanyi / Mt Wellington @camblakephotography
kunanyi / Mt Wellington @camblakephotography

Can you visit kunanyi / Mount Wellington if it’s snowing?

Snow in Tasmania. kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit: @5.seb
Snow in Tasmania. kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit: @5.seb
kunanyi / Mt Wellington @oliviaclaire._
Image credit: @oliviaclaire._
Snow in Tasmania. kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit: @digitalhippie67
Snow in Tasmania. kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit: @digitalhippie67

Sometimes, if the weather is getting a bit wild, the road to the summit of Mount Wellington closes for safety reasons. The good news is you can still get to the snow in comfort by catching the kunanyi / Mt Wellington Explorer Bus. The bus is snow safe, and the drivers have all been specially trained. Book the City to Snow 2.5-hour return tour from Hobart’s waterfront up into the snow. There’s time at the top to play in the snow and admire the snow-covered landscape.

Tips: Always check road and weather conditions before you go: hobartcity.com.au/pinnacle. Check the Bureau of Meteorology website for the latest weather forecasts. Check road status: hobartcity.com.au/pinnacle. Pack warm and waterproof clothing.

kunanyi / Mt Wellington @roger.miranda
kunanyi / Mt Wellington @roger.miranda

Walks on kunanyi / Mt Wellington

There are lots of great walking tracks throughout Wellington Park. The shorter walks in the eastern foothills are good for families, while the exposed tracks beyond the summit better suit experienced hikers. One adventure option is to book a one-way pass on the City to Summit Shuttle tour, then walk back down to Hobart. Alternatively, go for the Explorer Pass (valid all day) and hop-on and hop-off at five Wellington Park bus stops to explore a range of short walks.

Some of our favourite walks include the Zig Zag Track Lookout Loop, The Springs to Sphinx Rock LoopThe Springs to the Pinnacle, and the Organ Pipes Walk. Always rug up and be well prepared. If you’d prefer to be shown around by a knowledgeable guide, Walk on kunanyi can help you out.

North South Track, kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit Flow Mountain Bike
North South Track, kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit Flow Mountain Bike

Can I ride my bike in Wellington Park?

Bike riding is permitted on formed roads and fire trails. There are also some selected shared-use walking tracks to ride your bike, including the Pipeline, Radfords and Pillinger Drive Tracks, and the upper section of Middle Track. You might also like to check out the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park behind Tolosa Park, which offers a range of levels and styles of riding.

Tasmanian Mountain Bike Adventures provide half-day beginner-friendly rides on kunanyi / Mt Wellington. They have two modern minibuses, so have capacity for taking care of quite large groups. Their staff are keen mountain bikers, passionate about their local trails and eager to share their local knowledge with guests.

kunanyi / Mount Wellington Explorer Bus departs daily from Hobart’s waterfront to the summit. Take your bike up on the one-way City to Summit Shuttle tour, then ride back down to Hobart (bike freight is an extra $10 per bike). 

Cyclists on kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit Tourism Tasmania and Heath Holden
Cyclists on kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit Tourism Tasmania and Heath Holden

Did I really see people climbing the Organ Pipes?

Looks pretty scary, doesn’t it?! The Organ Pipes are a bucket list climb for experienced and well-equipped rock climbers, with often complex route finding, sustained, steep climbing, alpine exposure and occasional loose rock. Lower down the mountain, there are some shorter sandstone crags offering hard, steep or overhanging climbs.

There are also extensive opportunities for bouldering on kunanyi / Mt Wellington. For more info, check out the online guide compiled by local climbers.

Summit of kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image credit: Paul Fleming
Summit of kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image credit: Paul Fleming

IS IT REALLY THAT COLD?

Yes! It can often be around 10 degrees colder on top of the mountain than it is in town. Best rug up with puffer jacket, beanie, scarf, and gloves and be prepared for rapid weather changes, with sleet, snow and cold southerly winds all common occurrences. It’s a good idea to check the kunanyi/Mt Wellington weather forecast. You can also have a stickybeak at the mountain webcams and see what’s happening on the summit in real-time (images are updated every five minutes).

Summit of kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit Luke Tscharke
Summit of kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit Luke Tscharke

WHY THE DUAL NAME?

Wellington Park has a rich and significant history, after at least 35,000 years of Aboriginal occupation and 200 years of European settlement. In 2014, the mountain’s name was officially changed to kunanyi/Mt Wellington as part of the Tasmanian Government’s Aboriginal and Dual Naming Policy. The policy allows geographical features and places to be given an introduced and Aboriginal language name, acknowledging Aboriginal and European connections to the landscape.

kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit: @aaronmccreath
kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit: @aaronmccreath

IS WELLINGTON PARK A NATIONAL PARK?

Wellington Park is protected as a reserve (so no need for a Parks Pass). Beautiful kunanyi/Mt Wellington is the highest peak in the park, at 1,271 metres in altitude. Many micro-climates exist, allowing diverse plant and animal life to flourish. Geological highlights include the sheer dolerite columns of the Organ Pipes, hidden caverns of the Lost World, Collins Cap and Collins Bonnet (aka Sleeping Beauty), the band of sandstone beneath the Wellington Range, and mudstone waterfalls in the foothills.

IS THERE WILDLIFE ON KUNANYI / MT WELLINGTON?

Wellington Park is home to lots of native animals, including many significant communities and threatened species. Wildlife includes: potoroos, pademelons, bettongs, bandicoots, possums, quolls, bats, echidnas, the elusive platypus, frogs, reptiles, an alpine adapted lizard, and the endemic long-tailed mouse. There are at least 67 bird species, including many of Tasmania’s 12 endemic birds and three threatened species (wedge tailed eagles, swift parrots and grey goshawks). Peregrine falcons use the sandstone cliffs as breeding sites.

kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit: @katypotaty77
kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Image Credit: @katypotaty77

WHAT CAN WE DO TO MINIMISE OUR IMPACT?

There are a few simple things we can do to protect the environment when visiting Wellington Park. It’s important to leave no trace by taking all rubbish back out with you, sticking to walkways when possible, ensuring your equipment is clean upon entering the park, using only designated fire places, and using toilets when available. Take only photos, leaving only footprints.

kunanyi / Mt Wellington @timfromtasmania
kunanyi / Mt Wellington @timfromtasmania
kunanyi / Mt Wellington @by.mateja
kunanyi / Mt Wellington @by.mateja
kunanyi / Mt Wellington @mandywoo111
kunanyi / Mt Wellington @mandywoo111

SHARE YOUR ADVENTURES WITH US!

Share your snaps by tagging @hobartandbeyond and using #HobartandBeyond on Instagram – we’ll share our favourite pics on social media and in the blog. 

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