The magnificent wilderness in Tasmania’s Huon Valley and Far South is ripe for on-foot adventure. There are a beautiful range of walks to choose from, located outside and inside the region’s national parks. Discover peace and quiet, beautiful landscapes, stunning views, and special flora and fauna. We’ve listed some of the best walks in the Huon Valley and Far South Tasmania (this is by no means an exhaustive list, rather a few of our top picks).
The Huon Valley
The Huon Valley is home to some of the best walks near Hobart (these tracks are all within a 1-hour drive of the city).
Walks under 1-hour return
The Billy Browns Falls walk is located on the northern hillside of Judbury. The 2.5 km / 1-hour return track winds through dry and wet sclerophyll forest. The falls themselves are particularly impressive after heavy rainfall.
Walks over 2 hours return
The Mount Misery walking track (5 km / 3 hrs return) begins at Huon Bush Retreats and explores the Mount Misery Habitat Reserve. Pause to read the interpretive panels along the way to learn about the area’s Aboriginal and natural values. The stunning reserve features open grasslands, acacia groves, rainforest, young eucalypt regrowth, and towering old-growth forest.
The track to Lake Skinner (6.5 km / 4–5 hours return) is suitable for experienced hikers. The lake is located within the Southwest National Park (remember your Parks Pass) but is accessed via Judbury. The solid, gradual climb through forest transitions to an alpine environment above the tree line. Enjoy magnificent views from the crest of the mountain range out over the Weld Valley and to the Southwest.
The Hartz Mountains National Park
The impressive glacier-carved Hartz Mountains National Park is accessed via Geeveston, in the Huon Valley. Walks range from easy strolls to more challenging hikes up to the peak (Parks Pass required).
Walks under 1-hour return
The 5-minute return walk to Waratah Lookout is a great introduction to the park. Gaze out at the old myrtle forest just below the lookout and enjoy amazing views across the Huon Valley to the Wellington Range. In December and January, the Tasmanian waratah is in flower—a festive red blaze!
The leisurely walk to Arve Falls (20 minutes return) is an easy, pleasant stroll. Follow the path of the Arve River through alpine herb field and snowgum woodland to the edge of the plateau. Signs along the way offer information about the landscape and its special plants.
The 40-minute return walk to Lake Osborne is a gentle uphill climb across the Hartz Plateau. The picturesque glacial lake is fringed with ancient King Billy Pines. Along the way, discover many varieties of forest and moorland, look out for the Devils Marbles (large boulders dumped onto the plateau by glaciers), and learn how fire and ice shaped the landscape.
Walks over 2 hours return
The 2-hour return walk to Lake Esperance treks through woodland and snow gums, up to the high country where cushion plants and ancient King Billy pines encircle the lake. Along the plateau, listen out for the haunting call of the mountain currawong.
Reasonably fit hikers can tackle the steep uphill climb to Hartz Pass (3.5 hours return) for an impressive view into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. For more adventure, continue on to the park’s highest point: Hartz Peak(total 3-5 hours return). On a clear day, the summit offers breathtaking views of the southwest. (Please note that the route is not clearly marked beyond Hartz Pass and extreme changes in weather can occur suddenly.)
Far South Tasmania
Tasmania’s beautiful Far South feels worlds away but is easily reachable via a 1–2-hour drive from Hobart.
At/near Hastings Caves State Reserve
When visiting Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs for a cave tour and float in the thermal pool, be sure to plan additional time for exploring the forest tracks. The short walk that starts near the pool is suitable for people who use wheelchairs (some assistance is needed at the beginning). The slightly longer Hot Springs Track leads to the place where the warm waters of one creek meet the cold waters of another—dip your hand in and feel the freaky temperature change!
The nearby walk to Duckhole Lake (4 km / 1.5 hours return) is one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. The track follows an old tramway for much of the way, winding through a forest of stringybarks and rainforest species as well as sections of tea tree swamp. The tranquil lake has a secret: it is actually a flooded sinkhole that forms part of the surrounding cave and karst landscape.
The walk to Adamsons Falls (6 km / 3 hours return) is located on the eastern edge of the Southwest National Park, near the Hastings Caves State Reserve. The track gradually climbs through the rainforest and steepens just before the falls, which are accessible at different levels via short side trails (be careful not to slip). Bird enthusiasts, keep an ear out for tricksy lyrebirds.
The Stringers Cove to Garrett’s Bight Track (6 km / 1.5–2 hours return) at Strathblane follows a 4WD track to a steep climb down onto rocky shoreline. Climb over large rocks to reach a deep, beautiful bay. Halfway along, take the left fork and visit The Pines via a short walk to a clearing along the shoreline.
The Southwest National Park
The rugged and remote Southwest National Park is the state’s largest, and is only accessible on foot, via light plane or chartered boat (Parks Pass required). Hikers can enter the park at various points near Southport and Dover as well as at Cockle Creek, a 2-hour drive south from Hobart and the end of Australia’s southern-most road.
The challenging hike to Adamsons Peak (15 km / 7–10 hours return) should only be tackled by experienced hikers in fine weather. The long climb to the top winds through tall forest and alpine moors. Your efforts are rewarded with incredible views of the Southern Ranges and Southport Lagoon. Please note, the walk from the plateau to the peak is not well marked and walkers should be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
The Mystery Creek Cave Track (4 km / 2 hours return) near Ida Bay is mostly flat and features mining and rail relics. The well-marked trail follows the route of an old tramway to the remains of a limestone quarry and onward to the entrance of the Mystery Creek Cave (home to glowworms). It is not recommended that walkers continue past the initial cave entrance without suitable caving experience and equipment, as it is prone to flash flooding.
Moonlight Ridge to Mt La Perouse is a challenging three-day walk from Lune River. Moonlight Ridge traverses the Southern Ranges, and the scenery is spectacular. Enjoy stunning views of Federation Peak, Precipitous Bluff, the Hartz Mountains, South Cape, and the Southern Ocean. If you’re not keen on doing a multi-day walk, the walk up to Moonlight Ridge and back makes a great day walk.
From Cockle Creek
Drive south to the very end of the road and you’ll reach Cockle Creek. Find the big bronze whale sculpture, then continue along the track to the Fishers Point Navigation Light and Pilot Station ruins (c. 1843). The trail is best done at low tide, as it follows beaches and rocky coastline (4 km / 2 hours return).
The rugged South Cape Bay Track (15 km / 4 hours return) departs from Cockle Creek. The track is the eastern end of the bucket-list South Coast Track to Port Davey, and offers a captivating look at the unspoiled southern coastline. Majestic Lion Rock is a highlight, as well as the wild, windswept bay itself with its impressive cliffs and powerful ocean swells.
The remote South Coast Track is a challenging walk for experienced, well-prepared hikers only (85 km / 7 days). The track runs between Melaleuca and Cockle Creek, so walkers must either fly, sail or walk in and out. Along the way, spend some time enjoying the remote beaches. At Melaleuca, the Needwonnee Walk (1.2 km) weaves through the moorland, forest, and edge of the lagoon. This living, changing experience features sculptural installations interpreting some of the stories of the Needwonnee people.
Walking Safety tips:
- Read Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service’s Essential Bushwalking Guide and watch the informative short video.
- Check information on track, campsite and reserve closures and reopenings.
- Check the current conditions and adequately prepare.
- Drive to conditions and watch out for wildlife.
- Follow all signs and safety advice and don’t take unnecessary risks.
- Respect the environment and wildlife by sticking to pathways, taking only photos, and leaving no trace.
- Pop into the Visitor Information Centres at Huonville or Geeveston for current information and travel advice.
- Download the Huon Valley app: it’s your own pocket-sized travel guide.
- Browse things to do, where to stay, eat and drink, the events calendar and our blog.
We love it when you share your adventures with us! Share your snaps by tagging @hobartandbeyond and using #HobartandBeyond on Instagram and Facebook – we’ll share our favourite pics on social media and in the blog.
Header image: Hartz Peak Summit @lady_ao
This post originally featured on Southern Trove Tasmania