Six of the best Tasmanian day walks

ORGAN PIPES, MT WELLINGTON

The mountain that towers above Hobart is crisscrossed by trails giving panoramic views out over the city. A four-hour return hike from Fern Tree (accessible by public transport) to pass by the extraordinary rock formation known as the Organ Pipes requires some moderate climbing, from 720 metres to 1000 metres. Once honour has been satisfied, those with cars can drive to the rocky summit, where there are lookouts and an enclosed Visitors Centre from which you can admire the scenery while escaping the biting wind.?See www.wellingtonpark.org.au.

RUSSELL FALLS, MT FIELD NATIONAL PARK

The second oldest national park in Australia (the oldest is the Royal National Park south of Sydney) is Mt Field National Park, established as a nature reserve in 1885 and now less than an hour's drive from Hobart. It holds the dubious distinction of being the place where the last Tasmanian tiger was captured in 1933. They must have been less strict about taking endangered animals from the wild then. Now it has an easy walking trail (even wheelchair accessible) that takes visitors out to point the backs of their smartphones at the gorgeous Russell Falls. The rainforest below it features wonderful ferns and towering swamp gums, some of the world's tallest trees. Longer, overnight walks in the park are also possible.?See www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=3589

TRUGANINI TRACK

One of the most easily-reached trails begins from the Hobart suburb of Mt Nelson. The 2.1km (one way) track climbs gently through bushland and open forest with wildflowers in spring and plenty of birds any time of year. Near the summit the Truganini Memorial celebrates the first Tasmanians and their descendants. A bonus before or after the walk is coffee, lunch or dinner at the lovely restored historic Signal Station, with views across to the Tasman Peninsula – on a fine day.?See www.signalstation.com.au.

WINEGLASS BAY

Is there a more picture perfect beach anywhere in the world than Wineglass Bay? It's in Freycinet National Park, a 2.5-hour drive along the East Coast from Hobart. It's a bit of a steep haul up the mountain from Coles Bay to the lookout on the saddle between Mt Amos and Mt Mayson, but the track is well made and it should take only 1-1.5 hours each way. And what a view from the top! If you have time and you're feeling more adventurous you can climb down the other side to the beach itself, doubling the length of the walk. See www.wineglassbay.com.

CAPE HUAY, TASMAN PENINSULA

Most visitors to the Tasman Peninsula, just south east of Hobart, head straight for the notorious Port Arthur penal settlement. But the area also features fine coastal walks, ranging from 15-minute family strolls to tough multi-day treks. The Cape Huay Track, 4.4km each way, leads to the rugged cliffs featuring the dolerite pillars, the Candlestick and the Totem Pole, popular challenges for rock-climbers and abseilers. Climbing them is not an essential part of the walk! Allow 4 hours for the round trip.?See www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=1533

LAKE ST CLAIR

From the Visitors Centre at Cynthia Bay, about a 2.5 hour drive from Hobart, there are options for lovely short walks along the lakeside or a severe trek up Mt Rufus. There's a good chance of seeing wallabies and wombats, and possibly even a platypus at dusk or dawn. For a full day excursion, a ferry will take you down the lake to Narcissus Hut, from where it's a 15-kilometre stroll back along the last section of the famous Overland Track to the Visitors Centre. Allow about 5-7 hours to do it, camera in hand!?See www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=3462

In fine weather, these walks can be managed in sensible travel shoes, but be assured that it will rain some time while you're in Tassie. A good rain jacket is essential at any time of year.

The writer was the guest of Tourism Tasmania.

See also: 10 spectacular places in Australia you can only reach on foot
See also: Six of Tasmania's most charming towns

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