All day hikes have been recorded with a Suunto9 GPS watch – trail stats will vary from official TAS parks maps and other GPS watches.
Typical for any Tasmanian hike, it’s good practice to plan summits in favorable weather windows. As weather can turn in the blink of an eye, it is good practice to be prepared for all conditions. Be ready for sun, rain, hail, and thick fog at any given time.
Mount Rufus – Cradle Mountain National Park
Trail Stats: 24 June 2019 (winter) / 25.14km / 7.45hrs / 1003m up / 994m down [N.B. micro spikes required]
Beginning at Lake St. Clair, follow signs for Watersmeet and follow this track until you reach a junction that points you to the Mount Rufus track. This track is a circuit but can also be completed as an out and back. I highly recommend the circuit, which I semi-completed in winter conditions.
Upon reaching the summit, I partly descended the circuit route, before losing the track in the snow… So I backtracked to the summit and descended the mountain to the junction I passed on the way up, to reroute and merge onto the circuit track via Shadow Lake.
It’s a stunning route with 360-degree views from the summit. As a winter trek, I highly recommend taking micro spikes and mini gaiters. Otherwise the route is easy to follow in clear conditions. The path meanders through lush forests, a boardwalk across buttongrass moorland, and around Shadow Lake.
Mount Roland – Great Western Tiers Region
Trail Stats: 22 February 2020 (summer) / 17.35km / 6.31hrs / 1045m up + down
Possible Side Summits: Mount Vandyke + Mt Claude
Trailhead Parking & Start: Heading for Gowrie Park, drive Past O’Neills Creek Picnic Reserve, shortly making a left on O’Neill’s Road, with unmetered parking not far along. A Parks logbook for hikers is at the trail start.
The hike will take anywhere from 3-6 hours. Our clocked hours included: the hike, resting at the summit & photography.
Situated near the village of Sheffield on the northern edge of the Great Western Tiers region, this mountain has a dominating presence and can be seen from a good distance en route to the trailhead. Despite its daunting look, it’s a gentle uphill walk across the plateau, before reaching the base of the summit with a short scramble.
There are a few routes that go up this mountain, but we opted for the easier and more gradual trail that veers left at the junction, when starting at O’Neill’s Road. This junction is sign-posted so you cannot miss it. If you veer right, you take a more direct route that tends to be steeper. There is also a 3rd route that begins via King’s Road, known as the Face Track.
A very easy track to follow, the trail comprises of forest floor, rocky surfaces, some boardwalk, and a dolerite scramble at the end to get you to the summit with the Trig Station up top. On our picture perfect bluebird day, our views spanned to the Bass Strait, the Pelion Range, Cradle Mountain, and Barn Bluff.
K Col and Tarn Shelf – Mount Field National Park
Trail Stats: 12 February 2020 (summer) / 15.90km / 5.51hrs / 627m up / 584m down [N.B. also completed in winter conditions – micro spikes required]
The Tarn Shelf is classified as one of the most beautiful walks in Mount Field National Park. Having finally done it myself, I definitely put this day walk on the top of my list to experience a varied landscape in Tasmania’s bush. The potential around this National Park extends beyond the walks and offers very short trails to some stunning waterfalls in the area, like Horseshoe Falls and Russell Falls.
The K Col component of this walks adds a little extra kilometers and difficulty. Passing through glacial boulder fields, across buttongrass plains via boardwalk, lined with incredible flora, like cushion plants, this trail offers a lot of variety and picturesque scenery.
There are numerous opportunities to fill your water bottles at the alpine tarns along the way. Enjoy this walk in the summer or winter, as it is well marked and maintained due to its popularity.