Tasmania day hikes: Six of the most amazing one-day walks

 

Tasmania is stitched with walking trails, including many of Australia's finest and most famous multiday walks - the Overland Track, Three Capes Track - but you needn't hike for days to find some of the state's finest scenes. Here are six day walks that reward with views and experiences that could be the envy of many longer hikes.

CRADLE MOUNTAIN

Nothing says 'stretch your legs' quite like the climb to the top of Tasmania's most famous mountain. There are several approaches to the 1545-metre peak, be it along the Overland Track from Ronny Creek, around Wombat Pool or across the Face Track, but all converge near the Kitchen Hut day shelter at the foot of Cradle's imposing cliffs. From here, flexibility is about as key as a good pair of boots, as the track ascends through a large boulder field and then funnels through the cliffs to the rock-strewn summit. Cradle Mountain is the fifth-highest peak in Tasmania, and the view from its summit takes in three of the four taller mountains: Barn Bluff, Pelion West and Mt Ossa.

Climbing Cradle Mountain

Tasmania's Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park offers some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Australia. And the best part is, you can do it in a single day. Video: Craig Platt

TARN SHELF

The Tarn Shelf is exactly what the label on the tin suggests - a flat shelf of land high among the peaks of Mt Field National Park speckled with gorgeous lakes. The circuit walk across the shelf begins at Lake Dobson - the end of the road into the mountains - climbing past the Mt Mawson ski lodges to emerge into alpine heights. The trail weaves between the lakes of the Tarn Shelf, each one seemingly a different colour and all trimmed with gold in autumn when the deciduous native fagus trees get their glow on. The walk descends past a dilapidated old ski hut on Twilight Tarn before swinging back to Lake Dobson.

MT ELIZA

For many bushwalkers, Mt Eliza is just a through point to the domineering Mt Anne, but for day walkers the Southwest National Park peak is one of the finest outings in the state. It's a long ascent up a broad ridge from near the shores of Lake Pedder to High Camp Hut, where solid ground gives way to boulder fields. Through the boulders, the track rises to Mt Eliza's flat summit and a view par excellence - down onto Lake Pedder with its shores wrapping around mountains, across to the sawtooth profile of the Western Arthurs and with the nib of Mt Anne rising nearby. The plateau between Mt Eliza and Mt Anne flourishes into a colourful alpine flower display in summer.

CAPE RAOUL

In a sense, Cape Raoul is the Tasman Peninsula's forgotten cape. Intended as the third cape on the Three Capes Track, it now sits blissfully removed from the multiday walk, but a recent track upgrade has smoothed the way for day walkers. From the trailhead just south of Port Arthur, the walk rises to a high cliff edge - left from here lies Cape Raoul and right leads down to the surfing sensation of Shipstern Bluff. The track to the cape tapers down beside the dwindling cliffs to arrive at the Tasman Peninsula's southernmost point, looking down onto a narrow and dramatic spine of dolerite towers stepping down into the Southern Ocean.

MT AMOS

Mt Amos isn't high - just 454 metres above sea level - but the scene from its summit well and truly defies the numbers. Peering straight down into Wineglass Bay and along the length of Freycinet Peninsula, it's arguably the finest coastal view in Tasmania, but it takes effort to attain. Deviating off the Wineglass Bay track just a few metres from its start, the walk ascends steeply up the mountain's bare granite slopes (it's treacherous when wet), requiring the use of hands almost as much as feet. It's just four kilometres return, but expect it to take about three hours.

BISHOP & CLERK

Rising tall from the northern edge of Maria Island are the 599-metre-high rock towers known as Bishop and Clerk. From the island ferry terminal, a trail wanders through the former convict settlement of Darlington and out to the top of the Fossil Cliffs - briefly you're walking atop 300-million-year-old marine fossils! The track rises fairly steeply through forest to one final scramble over a rock ledge, before ending abruptly on an exposed shelf of rock at the top of the towers. It's a daunting spot to hang out, especially on windy days, with the towers seeming to overhang the ocean. The views extend along much of Tasmanian's east coast, including Freycinet Peninsula just to the north.

See also: Ten of Australia's most beautiful beaches are in our smallest state

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