Walking the Tasman National Park in Tasmania

The Australian island state of Tasmania is renowned for its incomparable beauty and for having many landscapes that have not been exploited by humans and so which still retain their natural integrity. Whilst there are parts of Tasmania that have been developed, there still remain great swathes of the island which have remained almost untouched and which can be greatly enjoyed by those who are hardy enough to expend some energy in exploring this magnificent part of the world.

There are a great many national parks and wildlife areas contained within Tasmania, and many of these are accessible only by boat or by foot. One true gem of a place is the Tasman National Park.

Located south of Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, in the south eastern region of the state, Tasman National Park features sheer sea cliffs reaching to 300m in height, blowholes, sandy beaches and impressive sea sculptured rock formations. Although the park is accessible by car, to best experience the true beauty of the place, it should be investigated by foot.

There are five principal walks within the park, which range from about 90 minutes to about 8 hours in duration. Ranging from the shortest walk through to the longest they are:

Devils Kitchen to Waterfall Bay – this is considered to be an easy cliffside walk which gives you spectacular views of the coastline and should take from 90 minutes to two hours to complete at normal pace.

Fortescue Bay to Canoe Bay – an easy walk which takes you along a beach and then meanders through attractive forest until you descend to Canoe Bay. The return trip should take about two hours, and is a good family walk.

Fortescue Bay to Cape Hauy – also known as the Cape Hauy Track, from the boat ramp at Fortescue Bay, pass through heath and woodlands to steep cliffs with magnificent views of formations called the Lanterns, Candlestick and Totem Pole. Some of the many features of this walk are spectacular views of the sheer rock stacks which plunge into to the sea. About a five hour return journey.

Cape Raoul – nine kilometres past Port Arthur there is a turn left along Stormlea Road where this track begins. The initial section of the track crosses private land but persevere because the track brings you to the edge of a 300 metre high cliff with commanding views of the coastline. The track then descends steadily onto the Cape Raoul plateau. The spectacular dolomite pillar cape is at the end of the plateau. Duration is about five hours return.

Waterfall Bay to Fortescue Bay – this is a full day walk covering 17 kilometres. There are a number of places along the track to admire the stunning views back along the coast towards Tasmans Arch. Fantastic views of the coast line can be seen of Cape Hauy and the Candlestick in the south, and up the coast to the Three Thumbs, whilst offshore are the Hippolyte and Cheverton Rocks. There are some steep sections, but the track is well marked and easy to follow.

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