15 April, 2021

Tasmania’s Great Short Walks are big on wilderness wonders

Try an easy one, or start ticking off all 60 walks on this bucket list.

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service's Great Short Walks has something for everyone, whether you’re a serious hiker or prefer occasional short, easy strolls. From east-coast beaches to a waterfall out west, a walk in the treetops or to Cradle Mountain’s peak, here are our favourites.

Grade 1: Easy as you like

Very short, flat and well constructed, Grade 1 walks are perfect for those with limited time, fitness or mobility.

Amble among the treetops, looking down at the Huon River, on the Tahune Airwalk. This walkway raised 30 metres above ground ends with va-va-voom Huon Valley views from a cantilevered lookout. Or tread the boards of Launceston’s Tamar Island wetlands, watching waterbirds such as black swans, egrets and cormorants.

It’s just a 20-minutes-return walk among moss, ferns and rainforest trees to Nelson Falls, a 30-metre, veil-like cascade in Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Another 20 minutes along Cape Tourville’s clifftop circuit delivers an eyeful of the Freycinet coast. There’s so much to admire, including a lighthouse, Wineglass Bay, the Hazards mountains and maybe marine wildlife like dolphins and whales.

Nelson Falls (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Jess Bonde)
Walk to Nelson Falls (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Jess Bonde)

Grade 2: A walk in the park

With gentle inclines, perhaps including some steps, Grade 2 paths could hardly be easier.

A favourite with kids, Cradle Mountain National Park’s Enchanted Walk is a mini forest adventure. Pass a chattering creek, go through a tunnel, and maybe see wombats, pademelons and fungi. Or explore Freycinet National Park’s Friendly Beaches. This place lives up to its name, inviting you to ramble on white sand that seems to go on forever beside clear blue water.

Walk through western Tasmania’s temperate rainforest to the base of Montezuma Falls, a horsetail waterfall more than 100 metres high. Close to Port Arthur, step back in time among less famous convict heritage at the free Coal Mines Historic Site. Nestled beside a picturesque bay, its peaceful ruins reveal a dark past.

Friendly Beaches (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy)
Friendly Beaches (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy)

Grade 3: A taste of adventure

Expect hills, steps and rough surfaces on Grade 3 trails, but nothing really challenging.

Walk to Maria Island’s natural highlight, the Painted Cliffs: sandstone wildly eroded by wind and waves is made even more amazing – especially in late-afternoon sunshine – by the rock’s creamy white and orange-hued bands. Or go coastal in Tasman National Park. Part of the multi-day Three Capes Track, the walk to Cape Hauy is rewarded with clifftop views including stone columns rising from the sea.

The village of Stanley’s anchor in Bass Strait, The Nut is a volcanic plug offering 360-degree views from its flat 143-metre-high summit – so the steep walk up is well rewarded. Or pass several pretty little waterfalls on the three-hour uphill walk to Meander Falls, the main attraction tumbling 130 metres in two tiers.

Painted Cliffs (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Flow Mountain Bike)
Painted Cliffs (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Flow Mountain Bike)

Grade 4: Just do it!

You’ll need several hours plus fitness and preparation for Grade 4 walks.

Don’t just admire Cradle Mountain from afar – hike to the summit for panoramic views of peaks and lakes as far as the eye can see on the longest Great Short Walk. Or make lakes both starting point and destination in Lake St Clair National Park, where the trail to picnic-worthy Shadow Lake winds through sub-alpine forest and buttongrass plains.

Considering the lookout walk to see Tasmania’s most famous bay from on high? It’s worth going the extra mile or three on Freycinet’s Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach circuit for a close-up as well. On beautiful Bruny Island’s Labillardiere Peninsula, follow the beach and forest trail in a clockwise direction to experience this route’s best mountain and coastal vistas.

Hazards Beach (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Geoffrey Lea)
Hazards Beach (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Geoffrey Lea)

Love a good hike? Follow our brand-new, five-day hiking enthusiast itinerary and tackle some of Tassie's most iconic treks.


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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