17 December, 2021

Uncover Tassie’s under-the-radar national parks

Cradle Mountain and Freycinet National Park are arguably Tassie’s most spectacular and visited national parks – but it’s time to delve deeper into nature and discover Tassie’s lesser-known parks.

With 19 national parks on offer, there’s so much more to explore than the iconic parks everyone talks about. These less famous ones offer secluded beaches, remote wilderness, epic rock formations, striking lagoons and more. All for the modest price of a Parks Pass, available from Parks Tasmania and aboard Spirit of Tasmania.

Hartz Peak Walk, Hartz Mountains National Park. Photo: Stu Gibson.

Straight to the Hartz

Just 80 kilometres south-west of Hobart, Hartz Mountains National Park is a great place to quickly get away from it all among waterfalls, glacial lakes, forest, alpine moors and jagged dolerite peaks named after Germany’s Hartz mountain range. The highest, at 1254 metres, is Hartz Peak.

The challenging 3-5 hour return walk to the summit is rewarded with panoramic views of Lake Hartz and the vast south-west wilderness. Or just admire the mountains from an accessible lookout, including one named for the stunning red wildflowers scattered around the park in summer, Waratah Lookout.

Southwest National Park. Photo: Emilie Ristevski.

The wild west

Covering more than 600,000 hectares, Southwest National Park is the state’s largest. So why have few people heard of it, let alone visited? Because most of this big chunk of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area isn’t accessible by car. You can drive to or even into some of the park for easy walks like the family-friendly Creepy Crawly Nature Trail, but to do it justice you must go deeper.

Do a multi-day hike, or take a private boat or plane to the south coast’s remote Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey. Camping and kayaking around here among mountains, white quartzite beaches and towering Huon pines makes a great Tassie escape.

Walls of Jerusalem National Park. Photo: Luke Tscharke.

An alpine paradise

Tasmania’s only true alpine park is not for the casual visitor. The Walls of Jerusalem National Park is exposed to changeable weather, has limited public facilities and trail signage, and isn’t directly accessible by road. But if you’re up for Central Highlands adventure, and are well prepared, you’ll love this landscape carved by glaciers long ago.

Discover craggy geological formations, countless lakes, ponds and streams, dense pencil-pine forest and tenacious tundra, all under big skies with probably no one else in sight. The park’s natural wonders are of such biblical proportions that some have Old Testament-inspired names like Herods Gate, Lake Salome, Solomons Jewels and the rocky Walls of Jerusalem themselves.

Narawntapu National Park. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Masaaki Aihara.

Local wildlife and beautiful scenery

On the north coast, not far from Launceston and Devonport, you’ll find a place dubbed Tasmania’s Serengeti. That’s because Narawntapu National Park is great for wildlife spotting – especially on the easy Springlawn Nature Walk, which is never far from the visitors centre, and includes a bird hide. Watch native feathered friends including black swans living it up on the lagoon from this hidey-hole, then walk among kangaroos, wallabies and their little Tassie cousin, the pademelon, grazing on open grassland.

Elsewhere in the park, whether you’re enjoying views of its diverse habitat from Archers Knob, or strolling the long, broad beach, you’re bound to meet other locals like wrens, rosellas and Tasmania’s super-sized wombats.

Anniversary Bay, Rocky Cape National Park. Photo: Jess Bonde.

Devonport’s best-kept secret

Rocky Cape National Park may fly under the radar because of its modest 3000 hectares, but it packs a lot into them. From rock pools and sea caves to flowering natives like banksia, it’s your gateway to Tasmania’s wild north-west little more than an hour from Devonport.

Several short walks reveal the park’s treasures, including places of Aboriginal significance with interpretive signs. Breathe in Bass Strait’s fresh air as its waves crash onto the cape’s ancient, jagged rocks. Stroll secluded beaches, take in clifftop vistas, and explore wooded hills and the heathland’s wildflowers that bloom in spring and summer.


Discover some of Tassie's best natural wonders with this five-day nature lover's road trip.


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

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