1 APRIL 2020
TASMANIA'S TOP 5 NATIONAL PARKS
-Travel Blog -
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We are Tassie locals and explorers who can't get enough of the island. We founded our blog when we realised some of the most amazing travel destinations were being overlooked. Each month we explore different destinations and topics, linking in with our destination guides and Tasmanian travel information. To keep up to date with the latest content, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe!
Words & photography by: Kylie Bell
Due to the current situation with Coronavirus and travel restrictions for all within Tasmania and globally, this article is intended to inspire future travel once it is safe to do so and permitted.
Choosing the best National Parks to visit in Tasmania was a hard task. Tasmania has so many wonderful landscapes and experiences, travellers could easily spend weeks discovering them all. However, most of us quickly find we don’t always have time luxury, with the average traveller spending 7-10 days on the island, or sometimes even less. All in all, if there is one thing most of us have in common when we travel, it is that we want to make sure we optimise and make the most rewarding holiday possible in that short space of time; to see those incredible places and go home feeling you want to come back.
We have selected five distinctly unique National Parks that really showcase what Tasmania is all about. All are easily accessible and with great visitor facilities. We have also deliberately picked five that have distinctive biodiversity and geographical differences, spread across the regions of the state. Tasmania, as a small island, changes so rapidly between regions; from the wilderness of the west to the barely accessible south-west where rumours still lie that perhaps the Thylacine (aka Tasmanian Tiger) still roams. Coastal plains rise to mountains and down to beaches full of Tasmanian wildlife and birdlife.
First, we will take you high to the tantalising edge of the southern wilderness atop Hartz Mountain, an easy return summit that gives you 360-degree views in all directions, amongst white-spotted rocks and wilderness vistas. Across to the East Coast, we jump aboard the ferry to Tasmania’s cool-climate, yet ‘tropical-like’ island landscapes, dubbed the wildlife ‘Noah’s Ark’ Tasmania, Maria Island. Back past Hobart, the countryside and River Derwent take you then to a National Park full of towering man ferns - hundreds of years old - and rainforest in the dept of Mount Field National Park; full of cascading waterfalls, emptied from a spring somewhere deep in the south-west wilderness. Then we will take you up into the Central Highlands to visit one of Tasmania’s most visited National Park destinations, Cradle Mountain, nestled against the stillness and serenity of Dove Lake and surrounds. Then down to one of Tasmania’s richest and untouched landscapes, the ancient Aboriginal clan lands of Narawntapu National Park on the North Coast of Tasmania, showing off her kilometre-long white beach, dunes, kangaroo plains and coastline.
Hartz Mountain National Park
Hartz Mountain, after countless visits, remains one of our favourite short walk experiences on the island. Located only an hour and a half south of Hobart, the walk can be achieved within 3-4 hours return, is easily accessible and highly rewarding. The National Park is breath-taking, dabbed in colours of white, browns and olive greens. Travellers walk across one saddle, up into another, where layers of mountain ranges to the west are framed; blue in colour from the Tasmanian eucalyptus. A short walk further, up among the white-spotted rocks, the summit gives you 360-degree views in all directions. Somewhere over the horizon, far south, lies Antarctica, giving a magical feeling to being so close to the bottom of the world. On a clear day, one of Tasmania’s most challenging peaks for adventurous hikers/rock climbers lies Federation Peak, along with the south-wests Mount Anne and Eliza.
Maria Island National Park
Maria Island, dotted with romantic and ancient red-bricked convict buildings from a past era, has since been used like a 'Noah’s Ark' for Tasmanian wildlife. Following the outbreak of the Tasmanian Devil facial tumour, Parks decided to use the island as a breeding ground for Devil’s which did not have the disease as yet, to try and build up the numbers of this declining native. It is also home to Forester Kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and more. The experience is like an open Tasmanian native wildlife zoo, with each visit always finding us stumbling across one animal or another within the hour. Aside from the natives, the landscapes are stunning. Two main mountain walks when highly recommend is Bishop and Clek on the Northside of the island and Mount Maria. Visitors can walk or hire a bike to roam the island freely.
Mount Field National Park
Full of mountains and deep forested valleys, a visit to this National Park gives a taste of that wild Tasmanian wilderness experience. Russel Falls is the spot to hit, where visitors start at the Mount Feild Visitor Centre and are then immediately engulfed in the Tasmanian rainforest as they step out the door. Visitors walk amongst Eucalyptus, Manferns, waterfalls, rivers and giant and ancient trees, following a three-hour return circuit. Visitors can also drive up the mountain to experience the alpine walks and landscape of this National Park. Highly recommended, just over an hours drive from Hobart, and showcasing some of the island best rainforest.
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Tasmania’s most visited National Park and quickly recognisable from Tasmanian postcards, Cradle Mountain lies in the heart of Tasmania. Once thought to be an ancient volcano, visitors are welcome by a myriad of walks. The landscape and geology of this National Park is unique to other regions around Tasmania, set in the central plateau of the island. Cradle Mountain is also the starting point to the internationally acclaimed Overland Track. Visitors can choose between easy boardwalks to lookouts, to the 2-3 hour Dove Lake Circuit, or the range of walks taking walkers up around the edges of the Cradle Mountain crater and peak. Nearby, visitors will find the alpine spa, accommodation, restaurants and Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre.
Narawntapu National Park
Appearing as an oil painting, untouched and quietly nestled on the North Coast, this National Park is full of native Tasmanian wildlife and birdlife, short and long walks, lookouts, and lagoons. Only 30 minutes drive from the port city of Devonport (and the Spirit of Tasmania), travellers can easily get lost in the beauty and wonder of this travel destination. Once home to one of Tasmania’s aboriginal clans, with archaeology sites dating back four thousand years. The landscape, with it’s large yellow plain and lagoon, paints a time capsule of what Tasmania once would have been like prior to British colonisation. Forester Kangaroos, which use to be common right across the island, still graze and sunbake as they have done for hundreds of years. As visitors, we couldn’t recommend enough, Archers Knob walk, starting from these plains and the visitor centre, taking you three-four hours return. Views from the top go in all directions, showing you the breath of Bass Strait and as far as Mount Roland and the lands of the Kentish Region where Sheffield lies. Along this walk, you will also stumble across the bird viewing hut where you can watch the birdlife and Forester Kangaroos across the lagoon, or meander over the dunes to the beach behind, running the length of the National Park.
Each destination ticks the boxes for easy accessibility, a diversity of short and full-day walks (and even overnight for the more adventurous), distinctly different and spread across the different island regions; South, East Coast, South-West, Central Highlands and the North Coast.
Most importantly, they showcase the best of the best adventure travel and landscape experiences in Tasmania; stitching together an unforgettable travel experience and the perfect Tasmanian holiday.
For further information on each of these destinations, including top things to do, maps and more, view our destinations guides.
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