Andrew Bain recommends his Tassie top epic adventures...these will definitely take you to the edge! In Tasmania, adventure comes in just about every flavour: hike, bike, paddle, climb, canyon, dive... The spectrum of experiences ranges from mild to wild, but if you want something that'll truly take you to the edge, set your sights on one of the following epic Tasmanian adventures.
Walk the Overland Track
Imagine a week on foot in the company of some of Australia’s most spectacular mountains. The famed Overland Track threads between the lion’s share of Tasmania’s highest peaks as it journeys from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair.
Climbs along the trail are few, but there’s the option to branch away on side tracks to a variety of summits, including Cradle Mountain and Mt Ossa, the state’s highest peak. It’s not all about mountains, however, with the Overland Track cutting through swathes of rainforest, and past waterfalls, a fossil-lined river beach and alpine tarns.
Raft the Franklin River
It’s the river that flows deep through the nation’s psyche. The Franklin River, once slated to be dammed, now provides one of the purest and most challenging wilderness trips in the country.
Multi-day rafting trips launch in the Collingwood River, joining the Franklin a few kilometres downstream to wriggle through World Heritage-listed wilderness for more than a week. Ahead are gorges as serene as dreams, and chasms such as the Great Ravine that’ll have your adrenaline flowing as fast as the river. There’ll be moments where you’re floating on a tannin-coloured millpond, and others where you’re fighting to hold on.
Nights are spent camped on the riverbanks, or beneath rock overhangs, in a true return-to-nature experience along this legendary waterway.
Kayak on Port Davey
If it feels like you’re kayaking off the map as you paddle out through the Bathurst Narrows into Port Davey, it’s no illusion. This piece of the Southwest wilderness is so remote that parts of the sea remain uncharted.
Week-long kayaking trips with Roaring 40s begin with a flight into Melaleuca before paddling out into Bathurst Harbour and eventually the open ocean of Port Davey. At times the water can be so flat and still it’s like gliding across a mirror; at other times, ocean swells might be crashing into the well-named Breaksea Islands as you explore the edges of Port Davey.
You’ll camp on empty beaches beneath almost-bare mountains, paddle past sea caves and arches, and nose ashore to climb to vast views over the wilderness.
Mountain Bike at Derby
Tasmania just got serious about its mountain biking. Scribbled through the bush and hills around the former tin-mining town of Derby are the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails, offering some of the most fun and flowing rides in Australia.
Blue Derby opened last year and offer pure thrill in the coiling berms of Flickety Sticks, a cross-country loop along Dambusters, and a (mostly) downhill wilderness journey on Atlas. The Epic Trail, planned to open this October, will add a 40-kilometre descent from the Blue Tiers, expanding the network to 80 kilometres.
Blue Derby’s greatest beauty is that it can challenge even the finest riders, and yet still it offers plenty for families and trundlers. VertigoMTB runs cyclist shuttles to trailheads and hires out bikes.
Hike to Frenchmans Cap
Not so long ago, this classic walk almost qualified as a swim, with the track passing through a notorious, leg-devouring section of mud known as the ‘Sodden Loddons’. A few years ago, the track was re-routed up the slopes, creating a clearer thoroughfare to this most imposing of Tasmanian mountains.
Standing on the shores of Lake Tahune at its foot, the gleaming white quartzite peak, with its 300-metre-high cliffs, is a daunting prospect. The ascent is a steep push through breaks in the cliffs, requiring a few scrambling moves. From the 1446-metre summit, the Southwest wilderness is sprawled out to the horizon below as reward for effort.
The track begins from the Lyell Highway, midway between Derwent Bridge and Queenstown. Allow four days.
For more info on walking to Frenchmans Cap check out the Parks Tasmania website