Andrew Bain recommends five of his favourite little-known walks around Hobart!
Not every great walk in Tasmania requires you to venture far from Hobart. On the fringes of the city are some true natural treats, some of them little visited, creating pockets of secret beauty in easy reach of the city. Here are five of my favourite little-known walks around Hobart.
1. Lost World
Look up to kunanyi/Mt Wellington from Hobart and the view is dominated by the Organ Pipes, a turtleneck sweater of rock tight around the neck of the mountain. Look further right, to the slopes of neighbouring Mt Arthur, and there’s a mini version of the Organ Pipes. Welcome to the Lost World.
It might borrow its name from Arthur Conan Doyle, but this Lost World is unique. Below the cliffs lie a mass of dolerite columns that have toppled from the wall, creating an airy pile of rock overlaying cave-like hollows beneath.
The Lost World can be accessed along a trail that begins at Big Bend, or on a steeper, more gymnastic climb from the Chalet, both on Pinnacle Road.
2. Disappearing Tarn
What could be more intriguing than a brilliantly coloured tarn that simply isn’t there most of the time? The well-named Disappearing Tarn only appears among the boulders of the Potato Fields on Mt Wellington’s southern slopes after decent rain or snowmelt.
The easiest approach – about a 90-minute walk – is along the Milles Track from the Springs. This mostly flat track contours across the slopes towards the Potato Fields and Wellington Falls. The going is rocky underfoot and slippery when wet, which is conversely the time you want to be doing this walk.
The tarn, with its vividly blue water, isn’t signposted, but when you first step into the large patch of boulders at the Potato Fields, turn right – it’s in a hollow at the bush edge less than 100 metres from the track.
3. Secret Falls
This officially nameless falls on the city-side slopes of Mt Wellington is known universally in Hobart as Secret Falls because so few people are aware of their existence or location. The walk to the falls is simple; the trick is in finding them from the trail.
The falls sit right beside the Myrtle Gully Track, which begins at the end of Old Farm Road, just behind the Cascade Brewery in South Hobart. They’re just a few minutes’ walk up the track (keep an eye to your left for clues to their presence), funnelling through a break in a low, moss-covered rock wall.
4. Taroona to Sandy Bay
Scan the tide times, because this unmarked and almost unknown possibility is only passable at low tide. Begin at Hinsby Beach in the southern suburb of Taroona, beside the impressive Alum Cliffs, and simply walk north along the coast.
You’ll walk across a couple more gorgeous beaches in Taroona and rock-hop beneath the clifftop homes of Sandy Bay. All the while, yachts, kayaks and tourist boats are likely to be passing beside you on the Derwent River.
End the walk at Long Beach, scene of Dark Mofo’s annual nude midwinter swim, where there are a couple of cafes to slake any thirst you might have developed.
5. Bluff River Gorge
Tasmania’s star sandstone cliffs are unquestionably the Painted Cliffs on Maria Island, but if you want to see a scaled-down version of those intricately patterned cliffs, seek out little-visited Bluff River Gorge.
Beginning outside Buckland, around an hour’s drive from Hobart towards the east coast, the unmarked trail meanders through bush before cutting across the banks high above Bluff River. Intermittently the banks break open up into sandstone cliffs and overhangs that swirl with natural patterns.