My Top 5 Tasmanian Walks in 2016

Over the past few days I've been reflecting a lot on this year - one of massive change and upheaval as we moved home to Tasmania after six years living in Melbourne. Our weekends have gone from being about eating out, live music and city life to simpler pleasures - spending time outside, inhaling crisp fresh air and admiring Tasmania's wild places. So for my first blog post, I've decided to list my favourite five walks from the year. I can't wait to get out to explore more of this wonderful, wild island in the new year, and look forward to sharing here with you!

1 - Overland Track

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In March this year I was lucky enough to walk Tasmania's Overland Track with family. Spending six days in the Tasmanian Wilderness was a soul-cleansing, life-affirming experience I will never forget. This part of the world is really special, with seemingly endless expanses of untouched wilderness, abundant wildlife, and ancient forests topped off by incredible sunsets to end the day.

This walk is justifiably regarded as one of the world's great multi-day walks, and it's impossible to condense the experience into a couple of short paragraphs - I'll be putting up a more detailed post early in the new year, so stay tuned!

Need to Know

Time: 6-7 Days
Distance: 65km
Difficulty: Moderate
Tip: Go in late Summer or early Autumn for clear nights, sunny days and great walking conditions.

2 - Cape Hauy

Cape Hauy was easily my favourite coastal walk this year, and the top day walk on my list. The walk is great at any time of year, and is often overlooked by visitors to the nearby Port Arthur Historic site, but is one of the top natural attractions on the Tasman Peninsula with its extensive dolerite cliffs towering above the wild seas below.

We enjoyed this walk so much that we visited twice this year, in May and October - the second time around we were treated to a show by a group of Humpback Whales not too far off shore.

Need to Know

Time: 4 hours return
Distance: 9km return
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Tip: While this walk is great at any time of year, October offers the chance to see whales as they migrate south for Summer!

3 - Lake Rodway

In November we paid a visit to Cradle Mountain - our first since moving back to Tasmania. To avoid the early summer crowds, we decided to pack the camping gear and hike to Lake Rodway for the night. This often forgotten part of the park is really magical, and offers an entirely different perspective of Tasmania's most well known mountain. The walk was admittedly more challenging than others on this list, but scaling Hanson's Peak along the way was a highlight.

The return walk can be achieved in a day, but camping really allowed us to take in the surrounds and enjoy a night away from modern life.

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Need to Know

Time: 2 Days
Distance: 14km return
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard
Tip: Leave early as camping sites are limited. Scott-Kilvert hut is ample in size to accommodate walkers if you miss out on a good tent site.

4 - The Needles

The Needles is a relatively unknown walk in Southwest National Park that offers sensational views of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Despite being a relatively short, overgrown and very muddy walk, this one really exceeded our expectations. From the 1020m summit, we were rewarded with uninterrupted views in every direction. A foggy morning in the valleys below added to the extraordinary beauty of the area.

Need to Know

Time: 2 Hours
Distance: 3km return
Difficulty: Moderate
Tip: Wear good boots - the track is quite muddy and uneven in parts and you will get wet feet!

5 - Mount Rufus Circuit

This was the first day walk we attempted after moving back to Tasmania.  The Mount Rufus Circuit has it all, and is the best introduction to the Tasmanian Wilderness I can think of - from ancient rainforests to wind-sculpted alpine environments and a mountain climb, this is a fantastic taster for anyone short on time, or considering longer walks such as the Overland Track.

We were treated to a crisp Autumn Day when walking Mt Rufus, which made for pleasant walking despite a tough climb and relatively unfit bodies at the time. The listing of this hike among Tasmania's 60 great short walks is a little deceptive - at 19km and almost 7 hours, we were running short on daylight by the end and were a little unprepared for darkness!

Need to Know

Time: 6-7 Hours
Distance: 19km circuit
Difficulty: Moderate
Tip: Leave early and pack a good lunch - daylight hours in Autumn and Winter are shorter than you realise!

These are just a tiny sample of the great hiking and outdoor activities we've experienced in Tasmania this year, and there is still such a long to-do list for 2017 and I can't wait to get outside again and embark on more adventures.