Hobart: Mount Wellington circuit 17km

Mount Wellington is, of course, that “hill” you can see from pretty much anywhere in Hobart. There are plenty of hiking trails within Wellington Park so you can “climb” the mountain yourself. Several trails start from Fern Tree, a small settlement just outside the park itself. That’s what I did…

Today’s maps (including an elevation map as some climbing was required today):

Fern Tree has a tavern. Called… Fern Tree Tavern. You can park there, then cross the street to the opposite park and where you have a choice of three trails. For me, one path up, another one coming down.

Fern Tree with Fern Tree Tavern parking lot

The Pipeline Track takes off to the left/southwest and provides ample shade. Presumably, there are pipes buried underneath the track. In fact, throughout the day I encountered semi-buried pipes on the trails. Exposed over time.

On the Pipeline Track

A lovely initial section ascending only slightly. Nice way to ease into the walking and climbing.

Towards the Silver Falls

The Silver Falls appears after a kilometer. Not much water crashing down there. I assume the name comes from how it looks in sunlight, against the rock behind it, like this morning. Beautiful and serene.

Silver Falls

After Silver Falls, the trail turned sharply east. Meaning that we now looked into the morning sun. Light to great effect.

Morning has broken

A side trail, Reids Track, although rated difficult, provides a shortcut. My guidebook suggested to “ignore it” and continue to Middle Track and walk uphill from there. I obliged.

Reids Track – not walk-tested

There used to be a hotel at The Springs, burned down in bushfires 1967 and never rebuilt. Today, The Springs looks like this. A level ridge, with toilets and a carpark. And what looked like a cafe although it was closed when I was there.

The Springs

Then I encountered track work. The detour was short, just along a bend around the corner. May I say that today’s trails (again) were mostly in excellent shape. I saw workmen in a few places, maintaining the trails to keep them safe and open. Only one exception which we come to later…

Work in progress on Radfords Track

Entering the Pinnacle Track, a steady climb soon began. Well, understandable as we are going to the top of the mountain. Note the exposed semi-buried pipe discussed earlier.

Pinnacle Track

Naturally, the climbing offered more and more awesome views. Regular stops needed to take it all in (OK, I stopped to catch my breath too).

Views over Hobart

Suddenly, Mount Wellington’s television and radio transmitter appeared in view. In an almost straight line up and off the trail. It is a sign there somewhere…

Mount Wellington’s television and radio transmitter up the hill

Suddenly on my right, a big boulder and razed bush. Mmm… Looking up the hill…

A big boulder

…and yes, some time ago, that boulder had come crashing down just here.

Nature had been in action

Pinnacle Track became Zig Zag Track and the ascent was even steeper as the trail ascended back and forth. But only for a little while.

I could get overboard here as I shot many photos during this part of my ascent. But I limit myself to three. Enjoy.

Up towards Mount Wellington – 1
Up towards Mount Wellington – 2 (looking back)
Up towards Mount Wellington – 3 (spring flowers)

The TV and radio transmitter closed in on me which means that we are close… Well, closeish…

Close now… or so we wish

…with almost leveled (and almost alpine) walking before…

Getting flatter

…Zig Zag Track terminated, almost next to that tower. We have reached the top of Mount Wellington.

And we’re there

Mount Wellington is rated Hobart’s number one attraction in TripAdvisor. Hence, plenty of people there, tourists, cameras, buses. I wandered around, took a few photos of the amazing views and had a sit-down and drink.

Hobart with Tasman Bridge to the right
More Hobart with Tasman Bridge to the left

A summit cairn is in the centre of the vehicle turning circle on top of Mount Wellington. There, people were jostling for position for their selfies. I joined them and below was the result.

Mount Wellington’s summit cairn and me

A glassed building near the summit provides shelter and views Nearby elevated walkways supports visitors’ movement. Well set up.

Shelter from the elements

Beyond Mount Wellington, my selected return path first follows Pinnacle Road for less than a kilometer. Then the start of Panorama Track appears on the other side of a wire fence. No opening provided. I climbed the fence and started walking down.

Panorama Track

Immediately below the road, some comedian had written: “I’m pooped” at the back of a sign. Presumably, somebody walking in my opposite direction and up towards Mount Wellington. I giggled…

“I’m pooped”

Panorama Track consisted of rocks. Lots of them. Good for the ankles but also hard on them.

Rocky Road

There was another short walk on Pinnacle Road before “The Chalet” shelter appeared. Our road exit, however, is a little further on the left.

The Chalet

Hunters Track navigates plenty of “rock forests” like below. Trying to understand the background to this, I found out later that the lines of large rocks provided easements for power lines.

The rocks are unlikely to have tumbled down given plenty of vegetation uphill although not many power lines were visible either.

Rock forest

Five different tracks come together at the appropriately named Junction Cabin. The cabin is open so you can venture inside during foul weather but otherwise, benches and tables were provided outside for picnickers. Not sure whether you are allowed to stay the night there or not. No sign.

Junction Cabin was perfect for a break so I did.

Junction Cabin

What followed on my selected trail out of the five was some relatively flat walking. First along Lenah Valley Track and then Shoobridge Track. Suddenly a sign…

Sign for the Octopus Tree

The Octopus Tree didn’t look as such from the trail. You need to walk around it. From behind, its name became obvious, see below. I found a rock, sat down and took it all in for a few minutes. Nature is truly amazing.

Octopus Tree

The one single part of today’s hike where track maintenance was poor was halfway into Betts Vale Track. Trees had crashed down here and taken plenty of other vegetation with them. The result below.

Yes, the trail is under there. For a brief moment, I thought that I had lost the trail. But as usual, others have walked here before and there was a way through if you looked carefully.

Some debris on Betts Vale Track

The sign next to the narrow wooden bridge below suggested that only 1 adult and 2 children pass at any time. Not built for weight then. No issue for me as it was… well, just me. You can see glimpses of O’Gradys Falls to the left.

O’Gradys Falls

The landscape beyond the falls along O’Gradys Falls Track opened up to become a wide fire break. I didn’t mind the sudden change of environment. Certainly different from the rocky paths and trails through the bush for the last 2 hours or so down from Mount Wellington.

O’Gradys Falls Track

Suburbia started to appear closer to Fern Tree as I entered the home stretch. The last 1/2 kilometer or so felt more like a suburbian park stroll.

Almost back at Fern Tree

Another fantastic hike in Tasmania. After driving up to Mount Wellington earlier in the year, no hiking involved, getting there by foot was something that I wanted to do.

Tough, reasonable elevation, a hot day with less and less shade closer to the summit, the circuit delivered everything that I expected and more. Plenty to see and not just on the summit itself. Varied environments and vegetations and well-maintained tracks. A satisfying day with a sense of achievement.

Strongly recommended, but check the weather forecast beforehand. You should probably avoid in wet and windy conditions.

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