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Mount Wellington walks in Hobart, Tasmania are one of the top things to do when visiting the Australian city. Highlights of Tasmania Mount Wellington hikes are the famous ‘Organ Pipes’ rock formations, the Mt Wellington lookout at the summit and gorgeous views from the Tasmania hiking trails.
Tasmania Hike: Hobart Mount Wellington Walks
Considered to be one of the best walks in Tasmania, we were eager to tackle the trails…but we had just one obstacle: We were visiting Hobart without a car. Determined to get to the top of Mount Wellington Tasmania, we considered all of our options for getting to the Hobart walking tracks.
How To Get from Hobart to Mount Wellington Hiking Trails
Without a car, our options for Mt Wellington walks from the CBD were limited. To get to the top of Mount Wellington, Tasmania, we were either going to have to make the trek with our own two feet, take a local bus to a trailhead or join an organized tour to the top via shuttle bus.
Mount Wellington Walking Tracks from Hobart CBD
There is a way to complete an epic Tasmania hike on a full-day trek from the city center. Walking west on Davey Street, when the road merges with Romily Street, walkers then join the Pipeline Track. These Hobart walking tracks pass the Lower and Upper Reservoir (where there is a public toilet) and continue all the way to FernTree Tavern. Walkers then start the uphill climb via Fern Glad Track that connects to Radfords Track and eventually to Pinnacle Track (at The Springs). The trail ultimately splits into the Zig Zag Track and Organ Pipes Track; Zig Zag Track leads up to the summit and the Pinnacle Observation Deck and parking lot.
From the Hobart CBD, we estimate that the roundtrip Mt Wellington Summit Walk would take 8 to 10 hours to complete.
We, however, were not prepared for Hobart walks that were all-day adventures. Although Mt. Wellington walks are possible from the Hobart City Center, we were intent on finding an easier route.
How to get to Mount Wellington from Hobart via Public Transport
A public bus runs from Hobart CBD to Fern Tree, from which there are several Mt. Wellington walking tracks. A one-way ride takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on time of day and day of the week. Tickets for each bus ride cost about $3.50 AUD (but are less expensive with the Greencard transit card).
While the timetables were ideal and the price was certainly affordable, we fretted about the inclined trek. To be honest, we were uncertain if we had the required stamina for the uphill Mount Wellington hike from Hobart.
Not willing to accept defeat, we sought out another way to tackle Mount Wellington. We succeeded in finding an alternate way to go bushwalking in Tasmania on Mount Wellington – a route that didn’t require hiking uphill.
Shuttle Bus to Mt Wellington, Tasmania Walking Trails
When we first read about the shuttle bus tours to the Mount Wellington Hobart summit, we immediately dismissed the idea. The shuttle bus tour takes passengers from the city center to the summit…only allowing 35 minutes at the top to take in the views. While seeing the stunning landscapes was one of our top reasons for visiting Mt. Wellington, we were still most interested in spending some time hiking on Mount Wellington walking tracks – and the tour simply didn’t allow enough time.
However, with a little more digging, we uncovered the perfect compromise. The tour company offers a one-way shuttle bus ride up, which allows participants to hike down Mount Wellington on their own. Then from the base of the Hobart mountain, in Fern Tree, walkers catch the public bus– or take the Hobart walking tracks Pipeline trail – back into the city.
Get the details and book your One-Way Mount Wellington Shuttle Bus here!
Walks in Tasmania: How to Hike Mt. Wellington
On the day we decided to go up Mount Wellington in Hobart, the sun was warm and the air was clear. We laced up our walking shoes, filled up our reusable water bottles and, almost as an afterthought, packed caps and scarfs.
Mt. Wellington Shuttle Bus Transport
We bought our one-way shuttle bus tickets from the tourist office and were promptly picked up at 1:30pm. The Mount Wellington bus was full, but we learned that there was only one other passenger besides us who would be hiking down Mount Wellington.
During the ascent, the landscape changed drastically. Leaving suburbs behind, we became enveloped in leafy forest and then made the last stretch up Pinnacle Road to the summit above the tree line. From sea level, the snow had looked like a mere sprinkle, but once we were in it, it was an icy thick blanket in many areas.
Mount Wellington Walks: Hiking Down Mount Wellington
Before we got out of the van at the Mt. Wellington Kunanyi Nature Reserve, the driver handed me a Mount Wellington map and casually mentioned that we should be aware of snakes, adding that all snakes in Tasmania are poisonous. He quickly rattled off the names of the four trails that would take us down the mountain to Fern Tree, where we could pick up a public bus back into the city, and he sent us on our way. It all sounded simple enough, so we set off on our adventure of bushwalking in Tasmania – first taking in the astounding vistas.
I stepped out of the bus and was blasted with a bitter cold wind that nearly took my hat off. I pulled on my gloves, tightened my scarf and Kris and I headed to the Mount Wellington Lookout Point. The city, river, islands and sea spread out below us like a painting. The view from the summit extended farther and was much more impressive than I had imagined it would be. Since we hadn’t seen snow in a really, really long time, before we started hiking down, we built a small snowman.
Mount Wellington Walking Tracks: Zig Zag Trail
We set off on the Zig Zag Trail, slightly giddy that it was covered in snow. As the trail started sloping downward, the snow was eliciting fewer squeals of delight. After 10 minutes of hiking – or rather sliding – through wintry terrain we were clearly unprepared for, the novelty had completely worn off. Without continuous rails or trail markers, we had no idea if we were on the trail at all and relied on previous footprints to lead the way. With the steep descent, howling wind at our backs and slick snow, we were on our rear ends as much as we were on our feet.
Early on, there was a point we were both ready to call it quits, head back to the summit and pay the additional amount for the shuttle driver to take us back down the mountain. But two things made us keep going. First, considering the difficulty we were having hiking down the Mount Wellington walking tracks, we weren’t sure we could even make the climb back up to the summit. Second, by the time we reached the top, it was likely that the shuttle bus would have already left.
So, we pressed on, occasionally stopping to admire our surroundings. Despite our ragged breath and quivering muscles, in a relatively short amount of time, tranquility had completely settled over the natural landscape.
Organ Pipes and Pinnacle Tracks
After 45 minutes of snowy slip-and-slide, we came to the end of the Zig Zag Trail…and – thankfully – the end of the snow. We had originally planned to detour onto the Organ Pipes Trail at this point for a closer view of the dolerite rocks. However, after the trying conditions of hiking down Mount Wellington thus far, we wanted to keep moving along.
We merged onto the Pinnacle Trail, which was rocky and, in places, more of a gooey sludge than a trail, but I have never been more excited for mud in my life. With renewed spirit in our steps, we quietly walked through the forest of Eucalyptus trees. Without worry of foot placement, our senses were free to wander.
Tasmania Mount Wellington Nature
We smelled the pungent scent of damp earth and decaying leaves. On our faces, we felt a light breeze from wind that got tangled in the treetops. We could hear the trickle of snowmelt that flowed down the mountain next to the path and – sometimes – on the path itself.
We listened to the noisy birds overhead and with any rustle of the bushes, we would stop and strain our eyes in search of the elusive Tasmanian Devil, but we never caught sight of one. Twice, however, we got a glimpse of Tasmanian pademelons, a marsupial similar to a wallaby, feeding on grasses and plants. We passed no one and no one passed us – and we wondered what happened to the other hiker from our bus ride.
The Springs Wellington Park
We began to hear the hum of cars, indicating we had finally arrived at The Springs – which meant we had already hiked about two-thirds of the way from the summit to our destination, the bus stop in Fern Tree.
We bypassed the Lost Freight Café and hiked to The Springs Lookout Point, which was underwhelming compared to the Mount Wellington lookout at the summit. However, the gem of The Springs observation point is that, when we turned around, we could see to the peak of Mount Wellington and the distance we had hiked so far.
Completing the Hike to FernTree Tavern
Although the downhill walking trails had been less physically demanding than an inclined trek, at this point, we were both ready for the hike to be over. Yet, we had one section to complete. We picked up the Radfords Trail and connected onto Middle Trail. Slightly hobbling, but not slowing our pace, we finally emerged from the woods to the glorious sight of the Fern Tree Tavern.
We located the simple sign-posted bus stop and checked the timetable. The next bus – which was the last scheduled bus of the day – was not due to arrive for 30 minutes. Rather than stand around on the side of the ride, Kris proclaimed, “Let’s go grab some victory pints” – and we limped across the street into the Fern Tree Tavern.
What You Will Need for your Tasmania Hike
In hindsight, we were woefully unprepared for our Mt. Wellington Tasmania hike – even if it was only a downhill trek. Before you set off on Tasmania hiking trails, make sure you are prepared with the essentials!
Mt. Wellington Walks Map
If you take the Mount Wellington shuttle bus, the tour operator will provide you with a Mt. Wellington Walking Tracks Map. However, if you plan on making the full-day hike from Hobart to Mount Wellington, be sure to pick up a trail map at the tourist information office.
Had it not been snowy, our walking shoes would have likely been sufficient for the hike down these Hobart, Tasmania hiking tracks. Kris made the hike in his Merrell Trail shoes and I wore a pair of slip-on Skechers. However, in wintry weather, we recommend wearing hiking boots.
Weather Appropriate Attire
On any of the great walks in Tasmania it is important wear weather appropriate attire. In the summertime, wearing breathable hiking clothes is advisable – as is sunscreen and a wide-brimmed travel hat. In the spring and autumn, we recommend wearing layers – as the summit will be much colder than the base. As the weather can change quickly, we think it is a good idea to bring a lightweight raincoat for your trek, too.
Water and Snacks
It is vital to carry sufficient water with you when hiking Mount Wellington. Collapsible, refillable water bottles are great for travelers. It is also a good idea to pack some energy-boosting snacks – like trail mix – for your hike.
The stunning scenery is one of the top reasons to go for a hike on Mount Wellington! Rather than trying to capture the natural beauty with your phone camera, use a DSLR camera for higher quality photos. We use a Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens – which is a perfect camera for beginners (especially because the camera comes bundled with heaps of accessories!).
We think travel insurance is essential – but especially so on adventurous trips! While travel insurance is helpful with delayed flights or lost luggage, trip insurance can be crucial when travelers fall ill or get injured abroad. Check rates and coverage for your trip on World Nomads.
Guided Tasmania Walks and Tours
In the end we loved how we were able to do our hike (well, at least it makes for a funny story!), other visitors may be more interested in guided walks or Mount Wellington tours. We are featuring a few of the most popular options, which can be found on Viator.
Mount Wellington Tour from Hobart
On this tour from Hobart, participants are taken to the Mt. Wellington summit in a vehicle with a guide, who shares information about the city, mountain and region. Before coming back to the city, there is a second stop at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, which is one of the significant sights in the city. Get more details!
Hobart Hop On Hop Off Bus to Mt. Wellington
See the city of Hobart and travel to the summit of Mount Wellington on the convenient Hop On Hop Off Bus! In addition to the route that heads up to the top of the mountain, there is a second narrated city loop with 20 stops where you can hop off and enjoy the sights. Find out more!
Mount Wellington Abseil
Thrill-seekers can see Mt. Wellington in a completely different way: With a 100 meter Abseil down the famous Organ Pipes rocks. Beginners are welcome on this unique outdoor experience! Book it now!
Mt. Wellington, Wildlife Park and Richmond Tour from Hobart
See top sights near Hobart on a half day tour! Go to the Mount Wellington Peak for amazing views, visit the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to get up close and personal with Tasmanian wildlife and then visit the historic town of Richmond. Learn more here!
More Tips for Your Trip to Hobart, Tasmania
Mt. Wellington walks are just one of the many fun things to do in Hobart! Use our complete guide to sightseeing: A Perfect Hobart Itinerary.
For more great Australia walks, read our blog posts on Sydney walks – Bondi to Coogee and Manly to Spit, a Blue Mountain Day Trip from Sydney, Springbrook National Park Trails near the Gold Coast and the Byron Bay Lighthouse Walk.
For more tips on visiting Australia destinations, go to our Australia Guides blog page, where we feature city walking tours, top things to do and the best day trips!
We Want To Know: Have you trekked on Mount Wellington walking tracks? Did you hike from Hobart to Mount Wellington, Tassie? Give us your tips and advice on the best routes and viewpoints in the comments below!
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