Renowned for its fantastic and unique bushwalking opportunities, Tasmania is a mecca for people interested in exploring the wilderness on their own two feet. From mountainous peaks, ancient rainforests, white, sandy beaches and button grass plains, there’s no shortage of treks that explore Tasmania’s stunning imagery.
If you like your treks a little more challenging, with a chance to get out of your comfort zone and really test yourself, we’ve narrowed down Tasmania’s best, most hardcore hikes. While they may not require an Olympian level of fitness, you will need to train for these treks. The rewards of incomparable scenery and the satisfaction that comes from a great day on the trail are priceless! Are you up for the challenge?
Tasmania’s hardcore hikes: 8 of the best
South Coast Track
The South Coast Track is undoubtedly one of the last great wilderness treks in Australia and is also known as one of Tassie’s toughest multi-day treks. Crossing the unspoiled wilderness of the island's southernmost shores, this challenging, 9-day trek covers 85 kilometres over a variety of landscapes – from empty beaches, towering rainforests, and alpine heights.
You can expect to carry a full pack of up to 20kgs, walking 10-15 kilometres each day across remote walking tracks, sometimes across river crossings, muddy moors and steep ascents. The rewards, however, are tenfold. The ever-changing landscape, pristine wilderness and abundance of wildlife make it all worthwhile – not to mention the feeling of elation and pride as you finish the trek!
I highly recommend doing the South Coast Track with Tasmanian Expeditions. The coastal and mountain scenery is great. The walk itself is so varied with plenty of challenges to break up the walking day, e.g. mud, water crossings, beach and rock walking. The leaders, Paul, Will and Vincent, through their planning, hard work and care made the trip feel comfortable, relaxed and so much fun. Their passion for hiking and exploring the natural environment was infectious. I think the entire group would agree that the hike left its mark on us, in terms of amazing memories that we are revisiting often, new friendships, and a thirst for the next adventure.
– A. McCormick from Queensland, Australia
• TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: The South Coast Track >
Mount Anne Circuit
The classic Mount Anne Summit is one of Tasmania’s greatest bushwalking challenges, with all of the ingredients that make up an epic wilderness trek. With deep forests, idyllic lakes, sub-alpine crags and exposed scrambles, the iconic hike tackles terrain in areas that are subject to some of Tasmania’s most changeable weather.
The four-day itinerary includes a summit of the highest peak in Tasmania's remote southwest, with exhilarating views across most of the southwest of Tasmania.
While it is a demanding bushwalk where you need to be comfortable with carrying a full pack, the support of our experienced wilderness guides will help you tackle the elements on and off the track.
The Mount Anne Circuit is epic. The boulder scrambles and exposed sections are tough but rewarding, views are awesome, and the mountain and wilderness experience amazing in all its facets. Memories to last a lifetime. A big thank you to our supportive, capable guides Ash and George who made sure it was a safe and terrific experience.
– J. Bassham from South Australia
• TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: Mount Anne Summit >
Frenchman’s Cap Trek
Frenchman’s Cap is one of the top walks in Australia and is a 46-kilometre moderately challenging return journey that gives trekkers some of the best views across the entire World Heritage Wilderness area. With extraordinary side trips to high peaks, trek over varying terrain including button grass plains, mossy rainforests, trickling creeks and windy rock faces.
You will be tested as you manage the unpredictable weather, mud and climb a steep 450-metre ascent to the summit of Frenchman's Cap. Recommended for experienced trekkers, each hill climb will be worthwhile as you welcome the panoramic surroundings of Mt. Ossa, the Arthur Range and Macquarie Harbour all from the summit.
My friend, Peter, and I recently completed your Frenchman's Cap Trek in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. It was a challenging but amazing experience getting to see firsthand the many and varied aspects of the Tasmanian bush. We made the summit on a very clear day and was able to take in the wonderful views of the surrounding lakes and peaks for miles around. Our trip was topped off on the last night by Scott providing us with a BBQ and cold beer (best ever).
– T. Przibilla from South Australia
You can also combine this epic summit with a rafting expedition of a lifetime along the Franklin River, recognised by many as one of the greatest wilderness experiences on earth.
• TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: FRENCHMAN'S CAP TREK >
Port Davey Track
The Port Davey Track is a winner for those looking to avoid foot traffic and truly immerse in sublime World Heritage wilderness. Enter into the Lost World Plateau and surrounding ancient mountain ranges; walk to rare pockets of rainforest, camp on the banks of the mystical Crossing and Spring Rivers, cross the magical Bathurst Harbour by rowboat and summit Mt Hesperus in the Western Arthur Range.
Come open-minded and ready for a wonderful remote experience whatever the weather. You can combine this trek with the South Coast Track for an epic traverse of the entire southwest of Tasmania.
Walls of Jerusalem Circuit
Only accessible by foot, remote alpine herb fields, highland lakes and glacial moraines await! The Walls of Jerusalem hike is a full-pack trek requiring experienced walkers to carry between 15-20 kilograms of their gear on their back – including a portion of the groups food and equipment. You'll hike through a natural fortress of peaks and crags that take you along a biblical theme through Tasmania’s only true alpine National Park, but be warned, Tassie's weather at altitude is known for its unpredictability so come prepared for the unexpected!
The Walls of Jerusalem was truly a bushwalkers bush walk in stages, similar in the intensity of physical and mental stamina as the South Coast Track, but with an equally spectacular but different scenery. An ability to pitch your tent in a forest of trees that would be a 1000-years-old, fresh water crayfish in tarns on tops of the mountains, beautiful green mounds of cushion plants (all these found nowhere else in the world), a Gondwana Land Australian native beech tree (exclusive only to this region in Australia), crystal clear lakes and walking over spongy, peaty, ancient glacier fields whilst listening to underground streams gurgling. Too good to be real! Brilliant too were the guides, Jay and Oscar, making the whole trip yet another one of “Life’s Highlights” and leaving me enthusiastic to attempt another in Tassie in the future.
– R. Haensel, South Australia
Despite being next door to the Cradle Mountain National Park, 'The Walls', as it is often referred to, sees much fewer visitors.
• TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE: WALLS OF JERUSALEM CIRCUIT >
Federation Peak (1224m) rises dramatically from the heart of the Eastern Arthurs Mountain Range within the wild Southwest National Park. Alongside its close cousin the Western Arthurs, the ascent is described as one of Australia’s toughest bushwalking challenges. The first ascent of Federation Peak was completed by John Bechervaise in 1949 and to this day the exposed and technical mountain offers even the most hardened adventurers a thrilling objective.
Counting in multiple contingency days gives maximum opportunity to summit in fine conditions. The extreme undertakings to Federation Peak are considered some of the toughest on the island, so much so that while guided trips can be operated in these locations, it's by special request only and an extreme vetting process is undertaken to ensure trekkers are experienced and capable.
A high level of fitness and technical introductory rock climbing skills are required to take on such an expedition. Ideally, to attempt the Federation Peak ascent people should first complete the Western Arthurs or Mt Anne Circuit or have had extensive unsupported full pack carrying bushwalking experience.
Western Arthurs Traverse
There's no denying that Western Arthurs deserve a spot on Tasmania's most challenging hikes list. Located in the remote Southwest of Tasmania the Western Arthurs Traverse presents one of the world's great bushwalking objectives.
The Western Arthurs Traverse is an extremely demanding full pack carrying bushwalk, so contingency and rest days for the full traverse of the range should be included given the region's capricious weather conditions. Trekkers who are confident in difficult geographical and weather situations and with previous hard bushwalking experience is a must.
The Great Tasmanian Traverse
Be one of the first to complete Tasmania's ultimate long-distance, multi-activity adventure, which combines five of Tasmania's great adventures via land, sea and air. You'll need plenty of endurance as you cover close to 300 kilometres over 6 weeks, explore the ‘Apple Isle’ of Tasmania from end to end.
The epic expedition will see you walking four of Tasmania's greatest multi-day treks through World Heritage Listed wilderness, including summitting the iconic Cradle Mountain and Tasmania's highest peak, Mt Ossa, and paddling down the mighty Franklin River. But if you can't do it all in 39 days, you can always complete a section.
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