The best challenging Cradle Coast bush walks
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The best challenging Cradle Coast bush walks

It's no secret that the Cradle Coast region boasts some of Tasmania's finest bushwalking experiences. There are a variety available, ranging from short walks that can be done with families or those older in age, to longer, more challenging options. If you're looking for a rewarding bushwalking experience with length and challenge, here are some top suggestions for exploring the Cradle Coast by foot.

Penguin to Cradle Trail

To join the landscape between the world-renowned bushwalking at Cradle Mountain and the coastal hubs of the region, the North West Walking Club marked a track starting at the seaside town of Penguin that stretches to Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. The Penguin Cradle Trail runs for 76 km and primarily follows the valley of the Leven River and then to the crest of the Black Bluff Range and to the border of Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park. Combined with the Overland Track, it becomes an excellent 2 week walk.

A Penguin to Cradle trail perk: it's off the beaten path. The track isn't well known to visitors, though it goes through similar environment as it's more famous neighbour, the Overland. It ventures through gorgeous scenery, including the Leven River canyon. The track can be overgrown in areas, and it's important to watch for fallen trees and obstacles that may occupy the trail due to weather conditions. Experienced walkers will find their way on the track easily, however the markers are less frequent than other walks within Cradle Hinterland

Suggested 6-8 day itinerary

1 Bus to Penguin, walk to Hardstaff Creek, 10km, 3.5 hours
2 To Wings Farm Park or Hobbs Bridge, 10km, 5 hours
3 Across Gunns Plains to Blackwood Camp, 17.5km, 6.5 hours
4 Through Leven Canyon to Loongana, 7km, 7 hours
5 Climb to Paddys Lake, 9km, 4.5 hours
6 To Bare Mountain Camp, 9km, 4.5 hours
7 To Fourways Camp, 11km, 4 hours
8 To Cradle Mountain Lodge, 8km, 3.5 hours

 

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Penguin to Cradle Trail. Photo: www.traildino.com
Penguin to Cradle Trail. Photo: www.traildino.com

The Overland Track

Walk through the heart of Tasmania's World Heritage wilderness on the famous 65 kilometre (40 mile) Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair. This iconic journey is one of our region’s gems. Leading you through truly epic Tasmanian wilderness, the Overland Track continues to be a bucket list bush walk for many visitors to the region and the state. Starting at Cradle Mountain, there’s many ways to approach this walk. We recommend booking a guided walk with an experienced guide like Tasmanian Walking Co.or Cradle Mountain Huts Walks, where you can choose options of tent camping or various huts for overnight accommodation. The passionate guides are knowledgeable about the flora, fauna, geology and history of this World Heritage wilderness and prepare terrific meals. Rain jackets, packs, sleeping materials, basic toiletries, and small torches (flashlights) are provided.

If you plan to go without a guide, you must register your walk and pay the fee, as there are only a certain number of people allowed on the trail at one time.

Walking the Overland Track: Photo: www.tasmanianexpeditions.com
Walking the Overland Track: Photo: www.tasmanianexpeditions.com

Mount Claude, Mount Roland, Mount Van Dyke

The three peaks along the Mount Roland Range are Mount Claude (1034m), Mount Roland (1234m) and Mount Van Dyke (1084m). These mountains dominate the skyline from many views across the Cradle Coast region. These peaks can be explored in different ways; via their own ascending and descending trails, as well as a traverse which connects all three peaks across the Ridgeline (taking approximately 11 hours).

If doing the Ridgeline walk, it's recommended to start walking from the beginning of the Mount Claude trailhead off Olivers Rd, and walk towards the other end at either O’Neills Creek or Kings Road, depending on which descent is taken off Mt Roland. The two descent options are off Mount Van Dyke to Gowrie Park, or off Mount Roland to Kings Rd.

If you would like a more difficult way to access Mount Roland, you can climb or descend the face track. It's important to note that the face track off of Mount Roland is steep and at times slippery, so use caution in wet weather!

The magnificent Mount Roland Range. Photo: http://tasmtnguides.com.au
The magnificent Mount Roland Range. Photo: http://tasmtnguides.com.au

Tarkine Trails in the takayna wilderness

The takayna/Tarkine region is one of Australia's best-kept secrets. It makes up the largest cool-temperate rainforest in the Southern Hemisphere, and walking into the takayna/Tarkine is like stepping back into another world. Tarkine Trails was created to enable people of all fitness levels to experience the beauty of this region, while raising awareness for the need for its protection.

With World Heritage significance, this 65 million year old rainforest sits in the North-West region of Tasmania and is a hidden gem for tourists and locals alike. Join a Tarkine Trails walks to experience this ancient rainforest, full of cathedral-like groves with mosses and fungi carpeting the forest floor.

When you venture on a multi-day walk with Tarkine Trails, you get to spend your evenings accompanied by views of the forested valley whilst indulging in some fine local produce; the perfect way to end each day of total forest immersion. Designed with a broad range of fitness levels in mind, this four-day tour provides everyone with access to the stunning takayna/Tarkine wilderness while still maintaining that level of comfort. The duration of the rainforest walk is four days, departing and returning to Launceston, Tasmania.

The blissfully green Tarkine region. Photo: www.tarkinetrails.com.au
The blissfully green Tarkine region. Photo: www.tarkinetrails.com.au

Mount Murchison and Mount Farrell

Make a weekend of it and combine two fantastic West Coast bush walks! Venture down to Tullah, and tackle both Mount Farrell and Mount Murchison. They're difficult tracks, but with rewarding landscapes and views.

Mount Farrell is an 8km out and back that features a view onto Lake Herbert below as well as a lookout to its neighbour, Mount Murchison at the very end of the trail.

Mount Murchison is the highest mountain on the West Coast Range, standing at 1,275 metres above sea level. (It's also one of the top thirty highest mountains in Tasmania.) The ascending trail is a steep narrow track firstly, until hitting the plateau with the over boulders to the summit. The track is in good condition and takes approximately five hours return.

Have fun!

Whichever bush walks you explore this summer, be sure to stay safe and be snake smart. Always pack extra water, layers and snacks. Ensure someone knows where you are and that you're well acquainted with your location. Most importantly, have fun!

Mount Murchison on Tasmania's West Coast. Photo: www.touringtasmania.info
Mount Murchison on Tasmania's West Coast. Photo: www.touringtasmania.info

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