Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington

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mount wellington
A night view of Mount Wellington.

It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re visiting, one of the things to do in Tasmania is to explore Mount Wellington Park. What makes Mount Wellington Park unique is it’s a wilderness reserve on the doorstep of Tasmania’s largest city, Hobart.

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With over 500 native plant species, birds, pademelons, echidnas and other wildlife, Mount Wellington Park is a magnet for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The highest peak in the park is Mount Wellington, at 1271m (4166ft) and the summit offers spectacular views of Hobart, Bruny Island and Tasmania’s Southwest Wilderness.

Mount Wellington 

Mount Wellington Summit

mount wellington hobart
Mount Wellington is the best spot for sunrise and sunset photos. Photo: Mount Wellington, Hobart / @jewelszee

Known as Kunanyi by the aboriginal Palawa Kani people, the Pinnacle Observation Shelter provides wonderful views and protection from the wind, cold and snow. Stretch your legs on the boardwalks around the summit for different vantage points.

As it’s only a 20-minute drive to the Pinnacle Observation Shelter, a Mount Wellington tour is usually included as one of the stops on a Hobart city tour itinerary or as part of a day tour from Hobart that might also include other places around the region.

Mount Wellington Tours

There are several options to get to Mount Wellington, these include:

  1. Drive to the Pinnacle Observation Shelter at Mount Wellington (20 minutes from Hobart city) or call Uber (fare estimation one way is between $34 to $46).
  2. Take a coach tour to the Pinnacle Observation Shelter and see some other sights along the way.
  3. Take a public bus to Fern Tree – Fern Tree Park is within Mount Wellington Park and has short and half-day hiking trails.
  4. Walk the historic Pipeline Track from Hobart’s Waterworks Reserve to Fern Tree Park.
  5. Visit as part of an organised hiking tour where you are dropped off to hike a couple of different short trails.
  6. Join the Mount Wellington descent and cycle downhill.
  7. Take a trike (three-wheeled motorbike) tour to the summit.

Check out a range of tours to Mt Wellington here

Mount Wellington Walks

Mount Wellington
The views from Mount Wellington are stunning and you may also get the chance to see Tasmanian wildlife along the way. Photo: Tourism Tasmania & Nick Osborne

Mount Wellington walks range from easy strolls to serious climbing through a landscape of forests, waterfalls and cliffs. There are even walking tracks to Mount Wellington from Hobart and its suburbs.

Short Mount Wellington walks

  • Zig Zag Viewing Point has views over Hobart
  • Miles Track Viewing Point is a flat walk with lovely views over the channels
  • Sphinx Rock Circuit is suitable for families and has a short steep section that’s worth doing for the views.

Half-day Mount Wellington walks

  • Organ Pipes Walk offers fabulous views and has some challenging sections. The dolerite columns of the Organ Pipes are popular for rock climbing and abseiling.
  • Cathedral Rock walk is a walk by the river followed by a steep climb with a bit of scrambling. The reward is stunning views.
  • Pinnacle Walk has some steep and rocky sections and wonderful views of Organ Pipes and Hobart.

Full day Mount Wellington walks

  • Pinnacle Circuit

Pinnacle Circuit is a challenging walk at high altitude with amazing views.

  • Wellington Falls

The Pipeline Track and Wellington Falls track offer stunning views of Cathedral Rock and Wellington Falls while Milles Track is a seven-hour return walk with fairly level tracks.

  • Collins Bonnet

Collins Bonnet Myrtle Forest Track is a challenging forest hike with rocky and uneven ground while the Big Bend Trail has big 360-degree views from Collins Bonnet to trig station.

Mount Wellington Descent

By Steve McKenna

It’s 14C in Hobart on this overcast autumnal morning and Troy reckons it’s a ‘sizzler’ by Tasmanian standards. Troy’s joking.

Or at least I think he is. It’s early – well, about 10 am – and my mind is still fuzzy, so I can’t say for sure.

What is clear is Troy and his fellow tour guide, Joule, are driving us to the top of Mount Wellington, the peak that looms large over the Tasmanian capital.

When we reach the top, we’ll cycle all the way back down again.

Mount Wellington descent experience

mount wellington descent
Cycling down Mount Wellington is fun for all ages. Photo: Tourism Tasmania

“It’s going to be pretty cold up there and it can snow at any time,” warns Joule. “For every 100m we rise, we lose around one degree Celsius in heat. And Mount Wellington is 1,270m high.”

Maths was never my strong point, but I’ve calculated that it’s going to be hovering just above freezing up there.

That would be fine if I was cloaked in a snowsuit and woolly hat – but I’m not.

A flimsy T-shirt, a standard sports jumper and tracksuit bottoms are going to be my only resistance against hypothermia.

I’d been warned to wrap up well for the Mount Wellington Descent – and I thought I had. But now I’m worrying.

Mount Wellington’s summit is 21km from central Hobart. Our minibus has just turned off from the suburb of Fern Tree onto the C616 Pinnacle Road, a winding route that was built by convicts.

It took years to complete, so you’d expect perfection. But bumps, nooks and crannies are everywhere.

“You get the impression the convicts didn’t care too much,” notes Troy.

Indeed.

Panoramic views from Mount Wellington

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Mount Wellington has amazing views of Hobart and beyond.

A couple of minutes later, Troy begins to point out the many charred, dead trees on the foothills of the mountain.

They are the remnants of Black Tuesday – February 7, 1967 – the date of some of the worst bushfires in Tasmania’s history.

The flames wreaked havoc across the southern part of the state, killing more than 60 people and wiping out millions of plants and hundreds of properties.

It all looks rather eerie and a far cry from the lower half of the mountain, which is thickly forested.

The vegetation becomes even more sparse as we move closer to the top, with snow gums the dominant feature, although they look painfully withered thanks to the roaring winds that can rage up to 150km/h in this harsh, hostile environment.

The other inescapable sight up here is the dolerite columns that hang off the edges of the summit and dubbed the Organ Pipes.

I’m pleasantly surprised when we park up and get out of the minibus because it’s actually not that cold.

Chilly, yes, but certainly bearable.

The skies are littered with cloud today, but the panoramic views – of Hobart and the Derwent River – are still entrancing.

Saddling up for the Mount Wellington descent

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Mount Wellington descent is fun for young and young at heart.

I’m jolted from my daydreams and told it’s time to saddle up.

I’m handed a helmet, a pair of gloves and a 24-speed mountain bike, while Joule issues the final instructions.

“I’m going to be leading the way,” he says. “I’ll look to set a fairly decent pace because I know some of you want to go fast, but don’t worry if you can’t keep up; Troy will be following in the minibus, so take your time.”

I scour my fellow riders.

There’s a diverse mix, from fit teenage lads to women in their 40s and 50s.

Then there’s me.

I’ve not ridden a bike for a good couple of years, but I reckon I can still keep up pretty easily.

How wrong I am.

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Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington

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