Hartz Mountains National Park

Top choice in The Southeast

A favourite southern national park for its proximity to Hobart, 80km away, and the relative ease of reaching its vast alpine views, Hartz Mountains forms one edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Most visitors come to walk to the park's highest point, 1254m Hartz Peak (7.4km, four hours return), with its superb outlook onto two of Tasmania's most dramatic mountains: Federation Peak and Precipitous Bluff. Rapid weather changes bluster through – bring waterproofs and warm clothing regardless of the forecast.

The walk to Hartz Peak passes Lake Esperance (3.4km, 1½ hours return) and then at Ladies Tarn ascends in short, steep fashion to Hartz Pass. Past here the track gets more indistinct, but remains fairly well marked, before a final scramble to the summit.

There are good options for short walks in the park also, including a five-minute shuffle to Waratah Lookout, 24km from Geeveston, as well as tracks to Arve Falls (20 minutes return) and Lake Osborne (40 minutes return). All begin from along the access road to Hartz Peak.

A century ago, the Hartz plateau was a logging hotspot, and stocks of small varnished gums were harvested for eucalyptus oil, which was distilled in Hobart for medicinal applications. Eventually the area was declared a national park, and in 1989 became part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

There’s no camping within the park – just basic day facilities, including toilets, shelters and picnic tables. Access is via Arve Rd from Geeveston: the last 10km is unsealed, but is fine in a regular car unless the road is snowed under.