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  • Tasmania
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  • The Spectacular National Parks in Tasmania You Need to Visit at Least Once

The Spectacular National Parks in Tasmania You Need to Visit at Least Once

It’s no secret that the Apple Isle is a wilderness wonderland, so here are the national parks in Tasmania to put at the top of your must-visit list.

Lake Oberon in Southwest National Park (Image Credit: Matt Glastonbury)

Australia’s southernmost state is arguably its most beautiful. From snowy peaks to pristine lakes, mossy rainforests, dramatic waterfalls and untouched beaches, there’s a national park in Tasmania for literally every season. But with 19 national parks packed into one state, it’s tough to know where to venture first. We’ve listed some of the national parks in Tasmania that are simply unmissable, so pack your walking shoes and get exploring.

Before you go, it’s important to note that all of Tasmania’s national parks require a pass for entry, and while most parks have Visitor Centres where you can purchase these, the more remote parks can be unstaffed. For this reason, it’s easiest to visit the Parks and Wildlife Service website to get a pass before you head out on your adventure. 

A daily pass is $22.35 per person (or $44.75 per vehicle, up to eight people), while a holiday pass ($44.75 per person or $89.50 per vehicle, up to eight people) covers you for entry to every Tassie national park for up to two months. 

Southwest National Park (Image Credit: Luke Tscharke)

Southwest National Park

If you’re after a wild, remote and rugged national park experience, buckle up and head south – way south – to Southwest National Park. The biggest national park in Tasmania covers almost 10 percent of the state and is full of adventures; from the challenging South Coast Track hike (which takes several days to complete) to plenty of short walks, the stunning Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon, beaches, camping facilities, kayaking and plenty of Tasmanian native wildlife.

There’s two roads in, both about two hours’ drive from Hobart – either Gordon River Road at the north of the park border, which is the best access point for visiting Lakes Pedder and Gordon, or drive to the literal end of Australia by taking the Huon Highway to its southernmost point at Cockle Creek. 

There you can hike the four-hour return South Cape Bay Track along the coast and experience true end-of-the-earth serenity. Keep an eye out for the old graves as you walk by – they certainly add an eerie vibe to the remote location.

Park entry: A day pass is $22.35 per person / $44.75 per vehicle, up to eight people

Southwest, Tasmania 

Mt Field National Park (Image Credit: Discover Tasmania)

Mt Field National Park

The turning of the fagus is a peak autumn experience here in Tasmania - and nowhere is it more spectacular than Mt Field National Park. Witness the breathtaking transformation of the Tarn Shelf as the fagus trees paint the hillsides in hues of gold, orange, and red.

Mount Field is truly a park for all seasons though, offering unforgettable experiences year-round. It plays host to some of the world's tallest eucalypt forests, as well as an abundance of unique alpine vegetation, pristine waterfalls and alpine tarns. 

The awe-inspiring Russell Falls are among the most magnificent waterfalls in Tasmania. Wander through lush ferns to reach this natural wonder, then venture to Lake Dobson for longer hikes and winter skiing at Mount Mawson.

Part of the UNESCO Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, we think it's an essential experience to explore the enchanting beauty of Tasmania's oldest and most diverse park.

Park entry: A day pass is $22.35 per person / $44.75 per vehicle, for up to eight people

Mount Field Visitor Centre, 66 Lake Dobson Road, Tasmania

Freycinet National Park (Image Credit: We Seek Travel)

Freycinet National Park

If there’s one Tasmanian national park almost as well known as Cradle Mountain, it’s Freycinet National Park. Home to the icon that is Wineglass Bay, this jewel of the east coast is a must-visit, especially if panoramic views of wide, white-sand beaches and glorious coastal landscape is your bag. 

Walk the Wineglass Bay track and take a (most likely freezing) dip in the most crystal-clear water you’ve ever seen, then loop back around on the Hazards track to where you started – it will take you just over four hours all up. 

As you hike around, you’ll see the Hazards; dramatic granite mountains that rise up on the shores of the stunning coves. With its relatively mild weather, Freycinet National Park is a great place to camp if you don’t want to pack your visit into one day. 

Park entry: A day pass is $22.35 per person / $44.75 per vehicle, for up to eight people

Coles Bay, Tasmania 

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park (Image Credit: @munez - Discover Tasmania)

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

It’s an obvious choice, but you can’t put together a list of the best national parks in Tasmania without this stunner on it. Located in the northwest of the state, this World Heritage Wilderness area is about two hours’ drive west of Launceston and four hours from Hobart and attracts more than 300,000 visitors each year. 

Once you arrive and take the shuttle from the Visitors Centre to the iconic Dove Lake (yes, the one from all the photos) with its dramatic border of glacial peaks, you'll easily see why Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is so beloved.

There’s a range of walks to do, from shorter strolls to the famous 65-kilometre Overland Track hike (which takes about six days and must be booked ahead of time). No matter what you decide to do at Cradle Mountain National Park, you’ll be treated to memorable views and close encounters with the scores of wombats, echidnas and birds that call the area home. 

The turning of the fagus is also a peak autumnal experience within the national park that's an unmissable seasonal spectacle. 

Park entry: Note that Cradle Mountain isn’t included in the Daily Parks Pass. The Icon Daily Pass is $27.95 for adults or $67.10 per family, and includes the Dove Lake shuttle service. The shuttle runs from 8am - 6pm.

Limited access by private vehicle is allowed outside these hours, but there’s only nine vehicle spaces and one disabled space. Private vehicle access isn’t allowed during shuttle bus operating times.

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania 

South Bruny National Park (Image Credit: Tasmania)

South Bruny National Park

Another wildly popular destination is Bruny Island, off the southeast coast of Tasmania. You’ll need to drive to Kettering, about 30 minutes from Hobart, where the car ferry departs throughout the day. Prices vary depending on time (earlier is cheaper – plus you’ll be in a much shorter queue) but you can also pre-pay online for a flat return trip fee of $50.60 for a vehicle under six metres. 

While you can visit Bruny Island without venturing into the South Bruny National Park, it’s well worth the visit and home to some of the island’s most beautiful sights, from the quaint lighthouse to some incredible walks like the Labilliardere Circuit. 

Make sure you factor in a stop at The Neck lookout when driving on the narrow strip of road from north to south. Walk up the stairs to take in the spectacular 360-degree views and pay respects at the memorial for Truganini, the Nueononne woman who was a figure of colonial resistance for First Nations people during the 1800s. 

Park entry: A day pass is $22.35 per person / $44.75 per vehicle, up to eight people

Sitchu Tip: The Bruny Island Ferry runs from 6.10am to 7.15pm on weekdays and 6.30am to 7.00pm on weekends.

Bruny Island, Tasmania

Maria Island (Image Credit: Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service)

Maria Island National Park

One of the most incredible experiences in Tasmania is Maria Island, off the mid-east coast of the state. Unlike Bruny Island, the whole island is a national park, so to explore any of it you will need a Parks Pass. 

Encounter Maria Island runs the 30 minute ferry service departing from the town of Triabunna daily (except Christmas Day), and a return ticket will set you back $52 per person. There are no cars on the island, so you’ll be walking or cycling around – you can hire a bike or take one over on the boat. 

Animal lovers will squeal with delight over the abundance of wombats who are best spotted first thing in the morning and in the afternoon, and history buffs will be fascinated by the convict history with a stop at the Darlington Probation Station, a World Heritage Australian Convict Site.

An unmissable Maria Island walk is the Painted Cliffs Track, where you’ll marvel at the unique patterns on the sandstone cliff-face caused by the combination of waves and wind. There’s more challenging hikes on the island, like the Bishop and Clerk walk up a steep dolerite summit, and flat, family-friendly strolls like the Reservoir Circuit which takes you through lush open woodland. There’s so much to see on this little island that you might want to stay the night – the brave of heart can even sleep in the old penitentiary. 

Park entry: A day pass is $22.35 per person / $44.75 per vehicle, for up to eight people

Sitchu Tip: It's open 24 hours for visitors, but the first ferry from Triabunna leaves at 8.15am and the last ferry departs Maria Island at 4.15pm, with extra services added during peak season. 

Maria Island, Tasmania 

Tasman National Park (Image Credit: Stu Gibson - Discover Tasmania)

Tasman National Park

East of Port Arthur is this truly iconic Tasmanian national park that is all about drama. Covering a good chunk of the Tasman Peninsula’s coastline, it’s home to the highest sea cliffs in Australia and towering rock formations including the Totem Pole, which stands at 65 metres high and attracts daredevil rock-climbers from around the world. Other notable rock stars to feast your eyes on in Tasman National Park are the Tasman Arch and the Devil’s Kitchen, formed by millions of years of waves pounding into the rock.

Keen walkers will be tempted by the Three Capes Track, a 48-kilometre hike which starts at Denmans Cove and follows the rugged shoreline for the best views of this area. Bookings are essential for this walk, which you can do via the website. 

If you’d rather be chauffeured around, wilderness cruises can take you around the Peninsula and offer stunning views from the ocean. Keep an eye out for the wildlife, from swooping sea eagles to seals sunning themselves on the rocky shores and dolphins swimming alongside you.

Park entry: A day pass is $22.35 per person / $44.75 per vehicle, for up to eight people

Fortescue, Tasmania

Hartz Mountains National Park (Image Credit: Discover Tasmania)

Hartz Mountains National Park

Notice the mountains, plural? A trip to Hartz Mountains National Park, a favourite with bushwalkers, will offer up views of seemingly endless rows of peaks rolling into the state’s Southwest Wilderness Area. You’ll forget that you’re even close to civilisation when all you can see around you are mountains, glacial lakes and waterfalls, especially if you tackle the Hartz Peak walk which rewards hikers with incomparable vistas. 

That being said, this area has an abundance of easy short walks, like the charming 20-minute stroll to Arve Falls, the longer walk through rainforest to Lake Osborne – and even a five-minute jaunt to the Waratah Lookout for your first taste of Hartz Mountains National Park’s majestic beauty.

Park entry: A day pass is $22.35 per person / $44.75 per vehicle, up to eight people

Southwest, Tasmania

Narawntapu National Park (Image Credit: Jess Bonde)

Narawntapu National Park

If you’re a beach lover and animal obsessive, this Tasmanian national park lies about an hour from Launceston – and delivers both in spades! Known unofficially as “Tasmania’s Serengeti”, it's here you'll spot Forester’s kangaroos, Bennett’s wallabies and pademelons milling around as soon as you arrive at the Visitor Centre at Springlawn.

The landscape at Narawntapu, located on the north coast of Tasmania, is unique – think wetlands, wide grassy plains, a lagoon, long stretches of beaches and coastal heathland. Locals love to camp here as the weather is mild and the wildlife abundant. 

The 4-kilometre Springlawn Nature Walk is a wonderful circuit to stroll, especially at dusk when all the local animals really come out to play. You can also challenge yourself to see the entire park in one day on the Coastal Traverse, a 21-kilometre one-way walk between Bakers Beach and Greens Beach. 

If walking isn’t your thing, while away the hours swimming at Bakers Beach or Badger Beach, or go horse riding along the park’s 26-kilometre designated horse trail – it’s a hugely popular activity, so book ahead.

Park entry: A day pass is $22.35 per person / $44.75 per vehicle, for up to eight people

Bakers Beach, Tasmania 

Ben Lomond National Park (Photo credit: Tim Whybrow)

Ben Lomond National Park

Snow lovers will put Ben Lomond at the top of their list of Tasmania national parks to visit, but it’s beautiful even in the warmer months for walking, biking and rock-climbing. From June through September, the Ben Lomond Alpine Resort – one of only two ski fields in Tasmania – is the best place to ski and snowboard with over 30 hectares of ski runs. 

In the warmer months, enjoy the stunning alpine views, including fields of wildflowers only found in this region; or challenge yourself to the 8-kilometre walk from Carr Villa up to Legges Tor, the second-highest peak in Tasmania. You’ll also see cyclists tackling Jacobs Ladder, a nerve-wracking road full of hairpin turns that will have your legs burning in sympathy.

Ben Lomond, Tasmania

Now that you've planned out a perfect trip to one or all of these beautiful Tasmanian national parks, it's time to start planning. Find all the best activewear here, and make sure to start of your day of exploring with a coffee and pastry from one of these Hobart or Launceston cafes. 

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