Tracks & Trails

Hartz National Park
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | national park | Tasmania

Hartz National Park

A taste of Tasmania’s South-West Wilderness

by Susie Baber  |  27 February 2022

If you have time when exploring the Huon Valley, Hartz Mountains National Park is worth a visit. We only had time to do two of the short walks in this beautiful park but it certainly whet my appetite for more, some of the longer walks will be on my list for our next trip to Tassie.

80km from Hobart, Hartz Mountain National Park is at the southern end of the Huon Valley and looks out towards the south-west wilderness area.  It is one of 19 Tasmanian National Parks which make up the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. At just 72 km² of Tasmania’s most rugged lands this park is the little brother to the national park it that borders to the west. Southwest National Park is a stunning 6200 km².

Hartz Mountains National Park has been shaped by ancient glaciers and offers a window into the remote and rugged south-west wilderness. A dolerite range runs through the centre of the park, small glacial lakes dot the plateau and waterfalls cascade off the range. The diverse vegetation ranges from wet eucalypt forest to alpine heath on the exposed mountains.

The area supports a wide range of wildlife, with many native animals that only venture out at night. Echidnas, Bennett’s wallabies and pademelons can be seen during the day, and you may be lucky enough to spot a platypus in a nearby stream.

The early explorers of this land were looking for Huon pine and named the mountains after a range in Germany. The Geeves family arrived in the 1840s and built the first road into the park from Geeveston, the town they founded at the foot of the mountain range. This road allowed Hartz Mountains National Park to become one of the most popular hiking destinations in Australia.

There are three short walks of under an hour in the park, a short walk up to Waratah Lookout, a stroll to Arve Falls and a flat hike to Lake Osborne. Longer hikes include Lake Esperance, Hartz Pass and the most challenging – Hartz Peak. These longer walks require a good level of physical fitness as well as knowledge of Tasmania’s unpredictable weather.

With our limited time we managed to do Waratah Lookout and Arve Falls.

Waratah Lookout | 300m | 5 mins | easy

A well-formed gravel path follows a babbling brook through myrtle forest until you emerge out onto a wooden lookout platform with sweeping forest views of the Huon Valley and the Wellington Range. The panorama is scarred by the remnants of bushfires and bare patches of what I can only assume are logging areas, even so the view is breathtaking. There is a picnic area on the other side of the road with BBQs, picnic tables and toilets.

Arve Falls | 1km | 20 min | easy

Starting from the main Hartz Mountain carpark the Arve Falls track is well formed and easy to follow. It is a wonderful glimpse of sub-alpine vegetation taking you through beautiful snow gum woodland and colourful alpine herb fields to the edge of the plateau. After crossing the creek the track starts to descend and finishes with a timber staircase and viewing platform. You find yourself at the top of the falls just as they plunge over the edge of the plateau and into the valley below. Retracing our step back to the carpark offered stunning views to the west of the dolerite peaks of Devils Backbone. A lovely preview of what more there is to explore in this beautiful National Park.

Map from Alltrails:
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