Majestic Mount Wellington or kunanyi towers over Hobart and is located in Wellington Park, a spectacular wilderness reserve. The mountain rises 1271 metres above sea level and the view from the top takes in the greater Hobart region, Bruny Island and the South West Wilderness. While it only takes 30 minutes to drive from the CBD to the peak, there’s plenty to warrant a long stay – and a little legwork.
Why visiting Wellington Park is a must
You can’t miss Mount Wellington – literally. Much of the city is arranged in its foothills and the sometimes snow-capped peak is visible all over town. This is Hobart’s backyard, where locals come to hike past waterfalls and forested gullies, mountain-bike along rocky trails and fire up the barbecue at scenic spots for picnics with friends.
The 18,000-hectare park is home to an astonishing biodiversity, with varied microclimates from temperate rainforest to sub-alpine flora and tundra making it the home of more than 500 native plant species, many of them endemic, dozens of bird species and mammals such as potoroos, pademelons, betongs, platypuses and echidnas.
Kunanyi/Mount Wellington is the tallest in the Wellington Range, alongside other mountains Collins Cap, Cathedral Rock and Sleeping Beauty.
How to get there
The only vehicle road to the summit of kunanyi/Mount Wellington is Pinnacle Road. If you’re travelling during winter, check the City of Hobart website to ensure ice or snow hasn’t restricted access.
Prefer someone else to do the driving? The Mt Wellington Explorer Bus departs from Hobart and offers a range of choices, from a two-hour return tour to the summit to a hop-on hop-off option for visitors who want time to explore.
What to do
On your way up the mountain (or back down) from Hobart CBD, you’ll pass through the charming suburb of South Hobart, where in addition to some topnotch restaurants and cafes, there’s the famous Cascade Brewery. The oldest operating brewery in Australia, Cascade is nestled in the foothills of Mount Wellington and has a beer garden, roaring fireplace, hearty food menu and tours for the brew-curious.
From short walks ideal for young families to tougher hikes that traverse wild and windswept terrain, Wellington Park offers a network of bushwalking tracks. Trails are graded according to difficulty and although most of them are well-marked, walkers should plan their route in advance and bring a map or guidebook. Remember: extreme weather and rapid changes in conditions can occur in the mountains so bring warm clothes, wet-weather gear and food and water for spending extra time in higher altitudes. Go to Greater Hobart Trails to choose your walk.
Cyclists can choose from road riding to advanced cross-country tracks on Mount Wellington. Bikes are allowed on formed roads and fire trails; several tracks are shared use, including the North-South, Pipeline, Radfords, Middle, Pillinger Drive and Stumpside tracks. Bike-only tracks include Old Farm Track (downhill only), Drops and Pitfall Track. Go to Greater Hobart Trails to plan your adventure.
The Organ Pipes, extraordinary columns of dolerite towering 120 metres in the air, were formed as molten rock cooled and contracted into hexagonal buttresses. They’re recognised internationally as an excellent rock-climbing spot for experienced mountaineers.
Admire the view
At Mount Wellington’s summit there are open viewing decks and the Pinnacle Observation Shelter for when the weather is a little less friendly. There are wooden boardwalks dotted about that lead to more vantage points around the summit.
Where to eat
The Springs, located in the eastern foothills of Mount Wellington, is a gorgeous sheltered picnic and barbecue spot. BYO supplies or pop into Lost Freight, a converted shipping container cafe that serves locally roasted Zimmah coffee and snacks.
Where to stay
Such is its proximity to Hobart that there’s no need to book accommodation close to Mount Wellington. But if you’re looking for somewhere outside the CBD, consider the Islington Hotel. Located in South Hobart, this five-star boutique stay has only 11 elegant rooms and offers a four-course degustation menu in its mountain-view observatory from Wednesday to Saturday.
Know before you go
Decide what you want to do before you arrive at Wellington Park – there’s no information centre here. You can download maps and trail guides or find them at Service Tasmania shops.
There’s no fee to enter the park and no opening and closing times; the park is only closed when there’s serious fire danger.
Even in the summertime, it’s important to bring warm clothes: it’s at least eight degrees cooler at the top of the mountain than in Hobart and there’s a wind-chill factor, too.
Image credits: Tourism Tasmania/Luke Tscharke