Are you staying in Hobart and looking for the best Mt Wellington walks? This beautiful loop walk links the Organ Pipes, Zig Zag track, Mt Wellington summit, and the Panorama track – creating the best day hike only minutes from central Hobart.
Hobart is a gorgeous little city nestled between the deep blue waters of the River Derwent and the imposing escarpments and forests of Mt Wellington (Kunanyi). At 1,271m Mount Wellington is a landmark visible across much of southern Tasmania, and is used by many a befuddled tourist to gain their bearings when exploring this beautiful part of the state 😀
When looking up at Mt Wellington, you can’t help but notice the towering dolerite columns known as the ‘Organ Pipes’. Not only is there a walking trail at the base of these cliffs, but there is a second track – the ‘Zig Zag‘ track – that leaves the Organ Pipes walking trail, snaking its way up the southern side of Mt Wellington to the summit.
Rather than backtrack, we extended this hike to include the Panorama track, on the northern side of Mt Wellington, which loops back around to the Pinnacle Road creating one of the best Mt Wellington walks you’ll find in the park!
How to get to this Mt Wellington walk?
Finding the start of this Mt Wellington walk is easy. From the centre of Hobart, simply take Davey Street south following the signs to Mt Wellington.
Turning right at Fern Tree – its a very sharp switchback with a huge sign showing the road to Mt Wellington and any closures that may be in place during snow – the road winds its way up the mountain. Only a few kilometres from Mt Wellington summit you’ll come upon ‘The Chalet‘ on the left hand side of the road. Just a few metres before The Chalet is a small car park – here – where you should leave your vehicle.
Walk up to The Chalet and you’ll see the sign marking the start of the Organ Pipes track.
The walk to Mt Wellington summit
The Organ Pipes track is relatively flat, requiring minimal effort. The reward though is significant, with good views across the scree slopes towards Hobart and the Derwent River.
When we last walked this trail it was early summer, the birds were singing and the native wild flowers were in full bloom.
If you’re a ‘twitcher’, you’ll be excited to hear that a walk through Wellington Park will give you the opportunity to spot more than half a dozen bird species that are endemic to Tasmania. For more information – especially for beginners – you’ll love reading this Guide to Common Birds of Tasmania.
While walking this section, the towering cliffs to your right will slowly start to emerge. Those with a keen eye might see the start of the unadvertised ‘red dot’ trail that shoots right up the mountain face to the summit. We haven’t tried it, but apparently it will give you a killer thigh workout!
There are a few marked trails that will take you closer to the base of the cliffs if you’re interested. When the conditions are good you’ll often hear the sounds of rock climbers calling to each other from spire to spire.
After around 45 minutes of walking you’ll come to a junction, where you can choose to either continue to the left back down to The Springs, or take the Zig Zag track up the hill to the right.
It’s at this stage that the hike takes things to a whole new level…literally!
Ascending above the tree line, you’re presented with some of the best views of Mt Wellington, Hobart and beyond that you’ll get anywhere in the region!
As its name suggests, the track then zig-zags its way up the side of Mt Wellington. It’s steep, but the track is well formed and protected by waist-high chains on one side in sections.
The higher you go, the better the views (if that’s even possible!).
Personally, we preferred the views from the Zig Zag track to those from Mt Wellington’s summit. What you see in the distance is exactly the same, but the views from the Zig Zag track give you a better perspective of the scale of the mountain, cliffs and surrounds – as you can see in this crazy photo…!!
After 30 minutes of climbing the summit is in sight!
We’ve got a reasonable level of fitness, but the Zig-Zag track is super-steep so you may need to allow up to an hour for this section.
It’s not often you get a chance for a photo like this from the summit. I’m not sure what that person was up to, but they made for a great focal point 😀
In total it took us around 1.5hrs from the time we left the car to the time we reached the summit.
While a popular option is to return the same, or to have someone meet you at Mt Wellington summit, we love a loop walk and had planned a return hike via the Panorama track.
To get there, simply follow Pinnacle Road down the mountain for around 10 minutes and you’ll clearly see the sign by the railing marking the start of the track.
Again, the wild flowers were out in force, contrasting really nicely against the twisted snow gums.
This track has a few ups and downs, but nothing too strenuous.
After about 30 minutes you’ll find yourself emerging from the bush onto Pinnacle Road.
Take the road to your right and follow it back to your vehicle. After about 10-15 minutes you’ll be back at The Chalet!
Final thoughts on this Mt Wellington walk?
All up, this series of linked tracks took us around 2.5hrs to complete. But, it’s going to vary considerably depending on your level of fitness, as the Zig Zag track is short but steep.
We love loop walks, and considering the diversity in terrain, views and flora, this would have to be not only one of the best Mt Wellington walks, but one of the best in Tasmania as well!
As with all of Tasmania’s peaks, keep an eye on the weather. The mountain faces and summit are extremely exposed and can be extremely dangerous during high winds or icy conditions.
If you’d like to view a more comprehensive map of the area, showing not only this walk but many of the other tracks criss-crossing Wellington Park, then click here: Wellington Park Walking Map
Reward-to-effort ratio for Organ Pipes track = 7/10
Reward-to-effort ratio for Zig Zag track = 10/10
Reward-to-effort ratio for Panorama track = 7/10
Snake count = 0
Leech count = 0
Are you looking for more walks near Mount Wellington, or Hobart?
You won’t be able to resist adding these three to your list:
- The Lost World – This walk will take you down into the jumbled, chaotic, and utterly enchanting ‘Lost World’, revealing a very different side to Mt Wellington.
- The Needles – Sssshhh….don’t tell anyone else, but we think this walk is one of Tasmania’s best kept secrets – and it’s only an hour’s drive from Hobart!
- Cathedral Rock – This one is for the hardcore hikers and bushwalkers! It’s a tough loop walk, but when you step onto the wind-swept spire of Cathedral Rock you’ll realise the effort was well worth it.
Happy hiking and bushwalking!
Andrew and Karen.