Visitors to Hobart can experience Wellington Park in a variety of ways from strolling through cool forested gullies along the historic Pipeline Track, or traverse Wellington Range on horse or mountain bike. Not to mention 4WD, rock climbing and camping.
Wellington Park is an au-naturale theme park of 18,000 hectares on the verge of Hobart. Extraordinarily it is one of the largest reserved areas in Tassie outside of the state’s 1.3 million-hectare World Heritage Area.
The park includes Mount Wellington (1270 metres) and the summit is only some 20km from the Hobart CBD. Wellington is the city’s sentinel and it’s close enough to Hobart to be considered an intriguing part of it – that the east flank of the mountain is forest rather than housing estate is fascinating enough. But there is a lot more to do around the mountain and this not so little city-side park than admire trees.
Challenging mountain bike tracks have been carved from Mt Wellington’s roller-coaster-steep flanks. Many follow fire trails and like downhill skiing there are Black Diamond Runs: some trails are almost free-fall steep, have puncture-inducing terrain, obstacles, drops, and jumps. After about eight kilometres this trail finishes at the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park, a free public access park that has hosted national championships.
The North-South Biking Track
The track features a main trail, jumps, log rides and in one part, has been landscaped through rock. The North-South Track will prove to be an enormous drawcard for mountain bikers worldwide.
The trail runs from Shoobridge Bend to Junction Cabin. The trail was built by the Hobart City Council and is designed for both bike riders and walkers. It is open free to the public.
Walk Up Mt Wellington
Charles Darwin reportedly hiked up Mt Wellington and today walking trails meander from the city to the 1270-metre summit. Locals include wallabies and echidnas. Twitchers can keep an eye peeled for wedge-tailed eagles and green rosellas having their own riot in these parts. There’s a host of endemic plants including dragon heaths and Tasmanian waratahs.
In Hobart ‘rock climbing’ and ‘city’ make cosy bedfellows. The Organ Pipes are barely a rope length from the city and yet climbing on The Pipes is serious business. As the terrific ‘thesarvo’ website notes: “In terms of mileage of routes, skinned knuckles, expenditure of effort and annual traffic, the Organ Pipes is the major focus of climbing activity in Tasmania”.
There are about 450 climbs on the mountain. The highest climbs in Australia are rated 34 and there are 31s here (Future Shock) as well as plenty of long middle-to-high-grade climbs. ‘After Midnight’ is a classic.
It is extraordinary to think this climbing nirvana is just 20 minutes from the CBD.
Just Take in the View
Mt Wellington is more than twice the height of the world’s tallest building.
Up on the peak you can do nothing but take in the views and be inspired by the not-so-distant Cape Raoul and the gloriously fractured coves of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
This wilderness isn’t all about nature though. While the water harvested from the park contributes around 20 per cent of greater Hobart’s drinking water, the rock climbers take enormous after-climbing comfort from bivouacking in the bars and pubs around the Salamanca waterfront: wilderness one minute, sharing a bottle of Jansz with friends in a waterfront bar the next.
Who needs a million bucks.
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