By Jessica Palmer
I have a confession to make. I’ve taken holidays overseas more than I have in my own country. It’s not that I don’t want to, Australia is amazing! It’s just that it’s also really huge and to be honest, Australia is not really cost effective to explore unless you are roughing it.
In an attempt to remedy this disloyal behaviour towards my own country, I set off for Tasmania with the family. Tasmania is Australia’s most isolated state and is both geologically fascinating and ruggedly beautiful. Much of Tasmania is protected by national park and reserve status.
Two weeks exploring my now-favourite Australian state turned out to be the best hiking experience with the kids yet. Tasmania’s parks and wildlife service has published a guide titled “60 great short walks”. I made this my Tasmanian bible, planning our route around hikes that I thought would be achievable with the kids.
By the way, don’t let anyone tell you that hiking with young kids is too hard. It’s only hard if you attempt to do it the way you did it before kids! You just need to adjust your expectations, allow lots of extra time and have a plan for how you will carry a child who is too tired to walk any further.
Here are some great hikes and walks that I managed in Tasmania with kids!
The Dove Lake Circuit
#29 of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks
This 5.7 km circuit is extremely picturesque and skirts around the shores of Dove Lake in the Cradle Mountain area of Tasmania. It’s a fairly flat walk, except for one steep section two thirds of the way around. The conditions will vary greatly with the season but expect snow in winter and beyond.
The Coal Mines Historic Site Track
Walk #2 of Tasmania’s 60 great short walks
This 2km walk on the Tasman Peninsula offers a fascinating glimpse into an earlier era as you explore the ruins of the historic coal mine site. Whilst this walk isn’t particularly challenging or long, the history, ruins and underground cells are fascinating.
The Cape Hauy Track
#5 of Tasmania’s 60 great short walks
I won’t lie. This 8.8km return walk has plenty of ascents and descents and is brutal on the calves and thighs when carrying a well-fed toddler on your back. I wasn’t sure if I was going to manage the whole hike! It’s worth every huff and puff and aching calf muscle afterwards.
The Apsley River Water Hole and Gorge Walks
#52 of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walk
This 5.6 km hike on the East Coast was my personal favourite as it’s the perfect blend of exercise and relaxation. You will pass through a serene waterhole, eucalypt forests and heathland; all with a healthy dose of wildlife. The destination at the Apsley River involves descending into a gorge complete with dolerite cliffs, waterfalls and waterholes.
Evercreech Forest Reserve
#51 of Tasmania’s 60 great short walks
This 1km circuit on the East Coast is a great introduction to hiking for young kids. The highlight of the Evercreech Forest Reserve is the magnificent white gums known as ‘The White Knights’. At over 90 metres tall, they are the tallest of their type in Australia.
The Bay of Fires
This walk is not included in the list of 60 Great Short Walks
The Bay of Fires is a 29km stretch of white sand just begging to be walked along bare foot. Technically, it’s a string of beaches broken up by rocky headlands. The huge boulders are covered in an orange coloured lichen that really come into effect when the sun is on the horizon.
Wineglass Bay Lookout
#55 of Tasmania’s 60 great short walks
This walk is fairly short at only 1.5 km one way. However, its virtually uphill the entire way and the views from the top are fantastic! It’s a bit boring for kids as there is not much to do at the top other than take a few pictures and head back down.
About the Author: Jessica Palmer is a freelance travel writer and obsessive traveller, photographer and blogger. She’s also a wife and mother of two young kids. Jessica’s goal is to show her followers that once you become a parent, travelling can still be adventurous and fun! All photos with the exception of the first featured one are by Jessica Palmer. Follow Jessica’s adventures: www.travelwithjess.com
Read Jessica’s article on hiking in the Australian Outback with kids here.