Updated: February 15, 2010
Self-drive and walking guides to Tasmania’s wild forests
The secluded Styx Valley is less than two hours drive west of Hobart. Discover ancient rainforests, majestic mountains, the swirling waters of the Styx River, and the tallest hardwood trees in the world, Eucalyptus regnans.
Download the Styx self-drive/walking guide
The Upper Florentine
The Upper Florentine Valley lies 80 kilometres west of Hobart and is an intrinsic part of Tasmania’s south-west wilderness—one of the greatest temperate wilderness areas on Earth. The upper reaches of the Florentine are surrounded by the spectacular mountains of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and the valley floor is home to giant trees, rainforest and moorlands.
The Liffey forests lie about 55 kilometres south-west of Launceston. Backing onto the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, the forests are home to Tasmanian Devils, Platypuses, Bandicoots, Bettongs, Potoroos and Pygmy Possums, as well as Pink Robins, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos and the threatened Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle.
Ben Lomond Forests
Ben Lomond National Park is just 50 kilometres from Launceston, making it a popular destination for bushwalking, rockclimbing and skiing. The crags and moorland of Ben Lomond plateau are wild and remote, and during summer months, colourful wildflowers such as Richea scoparia cover the plains.
Sumac Lookout and Balfour Track (Easy/Moderate) - 3 hours
The Tarkine contains one of the world’s great temperate rainforests and Australia’s largest wilderness rainforest. It is a vast area located between the Arthur and Pieman rivers. Only 5% of the Tarkine is protected as National Park. In May 2005 further formal reserves were declared in the Tarkine . Unfortunately this protection is not as National Park, leaving the area open to mining exploration.
Travel south from Smithton on the C217/C218 for approximately 60 kilometres to Kannunnah Bridge (Arthur River). Turn left onto Sumac Road, follow for 1.7 kilometres to the lookout. Then retrace your drive back to Kannunnah Bridge (do not recross it) and onto Blackwater Road (C214). Follow the C214 for 4.7 kilometres from the bridge to a small car park opposite the start of the Balfour Track walk.
Further walks, including the sensational Philosopher Falls walk near Waratah and Mt Donaldson near Corinna, are available on the free Tarkine self-drive flyer from the Tarkine National Coalition (call them on 0409 543 902).
The Big Tree Track (Moderate) - 1.5 hours
This fantastic walk will take you through stunning sassafras and a mystical fern glade. Descending through huge eucalypts, musk, myrtle, mosses and ferns to the majesty of the Blue Tier Giant. This massive Eucalyptus regnans has a girth measuring a staggering 19.4 metres! The loop walk continues to the beautiful Groom River and the unique ‘cradle’ tree. The trail is a little steep in places.
Welcome to the mystery of the Blue Tier. A land of glacial refugia where flora has survived for 65 million years! Set your trip meter to 000 at the Weldborough Hotel and drive along the A3 towards Pyengana for 6.7 kilometres and turn left onto Lottah Road. Follow Lottah Road for 1.3 kilometres and turn right near the quarry. Follow this dirt road for 1.7 kilometres to the start of the Big Tree Walk.
The Summit (Easy) 30-60 minutes
Close to St Marys, the Sisters provide views across to Flinders Island, the Northeast Highlands and along the spectacular east coast.
Travel 5.4 kilometres from St Marys on German Town Road. Turn left onto South Sister Road. Drive approx. 2 kilometres (alternatively, it’s a beautiful walk). Enjoy the easy walk to the summit of South Sister (the final 10 minutes are steep but have steps and rails) then soak in the 360 degree views from the lookout at 832 metres.
North Weld Valley River Walk (Easy/Moderate) 1 hour
This track provide a stunning glimpse into the beauty of the North Weld Valley wilderness, taking you through ancient manfern, myrtle and blackwood forests where you will find the pristine Weld River. Enjoy a swim in one of the most majestic rivers in Tasmania.
If you are coming from Hobart head to Huonville. Through Huonville turn right on the road after the bridge (C619). Keep driving past Glen Huon until you reach Judbury. Take a left (becomes Lonnavale
Road). Follow this along (don’t turn off to Lonnavale) and this road becomes Denison Road then Weld Road.
Once you pass the Ta Ann industrial complex turn right onto Eddy Road. This is the beginning of the Weld Valley. Follow Eddy Road along over the bridge (around 10 kilometres) until you get to a T-intersection, turn right onto South Weld Road and follow this along for eight kilometres until you get to North Weld Road on your right. Follow this road down until the end. There is a parking area and from there you can walk down to the end of the clay road where you will see pink tags.
A visit to Glovers Bluff (off the South Weld Road) or nearby Hartz Mountains National Park will provide landscape views of logging in the area. The turn‑offs are well signposted.
Visiting Tasmania's forests
Many of Tasmania’s threatened forests and wilderness areas are in remote locations. Public transport cannot be relied upon to take you to these areas. If you require assistance seeing these wild places please contact the conservation group in the area you wish to visit well in advance to find out if they can help you get there. If at all possible, bring your own vehicle.
Bring food, water, sunhat, raincoat and stout shoes. Bring toilet paper, as many of these areas have no built toilets.
These are mostly dirt roads, many kilometres from the nearest township and out of mobile-phone range, so ensure that you have adequate petrol in your vehicle for the journey you are taking.
Always drive at a safe speed and slow down for potholes, corrugations and other hazards. Although suitable for two wheel drive vehicles, many of these roads become slippery when wet, and dusty when dry. Ensure you have a spare tyre and jack. Drive slowly at night and dusk to spare wildlife. Beware of log trucks.
Please do not light any campfires or smoke cigarettes while in the forest or other natural areas.
Disclaimer: Visitors should be aware that natural hazards occur within Tasmania’s forest and other natural environments. The Wilderness Society accepts no liability for any injury or damage resulting from such hazards.
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc
130 Davey Street, TAS, 7000 Australia
Phone: (03) 6224 1550 | Fax: (03) 6223 5112