Hartz Mountains National Park
Hartz Mountains National Park is in the south of Tasmania.
Like much of Tasmania's highlands, the spine of rocks in the Hartz Mountains NP is made of dolerite. This has been shaped by repeated glaciations. As a result, glacial landforms such as cirques,tarns, erratics, troughs, and aretes can be found here.
Flora and fauna
A range of temperate, sub-alpine and alpine flora is present in the park. These include ferns, waratah, cushion plants, King Billy Pines, etc. Animals such as pademelons, wallabies and echidnas are present but tend to be nocturnal.
Much of the park is above 600m and is subject to changeable, cold weather conditions. Expect it to be considerably colder than the surrounding lowlands, due not only to height, but also to wind. While rare, blizzards have been known to occur in the summer months. Rain is very common and mist/fog can come in very quickly and cause white-out conditions.
There are no public transport options for the park, so you will need access to your own transportation. The NP is approximately 1.5 hours from Hobart. The road is sealed except for the last 10km. As with most of Tasmania's roads, remember to be aware of wildlife, especially around dawn and dusk.
Standard national park fees apply to accessing Hartz Mountains NP. Check Tasmania's National Parks websites to see which option best suits your needs.
There is no public transport to or in the park, so you will need access to your own vehicle. Most walks start from the main trailhead, but Waratah Lookout and Arve Falls are accessed earlier. There are small carparks at both of these points to allow walkers to park there.
Hartz Mountains is a beautiful, accessible NP. The flora types encountered range from forests to alpine plant communities to the beautiful waratah, with rich red flowers during the summer. Apart from the flora and associated fauna (mostly nocturnal), Hartz Mountains boasts some of the best views into the Southwestern Wilderness from the summit of Hartz Peak. Hartz Plateau yields views over much of the park and the forests beyond. Below the peak and plateau, glacial lakes and tarns, erratics, waterfalls (Arve Falls) and magnificent forest lookouts (Waratah Lookout) are available.
There are walks for different abilities, although a basic level of fitness is required for many of them.
Waratah Lookout - A beautiful 5 minute return walk that takes you past a small stream and waratah to a spectacular lookout over the Huon Valley. Do look to your right to see the stream tumbling down the cliff face in a series of small waterfalls.
Arve Falls - A 10-15 minute return walk that takes you Arve Falls past alpine plant communities and the Arve River.
Lake Osbourne and the Devil's Marbles.
There is nothing in the park to purchase. Bring food, drink and other supplies with you from your point of origin, or purchase them in Geeveston before continuing to the NP.
There is no food available in the park - make sure you bring your own supplies.
Bring your own drinks, as there is no place in the park to purchase them. Water is available at the end of the road and at the Waratah Lookout Shelter.
Camping is permitted in the park. However, there are no dedicated camping facilities. As it is a NP and part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed 'Tasmanian Wilderness', it is a fuel stove only area. Usual rules of minimal impact camping apply. Parks Tasmania has more information for those interested.
Alternatively, there are some pro-camping facilities located in the Tahune Forest Reserve. As this is at a much lower altitude than the park, it is more sheltered.
Hartz Mountains NP is located at high elevations and as such, is subject to varied weather conditions. Blizzards in summer are not unknown (see the memorial to the Geeves). Be prepared with appropriate clothing, such as thermals, a warm hat or beanie, sunblock and a weatherproof jacket. Pay attention to the weather - it is possible to find yourself in whiteout conditions very fast - somewhere you were only 15 minutes ago can be no longer visible. Make sure you have plenty of food and water. There is a logbook for recording your walking intentions - do write your details in this, and sign out when you have returned. It is important to note that this book is not checked regularly.
The popular Tahune Forest Airwalk is located nearby.
Hobart is only 1.5 hours away, and Cockle Creek (Southwest NP) to the south is approximately the same amount of time away.
Geeveston and the Huon Valley are close by.