Rising to just 216 meters (708 feet) above sea level, Mount William is far from the tallest mountain in Tasmania. Despite its modest stature, Mount William is the highest point in Mount William National Park and offers far reaching 360-degree views over the northeast corner of Tasmania. The summit is close to the coast, with an ocean view that includes Flinders Island and the Bass Straight. A straightforward 3.6-kilometer (2.25-mile) round trip track ascends 140 meters (460 feet) to the summit. Most of the hike is gradual and easy going, leading to a short steep ascent to the summit.
The trail begins from the end of a side road off Mount William, the scenic road that loops through Mount William National Park and offers great viewing of kangaroos and wallabies at dawn and dusk.
At the large dirt lot at the road end, you’ll spot a sign next to the trail that reads “Mount William Summit 45 mins.” While other guides (including official park material) list this as a 1.5 to 2 hour hike, rest assured that this 3.6-kilometer round trip walk should only take 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete.
Set out up the track to Mount William, which takes a fairly straight line toward the unpronounced summit. At the start, this trail is wide enough for two people to walk side by side, but narrows to a single track toward the summit. Tall brush borders the trail at the start, and there is an impressive collection of moss, lichens, and mushrooms on the ground along the trail.
The trail enters a forest of swamp gums (eucalyptus trees) and she-oaks that shade the trail as it gets a bit steeper. The track curves to the right as you approach a rocky crown rising out of the trees, the summit of Mount William. Follow orange markers as the trail tackles a few boulders on the side of the mountain and ascends to the summit. There is a trig station at the top. Just past that the trail ends at a large boulder with panoramic coastal views.
Stand on the large boulder at the summit and get your head above the treetops for sweeping 360-degree views. Half of the view looks inland over farmland, while the other half looks east and north over the coastline at the northeast corner of the Island of Tasmania. Gazing north, your eyes will be drawn to the form of Flinders Island and Cape Barren Island on the edge of the Bass Straight.
While Mount William might not tower over its surroundings, it is more prominent than it initially appears and really does offer a big panoramic view (especially if the weather is clearer than shown here). When you’re done taking in the views, simply return the way you came. There are no junction along the trail, so it shouldn’t be hard to stay on track.
A national park entrance fee is required to visit Mount William National Park. A single day pass will cost $24 or you may purchase an 8-week pass good for all of Tasmania’s National Parks for $60 (all prices in Australian Dollars as of September, 2014). Dogs and bikes are not permitted. There is a bathroom at the trailhead. Camping is available at nearby Stumpys Bay.
Directions: Take Tasman Highway (A3), 42 kilometers east of Scottsdale and 56 kilometers northwest of St. Helens to Gladstone Road (B82) and turn north following signs for Mount William National Park. Drive 25 kilometers to the small town of Gladstone and turn right on Carr Street/Cape Portland Road again following signs for the park (if you miss the intersection, you will quickly come to the end of the road). Drive two kilometers as the road becomes dirt and continue on to Browns Ridge Road/Musselroe Bay Road. Drive another 15.25 kilometers, going through a few twists and turn before entering the national park where you will turn right on to Mount William. Take this scenic dirt road for 4 kilometers and turn right on a dirt road to Mount William. After 1.5 kilometers, the road ends at the trailhead car park for Mount William Track.
Trailhead address: Mount William Road, Mount William National Park, Mt William, TAS 7264, Australia
Trailhead coordinates: -40.90896, 148.207197 (40° 54′ 32.25″S 148° 12′ 25.90″E)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Australian trails, campgrounds, and lodging.
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