Pinnacles Boardwalk and Summit Trig on Mount Wellington in Wellington Park
If you’re traveling to Tasmania by plane, you’ll probably be flying in an out of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. Hobart is a great city to explore, and every itinerary should include a visit to Mount Wellington, the 1,271-meter (4,170-foot) tall mountain that rises above the city to the wast. As daunting as this mountain might look, you can actually drive all the way to the top, easily reaching an incredible perspective over Hobart and what feels like a top-down view of Tasmania. A 150-meter long boardwalk at the top delivers the best views over Hobart and the River Derwent. While you’re up there, you can also make your way to the top of a jumble of boulders at the summit and explore another short boardwalk for more views to the northwest. All in, this easy summit walk of around 0.75 kilometers (0.45 miles) gives you a sensationally scenic experience on the top of Mount Wellington.
This walk begins just below the summit of Mount Wellington, so the grand views don’t require any tough elevation gain. In fact, you’ll get quite a view over Hobart as you make the winding drive up the side of Mount Wellington on Pinnacles Road.
At the end of the road, drive around a clockwise loop that circles the summit and find parking on the far side. Walk back to the point where the loop began and cross the road to Pinnacles Boardwalk, which ventures out to the Pinnacles Observation Shelter and two exceptional vista points.
Begin down the boardwalk toward the Observation Shelter, which has a large glass front overlooking Hobart. On a windy day, you can step inside this building and gain protection from the elements while enjoy awesome views.
If the weather is fine, keep walking out on the boardwalk. Walk down a flight of stairs and come to a viewing platform on the right. Step down to the overlook and take it all in! On a clear day, you’ll be able to look east over Hobart and south down the River Derwent toward the peninsulas and bays along the southern edge of Tasmania.
The boardwalk continues to the left, heading north toward a second vista point. As you walk down the boardwalk, there are continuous over Hobart. You can clearly pick out the city’s central business district and the famed harbor that launched some of the earliest expeditions to Antarctica. As the boardwalk comes to an end, the panorama expands to the north, looking farther up the River Derwent and over mountains in the chain north of Mount Wellington.
In 1985, Mark Twain had this to say of the great mountain:
Mount Wellington, massive and noble like his brother Etna, literally heaves in sight, sternly guarded on either hand by Mounts Nelson and Rumney.
Once you’ve taken in the exceptional views from Pinnacles Boardwalk (0.3-kilometer round trip), make your way back up to the road. Across the road, there is a mass of boulders at the true summit of Mount Wellington with a tripod-shaped trig station on the top. Trig stations are common throughout Australia and New Zealand for geodetic measuring and are similar to USGS survey markers in the United States.
A couple of blacktopped paths approach the summit from the parking area. Take these paths or forge your own route across the rocks. To reach the trig, you’ll need to make a short scramble up the boulders. Hoist yourself up to the trig and enjoy 360-degree views at the top.
Compared to the boardwalk, you can see even farther south from the summit, looking beyond the River Derwent toward the southern end of Tasmania. Impressive rock columns on Mount Wellington known as the Organ Pipes are visible to the southwest where you’ll also see a building alongside a communications tower that rises over Mount Wellington like a tall white pole. There is also another less prominent radio tower to the north, backed by more mountain views.
Another short boardwalk leaves from the west side of the loop at the end of Pinnacles Road. Take this 50-meter-long boardwalk to a vista point that looks out over the barren rocky terrain at the top of Mount Wellington toward the mountains to the north and west. While Mount Wellington falls away sharply on the east face toward Hobart, the mountainside is far more tapered as it stretches away to the northwest.
Longer hikes in Wellington Park are possible too, but if you want all the views without the effort, Pinnacles Boardwalk and the other trails at the summit of Mount Wellington will not disappoint. For another short hike in Wellington Park, check out Octopus Tree and Circle Track. Dogs and bikes are prohibited on the boardwalks. No fee or permit is required to visit the summit of Mount Wellington in Wellington Park, so get out and enjoy!
Directions: From the central business district of Hobart, where Highway 1 and A3 merge, continue south on Davey Street (A6). After 2 kilometers, stay to the right to continue straight through an intersection with Sothern Outlet (A6) and proceed up Davey Street (B54). After another 900 meters, Davey Street becomes Huon Road and curves to the right. Drive another 6.3 kilometers up Heon Road and make a very sharp right turn up Pillinger Drive (C616) toward Mount Wellington. Pillinger Drive turns into Pinnacles Road. From the intersection, it is 11.5 kilometers up to end of the road at the top of Mount Wellington. You will pass the trailhead for Octopus Tree at Shoobridge Bend, nine kilometers below the summit.
Trailhead address: Pinnacle Road, Wellington Park, TAS 7054, Australia
Trailhead coordinates: -42.89542, 147.237723 (42° 53′ 43.51″S 147° 14′ 15.80″E)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Australian trails, campgrounds, and lodging.
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Australia looks absolutely amazing to hike!