Mount Wellington | Kunanyi
Directions - Located 20 minutes from the centre of Hobart, take the A6 and then Huon Rd towards Mount Wellington. Snake up this road for a while until you see the sign pointing you up towards the summit of Mount Wellington. The Springs is located on Pinnacle Road before the summit with the Lost Freight Café at the trail head.
The Hike - To finish what had been a lowkey year of adventure in 2022, a trip to Tasmania was planned to finally hike the South Coast Track. With the aviation industry struggling thanks to constant staff shortages due to illness, I gave myself a couple of days before the start of the South Coast Track just in case my flight was delayed, as we experienced in July coming back from Darwin.
After enjoying a lovely Christmas down in Funbury with the family, it was time to fly out on the red eye, arriving in Hobart mid morning on the 29th of December. Picking up the hire car at the airport, I had a few hours to kill before I could check in to my accommodation so wandered around the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens before meeting up with fellow South Coast Track hiker, Bronwyn, for lunch. Feeling very tired, I did some last minute shopping for the upcoming week long trek, before having a quick nanna nap. Wanting to get in a hike on Mount Wellington, the beauty of Tasmania in the summer is that I could be out until 8-9pm as the daylight hours last until well after 9pm. Feeling somewhat refreshed, I drove out to The Springs in my Kia Stonic (worst modern car I've driven) with the goal of doing a summit hike via several of the named tracks that dot the mountainside. I initially called this the Mount Wellington Circuit but after perusing the Wellington Park website, they list this suggested walk as the Pinnacle Circuit so I'll keep things consistent.
My route would take me from The Springs up the Pinnacle Track, the Grays Fire Trail, Milles Track, Ice House Track and South Wellington Track to the summit before coming back down via the Zig Zag Track and Pinnacle Track. If that sounds complication, it really isn't once you're out there as everything is really well marked and if you're carrying a copy of the map then you will be able to pinpoint your location at each intersection. Studying the map at The Spring, I visually mapped it out in my head before crossing Pinnacle Road to find the correct track. This was my second hike on Mount Wellington after doing the Organ Pipes Circuit way back in 2018, so I was looking forward to finally hiking up to the summit. Although it was summer, you never quite know what the weather will be like, with Mount Wellington copping a dusting a snow just a month prior to my visit. Well prepared with warm clothing, enough water and my PLB, I passed the old Springs Hotel site on my way to the Grays Fire Trail and eventually the Milles Track.
Starting at about 700m ASL, I had about 550m of climbing to get through before reaching the summit. Settling into the steady climb, the gradients never get too crazy up here and the quality of the trail means that it feels easier than it is. I really enjoy that the tracks up here get properly looked after and there is a sense of pride about having such a great choose your own adventure network of tracks. The Grays Fire Trail and Milles Track don't last long but I was happy for some great views and to see some Cheeseberry plants. Reaching the Ice House Track, this would be home for the next 2.2 kilometres as I ascended roughly 300m to reach the South Wellington Track. A combination of rocky steps and well drained compacted track made for an enjoyable hike as I meandered through the forested slopes of Mount Wellington, looking our for wildflowers, ferns, mosses and fungi.
I was excited to see my first Tasmanian Waratah since the Three Capes in 2018, with many more in flower the higher I climbed. With orchid season in WA mostly over by November, I was curious when I spotted an orchid like flower that wasn't very large, growing on the side of the track. Getting on all fours to photograph it, this was the start of what would be a really enjoyable experience for the iNaturalist side of me. Over the past year or two I've gotten serious about capturing and cataloging all my hiking finds, with this one turning out to be a Mountain Caladenia (Caladenia alpina). As I climbed higher I saw River Rose, Asthma Bush, Mountain Pinkberry, Dragon Heath and plenty more Tasmanian Waratahs. Popping out of the forest section, I got my first proper views of the summit of Mount Wellington as an exposed boulder field opened up the landscape. Having seen these on the Organ Pipes Circuit, I thought it would require some rock hopping but the track takes a slight left to continue through sparser woodland.