Short walks in the Western Wilds: 5 leg-stretchers between Hobart and Strahan
Watersmeet at Lake St. Clair
Starting at the Parks and Wildlife Visitor Centre, you can pick those who just completed the Overland Track with their boots off and toes bare. As soon as you start the walk, you’re surrounded by silver wattles and waratahs. The bustling sound of hikers seems miles away. It’s a leisurely walk on an easily accessible flat surface. At the end, where the two rivers meet, a picnic table is strategically placed for you to enjoy a little snack. I’d recommend walking along the beach back. The lake reflections are out of the ordinary and if lucky you might have the pleasure of meeting the local Lake St Clair Echidna!
Bonus: Franklin River
If you left Hobart in the early morning you arrive at the Franklin River Picnic Area just in time for lunch. Take the opportunity to feel the cold river and complete the short 1km walk which takes you on a loop through the forest lining the banks of the river.
This 40 minute return takes you on a partly elevated walk through a thick fern forest. Just as you start wondering how there can be a view, the forest clears to reveal an impressive lookout. The Franklin and Collingwood Rivers force their way through the dense treelined forest and in the far distance the magnificent Frenchman Cap can be seen. Its snow-covered tip reflects in the sun. Squint your eyes and maybe you will see a climber who has made it to the top, after days of climbing. In that moment, you really are seeing through a window into the Western Wilds.
Marvel at the wonder of the spectacular Nelson Falls, tucked away from the side of the road. The trail is almost exclusively on a boardwalk and it takes you through a pre-historic experience in time. Without giving away too much, it’s guaranteed breathtaking and a must see.
Edged along the naked rock face, this walk is not for the fainthearted. But don’t judge a book by its cover, the walk is surprisingly easy. Somehow the waterfall appears to be one of the few natural powers left of what must once have been vibrant forest. Overlooking the orange juice coloured river of Queenstown and its scarred hillsides, it is a sight out of the ordinary.
Bonus: Do a quick stop across the road from Horsetail Falls to check out Iron Blow lookout. The open cut mine is now filled with turquoise water and with a fair bit of imagination it almost looks like the Croatian coastline.
By the time you make it to Strahan the sun will start to cast a beautiful golden afternoon glow. Walk down to the local Hogarth Falls to see if you are lucky to catch a glimpse of Ms Platypus. Stand on the wet rock platform and listen to the waterfall and the singing from the evening birds welcoming the dusk. It’s an opportunity to soak up the serene beauty of the Western Wilds.