The best adventures in Northern Tasmania
Whether it's mountain biking on hidden tracks, kayaking over a shipwreck or zipping down a 110-metre slide, the top end of Tassie has some amazing outdoor experiences.
- February 2019
If you’re an outdoorsy type in search of some stunning scenery with your adventure, then northern Tasmania is the destination for you. From hiking and kayaking to some “tough-but-worth-it” bush walks, there’s something for everyone if you’re willing to put in the effort… and you might even learn something new about the area, its history and natural attractions.
One of Launceston’s most striking natural features is Cataract Gorge opens in new window, a deep incision in the hills right at the city centre’s edge. Running through the gorge is a walking trail that threads along the banks to the former Duck Reach hydroelectric power station. From here, you can climb through Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area to Trevallyn Dam, one of Launceston’s favourite water playgrounds. The return walk takes around five hours, depending on how much time you spend at the many attractions. Back at the gorge’s mouth, you can turn up the adrenaline factor by climbing the cliffs or leaping off them at Penny Royal Adventures opens in new window.
Tarkine Forest Adventures
Blanketing Tasmania’s north-west corner is the mighty Tarkine opens in new window, the world’s second-largest tract of temperate rainforest. At its northern edge, 32 kilometres from Smithton, you can hurtle down a 110-metre-long slide into the green depths of the southern hemisphere’s largest sinkhole. The slide begins in the forest canopy and ends 55 kilometres per hour later at the start of more than a kilometre of boardwalk trails across the rainforest floor.
Mountain Biking at Blue Derby
Less than five years ago, the town of Derby opens in new window, 95 kilometres north-east of Launceston, was a forlorn and forgotten mining centre. Today, it has transformed into one of the world’s best mountain biking destinations. Of its many bike tracks, the Blue Derby trail network is an ever-evolving web of rides that flow as smoothly as streams, providing glorious descents through deep rainforest. Launched in 2015, the network has grown to more than 100 kilometres in length, with the latest addition being an easy two-kilometre track around a previously hidden lake at the town’s edge. Trailhead shuttles and bike hire are available in Derby from Vertigo MTB opens in new window and MadMtb opens in new window.
Kayaking on the Pieman River
Dawn on the Pieman River is a special time, with the dark, rainforest-edged waters typically as calm and reflective as meditation. Hiring a kayak from Corinna opens in new window, a former gold-mining town turned tourist centre, you can paddle downstream across your own reflection to the quixotic Lovers Falls, where the giant ferns seem almost as tall as the waterfall itself. As you paddle back, turn up a few metres into the more ominously named Savage River to drift over Australia’s most inland shipwreck, the steamship Croydon, sunk here in 1919 with a load of Huon pine logs on board. The bow of the ship still pokes above the river surface.
Tasmania’s palawa (Aboriginal) culture lives on in this four-day guided walk opens in new window along the vibrant Bay of Fires coastline. The first tourism venture from the palawa community begins by climbing low Mount William (known as wukalina) near Tasmania’s north-east tip and then threads along the white beaches and lichen-smothered granite headlands. Nights are spent in an award-winning, architect-designed camp and cottages on Eddystone Point, while the rich history and palawa culture ‒ middens, bush tucker, creation stories ‒ are unveiled along the journey.
The town of Mole Creek, 75 kilometres west of Launceston, is best known for its limestone caves. But at the edge of town is a 1.6-kilometre walking track to the spectacular Alum Cliffs ‒ listed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks opens in new window. The track crosses a lightly forested ridge and ends at a two-tiered wooden platform staring straight down into a gorge carved by the Mersey River, 200 metres below and across to the sharp-toothed Alum Cliffs.