TASSIE TRIP WINTER 2018 DAY 12 – Mt Wellington

After spending the morning at Battery Point and Hobart Harbour my wife and daughter returned to our hotel for a much needed rest. As is often the case I wasn’t about to sleep the afternoon away and decided to drive to Mt Wellington instead. It had snowed heavily the night before and I wasn’t sure how far up the mountain I would be able to drive. Fortunately the City of Hobart website has a page where you can check the status of Pinnacle Road which goes to the summit of Mt Wellington, https://www.hobartcity.com.au/Community/kunanyi-Mt-Wellington/Pinnacle-Road-current-road-status.

When I checked the status of the road I was pleased to see that it was open to the Springs Section. The Springs is 7.5 km away from the summit of Mt Wellington by car but by foot it is a 3.2 km walk via the Pinnacle and Zig Zag tracks.

The options for getting to the summit from the Springs.

So my plan was to try and find a park at the Springs Section and to then walk the Pinnacle and Zig Zag tracks to the summit. The drive from our hotel to the Springs was about 20 minutes.

The drive from our hotel to the Springs section of Mt Wellington.

I was so excited in the car as I approached the Springs section as there was a significant amount of snow on the sides of the road. It was also incredibly busy! Even though there were so many people I was very fortunate to find a park close to the start of the Pinnacle Track.

I didn’t want to be away from my wife and daughter for too long so I headed straight up the mountain, determined to make it as close to the summit as I could. As I headed up the path I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. This was my first experience of snow and I was absolutely loving it!

It felt like I was walking on sand, only a little bit more slippery, and while it was cold it wasn’t as cold as I was expecting. I was so taken by how peaceful and quiet it was. The snow covered forest seemed to trap the sounds that I had been accustomed to hearing while walking in the lower sections of Mt Wellington national park. The change in the visual nature of the landscape was also dramatic. It was fascinating to me to see native Australian bush covered in snow. Most people don’t associate Australia with snow (myself included) but the alpine areas of Australia are among the most unique and beautiful environments in the world, particularly in Tasmania.

Snow covered forest on Mt Wellington.
Snow covered eucalypts.
The higher I progressed the thicker the snow became, particularly on the path.

I had made significant progress within a short period of time and it wasn’t long before I had reached the point where the Pinnacle Track meets up with the Zig Zag Track. From this point forward the views over Hobart increasingly opened up. I also had sweeping views of the southern side of Mt Wellington.

The start of the Zig Zag track with increasingly better views of Hobart and surrounds.
Looking towards the summit of Mt Wellington.

As I continued to climb up the mountain I could see that the weather at the summit was much worse than where I had been walking. My approach to the summit had been from the eastern side while the wind and snow were coming from the west. I knew that at some point I would be completely exposed to strong winds and snow. The severity of the weather was confirmed to me by several walkers on their way back down who suggested I reconsider going all the way to the top. So I reluctantly decided to turn around but in hindsight it was a good decision. I’m not one for taking unnecessary risks, particularly when you have a young family waiting for you at the bottom of the mountain.

My turn around point on the Zig Zag track.
Snow on the eastern side of Mt Wellington.
I loved the contrasting colours of rocks, snow and trees.

As I made my down the mountain I remember feeling so grateful for all of the time we had spent in Tasmania. Starting with Mt Roland and Cradle Mountain, then Hobart, Southwest National Park and Mount Wellington, Tasmania is really a nature lover’s dream. I particularly enjoyed the mountainous landscapes that seem to appear in every direction no matter where you are. In fact, the entire experience made me seriously think about moving to Tasmania, but I tend to think the same thing whenever I travel somewhere that is naturally beautiful.

The snowy landscape on the descent of Mount Wellington.
The fading light of the afternoon sun over Hobart.

I was only minutes from the start of the walk when I took one last photo of Hobart from the Pinnacle Track. It also turned out to be the last photo that I took from our trip to Tasmania and one of my favourites. Snow in the foreground with snow gums leading the eye down the slopes of Mt Wellington. In the background there is the beautiful city of Hobart. What an incredible place! We had such a wonderful trip and we will definitely be returning to Tasmania again in the future.

Hobart from the snowy slopes of Mount Wellington.

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