A guide to the Mount Wellington Hike, a circuit walk to Mount Wellington Summit from Hobart. Includes which tracks to take, hiking information and more.
Kunanyi, or Mount Wellington, is the prominent peak that serves as the iconic backdrop to Hobart, Tasmania’s capital. While the summit peak is accessible via car, the incredible views of Hobart are much better when earned.
In this blog post, I’ll outline what I believe to be the best Mount Wellington hike. It involves a combination of several tracks to form a circuit loop to the Pinnacle summit and back down to The Springs.
Hiking to the Mount Wellington Summit
The truth is there are many ways to hike up to Mount Wellington summit. However, below I’ll outline the route that I believe to be the best way to do so. This Mount Wellington summit hike is a circuit loop, meaning that you don’t have to backtrack on the same track on the way back down.
To Mount Wellington Summit:
The Springs > Lenah Valley Track > Sphinx Rock > Lower Sawmill Track > Organ Pipes Track > Zig Zag Track
From Mount Wellington Summit to The Springs:
Mount Wellington Summit > Zig Zag Track > Pinnacle Track > The Springs
How Long Does it Take to Walk up Mt Wellington?
Since The Springs is already at a mid-altitude elevation of 720 metres above mean sea level, the hike up Mount Wellington (1271 metres) only takes roughly 1.5 to 2 hours. However, if you have a decent level of fitness and like to keep a good pace, it can be managed in about an hour.
Can you Drive up Mount Wellington?
The answer is yes. You can drive all the way to Mount Wellington summit via Pinnacle Road. There is a large carpark at the top where you’ll often lots of vehicles, including big vans and buses.
So, if you’re keen to see the incredible views of Hobart from the top of Mount Wellington but you don’t want to walk, consider driving. Note however that the road to the peak is often closed at various points in bad weather and snow. There’s a sign at the base of Pinnacle Road which will tell you the active closures.
If you don’t have your own car, you can book a full-day pass on the Mount Wellington Explorer. This is a shuttle bus service stopping at various points along Pinnacle Road including The Springs, The Chalet and the Pinnacle Summit.
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The Mount Wellington Summit Walk: Loop Hike
The Mount Wellington summit walk that I’m suggesting starts from The Springs. To get here, you can drive, grab a ticket on the Wellington Explorer or walk from Fern Tree.
The hike is fairly steep, gaining nearly 600 metres of elevation over the course of about 4 kilometres. However, the tracks on Kunanyi are incredibly well maintained and quite busy. The track follows a circuit loop outlined above. I’ve also pinned a map below which outlines the circuit that I’m suggesting.
The Springs to Sphinx Rock
Starting from the Springs, take the Lenah Valley track which you will on the right side of Pinnacle Road, walking up Mount Wellington from The Springs. This is a relatively flat track that runs along the ridge to Sphinx Rock.
Sphinx Rock is a great lookout point on Mount Wellington offering similar (albeit lower) views of Hobart. You will need to open a steel gate to get past. The council installed this gate to prevent young children from walking to the sheer cliff drop.
After taking in the views, prepare your legs for a short but sharp descent up the Lower Sawmill Track. You will find this trailhead signposted at the fork right next to Sphinx Rock lookout.
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The Lower Sawmill Track and Organ Pipes Track
The Lower Sawmill track is the steepest and most difficult track to navigate on this Mount Wellington hike to the summit. Don’t worry though, it is short lived and before you know it, you’ll pop back out onto Pinnacle Road.
Cross the road and continue up until you reach a fork signposted as “Organ Pipes Track”. This is a longer track but for the purpose of making it up to Mount Wellington summit, turn left at this fork to follow it towards the Zig Zag Track.
The Organ Pipes are one of Hobart’s most famous landmarks. These are tall and steep dolerite columns that are one of Mount Wellington’s most prominent features. Apparently, these columns were formed in the Jurassic Period during the time when Tasmania was separating from the now continent of Antarctica.
The Organ Pipes Track offers a good break for the legs after the prior steep section. After about 800 metres, you will come to another fork with the signpost for the Zig Zag Track.
Zig Zag Track to Mount Wellington Summit
The Zig Zag Track is a steep, well-formed track that serves as the primary route up to the Mount Wellington summit. While there are many hiking trails on Mount Wellington that reach this track, the Zig Zag track is the only trail up besides taking the road.
This final push offers many opportunities to stop and admire the views of Mount Wellington and Hobart. However, keep pushing as the best views are definitely from the peak!
Mount Wellington Summit & The Pinnacle Lookout
The first sign you will see that you are approaching the summit is the towering spire known as the Australian transmission tower. Continuing on from here, you’ll get to the official summit point and a couple of viewpoints.
The Observation Centre
The Pinnacle Observation Centre is an indoor lookout point with loads of details about the history of the Pinnacle Road construction. It’s a great spot to get out of the weather and admire the view from the top.
If you continue on past the centre, there are also a couple of epic viewpoints overlooking Hobart on a wide and spacious boardwalk.
South West Viewing Platform
The second viewing platform on the Mount Wellington summit is the South West Viewing Platform. This is another short boardwalk overlooking the backcountry of Wellington Park and the mountains beyond.
Returning to the Springs Via The Zig Zag Track & Pinnacle Track
The final section of the Mount Wellington hike loops back to The Springs via the Zig Zag Track and the Pinnacle Track. The only doubling back on this summit loop is the Zig Zag track, since there aren’t any alternative trails to the summit.
Once you arrive at the fork where you gained the Zig Zag Track from the Organ Pipes Track, continue straight, following the signpost directions to The Pinnacle Track.
This trail is much gentler than the sawmill track and an overall comfortable descent back to The Springs.
More Things to do Near Hobart
If you enjoyed this guide to the Mount Wellington hike and summit walk, make sure to read some of my other blog posts for Tasmania. Below I’ve listed some that I’m sure you’ll get some travel and adventure inspiration from!