Walking in Tasmania

Helen Collier describes a trek through Tasmania's Tarkine wilderness.

As winter descends and the nights draw in, do your health a favour and book yourself on a walking holiday. Not only will you have something to look forward to, it’ll give you a good dose of much needed Vitamin D.

Plus, you’ll reap all kinds of health benefits from walking each day – doctors suggest a 30-minute daily walk can help maintain a healthy heart, reduce the risk of diabetes, burn more calories, boost your brain function, help you sleep better, give you more energy and improve your mental health.

On a five-day Park Trek tour in Tasmania’s ancient Tarkine Wilderness region, I braved my first walking holiday. There were seven others on the tour and each day we walked on average 9-12 kilometres. If that sounds a lot, don’t be put off – none of the walks were compulsory, a couple were even on the flat, and all were at a leisurely place.

The benefit to being in an organised group was that we had a knowledgeable guide who drove us, fed us, and led us through the pristine forest, stopping to explain the flora and fauna we were passing. Being cooked for each night and not having to think about where we were going each day was a winning combination; it meant we walkers had all the fun and none of the responsibility!

Our days were full and satisfying. We were up early and then early to bed. Climbing Mount Donaldson took care of a day, where we were rewarded with a staggering panoramic view of ancient rainforest as far as the eye could see. Next, we were floating down the mighty Pieman River aboard a 1930s huon pine pleasure cruiser, spotting sea eagles and marvelling at the majesty of the giant old growth trees. It took us to the blustery coast, where the constant westerly (aptly named the Roaring Forties) has battered the lichen-covered rocks into a rugged coastline. My highlight was walking the gentle three-hour return walk Montezuma Falls, the highest in Tasmania, where I bravely navigated its death defying (perfectly safe) swing suspension bridge.

Having only seen a Tasmanian Devil at the zoo, it was a thrill to see their distinctive paw-prints in the sand on the beach one day (their gait is two paws, one paw). The devil itself didn’t make an appearance, but it was enough to know that a healthy wild one was living nearby.

With 13 tours around Australia throughout the year, you’ll be bound to find a tour that suits.

Find out more about Park Trek.

Recommended reading - Issue Two Summer 2012

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