Walking to the top of kunanyi/Mt Wellington, rather than driving, puts you in august company. Charles Darwin climbed the mountain that broods over Hobart in February 1836 during his famous voyage in The Beagle. A network of walking tracks allow countless combinations of routes revealing the “noble forest”, “gloomy shade” of “elegant parasols” of tree ferns, and the broad, flat summit of “huge angular masses of naked greenstone [dolerite]” the naturalist described. You just need a good map of Wellington Park.
A hard but spectacular all-day loop walk starts at Fern Tree picnic/parking area and works up steep, narrow trails and shared walking-cycling tracks to the top. This route travels via Sphinx Rock and the Organ Pipes, a wall of dolerite columns favoured by rock climbers.
On reaching the exposed and often windswept summit, which winter blankets with snow, soak up the panoramic view over Hobart and the Derwent River to Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula. An adventurous descent route is the steep and rocky ZigZag Track.