Hartz Peak Track | The Best Day Hike In South Tasmania

Standing on top of Hartz Peak, watching the sun dip below the serrated ridgeline of the Western Arthurs, will be left imprinted in our memories for years to come. It’s not often you’re gifted with breathtaking mountain and ocean views all at once, especially in Australia, but that’s exactly what you’ll find when you take on the Hartz Peak Track in Tasmania’s southwest. 

Hartz Peak has fast become one of our favourite short hikes in west Tasmania, where you’ll be standing on the dolerite bouldered peak within 2 hours and looking out over a glacially carved landscape you’d only dream of reaching with such little effort.

If you’re fond of splashing in alpine tarns, scrambling over dolerite scree slopes, and feeling insignificant in the face of so much beauty, then keep reading. In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the Hartz Peak Track, including how to beat the crowds! 

Sunset cloud waterfall at Hartz Peak in Hartz Mountains National Park

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Hiking The Hartz Peak Track In Hartz Mountains National Park

8.2km return (including Lake Esperance)

Grade 3 – some experience recommended 

3 – 5 hrs

Entrance Fees
Tasmanian Parks Pass

Elevation Gain
400 m

Highest Elevation
1254 m

Day shelter, toilet block

Hartz Peak Trail in Hartz Mountains National Park

Where Is Hartz Peak

At 1254 m, Hartz Peak is the tallest mountain within Hartz Mountains National Park. Part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, the national park can be found 90 minutes south of Hobart, tucked neatly into the southeastern corner of Southwest National Park. 

How To Get To Hartz Peak Track

Due to its close proximity to Hobart, Hartz Mountains National Park is a popular day trip and therefore, there are multiple signs guiding you from the city toward Hartz Peak. But unfortunately, due to Tasmania’s remote nature, there is no option for public transport.

If you’re travelling without a vehicle, we recommend renting a car to visit Hartz Peak. 

By Car

To drive to Hartz Peak from Hobart, simply leave Hobart via Huon Hwy (A6) and continue along the scenic road for 60 km until you reach Geeveston. 

After entering the town of Geeveston, you’ll find more signs pointing you in the direction of Hartz Mountains National Park. Before reaching the town centre, you’ll turn right (north) onto Arve Rd (C632) and follow the sealed road for another 13 km, past the Arve River Rest Area, until you find a sign directing you to take the left turn onto Hartz Rd.

Follow Hartz Rd for another 13 km until it ends at a visitor shelter and car park. Hartz Rd is unsealed yet passable for all vehicles and while there’s no need for extra clearance, you’ll most likely encounter a few potholes the higher you drive. 

Note: This road is susceptible to ice and snow in winter so it’s best to check the road conditions first before driving all the way out there. Tasmania Police Community Alerts is a great resource to find this information.

Guided Tours For Hartz Peak

Another option if you’d rather not drive yourself to Hartz Peak is a tour. There are several guided tour options for the Hartz Peak Track that we’ve listed below. 


Hartz Peak Track Notes

The Hartz Peak Track can be done within 3 – 5 hours depending on your boulder scrambling abilities, but we strongly suggest taking your time. While reaching the summit is the main event, the views along the way and the shimmering alpine tarns are just as worthy of your time. 

Let us convince you further…

Note: Before we get into the track notes, I feel obligated to express the need to be prepared for any and all weather conditions when hiking Hartz Peak. The mountain range is well-known for its wild weather and surprise snowfalls year-round. You can find more on what to bring for the Hartz Peak Track below. 

Hartz Peak Trailhead To Lake Esperance

Hartz Peak Track Boardwalk to Lake Esperance

Beginning on the southern side of the day shelter, a blue sign will confirm you’re heading in the right direction as the trail dips into the flanking forest. Before moving too far, a boot washing station will block the path where all shoes and hiking poles should be cleaned before commencing the hike. This helps to stop the spread of harmful vegetation diseases. 

A mixture of boardwalk, tree roots and stepping stones guide you through the damp snow gum woodland as the trail begins a slow ascent to the first plateau. As the woodland recedes, making way for alpine heath, the landscape unfolds uninterrupted before you. 

Hiking the Hartz Peak Track toward Ladies Tarn

This is your first chance to gaze out at the Huon Valley far below and up to the pointed peaks of Mt Snowy and Hartz Peak directly in front of you. Boardwalks continue the entire way along the plateau, suspended above the fragile vegetation. A labyrinth of streams meanders through the heathland, feeding the many tarns and alpine lakes scattered throughout. 

After approximately 30 minutes, the boardwalk will fork to offer an optional side trip to Lake Esperance. The alpine lake is only 300 m from the fork, making it an easy decision to include the detour. 

Hartz Peak Trail, Lake Esperance sign

As you wander up to the lake, you’ll find three benches on a network of boardwalks to accommodate those wishing to sit and admire the transparent tarn. Lake Esperance sits beneath a precipitous slope of dolerite rock with a dense carpet of green and yellow heath creeping to the shoreline. 

If you’re feeling brave, take the plunge into the glacially carved lake. But be warned, the water in these lakes is usually freezing! 

King Billy Pines standing over Lake Esperance in Hartz Mountain National Park

A return walk to Lake Esperance would take no more than 1hr 30 mins and requires little effort. This is often a favourite short walk for families as you’re still rewarded with sweeping views of Hartz Mountains National Park before returning.

Lake Esperance To Ladies Tarn

Hiking towards Hartz Peak with Mt Snowys standing tall in the distance

Assuming you’re not planning to stop at Lake Esperance, you’ll retrace your steps in order to get back onto the main trail leading to Hartz Peak. Tiny tarns and streams hide among the coral fern, cushion plants and pineapple grass as you make your way safely through the swampy heathland courtesy of the continuing boardwalk. 

As you wander further south, more of the rambling landscape will be revealed. From the vast plateau, you’ll be able to see the tall tower protruding from Kunanyi/Mt Wellington in the northeast and all the way to Bruny Island in the east. 

After another 15 minutes of meandering through the alpine herb field, you’ll reach Ladies Tarn. A more rugged experience awaits at this alpine lake, which is shadowed by an imposing cliff of dolerite rock partially covered in a green blanket of stunted myrtles and shrubs. 

Hartz Peak Mirrored in Ladies Tarn in Hartz Mountains National Park

Ladies Tarn is our favourite alpine lake along the Hartz Peak Track, where no boardwalk or bench seats come close to the pristine shore.

Ladies Tarn To Hartz Pass

Steep climb from Ladies Tarn to Hartz Pass

A distinct change happens in the trail as you leave Ladies Tarn behind. You’re immediately met with a steep climb out of the plateau and say goodbye to the boardwalks for the remainder of the hike. 

Slightly overgrown with mountain pepper berry, pandani and spikey scoparia shrubs, a muddy track aided with exposed roots and rocks ascends to Hartz Pass. Hidden in shadow for the majority of the day, this section of the trail is often in a pool of water or scattered with snow. 

Hartz Peak hiking through thick shrub
HIking in a snow pocket on the summit climb of Hartz Mountain

Eventually, the shrubs shrink to allow you to soak up the vistas once again as you navigate the last steep section to the pass. Flat rocks act as stairs to help you climb higher, all the while affording extended views of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel far below. 

Get ready to be blown away as soon as you step onto the pass, where you’ll finally lay eyes upon the majestic peaks of Southwest National Park littering the western horizon. And shimmering in the valley below is Hartz Lake, the largest alpine lake in Hartz Mountains National Park. 

A skinny trail marked with rock cairns extends west towards Hartz Lake, while the more distinct track to Hartz Peak continues south. For the perfect picnic spot overlooking Southwest National Park, follow the track to Hartz Lake and stop at a large boulder overlooking the deep blue cirque lake.

Eating Lunch while overlooking the views of the South West National Park from Hartz Lake

From this vantage point, you’ll even be able to make out Federation Peak towards the south and Mount Anne in the north. 

While it’s painstakingly possible to reach the lake, the views are nothing compared to those you witness from the rock and the scratches you’ll encounter won’t be totally worth it in our opinion. Even to get to the ‘lookout rock’ you see in our images was overgrown and muddy. 

Hiking across rocks over wet trail on Hartz Peak Hike

Remember: The alpine vegetation, such as the cushion plant, are extremely fragile and take decades to grow back after one footprint. So even if the trail is muddy, stick to it and use the half-submerged rocks to stay out of the mud as much as possible.

Hartz Pass To Hartz Peak

Once you’re finished with Hartz Lake, backtrack to the wooden sign indicating the direction for Hartz Peak. The trail consists of strategically placed rocks that create an aesthetically pleasing line along the exposed pass. 

Before long, you’ll climb to the final shelf below Hartz Peak that offers yet another breathtaking view of Hartz Lake on one side and Arthurs Tarn on the other. After another set of stone steps, all that will stand in your way of the summit will be an exciting scramble up the dolerite scree slope. 

Climbing the Scree on the Hartz Peak Hike
Entering the scree garden on the summit of Hartz Peak in Tasmania's South West National Park

The scree section is the only poorly marked part of the Hartz Peak Track, which I suspect is mostly due to people knocking down rock cairns and making their own. But as you can continuously see the peak while you climb, there is no real worry of getting lost. 

Once you scramble to sit atop the summit, it’s as if the entire southwest of Tasmania unravels before you. Gazing north, you’ll look upon the bony ridgeline, eerily named the devils backbone, that towers above the previously visited tarns below. 

Watching Sunset from Hartz Peak over the South West National Park

When you look out to the west, you’re viewing one of the last natural landscapes. The vast mountain range before you is void of roads and all other human construction until it reaches Lake Pedder at the northwestern edge of the Southwest National Park. 

The south and east hold vistas of meandering rivers and channels connecting the small and large islands scattered at the foot of Tasmania. If you sit silently, you’ll hear the rushing water as it filters out of Hartz Lake into the deep-cut valley on its way to the Picton River in the south.

Returning To The Trailhead

Returning to the Hartz Peak Trail Head

You could easily spend hours sitting on the summit of Hartz Peak, where sunrise and sunset both offer the most incredible show. But if you have just a day, return the way you came and remember to admire the scene from a new angle as you descend. 

If your intention is to swim in the alpine lakes along the way, we suggest leaving these for the way back. That way, you’ll have no time limit except sunset to enjoy Ladies Tarn or Lake Esperance. 

The Hartz Peak Track took us a total of 3 hours of walking time to complete, including the side trips to the three alpine lakes. But we recommend allowing at least an extra hour or so to enjoy the views and spend time by the lakes. 

Due to the short and relatively easy summit scramble, we believe that Hartz Peak is a great introductory hike for those wishing to complete more challenging summits such as Mt Murchison and Cradle Mountain

Best Time To Complete The Hartz Peak Track

Remote Camping on Hartz Peak at Sunrise with a cloud inversion

As with most of Tasmania’s southwest, wild weather is a frequent occurrence along with snow storms year-round. Winter often sees frozen peaks dusted in snow but the summer sun can be fierce in the exposed alpine and crowded with fellow hikers. 

However, don’t let any of that put you off! There is still plenty of positives for each season that I will list below, just remember to be prepared for anything when you wander into the Tasmanian alpine. 

  • Summer: While summer is a very busy time to hike Hartz Peak, it will be worth it if  temperatures are high enough to allow a swim in the alpine lakes 
  • Autumn: Autumn often brings the calmest weather, where crisp sunny days with fewer visitors are very likely
  • Winter: If you love a snowy adventure and have the right equipment for hiking in the snow then this is the season for you, it’s also the quietest time of year 
  • Spring: Wildflowers cover the alpine in spring, making it the most beautiful time to walk and often a little less hot than summertime

How To Avoid The Crowds At Hartz Peak 

Because Hartz Peak is located so close to Hobart and only takes 2 hours to reach the summit, it’s a very popular hike and often sees many walkers. To avoid the crowds, try to choose a weekday for your visit or plan to reach Hartz Peak for sunrise. 

Additionally, you’ll always find fewer crowds in winter and outside of school holidays. 

Leave No Trace

Hartz Mountains National Park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and consists of rare flora and fauna that need our help to survive. Please follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles when you’re in nature, or anywhere for that matter. 

The protection of this earth weighs on all our shoulders and it’s each and every one of our responsibilities to do as much as we can to save our planet. Remember to pack out what you pack in and leave a destination in the same state you found it – or better. 

What To Bring

Adjusting Osprey Aether pack strap under Hartz Peak

The Hartz Peak Track is relatively short, however anytime you’re entering the Tasmanian alpine, you need to be prepared for every possible weather condition. It’s extremely common for the weather to change on a dime in the Hartz Mountains National Park so here is a list of the essentials we suggest you pack when hiking to Hartz Peak. 

Essential Hiking Packing List

  • Topographic Map and Compass – It’s best to avoid relying solely on your phone, which can run out of battery. 
  • Digital Map – In addition to a paper map, you can use AllTrails to download the route and follow along with the inbuilt GPS.
  • First Aid Kit – You can visit this post if you’re unsure what should go into a first aid kit for hiking.
  • Emergency Beacon – Our emergency beacon lives in our hiking packs permanently.
  • Reusable Water Bottles Avoid taking plastic water bottles that can break easily and add to the overwhelming amount of plastic pollution. We also suggest bringing a water filtration system to treat river water.
  • Head Torch Don’t forget the spare batteries! Look for a headtorch with a minimum of 100 lumens. 
  • Sturdy Hiking Shoes We recommend hiking boots over trail runners for longer hikes, where the trail is unstable and can become very muddy. 
  • Long pants or gaiters Tasmania has a thriving population of leeches.
  • Down Jacket and Thermals Staying warm while hiking is extremely important and these items play a key role, the mountains are unpredictable, best be prepared.
  • Rain Jacket and Rain Pants Rain pants are optional but can provide an extra layer of warmth in miserable conditions. 
  • Sun Protection – The UV rays are stronger at higher altitudes.
  • Sleeping Gear – Make sure to pack a tent, a warm sleeping bag and an inflatable mat for overnight hikes. The mountains can get very cold at night, even in summer.
  • Cooking Stove Nothing beats a warm, satisfying meal after a big day of hiking.
  • Emergency Snacks – You can never have too much food and who doesn’t love snacks!
  • Camera Gear – We never travel anywhere without our camera, tripod or drone!

Where To Stay Near Hartz Peak

Harts Peak is located in the Huon Valley, a picturesque part of Tasmania that’s full of cute and quirky accommodation options. The closest campsite to Hartz Peak is the Arve River Rest Area, which is free of charge and only 20 minutes from the Hartz Peak car park. 

Near Hartz Mountains National Park




Free Camping Near Hartz Peak