Mt Roland Summit | Which Trail Should You Choose?

We’ve driven by Mt Roland countless times, always on the way to another location, and our honest thoughts were that the views of the surrounding farmlands wouldn’t be worth the effort. 

Oh, how wrong we were! 

We finally chose to spend a few days exploring Mt Roland on a recent adventure to central north Tasmania and it’s safe to say we were blown away! While the mountain range doesn’t quite hit the ranks of Cradle Mountain or Mount Murchison, the Mount Roland walk will still transport you into a rugged wilderness worthy of the gruelling ascent. 

In this ultimate guide to hiking Mount Roland, you’ll find all the information you need to summit the prominent peak, including which trail will suit you best and inspiring images to evoke your wanderlust. 

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Roland Tasmania

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Hiking To The Summit Of Mt Roland In North West Tasmania

Where Is Mount Roland?

The serrated ridgeline of Mt Roland paints the perfect backdrop for the farmlands and rural towns of the Kentish municipality, in the heart of Tasmania. The closest town to Mount Roland that’s equipped with all your basic needs is Sheffield.

Mount Roland is located 1 hr 25 minutes west of Launceston and 3 hrs 20 minutes northwest of Hobart. 

Sun glowing in the valley of Mt Roland Regional Reserve over the farmland

How To Get To Mt Roland

As with almost every mountain range in Tasmania, there are no public transport options for Mount Roland. And due to its lowered popularity in relation to other mountain ranges such as Mount Field or the Tasman Peninsula, you’ll also find no tour options. Therefore, the only way to explore Mt Roland is by car. If you’re flying into Tasmania, we recommend checking Rental Cars for the best deals on car hire. 

Directions From Launceston To Mt Roland

To reach Mt Roland, head south out of Launceston via Bass Hwy (1). Continue on the Hwy for 59 km until you reach a left turn (west) onto Railton Rd, just before Elizabeth Town. Follow Railton Rd for 12km, passing through the tiny town of Kimberley, before taking another left turn (west) onto Bridle Track Rd which will eventually merge into Sheffield Rd and deliver you to Sheffield 15 km later. 

From Sheffield, take a left turn (southwest) onto Claude Rd. Along this road, you’ll arrive at the left turn (south) for Kings Rd after 8km. This road will lead you to a car park for the beginning of the Face Track.

To reach the car park for the Main Track, continue past Kings Rd for another 7km until you see another left turn (southeast) for O’Neills Rd. 200m down the road, you’ll come across a car park and the trailhead. 

Mt Roland Walks

Hiking through the Forest Floor under Mount Roland in Tasmania

Two separate trails lead to the summit of Mount Roland, the Face Track and the Main Track. Both are return hikes. There is a possibility of combining the two to create a point-to-point hike if you have the ability to car shuffle between Kings Rd and O’Neills Rd (a distance of 7km).

Both Mount Roland walks have their highs and lows, and which you choose depends on how adventurous you are. The Mt Roland Face Track is more challenging, with a steep and loose ascent straight up the face of the mountain. But while the Mt Roland Main Track is much easier, it’s almost double the distance.

Below you’ll find a detailed summary of each option so you can choose the trail that suits you best. Personally, our favourite route was the Face Track as we’d much rather have a thrilling ascent than double the distance. However, in a perfect world, our ideal track would be the point-to-point beginning at Kings Rd and ending at O’Neills Rd.

Mount Roland Face Track Notes

7 km return

4 – 6 hrs

Elevation Gain
850 m

Highest Elevation
1,233 m

Grade 4 

Entrance Fees

Car park, Information Sign

Kings Rd

Walking to the trailhead of the Mt Roland Face Track

A small car park overlooking a farm full of goats marks the beginning of the Mount Roland Face Track. From this vantage point, you can see the goal of the climb soaring almost 900 m straight up above – but don’t let this deter you! 

After grabbing your day pack, you’ll follow the road south for another few metres before a track sign directs you into the forest towards a walkers registration. This is where the climb begins and doesn’t end for 2 km.

Climbing To The Saddle

Hiking up the steep Face Track Trail of Mt Roland Summit

Towering gum trees shade the path as you begin to climb through a dry eucalypt forest. Intermittent glimpses of the jagged peak work at keeping you motivated along the open and slightly uninteresting trail. 

But before long, the wide path narrows as you move deeper into the woodland where the scent of wild herbs, freshly fallen trees and eucalyptus engulf you. While the exposed roots and steeper terrain prove to be a touch more difficult, the increased beauty of the forest makes it worthwhile.

Rock hopping up the scrambled rock Gardens on the Mount Roland Face Track
Hiking past massive boulders on the Mt Roland Face Track

Eventually, after 1 km and 300 m of elevation gain, you’ll reach the first respite to the gruelling climb as you begin to traverse the northeastern face of Mt Roland. From this point, the landscape continues to impress with colourful ferns flanking the skinny track and giant white and grey boulders hiding in the thick forest.

The ending of the traverse signals the beginning of the increasingly steep climb – even though it seems impossible that it could get any steeper! But luckily, the trail is intertwined with a mass of broken boulders and fallen trees to climb over, making the ascent infinitely more exciting.

Scrambling up the rock Gardens on the Mount Roland Face Track

Soon after beginning to climb again, the loose scree path will lead you into a dense myrtle forest filled with gnarled branches covered in a carpet of moss. The enchanting forest continues to the saddle between two enormous pink granite outcrops. 

The Saddle To The Summit Of Mt Roland

Walking through the saddle surrounded by alpine vegetation on the Mt Roland Face Track

As you peek your head out of the myrtle forest and turn around, the scene unfolding before you will likely make you forget the fact you can barely breathe from the additional 350 m elevation you just gained in 0.7 km! 

The entire north coast unravels below, flanked by jagged pink granite peaks. Lush farmlands spread across the landscape, rolling into the Bass Strait. The blue-hued peaks of the Dial Range that rise south of Burnie fills the northwest horizon.

Tearing your eyes away from the scene, continue along the alpine trail as it begins to swing southwest. The plateau you’ve found yourself on is a vast contrast from the previous 2 km and you’ll revel in the easy undulating track as you gaze out over the unravelling central highlands in the south.

But not for long. Soon after beginning the skinny trail weaving between overgrown scoparia and stunted woolly tea trees, you’ll encounter a mass of mud puddles engulfing the track. We visited after a week of warm dry weather and the alpine trail was still covered in ankle-high mud. 

Walking through the saddle surrounded by alpine vegetation on the Mt Roland Face Track
Hopping over thick mud and puddles on the Mt Roland Face Track

Note: Don’t make the same mistake we did by wearing trail runners. We recommend arming yourself with a sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots to tackle the Mount Roland Face track.

Eventually, after spending approximately 20 minutes hopping across the waterlogged alpine, you’ll reach a cluster of rocks forming a cave. The damp inside of the conglomerate cave glows lime green, enticing you to explore deeper within.

Looking inside the cave on the track up to Mt Roland Tasmania

After inspecting the moss-covered walls of the cave, backtrack slightly from the overhang and scramble up the left wall onto the last plateau before Mount Roland’s summit. 

20 minutes later, a final scramble over moss-spotted boulders will deliver you to the rocky peak of Mt Roland. 

Exploring Mount Roland’s Summit

Looking over the distant valleys to Cradle Mountain from Mt Roland Tasmania

As you reach the trig point marking the tip of Mount Roland, your effort is rewarded with 360-degree views of the entire northeast and central Tasmania. The highlands stretch out before you, dropping dramatically into deep valleys cut by coursing rivers.

Beyond the flat tabletops of the central highlands, the iconic peaks of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park cut across the horizon. To the east of the Cradle Mountain range, the back of the mighty Walls of Jerusalem is visible, shielding the inner world of the walls from view.

Finding a spot to plonk yourself down for a well-earned rest, you could lose yourself for hours as you comb the vast landscape for mountains you’ve climbed and ones you wish to accomplish.

Returning To The Trailhead

Hiking down from the Summit of Mt Roland Tasmania

And when the time comes to leave Mount Roland’s summit, you can return the way you came, soaking in the rolling vistas of the northeast as you descend.

While you’ll expend far less energy on your way back down the Mount Roland Face Track, the descent beneath the saddle does require a great deal of concentration to fight gravity as it attempts to propel you down the mountain in the fastest way possible.

But eventually, after carefully picking your way through the loose rocks, you’ll make it back to sturdy ground for the last 1.5 km of the hike. 

Our adventure of the Mount Roland Face Track took us 3 hrs 45 mins of walking time, but over 5 hours in total as we take a million photos and spent a long lunch attempting to name all the mountains surrounding us.

You should have no trouble following the trail markers throughout the Mount Roland Face Track and while it requires a good level of fitness to climb up the pass, the walk is relatively straightforward for intermediate hikers. However, as with any trail, hiking in bad weather will make this trail increasingly difficult and more dangerous.

Mt Roland Main Track Notes

16.6 km return

6 – 8 hrs

Elevation Gain
965 m

Highest Elevation
1,233 m

Grade 3 

Entrance Fees

Car Park, Information Sign

O’Neill’s Rd

The Mt Roland Main Track begins 200 m along O’Neills Rd, where you’ll find an open car park and a walkers registration just beyond the locked gate. This is also where you would park in order to hike the Mount Van Dyke Circuit. 

Ascending To O’Neill’s Creek

Walking along the fire road of Mt Roland Main Track in Tasmania

Setting off through the locked gate, passing the walkers registration and heading south, you’ll find yourself walking on a gravel service road that slices through the buttongrass plains. Ahead of you, you’re afforded a perfect view of the deep saddle between Mount Van Dyke and Mount Claude.

Very shortly after beginning the Mount Roland Main Track, you’ll veer slightly to the left and tuck under a shade of giant eucalypts and skinny sassafras. The old muddy service road continues to climb steadily towards the foothills of the Mount Roland range, with little to occupy your mind other than the odd pademelon or wallaby bounding across in front. 

After 1.3 km, you’ll come to your first junction where a sign will offer information regarding each track. For the fastest way to Mount Roland’s summit, continue straight ahead on the wide dirt road leading east.

Junction for Mt Roland and Mt Vandyke on the fire road of the Main Track

The service road continues to climb for another 3 km, crossing multiple creeks as you slowly traverse across the northeast facing slope beneath Mount Van Dyke. As you ascend, the forest thickens with enormous tree ferns dominating the understory beneath the towering eucalypts.

O’Neill’s Creek To The Saddle

Ascending the Mt Roland Main Track through the beautiful green ferns

You’ll finally ditch the dirt road as you reach O’Neills Creek, 4.3 km later. A bridge constructed from a fallen tree trunk will aid you in crossing the flowing creek and as soon as you hit the opposite side, you’re transported into a mystical forest filled with a million shades of green.

Even though the steepness increases along this section, the verdant forest will keep you occupied as you climb amongst a variety of colourful ferns, vibrant wildflowers and gnarled myrtle and sassafras. A bright layer of green moss encompasses the entire forest, creating a furry carpet over exposed roots and rocks.

Hiking up the man-made steps on the Mt Roland Main Track

Man-made steps and boardwalks assist in the steepest and wettest sections of the forest and before you know it, you’ll have climbed another 1.2 km to the second and final junction found along the Mount Roland Main Track.

The Saddle To Mount Roland’s Summit

wooden platform acting as a junction for Mt Roland and Mt Vandyke

The trail junction sits in the saddle between Mount Roland and Mount Van Dyke, where you’ll find a seat on a wide platform to rest before completing the final section of the Mount Roland Main Track ascent.

Decaying wooden signs indicate that Mount Roland can be accessed by taking the left track that begins to traverse the vast alpine moorland beneath the peak.

Note: You may notice that the wooden signs located at the junction completely contradict the suggested walk time you find at the trailhead. To be safe, we suggest following the longer suggested times found at the junction.

After a short break, continue along the Mount Roland Track as it wanders north among woolly tea trees and young snow gums. The open alpine plateau allows you to revel in the dramatic scene transpiring before you as you gently climb towards the pink granite peak.

An increasing amount of granite outcrops emerge as you close in on the summit, where a boulder scramble is required for the final few hundred metres. 

Exploring Mount Roland’s Summit

Looking over the North Coast of Tasmania from the summit of Mt Roland

2.8 km after leaving the track junction, you’ll find yourself perched on top of the precariously rocky peak of Mount Roland, gazing out upon the entire northern half of Tasmania.

From this vantage point, 1,233 m above sea level, you’re awarded 360-degree views of the prominent peaks of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the mighty Walls of Jerusalem, the azure blue Bass Strait and the eastern farmlands folding into the sea.

Returning To The Trailhead

Returning down the Mt Roland Main Track on the duck board style man-made path

After enjoying the uninterrupted vistas atop Mount Roland, you can begin to retrace your steps by traversing back across the plateau towards the junction in the saddle between Mount Van Dyke and Mount Roland.

From the junction, you can simply return the way you came to finish the walk after 16.6 km. Or if you’re still hungry for more adventure, continue towards the summit of Mount Van Dyke and descend via The Junction track to complete an 18.7 km circuit. 

While the Mount Roland Main Track is considerably longer than the Face Track, it is also much easier with the addition of manmade features to assist in any tricky sections. Therefore, this is the track we would suggest for beginner to intermediate walkers as long as you’re prepared with adequate water and food for a full day of walking.

Best Time To Hike Mount Roland

Beautiful twisted trees and moss covered trail on the Mt Roland Main Track

It’s a common sight in winter to see the top half of Mount Roland covered in a dusting of snow, which creates a stunning image but also means that walking through winter is increasingly challenging.

The best time to hike Mount Roland, for the majority, is either at the beginning of summer or the beginning of autumn. During these times, you’ll generally receive the calmest weather while staying cool enough on the exposed plateau.

For the more adventurous souls, winter can provide an exciting expedition through the snowy alpine. But if you choose to hike through these cold months, make sure you’re confident hiking in the snow.

Leave No Trace

Tasmania has a wealth of wild places that are filled with endemic species of flora and fauna that need our help to survive. To protect these fragile places, please follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles when you’re out exploring the wilderness.

It’s as simple as leaving a destination how you found it – or better – and packing out what you pack in. There are no bins or toilets provided on the walks to Mount Roland, so please carry all your rubbish with you (including food scraps and tissues) and be prepared by using the toilet located at the O’Neills Picnic Area before your hike. 

Jumping over the muddy trail at the summit of Mt Roland

What To Bring

Mount Roland rises almost 1,000 m above the surrounding farmlands, which results in a staggering sight as you drive through Sheffield. But it also means that the weather on top of the vast alpine plateau is vastly different to what you’ll experience from the valley floor.

We recommend packing a day pack with the essentials for a full day in the alpine and suggest wearing sturdy hiking boots to combat the muddy and rough trails.

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 Mount Roland, Tasmania

Mount Roland is located a short 15 minutes drive from Sheffield, the largest town in the vicinity. There are many quaint accommodation options within Sheffield and the various towns surrounding Mount Roland.

Our favourite place to stay when we visit Mount Roland is at the O’Neill’s Creek Campground that’s located in the middle of the two walking trails. 

Camping Near Mount Roland

Roland / Claude Road


Moina / Staverton

Camping at O'Neils Creek Campground at the base of Mt Roland

Final Thoughts

Hiking to the summit of Mount Roland exceeded our expectations dramatically. We passed this magical mountain range countless times before we finally stopped to explore its depths and we urge you not to make the same mistake! 

As we said at the beginning of this guide, the hikes to Mount Roland are slightly less exciting when compared with some of the best in Tasmania, such as The Needles or Mount Tyndall, but the mountain range is still full of wonder that is well worth exploring.

Have you hiked to Mount Roland’s summit? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, please feel free to ask any questions you may have and we’ll answer them as soon as we can. 

Happy Hiking 🙂