Projection Bluff | A Must-Do Hike In Tasmania’s Central Plateau

Found in the heart of Tasmania, Projection Bluff is a hike that few know about. Its boundless peak stretches parallel to Highland Lakes Road and only once you’re driving past will you likely jump onto Google to learn more about this little gem.

Part of the Great Western Tiers, Projection Bluff only became knowledge to us after we scoured the internet for new and unique hikes close to Launceston. And we can assure you, Projection Bluff ticked all those boxes plus more!

Projection Bluff is a must for any adventurer travelling across Highland Lakes Road, the short 2-hour return track allows you to stretch your legs and gain breathtaking views that extend across the vast Central Plateau and northern Tasmania.

In this post, we’ll share all the information you need to include Projection Bluff in your Tasmania itinerary, including when to visit, where to find the best views and inspiring images to cement your decision. 

Standing on the Dolerite Pillars making up the Projection Bluff Plateau

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Hiking Projection Bluff For The Best Views Of Tasmania’s Central Highlands

4.5 km return

2 hrs

Grade 3


Elevation Gain
278 m

Highest Elevation
1,257 m

Entrance Fees

Where Is Projection Bluff?

Located in the northeastern corner of Tasmania’s expansive Central Plateau, Projection Bluff’s prominent escarpment rises dramatically from Highland Lakes Rd. You’ll find the trailhead a short 25 minutes south of Deloraine, 1 hr southwest of Launceston and 2 hrs 10 minutes north of Hobart.

How To Get To Projection Bluff

Projection Bluff Carpark

Projection Bluff is a lesser-known hike in Tasmania. And as with almost every destination outside of the state’s major cities, there are no public transport or tour options for this walk – which just adds to its charm.

But it does mean that access to a vehicle is necessary to hike Projection Bluff. If you’re travelling to Tasmania via air and need a car to get around, we suggest using Rental Cars for the best deals on car hire. 

Directions From Launceston To Projection Bluff

Leave Launceston via Bass Hwy heading southwest towards Deloraine. Exit the highway after 48 km and travel through Deloraine to get onto Highland Lakes Rd. Continue for another 30 km until you reach Projection Bluff’s trailhead, depicted by a blue sign and a small car park on the right side of the road.

Directions From Hobart To Projection Bluff

Head north out of Hobart via the Midland Hwy for 57 km. Turn left onto Highland Lakes Rd at Melton and continue for 117 km until you reach the trailhead on the left side of the road. 

Projection Bluff Trail Notes

Dried up river bed below Projection Bluff Range

The trail begins in the southern corner of the car park, immediately transporting you into a thick band of trees that border the road. But these are short-lived and very soon after, you’ll find yourself crossing a dried-up creekbed that provides inspiring views of the dolerite escarpment towering above.

Ascending Through The Myrtle Forest

Hiking up steep Myrtle Beech forests on the Projection Bluff Hike

After admiring the precipitous peak of Projection Bluff, you’ll follow the trail into a magical myrtle forest. Beneath the canopy of twisted trunks, an endless amount of tags and reflectors will assist your ascent as you weave between moss-covered boulders, fallen trees and exposed roots.

The gradient continues to increase as you move deeper into the enchanting forest. And before long, you’ll begin to use your arms to pull yourself up the giant boulders wedged between gnarled myrtle beech and sassafras trees.

CLimbing the technical trail of Projection Bluff through boulders

A small reprieve is welcomed as the trail traverses the contours of the mountain for roughly 100 m, allowing you to catch your breath before the final climb begins. While the last section is steep and arduous, tiny glimpses of the valley below will propel you forward.

And finally, after 20 – 30 minutes and approximately 800 m, you’ll pop out onto the dolerite ridgeline that affords you breathtaking views over the central highlands. In every direction you look, you’re met with precipitous escarpments plunging dramatically into sweeping green valleys below.

Traversing To Projection Bluff’s Highest Point

Reaching Projection Bluff's Plateau

Once you’ve allowed enough time to completely embrace the majestic landscape before you, you’ll begin the 1.4 km traverse north along the eastern ridgeline towards Projection Bluff’s highest point.

Rock cairns and other trail markers continue to make navigation a breeze as you wander through the colourful alpine herbfield. The low-lying heath allows for constant vistas over the vast tableland and the Liffey Conservation Area in the east.

Walking on the Dolerite Pillars making up the Projection Bluff Plateau

After the initial ascent to reach the plateau, you’ll feel as if you’re flying along the flat and easy trail and before you know it, you’ll have completed the remaining 1.4 km and find yourself standing at the peak of Projection Bluff.

Reaching The Peak of Projection Bluff

Dolerite Pillars of the summit of Projection Bluff Tasmania

You’ll feel as if the entire northeast of Tasmania has unfolded before you as you stand more than 1,000 m above the verdant valley below

Rich farmlands and eucalypt forests fill the foothills of other prominent bluffs surrounding the central highlands, including Quamby Bluff to the north and Drys Bluff to the east. And on a clear day, the hazy coastline of the Bass Strait can be seen on the distant northern horizon.

You could spend a long while exploring the northern point of Projection Bluff, looking for various vantage points that allow you to identify the surrounding mountain peaks. Or if you’re game for a little night hiking, you could simply enjoy the changing colours as you watch the sunrise or sunset.

Returning To The Trailhead

Hiking past a trail marker on the Projection Bluff track

After you’ve finished absorbing the peaceful solace only a lesser-known mountaintop can produce, you’ll retrace your steps across the plateau and begin the slow descent through the myrtle forest to the trailhead.

In our opinion, the best view is actually from the eastern point where you emerge from the treeline. From here, a quick climb to a high point just south of the track bestows a magical view of Liffey Bluff and the layered mountains beyond.

If you have time to complete the entire hike, we still suggest doing so as the plateau is a peaceful place to explore. But if you’d rather a quick walk to access a stunning view for sunrise, this is as far as you need to go.

Much to our surprise, the sign at the trailhead was actually correct this time and Projection Bluff did take 2 hours to complete. And if you’re set on simply ascending to the escarpment and then returning, you’ll need to allow roughly 1 hour.

Best Time To Hike Projection Bluff

Standing on the Dolerite Pillars making up the Projection Bluff Plateau

Due to the excessive amount of markers and the short distance, Projection Bluff is the perfect sunrise mission. However, if early mornings aren’t your forte, you’ll still be rewarded with a soft glow at sunset that makes returning in the dark well worth it.

In regards to the best time of year to hike Projection Bluff, this depends on your skill level and preferences. 

During late autumn, winter and early spring, the summit of Projection Bluff is often coated in snow. This provides a magical experience at the plateau, however, it also increases the difficulty of the hike.

Summer and the remaining warmer months offer much easier conditions to hike in as the trail is mostly dry. You’ll also find a beautiful display of colour across the alpine as the wildflowers bloom.

Leave No Trace

We are extremely fortunate in Tasmania to have over 40% of the state protected by a national park or reserve status. But sadly, that isn’t enough to keep our beautifully wild places void of human destruction.

But we can help to change this by following the 7 Leave No Trace Principles and ensuring we leave a destination how we found it – or better. It’s as simple as taking all your rubbish with you – including food scraps and tissues – and staying on the trail.

There are no facilities on or near Projection Bluff, with the nearest toilet found at Deloraine – 25 minutes north. Try to plan your trip accordingly, but if you have to poop in the wilderness, dig a hole at least 20 cm deep, do your business and then cover it and the toilet paper back up.

What To Bring

While Projection Bluff takes just 2 hours to complete, you’ll find no water sources along the trail and the alpine is subject to extreme weather conditions. For these reasons, we recommend bringing a sufficient amount of water, a couple of snacks, plus extra warm and waterproof gear – no matter the season!

Here is our basic list of items that we recommend taking on the Projection Bluff hike.

Where To Stay Near Projection Bluff, Tasmania

Although you can complete this hike in a day trip from Launceston, Projection Bluff is located within the central highlands near a number of other waterfalls and walking trails that will easily fill a few days.

Deloraine is the best place to stay to access the various trails within the area and you’ll find plenty of cute accommodation options throughout the quaint town. 

Camping Near Projection Bluff

Final Thoughts

Projection Bluff is the perfect hike to break up your drive as you cross the Central Plateau, with the option to either complete the entire 2-hour return walk or simply climb to the escarpment and return within 1 hour.

It is also the perfect hike if you’re looking for a sunrise or sunset mission within the area, as it’s one of the shortest and easiest mountains to summit.

Have you hiked Projection Bluff? We’d love to hear about your experience. And if you have any questions regarding this walk or the area itself, please feel free to add those to the comments below.

Happy Hiking 🙂