Quamby Bluff | The Great Western Tiers’ Most Accessible Walk

Providing an alluring backdrop to the surrounding towns of Tasmania’s central highlands, you’ll set your eyes upon Quamby Bluff long before you reach its foothills. The mess of dolerite boulders tumbling from the plateaued peak will excite the adventurous and its lesser-known status will attract those searching for solitude.

We’ve spent many days summiting mountains throughout the rugged island state, searching for the best hikes in Tasmania, and we can honestly say that Quamby Bluff blew our expectations.

Part of the Great Western Tiers, Quamby Bluff is the northernmost peak of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and sits on the fringe of the Central Plateau. If you’re searching for a hike that will lead you through mystical forests, over precarious boulders and allow you to explore a sweeping alpine plateau, then Quamby Bluff is the mountain for you! 

In this guide, you’ll discover all there is to know about summiting Quamby Bluff, the most accessible peak within the Great Western Tiers, including the best time to visit and inspiring images to fuel your adventurous spirit.

Overlooking Tasmania's North from the Quamby Bluff Boulder Field

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Hiking To The Summit Of Quamby Bluff In Tasmania’s Central Highlands

6km return

3 – 5 hrs

Grade 3


Elevation Gain
511 m

Highest Elevation
1227 m

Entrance Fees

Where Is Quamby Bluff?

Towering above farmland and eucalypt forests, Quamby Bluff lies solitary just north of the main escarpment of the Great Western Tiers, protected by the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage and forest reserve status.

Access to the prominent peak is via the Fairy Glade Track, which begins off the Highland Lakes Highway on Quamby Bluff’s eastern side. You’ll find the trailhead 20 minutes south of Deloraine, 50 minutes southwest of Launceston and 2 hrs 20 minutes north of Hobart.

How To Get To Quamby Bluff

Quamby Bluff Carpark

Due to its lesser-known status, you’ll struggle to find any tours or public transport options for Quamby Bluff. Self-driving is the only way to complete this hike and if you don’t have access to your own vehicle, we recommend using Rental Cars to find the best deals.

Directions From Launceston To Quamby Bluff

To reach the trailhead for Quamby Bluff, head south out of Launceston via the Bass Hwy following signs to Deloraine. Continue through the town of Deloraine onto Highland Lakes Rd (A5) and drive for 22 km until you reach a small sign for the Fairy Glade Track.

Directions From Hobart To Quamby Bluff

Leave Hobart via the Midland Hwy heading north. After 57 km, turn left onto Highland Lakes Rd (A5) and drive for another 127 km until you reach the small car park.

Note: Unsurprisingly, Google Maps has the trailhead marked wrong. Instead of typing in Quamby Bluff, follow the directions to the private Bodhicitta Dakini Buddhist Monastery. A small clearing allows parking for approximately 4 vehicles, but please be respectful and ensure you stay clear of the Monastery’s gate.

Quamby Bluff Trail Notes

Rocky trail of Quamby Bluff

Driving down the winding Highland Lakes Road, you’re gifted with inspiring views of the lone mountain peak rising from verdant farmlands, growing taller as you near the trailhead. Using the bouldered summit as a marker, you’ll continue until the road straightens out a touch and search for a driveway with a tiny, almost inconspicuous, sign.

Note: If you’re arriving from Hobart, there will be no sign at all so using Google Maps to locate the Buddhist Monastery is ideal to avoid overshooting the trailhead.

Quamby Bluff Carpark

You’ll find a small car park fit for roughly 4 cars outside the monastery’s gate, and another larger clearing 100 m north on the opposite side of the road. Wander through the gate, following the blue walker’s post, to begin the Quamby Bluff hike.

Ascending To The Boulder Field

Quamby Bluff Hike start trail

A wide dirt path guides you past the Bodhicitta Dakini Monastery and into the eucalypt forest flanking the property. Ferns of all kinds infiltrate the path immediately, acting as a buffer between the farmland and foothills of Qumaby Bluff.

But soon after, the vegetation thins slightly to reveal a wind-swept woodland full of tall stringybark towering above tree ferns and decaying debris. The gradient continuously steepens as you move deeper into the forest, where a carpet of moss covers the rocks and roots now part of the trail.

Hiking through the open bushland on the Quamby Bluff Track

After 2 km, you’ll break through the forest wall and enter the monstrous boulder field flowing from the summit.

The Boulder Field To The Plateau

Commencing the Boulder Field climb on Quamby Bluff

Beginning to climb the precariously placed dolerite rocks, keep a lookout for metal poles with reflectors that will guide you through the boulder field. The scramble is short-lived and after 100 m, the markers will lead you north towards a myrtle forest.

You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into an enchanted world as you dip into the sub-alpine forest. The gnarled branches of myrtle beech and sassafras trees hover over the steep trail, where moss clings to anything that lays still long enough.

The large Boulder Field on QUamby Bluff
We missed the trail and ventured straight up the Boulder Field

Although easier than clambering up the steep dolerite boulder field, the trail through the trees continues to steepen and requires a little climbing when the larger rocks and trees cross the path.

But eventually, after an especially steep ascent of 200 m, the forest clears once again to reveal views over the western mountain ranges and glimpses of Lake Hunstman in the distance.

From the clearing, a short 200 m of boulder scrambling is all that stands in the way of you and the plateaued peak of Quamby Bluff.

Note: We actually missed the myrtle forest and continued straight through the boulder garden, eventually linking back with the intended trail in the trees after 400 m. While we don’t suggest leaving the track if you’re not skilled in navigation, it was quite a bit of fun to clamber up the rocks instead. But ensure you have a map and can easily return to the trail when you hit the treeline once again.

Exploring Quamby Bluff’s Summit

Sunset on the summit of Quamby Bluff

Approximately 1 hr 15 mins after leaving the highway, you’ll find yourself standing on the vast alpine plateau of Quamby Bluff overlooking the sweeping valleys and distant peaks, including Mother Cummings in the west and Mount Roland in the northwest. 

Climbing up the final rock garden on Quamby Bluff

But you’re not finished yet, the trail continues for another 300 m through the colourful alpine vegetation filled with scoparia and woolly tea trees until you reach the tallest point of Quamby Bluff on the northern side.

A trig point marks the highest point, where you’re gifted uninterrupted views of what seems to be the entire northeast of Tasmania. In clear conditions, you can even see as far as Mt Strzelecki on Flinders Island!

Standing at the summit of Quamby Bluff Trig Point

If you’ve decided to climb Quamby Bluff for sunset, wander back to the western side where you’ll find the perfect collection of dolerite slabs to sit yourself down to watch the show.

Returning To The Trailhead

Moody Trees deep in the forest of the Quamby Bluff walk

Once you’ve explored the alpine plateau, begin to retrace your steps back down the boulders towards the myrtle forest once more. If you decided to climb up through the boulder field, descend through the forest for a change of scenery.

The sign at the beginning of the track states it’s a 5-hour return walk to Quamby Bluff. It took us 3 hours to complete, excluding the time spent watching the sunset from the plateau. You’ll find plenty of markers throughout the walk, ranging from pink tags, rock cairns and reflective arrows, which makes navigation a breeze. 

Best Time To Hike Quamby Bluff

Blue Hour over Quamby Bluff Tasmania

Tasmania’s central plateau is known for wild weather conditions, including frequent snow through autumn and winter. If you’re a skilled hiker, then we recommend exploring the plateau when it’s coated in snow. 

However, if you don’t have experience hiking in the snow, Late summer is the best time to hike Quamby Bluff. During this time, you’ll have the best chance of receiving dry weather without too much heat for those exposed sections.

Leave No Trace

Although Quamby Bluff is far less popular than places like Cradle Mountain and Mount Field, we found an agonising amount of rubbish strewn across the mountain. This included human waste and toilet paper which wasn’t buried.

In order to keep our beautiful wild places just that, we need to take responsibility for our actions and ensure we practice the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. There are no facilities on or near Quamby Bluff, meaning you’ll need to carry out all your rubbish and if you desperately have to poop, dig a hole at least 20 cm deep, do your business and then cover it and the toilet paper up again.

What To Bring

The return walk to Quamby Bluff’s summit takes approximately 3 – 5 hours depending on your boulder-hopping skills. It’s wise to take a few snacks, sufficient water as there isn’t anywhere to refill bottles, and warm gear for the unpredictable peak.

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

Where To Stay Near Quamby Bluff, Tasmania

Quamby Bluff is an easy day trip from Launceston, however, if you’d rather stray from the bustle of a big city, then the best place to stay when you’re visiting Quamby Bluff is Deloraine. This quaint town has a peaceful vibe and allows access to multiple other hikes and waterfalls within the area.


Camping Near Quamby Bluff

Final Thoughts

Quamby Bluff is a must if you’re searching for a half-day hike on your road trip through the central highlands of Tasmania. The walk offers diversity and all your hard work will be rewarded with breathtaking views from the boundless peak. To fill your day in the area, we suggest pairing Quamby Bluff with Projection Bluff, found 10 minutes south.

What did you think of Quamby Bluff? We’d love to hear your thoughts and other recommendations for hikes within the area in the comments below. And don’t forget to drop any questions you may have on this hike and we’ll respond as best we can.

Happy Hiking 🙂