HIKING TASMANIA with Graham King
Places don’t get much more pristine than Tasmania. Forty percent of the island, isolated 240km south of the Australian mainland, is protected in parks and reserves. Air in the northwest of Tasmania is said to be the purest in the world. And the southwest – with its plains, mountains and rainforests – is one of earth’s last true wildernesses.
Tasmanian resident, Graham King, recognises the benefits to living and hiking in such a place. He says his natural surroundings have a rejuvenating effect upon him. “Going for a hike or chasing a sunset brings me so much joy. In times of creative block or when I am feeling uninspired, a simple hike on a new trail can be so rewarding.”
Tasmania is relatively small (it’s about the same size as Ireland or the state of West Virginia in the USA). The island’s compact size makes it easy to explore. But its variety of landscapes make it extremely exciting too, particularly for hiker/photographers like Graham.
“The fact that you can change your surrounds from mountains to coast in a few hours is just crazy to me,” Graham tells us. “I think Tasmania is an extremely unique place – in its landscape, history and people. The island's natural beauty and ruggedness leave a lasting impression on those who dare to venture this far south.”
So what different landscapes can you find across the island? “The west coast of the state is moody, lush, and rugged. Huge mountains rise up dramatically from beautiful lakes and end up meeting an incredible coastline, rich with history. The east coast is calmer, more serene and usually has warmer weather. It’s a great place for summer adventures – swimming in crystal clear waters with some of the whitest sand I have ever seen.”
The ever-changing Tasmanian weather brings further contrasts, switching in an instant and altering the light and the mood. The seasons change things up too. “I love autumn,” says Graham, “when the Fagus, a tree located in alpine areas of the state, turns bright yellow.” Tasmania’s springtime, currently in full bloom, brings other beautiful sights – waterfalls in good flow and crisp snow on mountaintops.
White peaks means great snowboarding. Mountain biking and surfing are also popular Tasmanian pastimes. Graham prefers hiking and camping. He sometimes sets out early to take photographs of the landscape bathed in the first morning light. Other times he heads up for a golden sunset and hikes back to camp in the dark. Then it’s time for an evening around the fire with friends – his favourite part of the day.
Here Graham shares three of his favourite Tasmanian hiking destinations:
Cradle Mountain National Park
“This place takes the number one spot for me, even though I have been there so many times. It’s located around two hours from Launceston, one of the bigger cities in Tasmania. There are lots of hikes, all ranging in difficulty, so anyone can enjoy the park.
“The whole area is just incredible and the colour palette of the landscape is so beautiful to shoot. I love heading up there regularly because as the seasons change, so does the landscape. It delivers new, interesting compositions and textures for my images. The park is also filled with wombats and wallabies. It’s cool to see them running around when out on the trails.”
Freycinet National Park
“Coming in a close second, Freycinet National Park has incredible coastal landscapes and some of the clearest water you can find in Australia. It’s my favourite place to head to in the summer with a big group of friends.
"The big granite boulders on the mountains can be challenging to climb. But views from places like Mount Amos make the hike so totally worth it. And little towns like Coles Bay have such a great relaxed vibe – perfect for kicking back in the afternoon and watching the sun go down.”
“The Tarkine is an area located near to where I live so this tends to be my go-to place for a quick little adventure on weekends. You can explore rugged coastline at places like Sarah Anne Rocks or head inland and check out lush forest reserves such as Julius River. There are also plenty of little shack communities where you can see local fisherman heading off in their old fishing boats.”
“The photos I create at The Tarkine are so different every time I visit because of the dramatic weather that comes in from the west. It’s so different to the rest of Tasmania.”