Kunanyi With Kids
Towering above the beautiful old city of Hobart is a 150 million year old mountain. Covered in snow ever winter, and a geographical haven for adventurers in summer, Tasmania's Mount Wellington is the perfect destination for a family adventure, no matter what time of year.
The mountain is rich in history, with Aboriginal occupation dating back over 35000 years. It was known as Unghanyahletta or Pooranetere to the local indigenous people. Today its referred to as kunanyi. It was not until 1788 that the 1,270 metre high mountain was sighted by Europeans when Lieutenant William Bligh recorded its existence. Around 70 years later, Hobart had been settled by Europeans, and with little means of regular incoming supplies, stores and shop keepers had to be resourceful.
Image: Paul Flemming
Did you know that Mount Wellington once supplied ice for local ice cream stores? The first of the Mount Wellington ice houses was built by convict labour in 1849. This ice was compacted and transported to Hobart by pack horse ‘to be used by the confectioners of Hobart in the preparation of ice creams’. How cool!
Today, the mountain has many early huts and tracks, waterfalls and lookouts to visit with the family. The Pinicale lookout at the top has a wonderfully enclosed building that offers panoramic views of Hobart and the Derwent River. To find out what parts of the mountain are best for kids, we recently caught up with Lara who lives in the area. While she didn't come across any Ice Houses, she has explored extensively with her two children and has shared with us what she thinks are the best parts to visit.
Images: L-R: Hobart Town 1879 Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania, Fern Tree Bower. Source: Tasmanian Archives Heritage Office. ans Snow Capped Mt Wellington. Source: Tasmanian Archives Heritage Office.
TASSIE4KIDS- Thanks for joining us at Tassie4Kids!, tell us about yourself and your family: LARA: Hi, my name is Lara and I moved to Tasmania 6 years ago. Since then I have had two Tasmanian children and I love taking them on local adventures. I am a documentary filmmaker and media professional and was working for ABC Hobart for 5 years before I started my own media business.
Have you always lived in Tasmania? What makes it a great place for families? Tassie is a great place for kids as there is always so much outdoor adventure going on. It is easy to get close to nature and go for excellent walks in the forests or swims at the beach. Where I live has made having a family really stress free. Access to health, services, cafes, easy shopping, great places to push a pram (in the early stages) and I feel safe and supported by the community.
You recently visited Mount Wellington with your family. Can you describe the mountain to us? We love going to Mount Wellington. It is always surprising and enjoyable. From the walks around the museum and aqueducts near the Waterworks or enjoying the view at Sphinx Rock to spotting fungi on the Octopus tree walk or taking the bike or pram up the easy path to Silver Falls, every part of the Mountain is exciting. Mount Wellington has to be the best and most convenient playground near a city anywhere in the world.
What are some of the activities families can do there? Walking the many tracks, picnicking in the open or having a bbq under a hut with the fire roaring, bike riding the trails, discovering plants and animals along the way, enjoying a cup of hot choc from the cafe at the Springs, scrambling the rocks at the top and enjoying the snow in the right season; there’s so much to do and see and it’s really easy to access.
The highlight for your kids? We did a walk from the Springs to the Fern Tree playground, following the Radford Track, to Reids Track and then Silver Fern Track past the waterfalls to the playground. It was challenging as it was steep in places, but we managed it. The highlight for the kids was the waterfall and the playground at Fern Tree to play in while one of us went and picked up the car from the Springs. They also loved the challenge of jumping down all the rocks and the steep path. Was very adventurous for under 6 year olds.
How do you get to Mount Wellington? We took our car, and parked at the Springs. We walked downhill and then you could either arrange to have a car at Fern Tree to go back up, or you could catch a taxi like we did, or you could send off one intrepid walker to go back for the car (takes about an hour to walk back up), and in the meantime you can play and have lunch at the playground.
Do you need to pay to visit? We paid for a very tasty hot chocolate from the cafe at The Springs before we set off, but other than that, no, the park is free.
What should families take with them? Are there any shops? There is a cafe at The Springs, and there is a pub at Fern Tree, but as a general rule, if you are walking in this area, you should always carry water and food supplies. We always carry lunch to have on the walk so we can stop anytime. It’s a good idea to bring layers as well, as it can get cold in places.
What are your five-top must see’s for families visiting the Hobart area? Mount Wellington, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, a trip out on the Lady Nelson boat or the ferry / sight seeing boat [Captain Fells], Fairy Shop in Salamanca, and a swim at the Domain Aquatic Centre pool for a bit of a slide.
What do you recommend other families do when travelling around Tasmania? Going to nature park like Unzoo or Zoo Doo and seeing the animals. Tasmazia is excellent at Lower Barrington [not far from Cradle Mountain] All the outdoor adventures from walks, to seal spotting from Bruny Island or Tasman Island Cruise. It’s all fun. The West Coast Heritage Museum in Zeehan is excellent as well.
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Thanks, Lara! What a great review of Mount Wellington.
Weather is often unpredictable on the Mountain, so be prepared and pack a raincoat, change of clothes and water. If going on a family walk, let someone know where you're heading. ⠀
The Wellington Park website has downloadable maps and trail information. ⠀
To get to the mountain, take Davey Street (A6) westwards out of Hobart. Keep in the right lane and continue straight ahead towards Fern Tree on to Huon Road (B64). (Do not turn left into the Southern Outlet at this point.) Continue up Huon Road (B64) towards Fern Tree and kunanyi / Mount Wellington. Turn right into the C616 (Pinnacle Road) just before the township of Fern Tree (approximately 8km from Hobart). This will take you to the top.⠀
If you have an adventure you would love to share with us, please send us an email here, and we will be in touch!