Ashley has hiked the rugged peaks of the Pacific Northwest in the U.S so when she moved to Tassie, Ash thought the hiking trails would be a piece of cake…. what a surprise she got.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


As a Pacific Northwest girl, I’m used to long days on well-groomed trails in the mountains – lots of elevation gain and mileage are the norm for me. In USA’s Pacific Northwest, it’s relatively easy to go far with the state of the trails. 

Sure you’re tired at the end of the day, but if your legs keep moving you’ll be fine. No map? No problems (for the most part). Does the forecast say sunshine? Shorts, boots, a shell and you’re golden. You’ll even sleep fine in your cheapo op-shop tent in summer. 


Hiking in Pacific Northwest USA vs Tasmania, Ashley Cotter, pacific crest trail, oregon

Hiking a section of the Pacific Crest Trail


Around there, it’s rare to have the trails to yourself, so if something goes wrong there’ll most likely be someone nearby to lend a hand. Trip reports on sites like AllTrails or local government pages are often great for estimating how long something will take and the current trail conditions. 

Basically, I thought I was good at hiking because I did it a lot and knew how to use my resources.

Read more: What I Learned Preparing to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

Then I Moved to Tasmania

Tasmania is wild. Nowhere is particularly high, as in Australia there are no mountain ranges as I know them.

But the landscape here is unique, and even at 1,100 metres, you might find yourself in alpine territory, with snow and frigid winds and scrubby plants and tarns.


Sketchy trails on Frenchmans Cap


Still, as you look at a walk that’s 8km long with an estimated trip time of five hours you think to yourself, ‘All good, I should be able to do that in half the time’. Then you start walking, and that’s when you realise Tassie hiking is something else.

Read more: Will We See the Peak? A Four Day Hike To Conquer Frenchmans Cap (TAS)

My favourite term for the Tasmanian outdoor scene is ‘casually intense’. Here, people do the most outrageous adventures, but it’s not an ego thing. It’s just a different way of interacting with the landscape.

What might you find on your typical Tasmanian bushwalking adventure? You better bring a map and maybe download it on GPS because the trails definitely aren’t always evident. Oh and say goodbye to phone service.

Read more: A Beginner’s Guide To Map & Compass Navigation

Gaiters and waterproof boots are a must as at any given point you might find yourself in waist-deep mud; maybe for a minute, maybe for two hours, who hecking knows?

Maybe your legs will be scarred for life from hours fighting through scaparia, a scratchy, dense bush aptly known as ‘cutting grass’.

Even in the middle of summer you need to pack every layer you own because, with Tassie’s unpredictable weather, you’ll likely need it. One minute it could be 30 degrees, the next a torrential downpour.


Storms on top of Mt Amos


Then there’s the actual walking. Don’t get too comfy if you see nicely built boardwalks, which are meant to protect the sensitive vegetation; it’s likely, you’ll be scrambling up slick dolerite or quartzite one kilometre down the track.

Read more: Climb Mt Amos in Freycinet National Park

A summit might involve a straight up rock climb, but everyone will tell you, ‘It’s not that bad! Just don’t fall’.

There might be river crossings across felled trees (if the river isn’t flooded, in which case hopefully you brought enough food to wait it out) and you’ll find yourself holding onto tiny shrubs as you casually make your way up a cliff.

Read more: Lake Rhona is a Beach Escape in the Tassie Wilderness


Creek crossing at Lake Rhona

For All the Hard Work, Tasmania Delivers

Sweeping plains with your favourite peaks off in the distance; setting up camp in the most remote areas, just you and your mates for days.

The days are filled with walking, crawling, scrambling, and panting your way to beautiful campsites, and nights are spent conducting alpine meal cook-offs, playing games, and D&Ms.

Read more: What to Pack in Your Hiking First Aid Kit


Friends make Frenchmans Cap a hoot!


There aren’t any large creatures that want to eat you, so the worst you really have to worry about is falling, watching your step for snakes, and eating three days’ worth of dinner in one sitting.

Your efforts are rewarded with stunning views, access to wild landscapes, and some good stories to tell at the pub over a pint of Cassy Blue.

Are you sold yet?