The Needles Tasmania is a truly spectacular short walk about 1.5 hours out of Hobart. Within only an hour of uphill struggle, you are rewarded with a 360º which includes Mt Field, Mt Mueller, Mt Anne, the Saw Back Range and Lake Pedder among many other landmarks and features.
If you are in the Mt Field area, make sure to stop by this amazing walk. Or turn it into an off the beaten track day trip from Hobart.
The Needles Tasmania – The Stats
Location: Southwest National Park.
17km outside of Maydena.
Trail Type: One Way retrace.
The whole track is well formed on natural surface.
Distance: 3km return.
It takes about 2 hours.
Difficulty: Moderate. The track is reasonably steep, but short enough to be easy enough for anyone with a good fitness level.
Highest Point: 1032m
Elevation gain: 381m
The Needles Tasmania – Field Notes
From the car park (see directions below), cross the road. A few meters past the car park towards Lake Pedder you’ll see a small cairn indicating the way through the bushes and onto a small fire trail. Follow the fire trail and keep right (there’s another small cairn indicating the right way). After a short walk, faded pink and light green ribbon will lead you through a new set of bushes to the walker registration box. Tasmanian weather (and especially in the south-west) is very fickle and there’s often unforeseen weather. I highly recommend filling out the registration even if the weather looks good right now. Plus, I’m sure Parks and Wildlife appreciates knowing how much use the trail gets.
Past the registration box, the path is well defined and easy to follow. Once you reach the saddle, continue on to the right. It’s a short but steep climb to the top which is clearly marked by a massive cairn. From here you can walk a little further out onto the ridge if you like and take in the spectacular view. There’s some lightly defined tracks to the end of each side of the ridge.
The Needles Tasmania – How to get there
From Hobart, take the Lyell Highway to New Norfolk. Once there turn onto Glenora Road which later on naturally flows into the Gordon River Road. In the town of Westerway the Gordon River Road turns to the left. Keep following the road towards Maydena. About 17km past Maydena you’ll see a sign that says “Highest Point one the Road – 651m”. Park your car here and the track is on the opposite side of the road, a few meters past the sign and indicated by a small cairn.
The drive from Hobart takes about 1.5 hours.
The Needles Tasmania – About the National Park
Nearest Ranger Station: There’s a visitor center in Mt Field National Park, about 20 minutes back towards Hobart. There’s an information desk at Pedder Wilderness Lodge in Strathgordon, which is about 45 minutes further down the road.
Where to get a map: TasMap makes a map of the whole Lake Pedder area which shows the location of the walk. However the trail is straightforward enough to not need a map.
Activities: There’s a few more hikes around in the area. Other than that you can go boating, paddling or trout fishing on Lake Pedder. The road in general is very scenic and a great road tripping destination.
Wildlife: We’ve spotted plenty pademelons and possums along the road and even the odd bandicoot. None on the track itself though. We’ve also seen a fair amount of snakes in the area before, so watch your step especially when the sun is high and warm.
The Needles Tasmania – What’s near?
Nearest Accommodation: We highly recommend the Government Huts in Mt Field National Park. The campground at the visitors center is also pretty good. Otherwise there’s plenty accommodation in Maydena. And since the drive is only 1.5 hours, it’s very doable as a day trip from Hobart.
Post Hike Hangout: If, like us, you would like to do the walk around sunset, it’s not a bad idea to make a quick stop at Mt Field before heading home or to your accommodation. Quolls (which are too cute!) regularly hang out in front of the Visitors Center and the day use area after dark. And your can see a few glow worms on the Russell Falls walk.