Most cities have an impressive skyline of tall, futuristic looking buildings. Hobart has a mountain.
Hobart’s like no other city I’ve ever been to; it’s got all of the ease of city life, but still feels like magic is hiding around every corner. And then there’s Mount Wellington. You can catch a glimpse of it from anywhere in the city on a clear day, and it’s only a thirty minute drive from Hobart’s CBD to the summit.
Of course, when a city is as unusual as this, you won’t be surprised to know that there’s legitimate free accommodation in Hobart, just up its mountain.
Mount Wellington is an amazing spot to enjoy both sunset and sunrise. But if you take a bit longer time to get to know the Mount Wellington park, you’ll find various huts built for the purpose of sheltering those who have found themselves needing a roof over their head while on the mountain.
These huts are hidden deep in bushland, and you must hear about them to really know where to look. We didn’t find the scout hut on our first attempt; it was dark, and it’s completely impossible to find without daylight. But the next morning, two of my friends found it, and when we were back in Hobart a few days later, we all trekked there to stay the night.
The Scout Hut is off the Big Bend Trail. About 100m (very rough estimation), there’s a pile of rocks on the right hand side. You basically just follow the path in a general Westernly direction, clamber over some rocks, and hope for the best (I was following my friends who had already found it, so managed to take a back seat in the navigation!) If you have Google maps on your phone, you can get a rough estimate of how close you are by keeping an eye on your GPS – the hut is featured on Google maps and there’s great signal up the mountain, due to a telegraph pole right on the summit!
The hut itself is simple, it’s a corrugated iron basic building with benches, a fireplace, floorboards, a door and a ladder reaching the upper deck, which is decorated in potato sacks. Downstairs is adorned in messages and art from people who’ve already stayed there. There’s a log book filled with messages from people throughout the years. It’s so basic, but so wonderful.
The History of the Hut
What makes it mesmerising is its story. It was made in the early 70s by teen boy scouts. They had some help from their parents carrying the materials to the site, but pretty much built it on their own. It’s now a registered building and can’t be knocked down. To think that a group of teenagers did this, just for the community, really restores my faith in humankind. It’s now open for people to stay in, as long as they treat it with respect and only pass through. It’s also in a slightly unstable condition so they do say enter at your own risk – but we had no problems.
Sleeping in the Hut
There were four of us at the hut, which was pretty snug. Two of us slept downstairs and two upstairs. We were kept warm by a fire, but it did get cold throughout the night – bear in mind you’re on top of a mountain! Even though I was cold, nothing could top the freezing night we spent in a tent on the same mountain when we were unable to find the hut.
There are lots of blankets, although if you’re after a really cosy night and can carry it I would recommend bringing a mat. A possum seems to frequent the hut – we made sure all doors were closed and crevices covered, so it didn’t actually enter the hut, but I could hear it scratching all night long – and running away from me when I went out for the toilet in the middle of the night!
Speaking of the toilet, apparently there is a hand built composting loo hidden somewhere, which we didn’t manage to find. There is a rainwater shower attached to the hut though – and it’ll probably be one of the more triumphant showers you’ve ever had! I was still freezing in the morning so didn’t fancy dousing myself with even more cold water, but the thought was fun!
The hut is a wonderful place for relaxation and restoration. As soon as I saw the attic, I wanted to clamber up the ladder with a pile of books and not leave for days! It’s somewhere I feel like I could work on a novel or learn an instrument. The kind of place that just makes you want to be creative right there and then.
If you’re staying at the hut for a night, I’d really recommend taking some time either side to tap into your inner creativity. Who knows what you might find!
Mount Wellington Summit
Now, while you’re up Mount Wellington, you can’t miss the summit. Unlike some of Tasmania’s bigger and badder hikes, like the Cradle Mountain summit hike, you can drive all the way up to the top of Mount Wellington. It’s hard to advise when to go to the summit, as it’s really unadvisable to try and find the hut in the dark. But I’d maybe recommend either driving up to Mount Wellington early for the sunrise, then finding the hut and spending the day and night there, or sleeping at the hut and spending the day afterwards there and going to the peak for sunset before returning to the city.
Sunset and sunrise were both magical; I always prefer sunrises over sunsets, but I am a morning person after all! As long as its clear, you can see for miles – a quarter of Tasmania, David from the Devonport tourism office told us – and the landscape is phenomenal. Lakes, other mountains, valleys and of course the mystical city of Hobart nestled into the thick of it all…. The Mount Wellington Summit is an unmissable part of any trip to Tasmania.
David from the Devonport tourism office also said to us “If you get to Hobart and you can see the top of Mount Wellington from the city, stop whatever you’re doing and get to the summit right away”. I think that’s some of the best travel advice I’ve ever been given.
So please remember to factor in this amazing part of the island into your Tasmania itinerary. It’ll be a trip highlight for sure!
Where’s the quirkiest place you’ve ever stayed? And what’s the best view you’ve ever witnessed? Let me know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, please share it on Pinterest!