Safe walking guidelines
We want all walkers to have a safe and enjoyable experience, so please:
Plan to walk safely: know your way, walk within your capabilities. Choose walks suitable to your experience and fitness. Study maps and route guides and seek advice from experienced bushwalkers or local PWS staff about track conditions and campsites.
Be prepared: take clothing and equipment to suit changeable weather and track conditions. Weather conditions in Tasmania can change quickly and frequently, especially in mountain areas. Check the weather forecast. Snow, hail, rain, wind and sun are all possible at any time of the year. Carry a map, mobile phone range cannot be relied upon.
Avoid walking alone: walk with friends. A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is strongly recommended if you are walking in remote areas.
Tell someone: let a reliable person know your plans, before you go – be sure to advise them of your safe return. Make a plan if you do not return on time, such as, call emergency services on 000 to advise Tasmania Police.
Record your trip intentions in the log books: this will help searchers to locate you if you are reported overdue or missing, or there is a bushfire in the area.
Be flexible: be prepared to turn back or change your plans if the weather deteriorates or the walk is more difficult than expected.
Walk Safely video on essential safety for bushwalking in Tasmania.
Watch this short
Hypothermia Safety video to understand the dangers of being cold and how to be prepared. (Chinese subtitle version)
For help in a life threatening or emergency situation, call emergency services (000) for police, fire or ambulance.
Plan your activity
Before you embark on an activity in one of our parks, check the conditions of the area you intend to visit. This should include possible fire weather and any current fire activity.
Choosing the right walk
We use the Australian Walking Track Grading System to grade our walks. These easily recognisable icons allow walkers to make an informed choice about the difficulty of the walk and whether it is a suitable choice.
|||Grade 1: |
No bushwalking experience required. Flat even surface with no steps or steep sections. Suitable for wheelchair users who have someone to assist them.
Suitable for most ages. The track has a hardened or compacted surface that may have a gentle hill section or sections, and occasional steps.
Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections, a rough surface and many steps.
Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.
Only suitable for very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked.
Bushfires and planned burns
When planning your trip, you should include refuge areas in case of bushfire, and if caught on foot you should seek shelter. Field staff can help with this information. Before you head out, check the weather and fire conditions:
- Current alerts can be found at TasALERT and on our Alerts page
- The Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) contains information on:
The PWS are involved in the Fuel Reduction Program, and burns are conducted throughout the year.
In case of emergency
Keep it clean
Help us limit the spread of root rot (Phytophthora cinnamomi) and other pests and diseases by cleaning and maintaining your gear. This involves cleaning the mud from your boots, camping gear and vehicles before and after your visit. Some locations have special wash-down stations, please follow the instructions on site.
More information can be found on our
What to take
Different walks require different equipment; Tasmania’s weather can change quickly, and summer snowfalls, hail and sleet in our high country are not uncommon. Under-equipped walkers have died. To ensure your safety and comfort please be prepared.
Here are our minimum recommendations:
The Basics (minimum pack list for day walks)
- Light day pack
- Weatherproof jacket
- Warm hat
- Sunhat and sunglasses
- Hiking boots and socks (minimise blisters, make sure shoes are worn in before you leave)
- Water (1 litre per person for every 3 hours of walking)
- High energy food
- First aid kit (suitable for walking in remote areas)
- Emergency space blanket (for hypothermia)
- Mobile phone (be aware that in remote locations you may not be able to get a signal)
- Rubbish bag for your waste (please take it out with you)
Alpine walks (these are in addition to The Basics)
- Warm clothing, including a fleece or woollen jumper, hat, gloves and a neck warmer
- Good quality waterproof jacket with stormfront and hood (seam sealed and breathable fabric, Gore-Tex or similar)
- Good quality waterproof over trousers (seam sealed and breathable fabric, Gore-Tex or similar)
- Thermal under layers (long sleeve top, long pants)
Multi-day walks (in addition to The Basics and Alpine walks, for walks such as the Overland Track and Frenchmans Cap)
- Large, waterproof hiking pack (plus pack liner)
- Tent (3-4 season rated with an inner and outer layer)
- Sleeping bag and inner sheet (rated to at least 0°C for coastal areas and -10°C for alpine areas)
- Sleeping mat
- Waterproof jacket
- Quick-dry walking clothes (long sleeve shirt, shorts/trousers, fleece jacket—avoid denim and cotton)
- Camp clothes in waterproof bag
- Toilet trowel and toilet paper
- Basic personal toiletries
- Antibacterial gel
- PLB (Personal Locator Beacon)
- Map (mobile phones cannot be relied on in remote areas & a printed map is a necessity)
Fuel stove and fuel
- Lighter and matches
- Food (lightweight, energy-dense, remove excess packaging)
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Water bottle(s) or bladder, capable of carrying 2-3 litres
- Torch / head-torch and spare batteries
Our full pack list is available for download. It includes all the questions you need to ask yourself before you go for a walk in one of our national parks or reserves. Use it to make sure you have everything you need before you head out.
Walker Pack List
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs)
Many walkers appreciate the security of carrying a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) to activate in the event of a life-threatening emergency. PLBs can be hired from Service Tasmania shops (Mon-Fri only) in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport. Phone 1300 135 513 for further information.
PLBs are also available from the Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair and Mount Field visitor centres, though numbers are limited and cannot be reserved.
There are also independent hire companies, including EPIRBHire and The Bushwalking Blog.
Maps are a must for remote area walks. TASMAP is the Tasmanian Government’s mapping arm and supplies a number of topographic maps, including National Park, Walk and Recreation maps. These can be purchased
online at TASMAP.