Tasmania’s majestic and breathtaking World Heritage Areas attract hikers and bushwalkers from all over the world. But while these areas offer spectacular scenery, they can also be deadly for those who don’t prepare physically, or for the sudden and often drastic weather changes. Most of Tasmania’s wilderness treks are into remote areas and you may be required to camp overnight - far from roads and towns.
Take comprehensive maps of the area you’re heading into with you and make sure you know your route - and your physical limitations. Take warm clothing and equipment to cope with changing weather conditions as well as a first-aid kit and plenty of food and water.
Make sure you take a tent for overnight treks, as inclement weather may make it difficult for you to reach huts and other shelter before nightfall. Other items you may consider taking on hikes include a whistle, a lighter or waterproof matches, a compass and a head torch.
Consider taking an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) if you’re walking into remote, lesser populated areas, but be careful to only activate these in an emergency.
Always try to walk with a group, and make sure you leave a plan of your route with approximate times with a reliable friend who can contact Tasmania Police if you fail to check in.
Make use of logbooks along various trails so the authorities know where to start looking if you do get separated from your group or lose your way, and always sign out when your hike is completed. And don’t be too proud to turn back if the weather or track conditions make it difficult to keep going - your safety is far more important than your desire to take a selfie at your destination.
If you, or someone in your group, falls ill, contact emergency services and stay put until help arrives. If you’re lost, don’t panic - use your compass, maps or GPS to try and figure out where you are. Go to a high spot and look for landmarks to help you.
If you are still unsure of your location, give three blasts on a whistle, mark out three lines in the snow or earth, or yell three times. Any pattern of three is a standard distress signal.
You can hike in Tasmania all year round, but be sure to pay close attention to weather forecasts in the lead-up to your hike, particularly from June to November when snow and rising river levels can make walking difficult.
Tasmania’s oceans can also be unpredictable so, during the summer months, pay careful attention to lifeguard warnings before entering the water. If you do get into trouble in the water, stay calm, signal for help and float while you wait for assistance.