Even in a state as wild as Tasmania, the Southwest National Park is spoken of with something approaching reverence. A blank space on the map of arrow-sharp mountain ranges and broad grassy plains, nowhere else in the state so epitomizes the grandeur and spirit of wilderness nor such edge-of-the-world isolation. For experienced bushwalkers, that escapism and rough terrain is a draw. If you’re thinking of joining them, being able to use a compass and read a map is as vital as a cheerful attitude to unpredictable weather even in summer – the southwest has more than two hundred days of rain a year. The surprise, then, is that you can get a taste of the Southwest National Park by driving in on the road beyond Maydena – the ranger for this end of the Southwest National Park is at Mount Field, so drop in to ask about conditions. Admittedly the scenery is not as spectacular as that on hikes deeper into the park. But the route includes vast panoramas and child-friendly walks like the Creepy Crawly Nature Trail 2km after the Scotts Peak turn: a taste of the forest elsewhere.

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