Tasmanian Wilderness | Summer School in Hobart, Tasmania

The Tasmania Wilderness summer school is held annually in Hobart in early January. This summer school allows you to experience the great western wilderness of Tasmania, while staying at a comfortable ‘base camp’ in a Hobart hotel!


  1. 1. Visit the Tasman Peninsular, the home of Australia’s most significant convict era penal settlement.
  2. 2. Experience a window to the South-West Wilderness in the Hartz National Park, with a leisurely walk to the glacial Lake Dobson, and marvel at some 200 plant species in this sub-alpine region of Tasmania.
  3. 3. Opportunities each day, for those who want to, to do some bush walking.
  4. 4. Meet some Tasmanian wildlife, including the Tasmanian Devil.
Tasmanian Wilderness | Summer School in Hobart, Tasmania itinerary

Tasmanian Wilderness Summer School

Tasmania Wilderness Summer School is a small group tour for seniors held each year in Hobart in early January. Designed for those who don’t want hard hiking or an uncomfortable campsite, this summer school allows you to experience the great wilderness of Tasmania with an educational focus, while staying at a comfortable ‘base camp’ in a Hobart hotel.

The great advantage of this approach is that you will leave with a deep understanding of the Tasmanian environment while also witnessing some amazing natural wonders: we’ll visit beautiful places such as the Huon Valley and Mt Nelson, not forgetting some of the wild areas on the very doorstep of Hobart. We travel each day to see a different aspect of the rich Tasmanian landscape. Days will be moderately long to cover the distances, but there will be opportunities for walking – easy or harder - at each destination. Regardless of whether you're an active walker or not, there will be something suited to your fitness level.

This summer school program is designed to deepen participants' understanding of Tasmania's wilderness, with a series of talks, guided walks, and nature expeditions.

Summer School classes for mature and senior travellers

Odyssey offers a collection of week-long learning programs offered each January in Hobart, Tasmania. Courses are refreshed for each year’s programs. Classes are limited to 12 people.

Over the last twenty-five years, Odyssey’s small group Summer School Program has given countless travellers an unforgettable educational and travel experience. Each summer, we prepare and offer fun and challenging special interest courses and programs designed to give travellers the options and opportunity to learn about history, religion, Australian culture, and the arts, among many other topics. These courses are designed in such a way that enthusiasts can deepen their knowledge of a particular topic or be initiated into new understandings on a subject.

We don’t quite live on campus, but we will be staying in a comfortable hotel in central Hobart! For this summer school, we will enjoy welcome and farewell dinners and daily excursions.

These programs offered are tailor-made for mature-aged and senior travellers who are eager to explore in-depth a particular topic. Summer school learning programs for mature and senior travellers who are and remain curious about the world. Read more about our philosophy of the Odyssey Summer Schools.


Day 1: Hobart

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

After checking in to our hotel, we come together for a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant (TBC). This is a chance to meet the group leader, other members of the Tasmanian Wilderness program, along with other Summer Schools participants.

Day 2: Mount Wellington

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

Today we’ll cross the Tasman bridge for a quick visit to Rosny Point, at the eastern shores, with Panoramic views of Hobart. We then drive to the top of Mount Wellington. On clear days you can see far and wide, across the Tasman Sea and into the wild South West National Park, World Heritage Area. We will enjoy lunch at the remodeled ‘Ferntree Park’.

After lunch the group gets the chance to walk the 1.7km Silver Falls walking track and the more energetic to continue along the 1.4km Fern Glade walking track back to the bus at Ferntree Park.

On the return drive to the hotel you may choose to walk the 2.4km Cascade Rivulet Track from the Female Factory in South Hobart to the CBD.

Day 3: South-West Tasmania

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

After an early 8.30am departure we stop for morning coffee (for those needing their daily coffee fix) at the ‘Possum Shed’ cafe on the banks of the Tyenna River in the small hamlet of Westerway.

We then drive South-West to Lake Pedder which is famous for its spectacular scenery.

After lunch we drive a very short distance to the Gordon Dam, a spectacular engineering feature and if you are brave enough you may walk across the top of dam wall.

This is a long day so please bring a few extra snacks to keep your energy up.

Day 4: Tasman Peninsula

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

Today we drive to the Tasman Peninsula, one of Australia’s most significant heritage areas. It has a fascinating Marine Sea life and Seabirds and some of Australia’s highest Sea Cliffs. Keep a close lookout for sea eagles soaring above the cliffs, pods of dolphins surfing the bow wave, albatross wheeling on the wind and shearwaters skimming the swells.

The program leader will accompany you to the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park. Come face to face with endangered devils, meet little endemic quolls and pademelons, hand feed friendly kangaroos and join some crazy parrots in Tasmanian’s only free-flight bird show. The all-weather nature trail will take you through a delightful native botanic garden filled with wild honeyeaters and wrens, past majestic eucalypts and streamside ferneries.

After departing the Conservation Park, if time and weather permits, we will visit 3 geological sites along the coastline before returning to the hotel.

Today you would only be walking a few hundred meters on formed tracks.

Day 5: Huon Valley, Geeveston

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

Today we travel south of Hobart to the Huon Valley, which offers some gorgeous sightseeing.

We will start the day with our fist stop at in the town of Geeveston for morning coffee under the ornamental cherry trees at ‘The Old Bank’ cafe. This town has undergone a significant transformation over the past 12 years. We’ll then continue to take a walk on the Tahune Air Walk, located about 30km from Geeveston, which was impacted by the bushfires in 2019 and recently re-opened to the public after enduring extensive repairs and restoration.

We enjoy lunch on the Hartz Mountains and thereafter we will walk 1km to the Arve Falls, followed by an optional 2km walk to Lake Osborne (time permitting). On the return trip to Hobart we stop at the Willie Smith Apple Shed (apple museum,distillery and large café).

Day 6: Richmond

Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel Hobart or similar

Today we will visit Mount Field National Park.

Mount Field National Park is one of Tasmania’s oldest national parks and is also one of its most diverse. Spectacular glaciated landscapes compete for attention with cascading waterfalls, including the breathtaking Russel falls, which is arguably one of the most impressive waterfalls in Tasmania

There is a walk less than 1 km to and from Russel Falls, a flat walk on formed track.

In the evening, we enjoy a farewell dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Day 7: Hobart

After breakfast at the hotel, we say our farewells and the program draws to a close.

Includes / Excludes

What’s included in our Tour

  • Six nights of accommodation in central Hobart.
  • Excursions and entrance fees as indicated.
  • Services of a study leader and lecturers.
  • Six breakfasts and two dinners.
  • Complimentary wifi.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Return airfares to and from Hobart.
  • Airport transfers to/from your Hobart Hotel
  • Costs of a personal nature.
Level 2 - Moderate

Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.

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Crossing international borders with restrictions

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Pre-departure checklist for travelling across International borders.
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For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.

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The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.

See Peace of Mind Travel for details.


I thoroughly enjoyed the whole program!

Participant 2018

Nick had interesting comments and views on his field of expertise. Made me think about some of the things I took for granted.

Participant 2018

Nick Mooney is an excellent leader. His knowledge in so many areas is extensive. It became obvious when meeting other local people that he is regarded very highly. As with Trevor, our driver, nothing was too much trouble for him when trying to make our trip memorable. 10 out of 10.

Participant 2018

Reading List Download PDF

A History of Tasmania

Henry Reynolds

This captivating work charts the history of Tasmania from the arrival of European maritime expeditions in the late eighteenth century, through to the modern day. By presenting the perspectives of both Indigenous Tasmanians and British settlers, author Henry Reynolds provides an original and engaging exploration of these first fraught encounters. Utilising key themes to bind his narrative, Reynolds explores how geography created a unique economic and migratory history for Tasmania, quite separate from the mainland experience. He offers an astute analysis of the island's economic and demographic reality, by noting that this facilitated the survival of a rich heritage of colonial architecture unique in Australia, and allowed the resident population to foster a powerful web of kinship. Reynolds' remarkable capacity to empathise with the characters of his chronicle makes this a powerful, engaging and moving account of Tasmania's unique position within Australian history.

Book Depository

Nature in Tasmania: Three Nature Study Stories - Blue Wren, Skinks, Native Hens

Jan Frost

Three nature stories depicting the life cycle of the brilliantly coloured Superb Fairy Wren, common garden Skinks and flightless Native Hens. All the fauna live in the natural habitat of the Tamar Valley of Northern Tasmania. At the time of publication their habitat is not endangered.


Saving the Tasmanian Devil: How Science is Helping the World's Largest Marsupial Carnivore


In this addition to the critically acclaimed Scientist in the Field series, Dorothy Patent follows the scientists trying to put a stop to a gruesome disease before it's too late. Tasmanian devils are dying at an alarming rate from a type of tumor that appears to be contagious. What scientists are learning while researching the Tasmanian devil has potential to affect all animals, and even humans, as they learn more about how to prevent and hopefully eradicate certain genetic diseases. In the late 1990s, a fatal disease called Devil facial tumor disease began wiping out the Tasmanian devil population, killing nearly 90 per cent of the devils over the past 20 years. Why was the entire population getting the same disease? Was it contagious? Then geneticist Jenny Graves made a discovery that was hard to believe, but true: the tumors were cloning and multiplying between animals. If researchers cannot get to the bottom of this mystery, this fascinating mammal will soon be gone. Dorothy Hinshaw Patent takes readers on an unforgettable tour of the Tasmania to meet the scientists working to save the devil before it's too late. AGES: 10 to 12 AUTHOR: Dorothy Hinshaw Patent holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley. SELLING POINTS: • The well-known Tasmanian devil appeals to kids from its cartoon counterpart. Despite its notoriety as a crazy mammal with big teeth who wreaks havoc, real Tasmanian devils are actually more docile, not vicious, and family oriented. They are Australia's largest native predator still remaining. • Dorothy Patent has written the story as a science and travel journal, as she journeys from Australia to Tasmania and back again, sharing the places she visits and other animals she encounters along the way. • Numerous female scientists at the helm here, especially in the field of medicine/disease and genetics. • It's appealing to see epidemiology, genetics, and animal behavior come together in one story – and inside the "science presenting a mystery that needs to be solved" framework that works so well in the Scientist in the Field books.


The Tasmanian Tiger: Extinct or Extant?

Michael Williams

Does the Tasmanian Tiger still roam the island state, parts of the Australian mainland, and the northern land mass of Irian Jaya-Papua New Guinea? Despite being hunted to extinction in the early part of the 20th century, the Tasmanian Tiger continues to stalk the imaginations of people the world over. What's more, hundreds of reports of the striped dog-like marsupial with the fearsome gaping jaw are made each year in Australia. In The Tasmanian Tiger: Extinct or Extant?, biologists, geneticists, naturalists, and academics explore the evidence for and against the continuing existence of Thylacinus cynocephalus.


In Tasmania : Adventures at the End of the World

Nicholas Shakespeare

In this fascinating history of two turbulent centuries in an apparently idyllic place, Shakespeare effortlessly weaves the history of this unique island with a kaleidoscope of stories featuring a cast of unlikely characters from Errol Flynn to the King of Iceland, a village full of Chatwins and, inevitably, a family of Shakespeares. But what makes this more than a personal quest is Shakespeare's discovery that, despite the nineteen century purges, the Tasmanian Aborigines were not, as previously believed, entirely wiped out.

Book Depository

Frequently Asked Questions About Odyssey Traveller Summer School

What is the Odyssey Traveller Summer School program?

Odyssey Traveller’s small group Summer School program has given countless travellers an unforgettable educational and travel experience. Each summer, we offer numerous special interest courses and programs. Courses are designed for senior travellers who are eager to deepen their knowledge of a particular topic or be initiated into new understandings of a particular subject. Often these courses underpin our European small groups tours for seniors that are offered each year. We focus on history, religion, Australian culture, and the arts, among many other topics.

Who are your lecturers?

Summer School lecturers and instructors are current or retired university lecturers or experts with a particular passion for teaching their chosen subject. Many of our lecturers have extensive teaching experience, and are gifted educators with the ability to adapt material based on the group’s needs. Many of them have taught with us for several years. They have fine-tuned their courses to allow for deep engagement on the part of participants.

What should participants expect from a Summer School program?

Our teaching rooms are located in a state-of-the-art conference centre in central Hobart. This location enables us to screen relevant documentaries and films, and to maintain engaging teaching environments. This conference facility is perfectly situated, just a a short walk from our hotel.

Summer School programs are designed to encourage participation. Expect regular discussions and tutorial exercises, as well as various group activities. The majority of our courses also feature memorable educational excursions, which take full advantage of all that Hobart has to offer. Our “Tasmanian Wilderness” tour features daily excursions to numerous walking destinations. Other programs feature outings and excursions to sites of cultural significance, in order to blend classroom learning with more interactive and hands-on educational experiences.

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