Length: 5 kilometres
Grade: 2 (suitable for most with a gentle incline)
Distance from: Hobart CBD - 8 km, Launceston - 208 km, Devonport - 290 km
The Mount Nelson Signal Station was built back in 1811 in order to send messages down to Port Arthur. It was the first built in Tasmania and it was so efficient that it could send messages down to the Tasman Peninsula in a matter of 15 minutes. Using a red and yellow semaphore flag, the signal station used a series of flag positions to specify different letters in the alphabet. This Morse code-type language was yet another deterrent for prisoners escaping Port Arthur.
Now the Mount Nelson Signal Station is a popular tourist destination for its views over Hobart and the River Derwent. This easy 5-kilometre walk gently ascends Mount Nelson to its signal station, its views and its café. This walk is particularly recommended for those just arriving into Hobart, as it gives you a bit of exercise as well as the lay of the land.
You'll find the trailhead to the Mount Nelson Signal Station Track in Lambert Park in Hobart. The drive from Hobart CBD is a quick 15 minutes over 8 kilometres. Launceston is 2.5 hours away, sitting 208 kilometres to the north. Devonport, Tasmania's other major port city, sits 290 kilometres away on the north coast. That drive takes about 3.5 hours.
The beginning of the trail connects Lambert Park to lower Bicentennial Park. Once at Bicentennial Park, bear left at the loop track to choose the steeper climb towards the signal station. You'll climb steadily all the way to the summit on a well-maintained path. You'll be rewarded with panoramic views of Hobart, the Derwent River Estuary and the waterways beyond. It's a great place to see ships coming in and out of Hobart's deep port, as the signal station was constructed to track ships moving between Port Arthur and Hobart.
Keep in mind that weather can change rapidly at elevation so dress accordingly.