The Tamar Valley Semaphore Walking Tour
From its foundation in 1806, Launceston, settled at the convergence of three rivers, was a trading port. Arriving at the northeastern coastline of Tasmania at Low Head, ships would pick up a pilot and sail the final 70km along kanamaluka/Tamar Estuary to Launceston’s ports.
From 1835, a series of semaphore towers along the Tamar Valley relayed the approach of ships through to Launceston. With surprising speed, large amounts of information could be communicated ahead of the ship regarding its cargo, its passengers, even the health of those on board.
The four Tamar Valley semaphore towers, located at Windmill Hill, Mt Direction, Mt George and Low Head, have been restored and Ascent Fitness has developed a great day out visiting each.
Combining fitness, fun and a few facts, this day out adds some extra hills into a guided walk/self-drive combination. Starting in Launceston, the day starts off with a spirited climb from near the North Esk River to the Windmill Hill Semaphore Tower and return (2km).
After a brief stop at the site of the former Queens Wharf in Launceston, we travel 26km north along the East Tamar Highway to the Mt Direction car park. A 2km walk to the semaphore tower on top of Mt Direction commences. The summit once had a population of 30 and ruins of a substantial stone dwelling and a well remain which, along with a large beehive cairn, encourage walkers to ponder what life might have been like there.
Upon returning from Mt Direction, our next stop is Mt George, 25km further north. Although the car park is situated near the semaphore tower on Mt George, this tour puts fitness first and we’ll be walking 1.5km up to the semaphore tower! On a clear day, the views across the mouth of kanamaluka/Tamar Estuary are superb.
The final driving leg of 11km takes us to the end point at Low Head. Leaving enough vehicles there, we drive 8.5km south to York Cove to commence the final walking section of the day. The delightful kanamaluka trail follows the coastline through to Low Head. 2km along the way, we’ll stop for lunch (BYO picnic by the water or order a counter meal at local watering hole), then complete the final 8km at Low Head Lighthouse.
Hopping into the waiting cars, we’ll return to York Cove to pick up cars before returning to Launceston.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THIS PREP PROGRAM?
- Fitness, fun and a few facts!
- At $80/adult and $15/child, the price for this 8-hour 4-part walking tour is kept low by being
self-drive and BYO food.
- To maximise accessibility, the walking distance for the day can be reduced from
18km to as low as 4km.
Contact us below to request information pack for the program.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much time does it take?
Sessions 8-10 from 2.5 to 3 hours due to the terrain.